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Copyright © 2012, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - November, 2012 [Plain text version]

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of November: Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

* Advice of St. Francis de Sales Regarding Dryness in Meditation

* Short Reflection of St. Catherine of Genoa on Purgatory

* Liturgical Feasts in November

* 'Catholic Trivia' [Themed: Purgatory]

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Think the Catholic Church Was Invented After Constantine 'Legalized' Christianity?

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Dear Friend,

"May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thes. 5:23)

We hope you are doing well. We are happy to report that our Fourth Annual Rosary Week held at the end of last month was a success, with signups received from the majority of states in the U.S. and signups received from a total of four continents. Considering God's goodness & mercy, we hope these modest efforts may result abundant blessings. We would also like to thank you for your support of as we celebrated our 4th anniversary at the end of last month. It's been a joy to be able to hang on, even despite the many challenges we've encountered.

And speaking of challenges, it's now been about a year now since we started the switch to our new server. Despite its extremely challenging initial setup, we've been pleased with the performance of this new server. Looking to the future, however, we know we may have to make some major changes in order to keep our site online. When we started developing the site back in 2001, the tools we used were relatively 'modern', but as time flies by in the online world it's not long before 'modern' tools start to become 'antiquated'. Therefore, we are considering what changes we might need to make in order to be able to maintain the site in the future. Considering the massive scale of changes that may be required (e.g. possible coding & formatting changes to thousands of pages), we hope we will have a couple of years to implement them, but even this is not certain. At this time, we are considering various possibilities concerning underlying coding changes, formatting/layout changes, scope changes, server changes, etc. - and how/when such changes may be implemented - but we have not yet settled on any specifics. Whatever path we embark upon, we want to assure visitors that changes are primarily technical/seo & appearance oriented. We plan to always keep the SAME orthodox (small 'o') content (or at least as much of it as possible) - even if some find the content itself 'antiquated'. Other than a possible reduction/expansion of content, we do NOT expect the site's core content itself to change. As Pope Pius XII has said, truth "cannot change from day to day." Since this is certain to be a massive undertaking for us, we'd sure appreciate any prayers you might be able to offer and also any suggestions you might have (please submit comments at ). We always love to hear from you and we truly value your opinion!

We hope you have a wonderful month of November. And, as always, we thank you for your support & wish you God's blessings,

Your Friends at

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Prayer of Thanksgiving: "We thank you, holy Father, for your holy name, which you have caused to dwell in our hearts; and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have made known to us through Jesus your Son." (Didache, c. 140 A.D.)

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MCS News & Notes

* Rosary Week: We send our thanks to all who participated in our Fourth Annual Rosary Week. You helped make this event a success. As an expression of our appreciation, all Rosary Week participants will be remembered in a Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass to be said by the Priestly Fraternity St. Peter. Please note that the Priestly Fraternity was erected as an institute of pontifical right by the Holy See in October of 1988 (their twofold mission is "the formation and sanctification of priests in the cadre of the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, and secondly, the pastoral deployment of the priests in the service of the Church"). Again, we thank you for your participation and hope you will join us again next year.

* Traffic Update: We are happy to report that received its 1.5 millionth (that is 1,500,000th) visitor* last month. We send our sincere thanks to all who have visited and we look forward, by God's grace, to welcoming many millions of visitors in the years to come. (* Number of visits is based on raw, unfiltered access logs. Excludes traffic prior to our 'official unveiling')

* If you joined the Purgatory Release Project effort and plan to submit your form, please do so as soon as possible. For more information, and to start a new form for next year, please visit . Thank you for helping the poor souls!

* We thank all who joined us for a special day of prayer for the U.S.A. last month. We hope you will continue praying for this nation (try here for some prayers - ). May God bless you & may He also bless this nation with strong leaders who will be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ.

* For information on indulgences available in November, please visit . For additional information on indulgences, please try here

* To request prayers for your deceased loved ones, please visit the Prayer Requests section at

* Updates Re: New Doctors of the Church: On October 7, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Universal Church. We have updated our Doctors of the Church page (see ) and our Doctors of the Church word search & answer key to include them (see

* Advent begins this year on 12/2/12. If you'd like to get a hold of some Advent resources a little early (including 'Make Your Own Advent Calendar', Advent Prayers, Advent Practices, Reflections, Coloring Pages, etc.), please visit

* Have friends or family that might benefit from our newsletter? Please invite them to subscribe at

* We love to hear from you! Please submit comments at

- - - - - App News...

* App Update: An update to iStations was released last month via iTunes. This update was primarily a compatibility update for iOS6. Also changed in this update was the removal of the background image on the app's main screen, making it appear more similar to the Android version (which we thought was an improvement). If you haven't already purchased this beautiful & inspiriting app, why not get it today? iStations is a convenient devotional aid for privately praying the Stations of the Cross (Way of the Cross). It features beautiful images, two traditional methods, a handy audio option with optional auto-advance, selected prayers in English & Latin, easy navigation, and in-app help. It's great for Fridays, Lent, penitential times, family devotions, and daily meditation - any time you can't make it to your parish. Users of the app (both platforms) have called it "penetrating and profound", "excellent", "great", "simply beautiful", "wonderful", and "beautifully sublime". Three reviewers have referred to a version of the app as the "best" stations app. Download it today at . For more information & screen shots, please visit . Note: For more information, download links and screen shots for the Android version of this app, please visit

* Great for All Saints Day! Our handy Saints4U app is presently available on iTunes. You can use this app to quickly search for patron saints (by name, patronage or category), male or female saint names, feasts falling on particular days, liturgical feasts, and more. It features over 6,400 listings, including 1,000+ patronages. It's a great aid for finding baptismal names & confirmation names, and it's also handy for locating feast days & patron saints. Get it today at . For more information & screen shots, please visit

* We have ended sale pricing on our apps in both iTunes & Google Play. We have also removed most app pricing information from our site (except suggested retail pricing). We hope this will allow us to be more flexible in the future regarding possible app sales. For current app pricing, please check the applicable marketplace(s).

* Reviews: If you've purchased any of our apps, we encourage you to please leave a review at your place of purchase. They really help us out! To view selected reviews, please visit

* For more information concerning currently available apps, please visit (shortcut: )

Note: Any prices included herein are in U.S. dollars, excluding any applicable tax.

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* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through January 2013

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* Please visit our Notices page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of November: Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

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"One of the holiest works, one of the best exercises of piety that we can practice in this world is to offer sacrifices, alms, and prayer for the dead." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"According to the holy Doctors, for every mortal sin a man is obliged by God to seven years of penance in this world, or the equivalent in purgatory; the reason being that every mortal sin is an offense against the seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost." (St. Vincent Ferrer)

"It is impossible for evil to be pure and without the admixture of good, just as the supreme good is without any admixture of evil. Consequently those who are to be conveyed to beatitude which is a supreme good must be cleansed of all evil. Wherefore there must needs be a place where such persons are cleansed if they go hence without being perfectly clean." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

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Related Resources...

* Purgatory (Topic Page) -

* Purgatory Information / Purgatory Release Project -

* Prayers For the Dead -

* Indulgences -

* Purgatory (Reflections) -

* Purgatory (Apologetics) -

* Purgatory (Topical Scripture) -

* Purgatory (Biblical References) -

Also Try...

* Death (Topic Page) -

* Suffering / Death (Incl. When a Loved One Has Died) -

* Request Prayers -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"The pains of Purgatory are more grievous than all the pains of this world" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Day and night I am pursued by the same thought: One does not pray enough for the dead. Eighty thousand people die in this nation every day." (Bl. Eugenie Smet)

"Christian families, which possess a spirit of lively faith, make it their duty, according to their rank and means, to have a large number of Masses celebrated for the dead." (Fr. Schouppe)

"[T]he souls in Purgatory can be relieved by our prayers, alms-deeds, all our other good works, and by indulgences, but above all by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"Someone says: 'It is nothing to me to know how long I stay in purgatory, so long as I go on finally to eternal life. Let no one say that, beloved brethren, because that purgatorial fire itself will be more difficult than any punishments that can be seen or imagined or felt in this life." (St. Caesarius of Arles)

"I believe that no happiness can be compared with that of a soul in purgatory, except that of the saints in paradise. And this happiness increases in proportion as the rust of sin is consumed away by the fire, enabling the soul to reflect, more and more clearly, the rays of the true sun, which is God. The suffering, however, does not diminish. On the contrary, it is love kept back from its object which causes the pain; and consequently the suffering is greater according as God made the soul capable of a greater perfection of love." (St. Catherine of Genoa)

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Advice of St. Francis de Sales Regarding Dryness in Meditation

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The following is taken from St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. [Note: We have made some changes to the original text (e.g. spelling, punctuation & capitalization changes, combined paragraphs)]

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Should it happen...that you feel no relish or comfort in meditation, I conjure you not to disturb yourself on that account, but sometimes open the door of your heart to vocal prayer, complain of yourself to our Lord, confess your unworthiness, beseech Him to assist you, kiss His picture if you have it at hand, say to Him those words of Jacob: I will not let thee go except thou bless me (Gen. xxxii. 26); or those of the Canaanitish woman, Lord, I am a dog; but the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table (Mat. xv. 27). At other times, take up some spiritual book, and read it with attention till your spirit be awakened, and return to you. Or sometimes stir up your heart by some attitude and gesture of exterior devotion, such as prostrating yourself on the ground, crossing your hands upon your breast, or embracing a crucifix, provided you are alone, or in some private place. But if, after all, you receive no comfort, do not be troubled, however great the dryness, but continue to keep yourself in a devout posture before God. How many courtiers go a hundred times a year into the prince's presence-chamber, without hopes of speaking to him, but only to be seen by him, and pay him their duty? So ought come to holy prayer purely and simply to pay our duty, and testify our fidelity; should it please the divine Majesty to speak to us, and to converse with us by His holy aspirations and interior consolations, it would doubtless be to us a great honor and most delightful pleasure; but should it not please Him to do us this grace, but leave us without speaking to us, any more than if He did not see us, or we were not in His presence, we must not therefore depart, but, on the contrary, we must remain before His sovereign Goodness with a devout and quiet carriage. He will observe our diligence and perseverance, He will be pleased with our patience, and another time when we present ourselves before Him, He will show us grace and will converse with us, and make us experience the sweetness of holy prayer. Yet if He should not do so, let us rest content...for it is too great an honor for us to be near Him and under His eye.

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"Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer." (St. Paul, Rom. 12:12)

"Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty, persevere in it for this very reason. God often desires to see what love your soul has, and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Do not be either astonished or discouraged at the difficulties you find in prayer. Only be constant and submissive and God will be pleased with you." (St. Claude de la Colombiere)

"The greatness of contemplation can be given to none but those who love." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Contemplation is nothing else than a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God, which if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the spirit of love." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him." (St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina)

"The first point in contemplation is to marvel at God's majesty; the second, at His judgements; the third, at His benefits: the fourth, at His promises." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"All the saints have become saints by means of mediation; and experience shows us that those who practice meditation very seldom fall into mortal sin; and if they unfortunately do fall sometimes into it, they soon arise by means of meditation, and return again to God. Meditation and sin cannot exist together." (Muller)

"It is morally impossible for him who neglects mediation to live without sin." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"The saintly abbot, Bernard, when writing to Eugene III, his former pupil who had become Roman Pontiff, frankly and emphatically admonished him never to omit daily divine meditation; he would not admit as an excusing cause even the many weighty cares which the supreme pontificate involves. In justification of this advice he enumerated with great prudence the benefits of the practice of meditation: 'Meditation purifies the source from which it comes, the mind. It controls affections, guides our acts, corrects excesses, rules our conduct, introduces order and dignity into our lives; it bestows understanding of things divine and human. It brings clarity where there is confusion, binds what is torn apart, gathers what is scattered, investigates what is hidden, seeks out the truth, weighs what has the appearance of truth, and shows up what is pretense and falsehood. It plans future action and reviews the past, so that nothing remains in the mind that has not been corrected or that stands in need of correction. When affairs are prospering it anticipates the onset of adversity, and when adversity comes it seems not to feel it, in this it displays in turn prudence and fortitude.'" (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

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For more prayers reflections, please visit

For other reflections, please visit

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Short Reflection of St. Catherine of Genoa on Purgatory

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The following is taken from a treatise on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa. [Note: We have made a spelling change to the original source text]

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Again I say that, on God's part, I see paradise has no gate, but that whosoever will may enter therein; for God is all mercy, and stands with open arms to admit us to His glory. But still I see that the Being of God is so pure (far more than one can imagine), that should a soul see in itself even the least mote of imperfection, it would rather cast itself into a thousand hells than go with that spot into the presence of the Divine Majesty. Therefore, seeing purgatory ordained to take away such blemishes, it plunges therein, and deems it a great mercy that it can thus remove them.

No tongue can express, no mind can understand, how dreadful is purgatory. Its pain is like that of hell; and yet (as I have said) I see any soul with the least stain of imperfection accept it as a mercy, not thinking it of any moment when compared with being kept from its Love. It appears to me that the greatest pain the souls in purgatory endure proceeds from their being sensible of something in themselves displeasing to God, and that it has been done voluntarily against so much goodness; for, being in a state of grace, they know the truth, and how grievous is any obstacle which does not let them approach God.

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"Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14)

For more on purgatory, please try here -

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Liturgical Feasts in November

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for November as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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November 1 - All Saints (T) *

November 1 - All Saints (N) *

November 2 - All Souls (T)

November 2 - All Souls (N)

November 3 - St. Martin de Porres (N)

November 4 - St. Charles Borromeo (T)

November 4 - Sts. Vitalis & Agricola (T)

November 4 - St. Charles Borromeo (N)

November 5 - Feast of Holy Relics (T)

November 6 - St. Leonard (T)

November 8 - Four Holy Crowned Martyrs (T)

November 9 - Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Saviour (T)

November 9 - St. Theodore the Recruit (T)

November 9 - Dedication of St. John Lateran (Lateran Basilica in Rome) (N)

November 10 - St. Andrew Avellino (T)

November 10 - Sts. Tryphon, Respicius & Nympha (T)

November 10 - St. Leo the Great, pope (N)

November 11 - St. Martin of Tours (T)

November 11 - St. Mennas (T)

November 11 - St. Martin of Tours (N)

November 12 - St. Martin I, pope (T)

November 12 - St. Josaphat (N)

November 13 - St. Didacus (T)

November 13 - St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (N)

November 14 - St. Josaphat (T)

November 15 - St. Albert the Great (T)

November 15 - St. Albert the Great (N)

November 16 - St. Gertrude (T)

November 16 - St. Gertrude the Great (N)

November 16 - St. Margaret of Scotland (N)

November 17 - St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (T)

November 17 - St. Elizabeth of Hungary (N)

November 18 - Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul (T)

November 18 - Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul, apostles (N)

November 19 - St. Elizabeth of Hungary (T)

November 19 - St. Pontianus, pope (T)

November 20 - St. Felix of Valois (T)

November 21 - Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

November 21 - The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

November 22 - St. Cecilia (T)

November 22 - St. Cecilia (N)

November 23 - St. Clement I, pope (T)

November 23 - St. Felicitas (T)

November 23 - St. Clement I, pope (N)

November 23 - St. Columban (N)

November 24 - St. Chrysogonus (T)

November 24 - St. John of the Cross (T)

November 24 - St. Andrew Dung-Lac & companions (N)

November 25 - St. Catherine of Alexandria (T)

November 25 - St. Catherine of Alexandria (N)

November 26 - St. Peter of Alexandria (T)

November 26 - St. Sylvester (T)

November 27 - Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (T)

November 27 - St. Virgilius (T)

November 29 - St. Saturninus (T)

November 30 - St. Andrew, apostle (T)

November 30 - St. Andrew, apostle (N)

* Holy Day of Obligation

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below and try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at


11/25/12 - Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ (N)

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'Catholic Trivia'

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Note: This month there are 15 trivia questions & all items are themed. [Theme: Purgatory]

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1. Complete the phrase: The Church ___ refers to the faithful in Purgatory

2. Who are punished in purgatory?

3. How can the faithful on earth relieve the sufferings of the souls in purgatory?

4. Who said...? "When he has quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of matter, and the propensity to evil."

5. Complete the sentence: "If anyone shall say that after the reception of the grace of justification, to every penitent sinner the guilt is so remitted and the penalty of eternal punishment so blotted out that no penalty of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in the world to come in purgatory before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened: _____"

6. Who said...? "'He shall be saved, but as if by fire.' And because it is said that he shall be saved, little is thought of that fire. Yet plainly, though we be saved by fire, that fire will be more severe than anything a man can suffer in this life."

7. Do we know what souls are in Purgatory, and how long they have to remain there?

8. Might the pains of purgatory last 20 years or more?

9. When Lucy, the Fatima seer, asked Our Lady of Fatima if her young friend was in heaven, Our Lady replied that her friend would be in purgatory until when?

10. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, is the punishment of purgatory intended chiefly to torment or to cleanse?

11. Since God loves the souls in Purgatory, why does He punish them?

12. Who said...? "Finally, since Truth in the Gospel asserts that 'if anyone shall utter blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, neither in this life nor in the future will it be forgiven him' [cf. Matt. 12:32], by this it is granted that certain sins of the present be understood which, however, are forgiven in the future life, and since the Apostle says that 'fire will test the work of each one, of what kind it is,' and ' if any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire' [1 Cor. 3:13,15], and since these same Greeks truly and undoubtedly are said to believe and to affirm that the souls of those who after a penance has been received yet not performed, or who, without mortal sin yet die with venial and slight sin, can be cleansed after death and can be helped by the suffrages of the Church, we, since they say a place of purgation of this kind has not been indicated to them with a certain and proper name by their teachers, we indeed, calling it purgatory according to the traditions and authority of the Holy Fathers, wish that in the future it be called by that name in their area. For in that transitory fire certain sins, though not criminal or capital, which before have not been remitted through penance but were small and minor sins, are cleansed, and these weigh heavily even after death, if they have been forgiven in this life."

13. What is the 'twofold pain' of purgatory?

14. Who said...? "It is to be believed that before the [last] judgement therefore there is a purgatorial fire for certain minor sins. For the Truth says that if anyone blasphemes against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the next. From which we learn that certain sins may be forgiven in this world and certain in the next...the apostle (1 Cor. 3:12) holds out the possibility of being saved by fire, not to him who builds on the foundation iron, brass, or lead, that is, the greater and harder sins that are no longer remissible in purgatory, but to the builder of wood, hay, and stubble, that is, the least and slightest sins, which the fire easily consumes. We must know, however, that a man will not be cleansed in purgatory of even the least sins, unless during his lifetime he deserved by his good works to receive such favor."

15. With regard to purgatory, what does St. Thomas Aquinas correspond severity of punishment and length of punishment to?



1. The Church Suffering

2. "Those are punished for a time in purgatory who die in the state of grace but are guilty of venial sin, or have not fully satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their sins." (Baltimore Catechism)

3. "The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, can relieve the sufferings the souls in purgatory by prayer, fasting, and other good works, by indulgences, and by having Masses offered for them." (Baltimore Catechism)

4. St. Gregory of Nyssa, 4th century A.D.

5. "If anyone shall say that after the reception of the grace of justification, to every penitent sinner the guilt is so remitted and the penalty of eternal punishment so blotted out that no penalty of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in the world to come in purgatory before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

6. St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.

7. "We do not know what souls are in Purgatory nor how long they have to remain there; hence we continue to pray for all persons who have died apparently in the true faith and free from mortal sin. They are called the faithful departed." (Baltimore Catechism)

8. Yes, they may even last for centuries. As stated by St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, "There is no doubt that the pains of Purgatory are not limited to ten and twenty years, and that they last in some cases entire centuries. But allowing to be true that their duration did not exceed ten or twenty years, can we account it as nothing to have to endure for ten or twenty years the most excruciating sufferings without the least alleviation? If a man was assured that he should suffer some violent pain in his feet, or his head, or teeth for the space of twenty years, and that without ever sleeping or taking the least repose, would he not a thousand times rather die than live in such a state? And if the choice were given to him between a life thus miserable and the loss of all his temporal goods, would he hesitate to make the sacrifice of his fortune to be delivered from such a torment? Shall we then find any difficulty in embracing labor and penance to free ourselves from the sufferings of Purgatory? Shall we fear to practice the most painful exercises: vigils, fasts, almsgiving, long prayers, and especially contrition, accompanied with signs and tears?"

9. "[S]he will be in Purgatory until the end of the world." (Our Lady of Fatima to Sister Lucy)

10. "The punishment of purgatory is not intended chiefly to torment but to cleanse: wherefore it should be inflicted by fire alone which is above all possessed of cleansing power." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

11. "Though God loves the souls in Purgatory, He punishes them because His holiness requires that nothing defiled may enter heaven and His justice requires that everyone be punished or rewarded according to what he deserves." (Baltimore Catechism)

12. Pope Innocent IV, 1254 A.D.

13. "In Purgatory there will be a twofold pain; one will be the pain of loss, namely the delay of the divine vision, and the pain of sense, namely punishment by corporeal fire. With regard to both the least pain of Purgatory surpasses the greatest pain of this life. For the more a thing is desired the more painful is its absence. And since after this life the holy souls desire the Sovereign Good with the most intense longing - both because their longing is not held back by the weight of the body, and because, had there been no obstacle, they would already have gained the goal of enjoying the Sovereign Good - it follows that they grieve exceedingly for their delay. Again, since pain is not hurt, but the sense of hurt, the more sensitive a thing is, the greater the pain caused by that which hurts it: wherefore hurts inflicted on the more sensible parts cause the greatest pain. And, because all bodily sensation is from the soul, it follows of necessity that the soul feels the greatest pain when a hurt is inflicted on the soul itself. That the soul suffers pain from the bodily fire is at present taken for granted... Therefore it follows that the pain of Purgatory, both of loss and of sense, surpasses all the pains of this life." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church") 

14. Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.

15. "[T]he comparison of the Apostle...denotes the differences of venial sins by wood, hay, and stubble. Now it is clear that wood remains longer in the fire than hay and stubble. Therefore one venial sin is punished longer in Purgatory than another... Some venial sins cling more persistently than others, according as the affections are more inclined to them, and more firmly fixed in them. And since that which clings more persistently is more slowly cleansed, it follows that some are tormented in Purgatory longer than others, for as much as their affections were steeped in venial sins... Severity of punishment corresponds properly speaking to the amount of guilt: whereas the length corresponds to the firmness with which sin has taken root in its subject. Hence it may happen that one may be delayed longer who is tormented less, and vice versa." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")


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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Think the Catholic Church Was Invented After Constantine 'Legalized' Christianity?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from 

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Think the Catholic Church Was Invented After Constantine 'Legalized' Christianity? [Note: Topic is directed at certain Protestants]


* If the Catholic Church was invented after Constantine 'legalized' Christianity, why are there historical records of the Church existing since it was established by Christ on St. Peter?

* If the Catholic Church was invented after Constantine 'legalized' Christianity, why can she show you an uninterrupted succession of popes beginning with St. Peter?

* If the Catholic Church was a fourth century invention, what happened to the Church founded by Christ in Mt. 16:18 - the Church that Christ promised would withstand the gates of hell?

* If the Catholic Church was a fourth century invention, why is the first known written use of the term "Catholic Church" traced to St. Ignatius of Antioch, around 110 A.D. [It should also be noted that St. Ignatius was a hearer of the Apostle St. John, and the third bishop of Antioch.] And, why has the term been in continuous use since that time?

* If the Catholic Church was invented after Constantine 'legalized' Christianity, why do even non-Catholic historians agree that the Catholic Church existed before Constantine was even born?

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"The Catholic Church herself is an historic fact. Like a great mountain-range she bestrides the history of the past two thousand years. Whatever may be the attitude adopted towards her, it is impossible to escape her." (Pope Pius XII)

Ad. An. Dom. 42: "Second year of the two hundred and fifth olympiad: the Apostle Peter, after he has established the Church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains as bishop of that city, preaching the gospel for twenty-five years." ("The Chronicle", Eusebius Pamphilus, circa 303 A.D.) [Note: Eusebius Pamphilus has been called the "Father of Ecclesiastical History". Unfortunately, however, he was ultimately excommunicated in connection with the Arian heresy.]

"You cannot deny that you know that upon Peter first in the city of Rome was conferred the episcopal chair, on which sat Peter, the head of all the apostles, whence he is called Cephas, that in this one chair unity should be preserved by all, lest the other apostles might uphold each for himself separate chairs, so that he who should set up a second chair against the unique chair would already be a schismatic and a sinner. Well, then, on the one chair, which is the first of the endowments, Peter sat first, to whom succeeded Damasus Siricius, who today is our colleague, and he with the whole world agrees with us in one bond of communion through the intercourse of letters." (St. Optatus of Mileve, 4th century A.D.)

"As He hung on the Cross, Christ Jesus not only appeased the justice of the Eternal Father which had been violated, but He also won for us, His brethren, an ineffable flow of graces. It was possible for Him of Himself to impart these graces to mankind directly; but He willed to do so only through a visible Church made up of men, so that through her all might cooperate with Him in dispensing the graces of Redemption. As the Word of God willed to make use of our nature, when in excruciating agony He would redeem mankind, so in the same way throughout the centuries He makes use of the Church that the work begun might endure." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

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In Closing...

"[O]ne who has confessed and received absolution will be less punished in Purgatory than one who has gone no further than contrition." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Suffrages for the dead are more agreeable to God than suffrages for the living; because the former stand in more need thereof, not being able to assist themselves, as are the living." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Let us also remember to be charitable to our neighbors who are dead. We should endeavor to help them either by having Masses said for giving alms, or at least by praying and applying indulgences (on) their behalf." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

Prayer for a Deceased Person: "Incline Thine ear, O Lord, unto our prayers, wherein we humbly pray Thee to show Thy mercy upon the soul of Thy servant N., whom Thou hast commanded to pass out of this world, that Thou wouldst place him in the region of peace and light, and bid him be partaker with Thy Saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen." (Raccolta)

"[I]f you assign, on the average, as St. Frances of Rome says, seven years for the expiation of one mortal sin, remitted as to the guilt, who does not see that we arrive at an appalling duration and that the expiation may especially be prolonged for many years, and even for centuries? Years and centuries of torments! Oh! if we only thought of it, with what care should we not avoid the least faults! with what fervor should we not practice penance to make satisfaction in this world!" (Fr. Schouppe)

"Now, one of the easiest, yet one of the most powerful, means to procure relief for the souls in Purgatory is to say the beads [the Holy Rosary] for them with fervor. To say the Rosary for the souls in Purgatory is to offer up to God for their relief all the labors, fatigues, prayers, tears, contempt, sufferings, blood, and death - all the merits of the life of our dear Savior. Next to Mass, no more efficacious offering can be made to God then this for the relief of the souls in Purgatory." (Muller)

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (Latin: Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.)

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