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BY Jimmy Akin
The Catholic Church associates the image of fire with the final purification known as purgatory.
Why does it do this?
Is there a scriptural basis for this image?
Also, what kind of fire is this?
In past centuries, many theologians have speculated that it might be a form of material fire.
Although that has been a common opinion historically, there's a difficult question that the idea raises: How could material fire affect the holy souls in purgatory? They don't have their bodies, so how could material fire affect them? And why would it accomplish a spiritual effect on them?
More recently, some theologians have suggested that the fire is something else entirely.
In fact, they have suggested that the fire of purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ.
You might be surprised to find out just who has been proposing this idea.
Here's a video in which we explore the idea . . .
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