Purgatory: What it is and Why People Go There
Below are quotes taken from the Catechism and the Catholic Encyclopedia. The numbers indicate the section where these quotes can be found in the Catechism. The Catechism contains official doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.
#1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
#1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Council of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire. “As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire.”
“Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, under Purgatory)
“That temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardoned by God, is clearly the teaching of Scripture.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, under Purgatory)
“All sins are not equal before God, nor dare anyone assert that the daily faults of human frailty will be punished with the same severity that is meted out to serious violation of God’s law. On the other hand whosoever comes into God’s presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His “eyes are too pure, to behold evil” (Hab., i, 13). For un-repented venial faults for the payment of temporal punishment due to sin at time of death, the Church has always taught the doctrine of purgatory.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, under Purgatory)