Speedy retribution

In this ecumenical era not only churches but cultures are melding, merging, learning from one another and even transposing and trading their distinctive characteristics. For example, Finland, historically Lutheran, has come to exemplify old Catholic understandings and uses of purgatory at a time when the Catholics themselves think and talk less and less about purgatory.

Purgatory was about measurement. “How long?” “How hot?” “How punishing?” people asked about the process of purging the soul and preparing it for heaven. And they measured sin, which got you into purgatory, and grace, which did not quite exempt you from it.


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.