Purgatory is part of Roman Catholic doctrines, which teach that all souls stained by sins against God must first be purged or purified of those sins before the soul can enter Heaven. The scriptural basis for this concept rests on paragraphs like Matt 12:32 - "...whoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." or more to the point in II Maccabees 12:45 - "...Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."
(Ref. Encyclopaedia Britannica 1982).

Apart from these quotes, the doctrine is derived from previous Jewish beliefs that any person will be judged according to their deeds. Other Christians (Protestants and Eastern Orthodox Christians) see no biblical basis for a Purgatory at all. Hindu religions describe astral planes which are used by souls to further redeem themselves. In regards to the place, condition, duration or punishment of Purgatory, the Catholic Church is not adding any insight or suggestions.

If Purgatory is real, is it a Place? or is it a Condition?

If Heaven is a place, chances are that Purgatory is a place also, but if Heaven is a condition (Bliss) then it follows that Purgatory should also be a condition. If Purgatory is a condition then the experience should not be more real than any experience we have in a dream. Ultimately, the question must focus on the difference between perceived Reality versus permanent Reality. Reality can only refer to a permanent situation. As the philosophers Parmenides and Zeno pointed out, only what is Permanent and Unchanging is real. The rest is an illusion either experienced or created by our mind (see also: Metaphysics).

From this point of view, only God is real. Our world is subject to constant change and can therefore not be seen as the ultimate Reality. It is said that God is omnipresent, which means to be present everywhere at the same time. God is also said to be in Heaven. If Heaven is a place somewhere, God would be confined to that place and could not be omnipresent. If we take it as a given that God is omnipresent than Heaven has to be omnipresent too.

1. God is not a person but a Spirit or Awareness; and that
2. Heaven is not a place but a condition in which God Himself resides.

There are many references in the New Testament which make it quite clear that Heaven is indeed a condition and not a place. This is also why we are told that Heaven can be found here and now and that there is no reason to wait for death. (Matt 6:33 - "First seek the Kingdom of God....")

Further, we are not only told that we can find Heaven here and now but also where we can find this everlasting condition of Bliss. (Lk 17:20 - "The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!'; Because the Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.")
As experienced and described by many Saints, Heaven opens up when the mind is still (pure Heart).

So, if we consider that Heaven is a condition that can be experienced here and now, wouldn't Purgatory also be a condition than can be experienced here on earth? Our mental, physical, and emotional suffering, here and now, would be experiences of Purgatory.
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