EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from CAU on 11-13-2012:

As a Catholic I am defending our belief in purgatory. Using 2 Maccabees 12:39-46. Evangelical friend does not accept this as Biblical as they do not have Mac. in their Bibles. Help. Wish to have Biblical support to encourage friend to be in agreement so not to be so rigid in absolute "Heaven" or "Hell". Thank You C

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 11-20-2012:

Your friend rejects this work because heretics such as Martin Luther rejected this work precisely because he rejected prayers for the dead and Purgatory. Rather than detail that history, let me offer this. Without Purgatory, few of us would ever get to Heaven, as the bar for entry is too high. Nothing imperfect can enter the presence of God and few of us die perfect saints. Purgatory is that opportunity for those who die in grace to be purged of attachment to sin or temporal debt for sins. Another problem for your friend, however, is that he probably has the Luther view of sin and grace, namely, that we are all wretched sinners and always remain such, but God does not hold it against us if we belong to Christ. Instead, God overlooks our sin and sees only his Son. Nonsense! St. Paul calls us Temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor), whereas Luther called Christians Dung Heaps Covered in Snow. It can't be both and I side with Paul!

Father Echert