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[From a Sermon delivered by Most Rev. ARCHBISHOP CORRIGAN, of NEW YORK,

Remember your prelates who have spoken the Word of God to you. Heb. c.
xiii. v. 2.

Of the forty-six Fathers who sat in the Second Plenary Council, only
sixteen still survive. More than this. During the few years that have
since elapsed not only have thirty bishops and archbishops gone to the
house of their eternity, but in several instances, their successors,
too, have passed away, so that the Solemn Requiem offered this morning
for the prelates who have died since the last Council is chanted for
forty-two consecrated rulers. For these, "as it is a good and wholesome
thought to pray for the dead," we send up our sighs and our prayers in
the spirit of fraternal charity, and as a tribute of love and gratitude
to our Fathers in the faith who had the burden of the day and the heat,
and who now rest from their labors. "Blessed are the dead who die in
the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit,... for their works
follow them."

In the commemorative services and solemn supplications offered in this
cathedral, the first place, dear brethren, is deservedly due to your
own lamented archbishops.... Besides these, memory turns, with fond
regret, to a long list of Right Reverend Prelates, who were all present
at the late Plenary Council, and who have since, one by one, passed
away.... As we repeat each well-known name, hosts of pleasant memories
come crowding on the mind just as by-gone scenes are awakened to new
life by some sweet strain of once familiar music. Venerable forms loom
up again before us with the paternal kindness, the distinguished
presence, the winning ways we knew so well of old; and while the vision
lasts we seem to hear a still small voice saying: "To-day for me, to-
morrow for thee," or the echo of the words spoken by the wise woman of
Thecua to the king on his throne: "We all die, and fall down into the
earth, like waters that return no more."

"Star differeth from star in glory." The bishops, whose virtues we
commemorate, differed in gifts of mind, in habits of thought, in
nationality, in early training, in personal experience, in almost
everything else but their common faith. This golden bond united them to
each other and to us. There was still another point of resemblance and
another link that bound them all together - the participation in the
divine work of the Good Shepherd which was laid upon them all....



The fuel justice layeth on,
And mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought
Is men's defiled souls. - SOUTHWELL.




Thus we see how, as time went on, the doctrine of Purgatory was brought
home to the minds of the faithful as a portion or form of penance due
for post-baptismal sin. And thus the apprehension of this doctrine, and
the practice of Infant Baptism, would grow into general reception
together. Cardinal Fisher gives another reason for Purgatory being then
developed out of earlier points of faith. He says: "Faith, whether in
Purgatory or in Indulgences, was not so necessary in the Primitive
Church as now; for then love so burned that every one was ready to meet
death for Christ. Crimes were rare; and such as occurred were avenged
by the great severity of the Canons.... The doctrine of post-baptismal
sin, especially when realized in the doctrine of Purgatory, leads the
inquirer to fresh developments beyond itself. Its effect is to convert
a Scripture statement, which might seem only of temporary application,
into a universal and perpetual truth. When St. Paul and St. Barnabas
would 'confirm the souls of the disciples,' they taught them 'that we
must, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God.' It is
obvious what very practical results would follow on such an
announcement in the instance of those who accepted the apostolic
decision; and, in like manner, a conviction that sin must have its
punishment, here or hereafter, and that we all must suffer, how
overpowering will be its effect, what a new light does it cast on the
history of the soul, what a change does it make in our judgment of the
external world, what a reversal of our natural wishes and aims for the
future! Is a doctrine conceivable which would so elevate the mind above
this present state, and teach it so successfully to dare difficult
things, and to be reckless of danger and pain? He who believes that
suffer he must, and that delayed punishment may be the greater, will be
above the world, will admire nothing, fear nothing, desire nothing. He
has within his breast a source of greatness, self-denial, heroism. This
is the secret spring of strenuous efforts and persevering toil; of the
sacrifice of fortune, friends, ease, reputation, happiness. There is,
it is true, a higher class of motives which will be felt by the Saints;
who will do from love what all Christians who act acceptably do from
faith. And, moreover, the ordinary measures of charity which Christians
possess suffice for securing such respectable attention to religious
duties as the routine necessities of the Church require. But, if we
would raise an army of devoted men to resist the world, to oppose sin
and error, to relieve misery, or to propagate truth, we must be
provided with motives which keenly affect the many. Christian love is
too rare a gift, philanthropy is too weak a material, for that
occasion. Nor is there an influence to be found to suit our purpose
besides this solemn conviction, which arises out of the very rudiments
of Christian theology, and is taught by its most ancient masters, - this
sense of the awfulness of post-baptismal sin. It is in vain to look out
for missionaries for China or Africa, or evangelists for our great
towns, or Christian attendants on the sick, or teachers of the
ignorant, on such a scale of numbers as the need requires, without the
doctrine of Purgatory. For thus the sins of youth are turned to account
by the profitable penance of manhood; and terrors, which the
philosopher scorns in the individual, become the benefactors, and earn
the gratitude of nations." - _Essay on the Development of Christian
Doctrine_, [1] p. 386.

[Footnote 1: Nevertheless, means must be taken to pay back this sum so
seasonably advanced. Hence it is, that at the request of the Minister
General of the Franciscans, Father Marie, of Brest, has made a touching
appeal to all.]



The Saints, by their intercession and their patronage, unite us with
God. They watch over us; they pray for us; they obtain graces for us.
Our guardian angels are round about us: they watch over and protect us.
The man who has not piety enough to ask their prayers must have a heart
but little like to the love and veneration of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus. But there are other friends of God to whom we owe a debt of
piety. They are those who are suffering beyond the grave, in the silent
kingdom of pain and expiation - in the dark and yet blessed realm of
purification; that is to say, the multitudes who pass out of this
world, washed in the Precious Blood, perfectly absolved of all guilt of
sin, children and friends of God, blessed souls, heirs of the kingdom
of Heaven, all but Saints; nevertheless, they are not yet altogether
purified for His kingdom. They are there detained - kept back from His
presence - until their expiation is accomplished. You and I, and every
one of us, will pass through that place of expiation. Neither you nor I
are Saints, nor, upon earth, ever will be; therefore, before we can see
God, we must be purified by pain in that silent realm. But those
blessed souls are friends of God next after His Saints; and in the same
order they ought to be the objects of our piety; that is, of our love
and compassion, of our sympathy and our prayers. They can do nothing
now for themselves: they have no longer any Sacraments; they do not
even pray for themselves. They are so conformed to the will of God that
they suffer there in submission and in silence. They desire nothing
except that His will should be accomplished. Therefore, it is our duty
to help them - to help them by our prayers, our penances, our
mortifications, our alms, by the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. There may
be father and mother, brother and sister, friend and child, whom you
have loved as your own life: they may now be there. Have you forgotten
them? Have you no pity for them now, no natural piety, no spirit of
love for them? Do you forget them all the day long? Look back upon
those who made your home in your early childhood, the light of whose
faces you can still see shining in your memories, and the sweetness of
whose voice is still in your ears - do you forget them because they are
no longer seen? Is it, indeed, "out of sight, out of mind"? What an
impiety of heart is this!

The Catholic Church, the true mother of souls, cherishes, with loving
memory, all her departed. Never does a day pass but she prays for them
at the altar; never does a year go by that there is not a special
commemoration of all her children departed on one solemn day, which is
neither feast nor fast, but a day of the profoundest piety and of the
deepest compassion. Surely, then, if we have the spirit of piety in our
hearts, the holy souls will be a special object of our remembrance and
our prayers. How many now are there whom we have known in life? There
are those who have been grievously afflicted, and those who have been
very sinful, but, through the Precious Blood and a death-bed
repentance, have been saved at last. Have you forgotten them? Are you
doing nothing for them? There may also be souls there for whom there is
no one to pray on earth; there may be souls who are utterly forgotten
by their own kindred, outcast from all remembrance; and yet the
Precious Blood was shed for their sakes. If no one remember, them now,
you, at least, if you have in your hearts the gift of piety, will pray
for them. - _Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost, p._ 247.



I need hardly observe, that there is not a single liturgy existing,
whether we consider the most ancient period of the Church, or the most
distant part of the world, in which this doctrine is not laid down. In
all Oriental liturgies, we find parts appointed, in which the Priest or
Bishop is ordered to pray for the souls of the faithful departed; and
tables were anciently kept in the churches, called the _Dyptichs_,
on which the names of the deceased were enrolled, that they might be
remembered in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the prayers of the
faithful. The name of Purgatory scarcely requires a passing comment. It
has, indeed, been made a topic of abuse, on the ground that it is not
to be found in Scripture. But where is the word Trinity to be met with?
Where is the word _Incarnation_ to be read in Scripture? Where are
many other terms, held most sacred and important in the Christian
religion? The doctrines are, indeed, found there; but these names were
not given, until circumstances had rendered them necessary. We see that
the Fathers of the Church have called it a purging fire - a place of
expiation or purgation. The idea is precisely, the name almost, the

It has been said by divines of the English Church, that the two
doctrines which I have joined together, of prayers for the dead and
Purgatory, have no necessary connection, and that, in fact, they were
not united in the ancient Church. The answer to this assertion I leave
to your memories, after the passages which I have read you from the
Fathers. They surely speak of purgation by fire after death, whereby
the imperfections of this life are washed out, and satisfaction made to
God for sins not sufficiently expiated; they speak, at the same time,
of our prayers being beneficial to those who have departed this life in
a state of sin; and these propositions contain our entire doctrine on
Purgatory. It has also been urged that the established religion, or
Protestantism, does not deny or discourage prayers for the dead, so
long as they are independent of a belief in Purgatory; and, in this
respect, it is stated to agree with the primitive Christian Church.
But, my brethren, this distinction is exceedingly fallacious. Religion
is a lively, practical profession; it is to be ascertained and judged
by its sanctioned practices and outward demonstration, rather than by
the mere opinions of the few. I would at once fairly appeal to the
judgment of any Protestant, whether he has been taught, and has
understood that such is the doctrine of his Church. If, from the
services which he attended, or the Catechism which he has learned, or
the discourses heard, he has been led to suppose that praying for the
dead, in terms however general, was noways a peculiarity of
Catholicism, but as much a permitted practice of Protestantism. It is a
practical doctrine in the Catholic Church, it has an influence highly
consoling to humanity, and eminently worthy of a religion that came
down from heaven to second all the purest feelings of the heart. Nature
herself seems to revolt at the idea that the chain of attachment which
binds us together in life, can be rudely snapped asunder by the hand of
death, conquered and deprived of its sting since the victory of the
cross. But it is not to the spoil of mortality, cold and disfigured,
that she clings with affection. It is but an earthly and almost
unchristian grief, which sobs when the grave closes over the bier of a
departed loved one: but the soul flies upward to a more spiritual
affection, and refuses to surrender the hold which it had upon the love
and interest of the spirit that has fled. Cold and dark as the
sepulchral vault is the belief that sympathy is at an end when the body
is shrouded in decay, and that no further interchange of friendly
offices may take place between those who have lain down to sleep in
peace and us, who for awhile strew fading flowers upon their tomb. But
sweet is the consolation to the dying man, who, conscious of
imperfection, believes that even after his own time of merit is
expired, there are others to make intercession on his behalf; soothing
to the afflicted survivors the thought, that instead of unavailing
tears they possess more powerful means of actively relieving their
friend, and testifying their affectionate regret, by prayer and
supplication. In the first moments of grief, this sentiment will often
overpower religious prejudice, cast down the unbeliever on his knees
beside the remains of his friend, and snatch from him an unconscious
prayer for rest; it is an impulse of nature, which for the moment,
aided by the analogies of revealed truth, seizes at once upon this
consoling belief. But it is only like the flitting and melancholy light
which sometimes plays as a meteor over the corpses of the dead; while
the Catholic feeling, cheering, though with solemn dimness, resembles
the unfailing lamp which the piety of the ancients is said to have hung
before the sepulchres of their dead. It prolongs the tenderest
affections beyond the gloom of the grave, and it infuses the inspiring
hope that the assistance which we on earth can afford to our suffering
brethren, will be amply repaid when they have reached their place of
rest, and make of them friends, who, when _we_ in our turns fail,
shall receive us into everlasting mansions. [1]

[Footnote 1: "Lectures on the Catholic Church," often called the
"Moorfield Lectures," from being delivered in St. Mary's Moorfields, in
the Lent of 1836. Vol. I., Lecture xi, pp 65,68. This lecture upon
Purgatory is an admirable exposition of the Catholic doctrine,
supported by numberless testimonies from the Fathers.]



"The Synod of Florence," says this writer, [1] "was the first which
taught the doctrine of Purgatory, as an article of faith. It had,
indeed, been held by the Pope and by many writers, and it became the
popular doctrine during the period under review; but it was not decreed
by any authority of the universal, or even the whole Latin Church. In
the Eastern Church it was always rejected."

[Footnote 1: Rev. Wm. A. Palmer of Worcester College, Oxford, in his
"Compendium of Ecclesiastical History."]

Even admitting, for the sake of argument, that the Council of Florence
was the first which defined this doctrine as an article of faith, would
it thence follow that the doctrine itself was of recent origin? It
could only be inferred that it was never before questioned, and that,
therefore, there was no need of any definition on the subject. Would it
follow from the fact, that the Council of Nice was the first general
synod which defined the doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Son
with the Father, that this, too, was a new doctrine, unknown to the
three previous centuries? Mr. Palmer himself admits that this tenet of
Purgatory "had become the popular doctrine during the period under
review;" which, in connection with the solemn promises of Christ to
guard His Church from error, clearly proves that it was an article of
divine revelation, - on the principles even of our Oxford divine!

It is not true that "it was always rejected in the Eastern Church." The
Greek Church admitted it in the Council of Florence and, at least,
impliedly, in that of Lyons. It had never been a bar to union between
the churches, however their theologians may have differed on the
secondary question, whether the souls detained in this middle place of
temporary expiation are purified by a material fire. "The ancient
Fathers, both of the Greek and Latin Church, who had occasion to refer
to the subject, had unanimously agreed in maintaining the doctrine, as
could be easily shown by reference to their works. All the ancient
liturgies of both Churches had embodied this same article of faith. And
even at present, not only the Greek Church, but all the Oriental
sectaries still hold it as doctrine, and practice accordingly."


You have heard, in countries separated from the Roman Church, the
_doctors of the law_ deny at once Hell and Purgatory. You might
well have taken the denial of a word for that of a thing. An enormous
power is that of words! The minister who would be angry at that of
Purgatory will readily grant us a _place of expiation_, or an
_intermediate state_, or perhaps even _stations_, who knows?
without thinking it in the least ridiculous. One of the great motives
of the sixteenth century revolt was precisely _Purgatory_. The
insurgents would have nothing less than Hell, pure and simple.
Nevertheless, when they became philosophers, they set about denying the
eternity of punishment, allowing, nevertheless, a _hell for a
time_, only through good policy and for fear of putting into heaven
at one stroke Nero and Messalina side by side with St. Louis and St.
Teresa. But a temporary hell is nothing else than Purgatory; so that
having broken with us because they did not want Purgatory, they broke
with us anew because they wanted Purgatory only.


In the Special Announcement of the "Messenger of St. Joseph's Union"
for 1885-6, we find the following interesting remarks in relation to
the devotion to the Souls in Purgatory: "St. Gregory the Great,
speaking of Purgatory, calls it 'a penitential fire harder to endure
than all the tribulations of this world.' St. Augustine says that the
torment of fire alone endured by the holy souls in Purgatory, exceeds
all the tortures inflicted on the martyrs; and St. Thomas says that
there is no difference between the fire of Hell and that of Purgatory.
Prayer for the souls in Purgatory is a source of great blessings to
ourselves. It is related of a holy religious who had for a long time
struggled in vain to free himself from an impure temptation, and who
appealed earnestly to the Blessed Virgin to deliver him, that she
appeared to him and commanded him to pray earnestly for the souls in
Purgatory. He did so, and from that time the temptation left him. The
duration of the period of confinement in Purgatory is probably much
longer than we are inclined to think. We find by the Revelations of
Sister Francesca of Pampeluna that the majority of souls in Purgatory
with whose sufferings she was made acquainted, were detained there for
a period extending from thirty to sixty years; and, as many of those of
whom she speaks were holy Carmelites, some of whom had even wrought
miracles when on earth, what must be the fate of poor worldlings who
seldom think of gaining an indulgence either for themselves or their
departed friends and relatives? Father Faber commenting on this
subject - the length of time that the holy souls are detained in
Purgatory - says very justly: 'We are apt to leave off too soon praying
for our parents, friends, or relatives, imagining with a foolish and
unenlightened esteem for the holiness of their lives, that they are
freed from Purgatory much sooner than they really are.' Can the holy
souls in Purgatory assist us by their prayers? Most assuredly. St.
Liguori says: 'Though the souls in Purgatory are unable to pray or
merit for themselves, they can obtain by prayer many favors for those
who pray for them on earth.' St. Catherine of Bologna has assured us
that she obtained many favors by the prayers of the holy souls in
Purgatory which she had asked in vain through the intercession of the
saints. The Holy Ghost says: 'He who stoppeth his ear against the cry
of the poor, shall also cry himself and shall not be heard,' and St.
Vincent Ferrer says, in expounding that passage, that the holy souls in
Purgatory cry to God for justice against those who on earth refuse to
help them by their prayers, and that God will most assuredly hear their
cry. Let us, therefore, do all in our power to relieve the holy souls
in Purgatory, and avert from ourselves the punishment that God is sure
to inflict on those whose faith is too dead, or whose hearts are too
cold to heed the cry that rises, day and night, from that sea of fire:
'Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends!'" Job xix.



That the doctrine of Purgatory opens to the Christian poet a source of
the marvellous which was unknown to antiquity will be readily admitted.
[1] Nothing, perhaps, is more favorable to the inspiration of the muse
than this middle state of expiation between the region of bliss and
that of pain, suggesting the idea of a confused mixture of happiness
and of suffering. The graduation of the punishments inflicted on those
souls that are more or less happy, more or less brilliant, according to
their degree of proximity to an eternity of joy or of woe, affords an
impressive subject for poetic description. In this respect, it
surpasses the subjects of heaven and hell, because it possesses a
future which they do not.

[Footnote 1: Some trace of this dogma is to be found in Plato and in
the doctrine of Zeno. (See Diog. Laer.) The poets also appear to have
had some idea of it (├ćneid, v. vi), but these notions are all vague and

The river Lethe was a graceful appendage of the ancient Elysium; but it
cannot be said that the shades which came to life again on its banks
exhibited the same poetical progress in the way to happiness that we
behold in the souls of Purgatory. When they left the abodes of bliss to
reappear among men, they passed from a perfect to an imperfect state.
They re-entered the ring for the fight. They were born again to undergo
a second death. In short, they came forth to see what they had already
seen before. Whatever can be measured by the human mind is necessarily
circumscribed. We may admit, indeed, that there was something striking
and true in the circle by which the ancients symbolized eternity; but
it seems to us that it fetters the imagination by confining it always
within a dreaded enclosure. The straight line extended _ad
infinitum_ would, perhaps, be more expressive, because it would
carry our thoughts into a world of undefined realities, and would bring
together three things which appear to exclude each other - hope,
mobility, eternity.

The apportionment of the punishment to the sin is another source of
invention which is found in the purgatorial state, and is highly
favorable to the sentimental.... If violent winds, raging fires, and
icy cold, lend their influence to the torments of hell, why may not

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