All Souls Day
Definition: A day (November 2) for Catholics to commemorate the faithful departed, and to pray for their escape from the suffering of Purgatory. Catholicism teaches that the sacrificial death of Jesus can remove the guilt of sin, but not the temporal punishment. The soul in purgatory can be benefited by gaining indulgences through the prayers of the living, thereby shortening their time of misery. A plenary indulgence (full pardon of the punishment) can be obtained by visiting a cemetery between November 1 and November 8 and praying for a particular soul in Purgatory. The one praying must be in a state of grace (having received the sacrament of penance within 8 days) and must pray for the intentions of the Pope.
Discussion: There is no mention of a place of purgation in the Bible. Jesus assured the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise the very next day (Lk. 23:43). The sacrificial death of Jesus paid the full penalty for sin; the sinless life of Jesus provides the righteousness that the believer needs to enter heaven. The man-made fiction of All Souls Day, purgatory, and indulgences deceives the Catholic into a false sense of security. They may not be “good enough” to qualify for direct admittance to heaven, but at least they can qualify for purgatory.
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