Originally posted by PinkFloyd
I think the Catholic church finally admitted there's no Limbo or purgatory.
Limbo was never an official doctrine of the Church. It was speculated upon
because the Church had difficulty reconciling the idea that the unbaptized
could be saved, so this was their solution. But it was never ratified. As they
further refined their doctrine of salvation, the decided that Limbo was an
untenable theory and rejected it.
Purgatory is an official teaching of the Church. The roots of Purgatory are
nearly as old as Christianity itself, with references to praying for the souls of
the departed going back to the second century. As the Church maintains that
She cannot err in official pronouncements of faith, She cannot repeal it.
However, She can modify Her understanding of it. The first usage of the
(if memory serves) comes from Pope Gregory the
Great, but only as a vaguely defined intermediate location between death
and Paradise. The reason it arose was because it seemed unjust to the
Church that those who lived evil lives received identical eternal rewards as
those who lived good lives, that there had to be a period of atonement
commensurate with the life led. It wasn't until the 12th-13th century that
the idea that certain sins equated with certain 'wait times' in Purgatory, and,
consequently that certain prayers/donations remitted that time.
The Church since has returned to a vaguer understanding of Purgatory,
recanting of the 'wait times' and 'sin charts.' But She still maintains that
Purgatory still exists and that all ultimately headed to Paradise will have
to experience it. What that experience specifically consists of, the Church