The Facts on Roman Catholicism (Harvest House, 1993), p. 24
What does the Roman Catholic Church teach regarding Purgatory?
Catholicism believes that penance may be performed by good works in this life or through hellish suffering endured in purgatory after death. Those in purgatory are labeled as “the Church Suffering… who have died in grace and whose souls are being purged in purgatory.”* Thus, “The temporal punishments for sins are atoned for in the purifying fire [of purgatory]… by the willing bearing of the expiatory punishments imposed by God.”*
Purgatorial suffering is justified on the following basis: Because no one can enter heaven with any stain of sin whatever “anyone less than perfect must first be purified before he can be admitted to [heaven] “* Although technically the souls in purgatory cannot make true satisfaction for their sins,* the fact of being in purgatory and enduring punishment for them is believed to both cleanse individuals of the remnants of sin and permit such persons’ entrance into heaven as newly perfected people.*
Thus, in purgatory the person pays for the penalty of venial or mortal sin, even if the guilt of those sins has already been forgiven by the sacrament of penance.*
*For full documentation, please see The Facts on Roman Catholicism.