Purgatory is one of those things that everyone is familiar with but few people actually know what it means. The word purgatory has entered into the popular parlance of western english as a way to describe a painful period of waiting, of a holding cell with no end in sight.
This is not what the word means for Catholics.
Not only is it completely untrue that those in purgatory are unaware of their fate (all people in purgatory are saved), it is entirely untrue that it is a boring or passive place. Purgatory is about purification, not waiting.
In this week’s Catholicism In Focus, I look at the teaching as described by the Catholic Church and see where the theology comes from in the Bible.