EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from pj on 11-02-2012:

The Catholic encyclopedia states that purgatory is for souls that:

a) are not perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or b) have not fully atoned for past transgressions.

Hence, there seems to be a difference between being cleansed and atoning.

Regarding the latter, I understand that as members of Christ's body we need to do our part in paying for our sins in addition to and in union with our Head's salvific act on the cross. But when it comes to being cleansed from venial sins, does this mean guilt of venial sin or the habits to venial sin? In other words, in purgatory and with indulgences, are we cleansed from guilt or from habit?

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 11-06-2012:

A soul can be in Purgatory for one or both: attachment to venial sin and/or a temporal debt for sin that has not been satisfied or remitted. For instance, someone may steal something, repent and confess it and be forgiven, but if that person never restored what had been stolen, a temporal debt for sin may remain. Indulgences, partial or plenary, can satisfy the debt for sins as well.

God bless,

Father Echert