Purgatory not absolute

To the Editor:

With his absolute statements about purgatory, Father Corey Close (Nov. 20, The Catholic Messenger) has locked God back in the (pre-Vatican II) box from which he had escaped. He writes, for example, “We do not go straight to heaven if we die in God’s mercy.” After all the purgatory we put our mothers through raising us, do you think God wants to “spiritually detox” them as well? Fr. Close’s God is too small. I think Jesus’ redemption of us is more robust, as caught in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ lines, “I say that we are bound with mercy round and round.” Because we believe that God’s love is unconditionally drawing us to respond in turn, our redemption proceeds more in mystery rather than by the limits Fr. Close imposes on God’s inclusiveness. I know as little as Fr. Close does about purgatory, but I’ll bet that for God purgatory is the grease for passing through the eye of the needle.

James Magee
Mount Vernon, N.Y.

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