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Problems with purgatory....

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Hoonbaba, Jul 9, 2002.

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  1. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Hi everyone,

    I've come across some serious problems with purgatory...I found all the other doctrines about Mary, the Pope, Sacred Tradition, Eucharist, etc to be eye-opening. But I don't accept purgatory..

    Actually, I'm curious to know something about purgatory: Does the Catholic church teach that it's a place where purification takes place with the assumption that Christians died with a particular sin?

    If so, where does the Bible teach that? I looked at 2 Maccabees 12:39-46 and it's referring to a resurrection, which seems to point to the resurrection of the dead in Revelation 20. 2 Maccabees 12:4talks about 'atonement for the dead', but I don't see how this talks about a purification process. Is this to say that the prayer IS the atonement? Or is 2 Mac. 12:46 referring to a real sacrifice of an animal?

    Also, I noticed something: Hahn was saying that purgatory is from the latin, 'purgatorio' and in greek it's 'hades' and in Hebrew it's 'sheol'. The problem I see is that sheol (to my understanding) wasn't a place of purification, but rather a place where all the old testament saints remained after they died, and they wouldn't be in heaven until the 'dead are raised' (1 Thess 4:16), as in the 'first resurrection' (Rev 20:5), when hades would be put away (Rev 20:13). What do I find wrong with this you ask? Well, I get some impression that's not what Catholics teach about 'hades/sheol/purgatory'.

    To my knowledge, Jews did not regard sheol/hades/purgatory as a place of purification but rather, in the words of Josephus, "... souls of all men are confined until a proper season, which God hath determined, when he will make a resurrection of all men from the dead". This is consistent with Rev 20:13 and 1 Thess 4:16. Josephus mentions absolutely nothing about a purification process.

    Also, Jesus was apparently in the 'grave' (aka sheol/hades/purgatory) after he died (Acts 2:31). So why would Jesus be in hades/purgatory if he needed to be 'purged' from sin, which he obviously didn't have? Scripture also says in Acts 2:31 that Jesus's body did not suffer decay, as if to say that those who were in sheol/hades/purgatory do suffer decay. And scripture says that Jesus experienced the 'agony of death' (Acts 2:24). The STING of death (1 Cor 15:56). Both passages are clearly referring to the grave/hades (Acts 2:27, 1 Cor 15:54-55).

    Another thing I came across was 1 Cor 3:11-15, which says in the middle of the passage, "the fire will test the quality of each man's work" (1 Cor 3:13). It seems Catholics say that the 'fire' implies the existence of purgatory since it's not referring to hell fire.

    But from the context, it doesn't sound like it has anything to do with purgatory or hell fire for that matter. If anything, it refers to the context of living a godly life and maintaining a strong foundations for Christians who were abiding in him. It appears to parallel with Luke 6:46-49, John 15:1-17, and closely relates with Matt 25:14-30. Also I don't think fire is to be taken literally...neither is the rest of 1 Cor 3:11-15. Based on the context, Paul is referring to building a foundation, and speaks metaphorically in describing how the foundation is built, whether it be gold, wood, straw, etc. I don't Paul is telling us to literally place gold, or wood, or straw upon believers. So when he says, 'fire' it's obviously not a literal fire either. If anything the 'fire' may refer to the tribulations of the Christians. Here's what I mean:

    "If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

    Paul uses the word 'Day', which is clearly referring to the day of the lord (i.e. at the 2nd coming). Matt 25:14-30 talks about the ten talents and the 3 men. One of them didn't do a thing with what was entrusted upon him. At the end of the parable we learn he 'failed'. In other words, he was thrown in the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (i.e. hell). So when we re-read 1 Cor 3:11-15, 'as one escaping through the flames' refers to those who barely make it through. In other words, those who did the bare minimum. But for those who built a strong foundation, he's promised a reward (1 Cor 3:14). So I don't see how this has anything to do with purgatory. But rather it has to do with reaping various rewards (in heaven) or punishments (in hell) for sowing in such things. Honestly, to me, purgatory sounds......ridiculous.

    I don't see why there's a need for a purification process in the afterlife. One brother made the following statement which I actually agree with:

    "'The what-if a man sins and immediately dies scenario' is concept/concern developed from the erronious lens of Catholicized Purgatorio. There are simply various states of rewards and punishments in Heaven and for those in Hell."

    Furthermore, I believe sheol/hades/purgatory does not apply for today anyway, since I believe it's in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14). Why?

    Because Jesus said His second coming would be in the lifetime of the apostles (Matt 24:30,34) and that some of his disciples would actually be alive to see it (Matt 16:27-28, John 21:20-22). Jesus also said his disciples would not go through all the cities of Israel before he would come as a result of being persecuted (Matt 10:23). He even said that the high priest would live to see His second coming (Matt 26:64)

    The apostles unanimously agreed that they were living the last days (Heb 1:2, 1 Peter 1:20, 1 John 2:18). And apostles Paul specifically told the Corinthians to "not marry, act as if you weren't married, don't be happy, don't mourn" (1 Cor 7:27-30). Why? Because the time was short (1 Cor 7:29) and the fashion of the world was passing away (1 Cor 7:31). Was Paul crazy?

    You all may be wondering: What is the point to this. It's clearly this: Jesus and all the apostles believed they were living the last days. And Jesus said that the dead/living would be judged as his coming. And Revelation clearly states that the Hadean realm would be put away when the dead/living were judged.

    I firmly believe Jesus and the apostles were indeed living the last days (of biblical Judaism), and that the living and the dead were judged, and that the Hadean realm was indeed put away. Otherwise, I'd have to accept the fact that Jesus screwed up and fails the test of the prophet (Deut 18:20-22), which would make me question my faith in Christ if he screwed up to do what he promised he did (Matt 16:27-28, Matt 24:30,34, Matt 10:23, Matt 26:64)

    So for me, I can't accept Purgatory for those reasons. I have to hold on to the protestant view, since I find the Catholic understanding of purgatory to be unbiblical.

    -Jason
     
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  2. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    I just noticed something else as well...

    As for the 'what-if a man sins and immediately dies scenario', does the bible teach that one has to have every sin confessed before death? On the contrary...

    A friend pointed something out to me that I completely forgot about:

    1 John 1:7-10 seems to be in strong defense for a need for purification.

    "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. " (1 John 1:7-10)

    However, in the next verse (1 John 2:1) it says:

    My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One (1 John 2:1)

    So basically, 1 John 1:7-10 is referring to being sanctified in Christ and Christ has already forgiven us. Heb 10:14-18 affirm this:

    because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

    "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."

    And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin
    (Heb 10:14-18)

    That's not to say that I'm just gonna go around sinning, and say to God, "Thanks for forgiving me" and go on sinning. Because 1 John 3:6 makes it very clear:

    "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." (1 John 3:6)

    By the way, I share all this not to spite anyone, but I see a seriously problem with purgatory. But everything else I've come across, so far, is very reasonable with me =)

    God bless!

    -Jason
     
  3. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Well, you've done a splendid job of searching Scripture on the topic, and that's for sure. However, remember that Catholic faith and doctrine is not based on Scripture alone. If you insist on interpreting Bible passages in the light of only other Bible passages, you're going to get a very lopsided interpretation....and I think that's why your eschatology is a shade misshapen.

    Puragtory, just like any other Catholic doctrine, just like any passage from the Bible, is only properly understood in the light of what the Church teaches about it. If we attempt to understand these things by ourselves with our limited understanding, we screw it up. I have 41 years on this planet; the Church has 1,969. I am assuming that the Church has a tad more experince in theological matters than I do.

    For a quick review of what the Church says about Purgatory, see the Cathechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1030 through 1032, with the accompanying source footnotes and references.
     
  4. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To Hoonbaba:

    Whether we confess the sins or not, it's most likely all of us will die with some stain of sin upon our souls. We're human, we're fallible, and even our thoughts can color us with sin. God detests sin, and we MUST be cleansed of it before we can enter into His holy presence. I like the comparison that we are invited to the Banquet of the Lamb in Eternity....but just like sitting down at an earthly meal, we must wash ourselves before eating. You certainly wouldn't go to the table with a dirty face and hands!

    Luther taught that the sacrifice of Jesus COVERED our sins. The Catholic Church teaches that we must be CLEANSED of our sins. Remember the lecture Jesus gave to the Pharisees, about the whitewashed tombs looking pretty on the outside, but containing rotten inside?

    I also look to 1 John 5: 16-17
    Jason, there is an incredible amount of teaching in those two verses! I've gotten into some lengthy debates with the "Protestant" types, who have done everything but stand on their heads to try to get a NON-Catholic reasoning out of them. In my book, you can't.

    To me, this invalidates OSAS. It also justifies Confession. AND, it explains Purgatory. If you die with this non-deadly sin on your soul, what happens to you? Obviously, you must be CLEANSED before you can enter Heaven. And John clearly says, others should pray for you.

    I hope this helps.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  5. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy

    +1,247
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  6. Auntie

    Auntie THANK YOU JESUS!!

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    Hoonbaba,

    On a practical level, what difference does it make? I mean really! Whether you or I or anyone else believes in purgatory or not, we certainly can't make it true or untrue. So why not put this sort of thing in God's hands? What purpose could it possibly serve to disagree on something has no bearing on how we live our lives? Does the belief or unbelief in purgatory cause one to live any differently?

    If I find myself in purgatory one day, perhaps I will think "wow, the Catholics were right!". Or if a Catholic goes straight to heaven, I'm sure they won't feel bad for missing purgatory!
     
  7. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy

    +1,247
    Catholic
    It makes ALL the difference in the world, and heaven too! If the Catholic Church IS right on this topic, then the possibility exists that they are correct on every other topic, and then a non-Catholic Christian has no other choice but to convert, or live in direct denial of Jesus' wish that we all be of one mind.
     
  8. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Hi Auntie,

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    Somehow I forgot about the very basic of Christianity: Love the lord, and love your neighbors =)

    Everything else is obviously secondary =)

    -Jason
     
  9. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Hi VOW,

    I can understand if it's referring to praying for believers here on earth. But I honestly don't see how 1 John 5:16-17 has anything to do with being purged from sin in purgatory.

    Also, I don't agree with OSAS, and I think Confession is biblical. :)

    -Jason
     
  10. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Hi Wolseley,

    I don't mean to offend you but what do you find 'misshapen' about my view of eschatology?

    The issue I'm dealing we're dealing with validates or invalidates the integrity of Jesus. Muslims, Jews, and skeptics love to tear apart Jesus with passages like Matt 16:27-28. In fact you can see a great discussion with this very issue, with a Muslim.

    The fact is Jesus and the apostles made obvious statements that Christ would return in their lifetime. Why is this such a big issue? Because it's obviously not consistent with many of the church fathers and the rest of the church's teaching on this matter. That's not to say I'm tearing apart Sacred Tradition, I actually agree that Sacred Tradition is correct. However, whether it's applied correctly everytime, I don't know if I can trust that.

    I prefer to hold on to Jesus's claims on his coming in 'this generation' rather than the a creed's statement about his coming. In fact church fathers like Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria, and agreed that Matt 24:34's use of 'this generation' refers to the lifetime of the apostles. Also Athanasius, Augustine, Chrysostom, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius Pamphilius all believed that the abomination that causes desolation was already fulfilled. The church fathers said many statements regarding the fulfillment of Matt 24. Here's what I mean:

    Chrystostom, although he affirmed a future second coming, declared that the second coming is past:

    From The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:

    [1] "O God of spirits and of all flesh, who hast trampled down death and overthrown the devil, and given life to thy world, do thou, the same Lord, give rest to the souls of thy servants, names, who have fallen asleep, in a place of light, in a place of verdure, in a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing are fled away. Pardon every sin committed by them in word or deed or thought, for thou art a good God and Lover of man, for there is no man that liveth and sinneth not, for thou only art without sin and thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy word is truth."

    [2] "Remembering this saving commandment and all those things which came to pass for us: the cross, the grave, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the sitting down at the right hand, the second and glorious coming again."

    [3] "Attend, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, from thy holy dwelling place and from the glorious throne of thy kingdom, and come to sanctify us, O thou that sittest with the Father above, and that are invisibly present here with us. And vouchsafe, by thy strong right hand to impart to us thine immaculate body and thy precious blood, and through us, to all thy people."


    Athanasius also seemed to regard it as past (though he also affirmed a future coming of Christ):


    "So the Jews are indulging in fiction, and transferring present time to future. When did prophet and vision cease from Israel? Was it not when Christ came, the Holy One of holies? It is, in fact, a sign and notable proof of the coming of the Word that Jerusalem no longer stands, neither is prophet raised up nor vision revealed among them. And it is natural that it should be so, for when He that was signified had come, what need was there any longer of any to signify Him? And when the Truth had come, what further need was there of the shadow? On His account only they prophesied continually, until such time as Essential Righteousness has come, Who was made the Ransom for the sins of all. For the same reason Jerusalem stood until the same time, in order that there men might premeditate the types before the Truth was known. So, of course, once the Holy One of holies had come, both vision and prophecy were sealed. And the kingdom of Jerusalem ceased at the same time, because kings were to be anointed among them only until the Holy of holies had been anointed. Moses also prophesies that the kingdom of the Jews shall stand until His time, saying, "A ruler shall not fail from Judah nor a prince from his loins, until the things laid up for him shall come and the Expectation of the nations Himself." And that is why the Savior Himself was always proclaiming "The law and the prophets prophesied until John." So if there is still king or prophet or vision among the Jews, they do well to deny that Christ is come; but if there is neither king nor vision, and since that time all prophecy has been sealed and city and temple taken, how can they be so irreligious, how can they so flaunt the facts, as to deny Christ Who has brought it all about?.. What more is there for their Expected One to do when he comes? To call the heathen? But they are called already. To put an end to prophet and king and vision? But this too has already happened. To expose the Goddenyingness of idols? It is already exposed and condemned. Or to destroy death? It is already destroyed. What then has not come to pass that the Christ must do? What is there left out or unfulfilled that the Jews should disbelieve so light-heartedly? The plain fact is, as I say, that there is no longer any king or prophet nor Jerusalem nor sacrifice nor vision among them; yet the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God, and the Gentiles, forsaking atheism, are now taking refuge with the God of Abraham through the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Surely, then, it must be plain even to the most shameless that the Christ has come, and that He has enlightened all men everywhere, and given them the true and divine teaching about His Father."
    (Incarnation, Ch. VI)

    My view of eschatology isn't entirely new or anything like that. :p

    -Jason
     
  11. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    Jason,

    Have you ever felt a sudden, deep guilt for something? A holy sorrow that almost made you want to cry; that made you feel deeply sorrowful, almost like Christ Himself let you in on a little bit of the hurt you caused him on the Cross? Then have you ever experienced and almost immediate filling of the Holy Spirit after that initial feeling of sorrow? That is what we Catholics call sanctification, our growth in holiness.

    During our earthly lives we will grow to experience the life of God more and more fully until, finally, upon our death we will share in it to the fullest extent possible. At that point where we step fully into new life, some of us will undergo what the Eastern Fathers refer to as the final theosis. For those of us who have yet to be "convicted" of our venial sins, or who have not corrected our sinful patterns in life, we will undergo the same type of sorrow that I spoke of in the beginning of my post. This time, though, it is the final conviction before our entrance into Heaven, and the filling of the Holy Spirit will be more than just that, it will be the Beatific Vision as well.

    Just as Isaiah fell down like he was dead when he realized his sinfulness and the holiness of God, we will do the same in regards to our venial sins.

    God Bless,

    Neal
     
  12. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To Hoonbaba:

    Take it one step further, Jason. Suppose you die with this "non-deadly sin" upon your soul. You aren't condemned to Hell, since the sin is non-deadly, right? And why wouldn't you be able to pray for those who have died with these non-deadly sins upon their souls?

    Where is the stipulation that John makes saying you can only pray for those who are living? That's an artificial limitation you are imposing here. And, that's the same argument I get into with non-Catholics, too. "Hey, you can only pray for those people who are alive, you know." Says WHO? Go back to 2 Maccabees, "It is right and good to pray for the dead."

    Don't turn yourself inside out on this topic. The Holy Spirit will open your eyes to it when the time is right.



    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  13. Auntie

    Auntie THANK YOU JESUS!!

    +603
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    nyj,

    I doubt if anyone would become Catholic, or leave the Catholic faith, based SOLELY on the doctrine of purgatory.

    But more importantly, if one is deeply considering becoming Catholic, and the teachings of purgatory have become a stumbling block to them, wouldn't you counsel the person to not let the single issue of purgatory keep them from embracing the Catholic faith?
     
  14. aggie03

    aggie03 Veritas Vos Liberabit

    +90
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    "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter."

    -- Matthew 7:21

    This makes it pretty clear that we have to do the will of God in order to get to heaven - and one of the things that He tells us is not to add to or take away from the word of God. So if we are going to believe or teach something we had better make sure that it can be found in the word of God.
     
  15. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy

    +1,247
    Catholic
    Aggie,

    Did you, or did you not, just preach a works based salvation?
     
  16. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    He did---and ironically, one based on Sola scriptura at the same time. :D
     
  17. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    Funny, I thought everything I had shown Jason was in the Scriptures, too....

    <giggle>

    Remember, Aggie: Sacred Tradition will NEVER NEVER NEVER contradict Scripture!



    Peace,
    ~VOW
     
  18. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Hi VOW,

    Ok, I have a billion thoughts on my mind but first 4 things which needs clarification:

    1) What do you mean by 'non-deadly' or 'deadly'? I just looked up several translations fo the Bible, and most translations says, 'sins which lead to death'. Also, NRSV says the following:

    "If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one—to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. " (1 John 5:16-17)

    So basically, 'death' and 'mortal' are the same thing. But I don't know what you mean by 'death', whether it be physical death, or spiritual death. Please explain your understanding of this passage's use of 'death' :)

    2) As for the 2 Maccabees passage, I can see how it can have something to do with the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, but I don't agree with it. From a preterist approach, I see how it points to the fact that in sheol/hades, believers experienced the 'sting of death', much like Jesus after he died (Acts 2:31). I guess I'll just repeat what I said earlier:

    So why would Jesus be in hades/purgatory if he needed to be 'purged' from sin, which he obviously didn't have? Scripture also says in Acts 2:31 that Jesus's body did not suffer decay, as if to say that those who were in sheol/hades/purgatory do suffer decay. And scripture says that Jesus experienced the 'agony of death' (Acts 2:24). The STING of death (1 Cor 15:56). Both passages are clearly referring to the grave/hades (Acts 2:27, 1 Cor 15:54-55).

    If anything, the 2 Maccabees passage sounds like it mightily affirms the Communion of the saints especially with the body of Christ as one, not separated. :)

    3) Does the Catholic church teach that ALL those in purgatory are destined to eventually go to heaven?

    4) Is there an online Catechism? =)

    -Jason
     
  19. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To Jason:

    The whereabouts of Jesus after His death on the Cross is never something I dwelled upon. He returned to us, and then He ascended to the Father, and that is all I need, LOL.

    This deadly/mortal stuff is something I've gotten into with non-Catholics. They have told me that deadly sins are something which directly create death. However, when it comes right down to explaining what that IS, the confusion sets in.

    In Catholic-speak, non-deadly sins are venial sins; deadly ones are the mortal sins. And I go to Paul in Galatians for the definition of mortal sins.

    Galatians 5: 19-21
    The non-Catholics, especially those who believe in OSAS, have a hard time explaining this. Paul is writing to the already-established Church in Galatia. These are folks we can assume to be followers of Jesus. Yet, they are still tempted by these works of the flesh, and those temptations can jeopardize their entry into Heaven.

    I've been told, "Well, EVERYBODY does those at one time or another!" My answer: EXACTLY. And when we commit those sins, we need to show remorse, we need to reconcile ourselves to God. So, then I'm told, "Paul just meant if you KEEP DOING THOSE things." Yeah? Where does Paul say that, then? I see these words of Paul fitting nicely together with what 1 John 5 says about deadly and non-deadly sins. And both of these Scripturally support Catholic teaching, without any fancy tapdancing in explanations.

    And in answer to your question, yes, all those in Purgatory will eventually see the Kingdom of Heaven. Purgatory is NOT a second chance at salvation. It is a way-station on the route to Glory. Some people won't need to stop there, but most of us will have to stay for a bit. I plan on packing a lunch and bringing comfortable shoes.

    As Wolseley explained in a thread a long, long time ago: once the last person on Earth has died, and finished his time in Purgatory, it will close forever and cease to exist.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  20. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
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    Hi VOW,

    Jesus and the apostle's made it very clear that they were living the end times and that Christ would come in the generation of the apostles (Matt 24:30,34). This is inconsistent with the Catholic teaching that Christ will come in the future. Unless of course we can say that Sacred Tradition is right, but perhaps mis-applied by the church, since Christ and the apostle are not in agreement with the rest of the church.

    -Jason
     
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