On the Commemoration of All Souls in 2023

The possession of the Beatific Vision for all eternity is indeed what God wills for each human being. As the Beatitudes contained in the Gospel reading for Mass on All Saints Day reminded us, only the pure of heart can enter Heaven.

Indeed, the Last Gospel that was read on Sunday, October 22, 2023, the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, contained a passage that Holy Mother Church has used from time immemorial as a Scriptural proof for Purgatory:

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king who desired to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun the settlement, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And as he had no means of paying, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. But the servant fell down and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you all!’ And moved with compassion, the master of that servant released him, and forgave him the debt. But as that servant went out, he met one of his fellow-servants who owed him a hundred denarii and he laid hold of him, and throttled him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ His fellow-servant therefore fell down and began to entreat him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you all.’ But he would not; but went away and cast him into prison until he should pay what was due. His fellow-servants therefore, seeing what had happened, were very much saddened, and they went and informed their master of what had taken place. Then his master called him, and said to him, ‘Wicked servant! I forgave you all the debt, because you entreated me. Should not you also have had pity on your fellow-servant, even as I had pity on you?’ And his master, being angry, handed him over to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So also My heavenly Father will do to you, if you do not each forgive your brothers from your hearts. (Matthew 18: 23-35.)

Although the Gospel passage above also teaches us about the necessity of forgiving all those who have injured, something that has been discussed in other reflections on this site, its being read again in the month of November, the month of the Poor Souls, provides us with a reminder that we must pay back everything that we owe for our sins. Those who do not pay back in this life what they owe God for their sins will have to pay Him back in the fires of Purgatory if, of course, they die in a state of Sanctifying Grace as a member of the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which there can be no true social order.

The conciliar revolutionaries do not believe this.

Some, such as the late Antipope Emeritus Joseph Alois Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, give lip-service to Purgatory without adhering to the defined doctrine of the Catholic Church on it, preferring the murkiness of Orthodoxy rather than the actual teaching of Holy Mother Church.

This is what the then “Petrine Minister” of the counterfeit church of conciliarism said about Purgatory in early-2011 as he misrepresented the teaching of Saint Catherine of Genoa:

Catherine's thought on purgatory, for which she is particularly known, is condensed in the last two parts of the book mentioned at the beginning: "Treatise on Purgatory" and "Dialogues on the Soul and Body." It is important to observe that, in her mystical experience, Catherine never had specific revelations on purgatory or on souls that are being purified there. However, in the writings inspired by our saint purgatory is a central element, and the way of describing it has original characteristics in relation to her era. 

The first original feature refers to the "place" of the purification of souls. In her time [purgatory] was presented primarily with recourse to images connected to space: There was thought of a certain space where purgatory would be found. For Catherine, instead, purgatory is not represented as an element of the landscape of the core of the earth; it is a fire that is not exterior but interior. This is purgatory, an interior fire.

The saint speaks of the soul's journey of purification to full communion with God, based on her own experience of profound sorrow for the sins committed, in contrast to the infinite love of God (cf. Vita Mirabile, 171v). We have heard about the moment of her conversion, when Catherine suddenly felt God's goodness, the infinite distance of her life from this goodness and a burning fire within her. And this is the fire that purifies, it is the interior fire of purgatory. Here also there is an original feature in relation to the thought of the era. She does not begin, in fact, from the beyond to narrate the torments of purgatory -- as was usual at that time and perhaps also today -- and then indicate the path for purification or conversion. Instead our saint begins from her own interior experience of her life on the path to eternity. The soul, says Catherine, appears before God still bound to the desires and the sorrow that derive from sin, and this makes it impossible for it to enjoy the Beatific Vision of God. Catherine affirms that God is so pure and holy that the soul with stains of sin cannot be in the presence of the Divine Majesty (cf. Vita Mirabile, 177r). And we also realize how far we are, how full we are of so many things, so that we cannot see God. The soul is conscious of the immense love and perfect justice of God and, in consequence, suffers for not having responded correctly and perfectly to that love, and that is why the love itself of God becomes a flame. Love itself purifies it from its dross of sin.

Theological and mystical sources typical of the era can be found in Catherine's work. Particularly there is an image from Dionysius the Areopagite: that of the golden thread that unites the human heart with God himself. When God has purified man, he ties him with a very fine thread of gold, which is his love, and attracts him to himself with such strong affection that man remains as "overcome and conquered and altogether outside himself." Thus the human heart is invaded by the love of God, which becomes the only guide, the sole motor of his existence (cf. Vita Mirabile, 246rv). This situation of elevation to God and of abandonment to his will, expressed in the image of the thread, is used by Catherine to express the action of the divine light on souls in purgatory, light that purifies them and elevates them to the splendors of the shining rays of God (cf. Vita Mirabile, 179r).

Dear friends, the saints, in their experience of union with God, reach such profound "knowledge" of the divine mysteries, in which love and knowledge are fused, that they are of help to theologians themselves in their task of study, of "intelligentia fidei," of "intelligentia" of the mysteries of the faith, of real deepening in the mysteries, for example, of what purgatory is. (Text of Benedict/Ratzinger January 12, 2011, General Audience Address.)

As readers of this site are aware, Antipope Emeritus Ratzinger/Benedict has always taught that the entirety of Catholic teaching must be placed in the context of historical circumstances. He is a Modernist. He believes that images of souls burning in the fires of Purgatory are merely representations common to "the time" in which Saint Catherine of Genoa lived, using her own mystical experiences to cast doubt on the existence of Purgatory as an actual state. According to Ratzinger/Benedict, Purgatory is merely an "experience" of purification whereby the soul is made pure interiorly by the light of God's love. He believes that writings such as those of Saint Catherine of Genoa must guide "theologians" in their "deepening" of what Purgatory is.

While one could, quite understandably, be tempted to say that the retired false "pontiff" had contradicted Catholic teaching very clearly in this instance, it is far more accurate to state that he was undermining Catholic teaching by proposing something that had the "appearance of falsehood." He was careful not to deny the existence of Purgatory. It was his clear intention, however, to make Catholic teaching on it appear to be uncertain and in need of further "study" and "understanding." Such is the very modus vivendi (the mode of living) of Modernists. Ratzinger/Benedict was saying, yes, Purgatory exists. We simply don't know that much about it yet.

Yet it is that Pope Clement VI’s Super Quibusdam, to the Consolator, the Catholicon of the Armenian Orthodox, made it clear that existence in Purgatory as a place, not a “state,” is something that the Orthodox, whose murky theology is held is such high regard by both Ratzinger/Benedict and his successor, Cartoon Jorge Mario Bergoglio, must believe to be accepted back into the Catholic Church:

We ask if you have believed and now believe that there is a purgatory to which depart the souls of those dying in grace who have not yet made complete satisfaction for their sins. Also, if you have believed and now believe that they will be tortured by fire for a time and that as soon as they are cleansed, even before the day of judgment, they may come to the true and eternal beatitude which consists in the vision of God face to face and in love. (Pope Clement VI, Super Quibusdam, To the Consolator, the Catholicon of the Armenians, September 20, 1351. As found in Henry Denzinger, Enchirdion Symbolorum, thirteenth edition, translated into English by Roy Deferrari and published in 1955 as The Sources of Catholic Dogma--referred to as "Denziger," by B. Herder Book Company of St. Louis, Missouri, and London, England, No. 570s, p. 206.)

Moreover, it was one hundred eight years later that the Council of Florence required belief in Purgatory as condition for all of the Greeks to be reunited with the Catholic Church:

It has been likewise defined, that, if those truly penitent have departed in the love of God, before they have made satisfaction by worthy fruits of penance for sins of commission and omission, the souls of these are cleansed after death by purgatorial punishments’ and so that they may be released from punishments of this kind, the suffrages of the living faithful are of advantage to them, namely, the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, and almsgiving, and other works of piety, which are customarily performed by the faithful for other faithful according to the institutions of the Church. And that the souls of those, who are the reception of baptism have incurred no stain of sin whether in their bodies, or when released from the same bodies, as we have said before, are purged, are immediately received into heaven, and see clearly the one and triune God Himself, just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another. Moreover the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds. (Pope Eugene IV, Laetentur Coeli, July 6, 1439, Decree for the Greeks, Council of Florence. As found in Henry Denzinger, Enchirdion Symbolorum, thirteenth edition, translated into English by Roy Deferrari and published in 1955 as The Sources of Catholic Dogma--referred to as "Denziger," by B. Herder Book Company of St. Louis, Missouri, and London, England, No. 693 p. 220.)

It is especially interesting that the next passage from the Decree for the Greeks demanded belief in Papal Primacy, putting the lie to the oft-expressed error of the likes of ‘Saint John Paul II,” Ratzinger/Benedict, and Jorge Mario Bergoglio that the primacy can be “exercised” in a manner that would please Protestants and the Orthodox:

We likewise defined that the holy Apostolic See, and the Roman Pontiff, hold the primacy throughout the entire world; and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the true vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in blessed Peter by our Lord Jesus Christ, the food, rule, and govern the universal Church; just as is contained in the acts of the ecumenical Councils and the sacred canons. (Pope Eugene IV, Laetentur Coeli, July 6, 1439, Decree for the Greeks, Council of Florence. As found in Henry Denzinger, Enchirdion Symbolorum, thirteenth edition, translated into English by Roy Deferrari and published in 1955 as The Sources of Catholic Dogma--referred to as "Denziger," by B. Herder Book Company of St. Louis, Missouri, and London, England, No. 694, p. 220.)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio has never discussed Purgatory with his beloved friends in Orthodoxy, including Patriarch Bartholomew of the Greek Orthodox Church or Patriarch Kirill as he belives, quoting Greek Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras, before whom Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria/Paul VI genuflected when they met on Mount Olivet on January 5, 1964, that "all theologians should be sent to an island." No conciliar "pope" has ever demanded that any representative of the various branches of the schismatic and heretical Orthodox adhere to what Pope Eugene IV and the Council of Florence decreed five hundred seventy-seven years ago now, including belief in Purgatory. That is all just “ancient history” that was “conditioned” by the circumstances of the time as the Greeks were, it is alleged, treated “unfairly” even though the Council of Florence under the guidance of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, Who directed the Decree on the Greeks to be issued in the exact form that it was expressed Pope Eugene and the Fathers of the Council of Florence.

Believing Catholics love Purgatory, understanding that its existence is a mercy from the good God to poor sinners who love Him yet die in a state of Sanctifying Grace without having paid back the temporal punishment due their forgiven Mortal Sins, their unforgiven Venial Sins, and their general attachment to sin.

Believing Catholics are grateful for the opportunity to pay back in death what they did not pay back in life so that their immortal souls, made in the image and likeness of the Most Blessed Trinity and redeemed by the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, can be refined like gold in the fire to shine with beauty in the glory of an unending Easter Sunday in Paradise as they behold the Beatific Vision of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.

Believing Catholics take seriously and adhere to the Decree of Purgatory that was issued by the Council of Trent on December 4, 1563:

Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, following the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught in sacred councils and very recently in this ecumenical council that there is a purgatory,[1] and that the souls there detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and chiefly by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar, the holy council commands the bishops that they strive diligently to the end that the sound doctrine of purgatory, transmitted by the Fathers and sacred councils,[2] be believed and maintained by the faithful of Christ, and be everywhere taught and preached. The more difficult and subtle questions, however, and those that do not make for edification and from which there is for the most part no increase in piety, are to be excluded from popular instructions to uneducated people.[3] Likewise, things that are uncertain or that have the appearance of falsehood they shall not permit to be made known publicly and discussed. But those things that tend to a certain kind of curiosity or superstition, or that savor of filthy lucre, they shall prohibit as scandals and stumbling-blocks to the faithful. The bishops shall see to it that the suffrages of the living, that is, the sacrifice of the mass,[4] prayers, alms and other works of piety which they have been accustomed to perform for the faithful departed, be piously and devoutly discharged in accordance with the laws of the Church, and that whatever is due on their behalf from testamentary bequests or other ways, be discharged by the priests and ministers of the Church and others who are bound to render this service not in a perfunctory manner, but diligently and accurately. (Decree Concerning Purgatory, Session XXV, December 4, 1563.)

The attack on the sensus Catholicus that has been waged by the conciliar revolutionaries has been such, however, that many Catholics who are attached to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism in the tragically mistaken belief that it is the Catholic Church do not even belief in Purgatory whatsoever, although it should be added that conciliar priests and presbyters do believe in Purgatory on All Souls Day when they open the envelopes with Mass stipends on what some of them refer to as “Black Christmas.”

To wit, confusion about Purgatory at the “retail level” in conciliar parishes has resulted in the generally-held belief that everyone goes straight to Heaven after death, including the likes of Edward Moore Kennedy, Mario Matthew Cuomo, William Brennan, Geraldine Anne Ferraro-Zacarro, Thomas Foley, Thomas P. O'Neill, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and a lesser known public official who supported baby-killing and perversity, Thomas Michael Menino, who was Mayor of the City of Boston, Massachusetts, from July 12, 1993, to January 6, 2014.

Indeed, a now deceased dentist was aghast when I told him in 2003 that I was offering up the pain of the root canal procedure that he was performing on me (a procedure that he botched and required the tooth to be extracted two years later) to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary to be dispensed as she sees fit, hoping that some of the merit that I stood to earn from a right disposition in making this offering would be applied to the Holy Souls in the Church Suffering in Purgatory.

"Purgatory!" the dentist screamed. "I thought they got rid of that!" 

I then told him that two of his patients who I thought at the time to be priests (one of them I found out later actually is a priest as he had gotten himself conditionally ordained with witnesses present) could verify that the existence of Purgatory is a defined teaching of the Catholic Church. Evidently being on a first name basis with the putative clerics, each of whom is now a pastor, he said about one of them, "You mean (diminutive of his first name omitted) believes in Purgatory?" I told him that, yes, his friend believed in Purgatory. It is my prayer that the dentist saw the truth of this matter after his own death a few years later. And it had been just about six years before, in 1997, that I had confronted a conciliar pastor who failed to mention Purgatory on All Souls' Day, prompting an enraged member of the Knights of Columbus, whose paunch showed through a blue “K of C” windbreaker, to threaten to hit me as he shouted, "Shut your [expletive deleted] mouth. Father's right. There ain't no Purgatory no more." (See also: They Like It!)

Those who believe that “there ain’t no Purgatory no more” ought to consider the body of literature of private revelations that have been given to saints that ratify and confirm the common theological opinion of theologians that Holy Mother Church has relied upon to provide us with images of Purgatory. Here is one such example as drawn from Father F. X. Schouppe's Purgatory: Explained By the Lives and the Legends of the Saints:

In the Life of St. Lutgarda, written by her contemporary, Thomas de Cantimpere, mention is made of a Religious who was otherwise fervent, but who for an excess of zeal was condemned to forty years in Purgatory. This was an Abbot of the Cistercian Order, named Simon, who held St. Lutgarda in great veneration. The saint, on her part, willingly followed his advice, and in consequence a sort of spiritual friendship was formed between them. But the Abbot was not as mild towards his subordinates as he was towards the saint. Severe with himself, he was also severe in his administration, and carried his exactions in matters of discipline even to harshness, forgetting the lesson of the Divine Master, who teaches us to be meek and humble of heart. Having died and whilst Lutgarda was fervently praying and imposing penances upon herself for the repose of his soul, he appeared to her, and declared that he was condemned to forty years of Purgatory. Fortunately he had in Lutgarda, a generous and powerful friend. She redoubled her prayers and austerities, and having received from God the assurance that the departed soul should soon be delivered, the charitable saint replied, "I will not cease to weep; I will not case to importune Your Mercy until I see him freed from his pains."

Since I am mentioning St. Lutgarda, ought I to speak of the celebrated apparition of Pope Innocent III? I acknowledge the perusal of this incident shocked me, and I would fain pass it over in silence. I was reluctant to think that a Pope, and such a Pope, had been condemned to so long and terrible a Purgatory. We know that  Innocent III, who presided at the celebrated Council of Lateran in 1215, was one of the greatest Pontiffs who ever filled the chair of St. Peter. His piety and zeal led him to accomplish great things from the Church of God and holy discipline. How, then, admit that such a man was judged with so great severity at the Supreme Tribunal? How reconcile this revelation of St. Lutgarda with Divine Mercy? I wished, therefore, to treat it as an illusion, and sought for reasons in support of this idea. But I found, on the contrary, that the reality of this apparition is admitted by the greatest authors, and that it is not rejected by any single one. Moreover, the biographer, Thomas de Catimpere, is very explicit, and at the same time very reserved. "Remark, reader," he writes at the end of his narrative, "that it was from the mouth of the pious Lutgarda herself that I heard of the faults revealed by the defunct, and which I omit here for so great a Pope."

Aside from this, considering the event in itself, can we find any good reason for calling it into question? Do we not know that God makes no exception of persons-that the Popes appear before His tribunal like the humblest of the faithful--that all the great and the lowly are equal before Him, and that each one receives according to his works? Do we not know that those who govern others have a great responsibility, and will have render a sever account? Judicium durissimum his qui praesunt fiet--"A most severe judgment shall be for his rule." (Wis. 6: 6). It is the Holy Ghost that declares it. Now, Innocent III reigned for eighteen years, and during most turbulent times; and add the Bollandists, is it not written that the judgments of God are inscrutable, and often very different from the judgments of men? Judicia tua abyssus multa (Ps. 35. 7)

The reality of this apparition cannot, then, be reasonably called in question. I see no reason for omitting it, since God does not reveal mysteries of this nature for any other purpose than that they should be made known for the veneration of His Church. (Father Francis F. X. Schouppe, S.J.,  Purgatory: Explained By the Lives and the Legends of the Saints, published originally by Burns and Oates, Ltd., London, and republished by TAN Books and Publishers in 1973, pp. 92-95.)

This is the sort of private revelation that should give even the current false "pontiff" and his predecessor cause for concern to amend their lives now in order to publicly abjure their contradictions of Catholic teaching and their endless efforts to make fuzzy or unclear that which is perfectly clear, the patrimony of Holy Mother Church.

Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., provided a summary of the theology of Purgatory as well as history of this solemn day commemorating the Poor Souls detained there. Here are a few salient exceprts:

We will not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope. The Church today has the same desire as the Apostle thus expressed to the first Christians. The truth concerning the dead not only proves admirably the union between God’s justice and his goodness; it also inspires a charitable pity which the hardest heart cannot resist, and at the same time offers to the mourners the sweetest consolation. If faith teaches us the existence of a purgatory, where our loved ones may be detained by unexpiated sin, it is also of faith that we are able to assist them; and theology assures us that their more or less speedy deliverance lies in our power. Let us call to mind a few principles, which throw light on this doctrine. Every sin causes a twofold injury to the sinner: it stains his soul, and renders him liable to punishment. Venial sin, which displeases God, requires a temporal expiation. Mortal sin deforms the soul, and makes the guilty man an abomination to God: its punishment cannot be anything less than eternal banishment, unless the sinner, in this life, prevent the final and irrevocable sentence. But even then the remission of the guilt, though it revokes the sentence of damnation, does not cancel the whole debt. Although an extraordinary overflow of grace upon the prodigal may sometimes, as is always the case with regard to baptism and martyrdom, bury every remnant and vestige of sin in the abyss of divine oblivion; yet it is the ordinary rule that for every fault, satisfaction must be made to God’s justice, either in this world or in the next.

On the other hand, every supernatural act of virtue brings a double profit to the just man: it merits for his soul a fresh degree of grace; and it makes satisfaction for past faults, in exact proportion to the value, in God’s sight, of that labor, privation, or trial accepted, or that voluntary suffering endured, by one of the members of his beloved Son. Now, whereas merit is a personal acquisition and cannot be transferred to others, satisfaction may be vicarious; God is willing to accept it in payment of another’s debt, whether the recipient of the boon be in this world or in the next, provided only that he be united by grace to the mystical Body of our Lord, which is one in charity. This is a consequence of the mystery of the Communion of Saints, as Suarez explains in his beautiful treatise on Suffrages. Appealing to the authority of the greatest and most ancient princes of science, and discussing the objections and restrictions since proposed by others, the illustrious theologian does not hesitate to formulate this conclusion, with regard to the suffering souls in particular: “I believe that this satisfaction of the living for the dead is a matter of simple justice, and that it is infallibly accepted with its full value, and according to the intention of him who applies it. Thus, for instance, if the satisfaction I make would, if kept for myself, avail me in strict justice for the remission of four degrees of purgatory, it will remit exactly the same amount to the soul for whom I choose to offer it.”

We well know how the Church seconds the good-will of her children. By the practice of Indulgences, she places at their charitable disposal the inexhaustible treasure accumulated, from age to age, by the superabundant satisfactions of the Saints, added to those of the Martyrs, and united to those of our blessed Lady and the infinite residue of our Lord’s sufferings. These remissions of punishment she grants to the living by her own direct power; but she nearly always approves of and permits their application to the dead by way of suffrage, that is to say, in the manner in which, as we have seen, each of the faithful may offer to God who accepts it, for another, the suffrage or succor of his own satisfactions. Such is the doctrine of Suarez, who adds that an Indulgence ceded to the dead loses nothing either of the security or of the value it would have had for ourselves who are still militant.

Now, Indulgences under every form are continually coming in our way. Let us make use of our treasures, and exercise mercy towards the poor suffering souls. Is any condition more pitiable than theirs? So great is their anguish that no distress on earth can approach to it; and withal so nobly endured, that not a murmur breaks the silence of that “river of fire, which in its imperceptible current bears them on little by little to the ocean of Paradise.” All heaven cannot help them, for there is no merit to be gained there. God himself, though most merciful, owes it to his justice not to deliver them until they have paid the whole debt that they carried with them beyond the world of trial. The debt was contracted perhaps through our fault, and in our company; and it is to us they turn for help, to us who are still dreaming of nothing but pleasure, while they are burning, and we could so easily shorten their torments! Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me.

Whether it be that Purgatory is now more than ever overflowing with the multitudes daily sent thither through the worldliness of the age, or that the last and universal judgment is approaching—the Holy Ghost is no longer satisfied with keeping up the zeal of ancient confraternities devoted to the service of the departed. He raises up new associations, and even religious families, whose one aim is to promote, by every possible means, the deliverance or the solace of the suffering souls. In this kind of redemption of captives there are likewise to be found Christians, who at their own risk offer to take upon themselves the chains of their brethren, by utterly foregoing, for this purpose, not only all their own satisfactions, but even the suffrages which may be offered for them after death: a heroic act of charity which must not be lightly undertaken, but which the Church approves; for it greatly glorifies our Lord, and in return for the risk incurred of a temporary delay of beatitude, merits for its author a greater nearness to God, both by grace here below, and in glory in heaven. If the suffrages of the simple faithful are of such value, of how much more are those of the whole Church, in the solemnity of public prayer, and the oblation of the awful Sacrifice, wherein God himself makes satisfaction to God for every sin? From the very beginning the Church has always prayed for the dead, as did even the Synagogue before her.

As she honored with thanksgiving the anniversaries of her martyred sons, so she celebrated with supplications the memory of her other children, who might not yet be in heaven. In the sacred Mysteries she daily uttered the names of both, for this twofold purpose of praise and prayer. As in each particular church it was impossible to name all the Blessed of the entire world, a common mention was made of them all; and in like manner, after the recommendations peculiar to each place and day, a general commemoration was made of all the dead. Thus, as St. Augustine remarks, those who had no relatives and friends on earth were henceforth not deprived of suffrages; for to make up for their abandonment, they had the tender compassion of the common Mother.

The Church having always followed the same method with regard to the commemoration of the blessed and that of the departed, it might be expected that the establishment of All Saints’ Feast in the ninth century would soon lead to the solemn Commemoration of All Souls. In 998, according to the Chronicle of Sigebert of Gembloux, St. Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, instituted it in all the monasteries under his crosier to be celebrated in perpetuity on the morrow of All Saints’. In certain visions, recorded in his Life, Odilo and his monks had been denounced by the demons as the most indefatigable helpers of the holy souls, and most formidable to the powers of hell; and this institution was the Saint’s retaliation. The world applauded the decree; Rome adopted it, and it became the law of the whole Latin Church. . . .

The remark of Amalarius, quoted above with regard to the Office of the Dead, is no less applicable to the Mass. Not to mention the suppression of the Gloria in excelsis and of the Alleluia, the Priest omits the Psalm Judica me at the foot of the Altar, as in Passiontide. As on Good Friday, he is clothed in black vestments; most of the blessings are omitted, as also the kiss of peace, and the various marks of honor shown to the celebrant; the altar is thurified but once; and the singing of the Gospel is done as on that great day, viz: the Deacon receives no blessing from the Celebrant, lights and incense are not used, and the Priest does not kiss the sacred text. So closely, even in death, does the Church draw her children to him whose members they are.

While the soul is supplying in Purgatory for the insufficiency of her expiations, the body she has quitted returns to the earth in virtue of the sentence pronounced against Adam and his race from the beginning of the world. But with regard to the body as well as the soul, justice is full of love; its claims are a prelude to the glory which awaits the whole man. The humiliation of the tomb is the just punishment of original sin; but in this return of man to the earth whence he sprang, St. Paul would have us recognize the sowing necessary for the transformation of the seed, which is destined to live again under very different conditions. For flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God; neither can corruptible members aspire to immortality. The body of the Christian, which St. Ignatius of Antioch calls the wheat of Christ, is cast into the tomb, as it were into the furrow, there to leave its own corruption, the form of the first Adam with its heaviness and infirmity; but by the power of the new Adam reforming it to his own likeness, it shall spring up all heavenly and spiritualized, agile, impassible, and glorious. Blessed be he who willed to die for us in order to destroy death, and to make his own victory ours!

In the Gradual, the Church continues to pray for the deliverance of the departed souls.

The Church, as we shall see, did not formerly exclude from the funerals of her children the joyful Alleluia; it expressed the happiness she felt at the thought that a holy death had secured heaven to the new elect, although his expiation might not yet be completed. But the adaptation of the Liturgy for the Dead to the rites of Holy Week having altered this ancient custom, it would seem that the Sequence, originally a festive sequel to the Alleluia, ought also to be excluded from the Requiem Mass. Rome, however, has made a welcome exception to the traditional rule, in favor of the remarkable poem of Thomas de Celano. This and the Stabat Mater of Fra Jacopone have won renown for the Franciscan lyre. The Dies iræ was first sung in Italy in the fourteenth century; and in two centuries more it had spread to the entire Church.

Purgatory is not eternal. Its duration varies according to the sentence pronounced at each particular judgment. It may be prolonged for centuries in the case of the more guilty souls, or of those who, being excluded from the Catholic communion, are deprived of the suffrages of the Church, although by the divine mercy they have escaped hell. But the end of the world, which will be also the end of time, will close forever the place of temporary expiation. God will know how to reconcile his justice and his goodness in the purification of the last members of the human race, and to supply by the intensity of the expiatory suffering what may be wanting in duration. But whereas a favorable sentence at the particular judgment admits of eternal beatitude being suspended and postponed, and leaves the bodies of the elect to the same fate as those of the reprobate, at the universal judgment, every sentence, whether for heaven or for hell, will be absolute, and will be executed immediately and completely. Let us, then, live in expectation of the solemn hour when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. He that is to come will come and will not delay, as the Doctor of the Gentiles reminds us; his arrival will be sudden, as that of a thief, we are told, not only by St. Paul, but also by the Prince of the Apostles and the Beloved Disciple; and these in turn are but echoing the words of our Lord himself: As lightning cometh out of the East and appeareth even unto the West: so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.

Let us enter into the sentiments contained in the beautiful Offertory. Although the poor suffering souls are sure of their eternal blessedness, yet they entered upon this road to heaven at a moment of utmost peril: the supreme effort of the devil in his last assault, and the agony of the judgment. The Church, therefore, extending her prayer to every stage of this painful way, does not forget its opening. Nor is she afraid of being too late; for to God, who sees all times at one glance, this day’s supplication was present at the moment of the dread passage, and obtained assistance for the straitened souls. This same prayer follows them also in their struggles with the powers of hell, when God permits these, according to the revelations of the Saints, to be the ministers of his justice in the place of expiation. At this solemn moment, when the Church is offering her gifts for the tremendous and all-powerful Sacrifice, let us redouble our prayers for the faithful departed. Let us implore their deliverance from the jaws of the infernal lion. Let us obtain from the glorious Archangel, whom God has set over Paradise and appointed to lead souls thither, that he would bear them up to the light, to life, to God, who is himself the reward promised to all believers in the person of their father Abraham.

The holy souls had the gift of faith, and did the works of faith, while on earth; their eternal reward is therefore secured, and God mercifully accepts the offerings we make for them, as the Secret implies. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Commemoration of All Souls.)

As noted at the beginning of this reflection, though, Our Lord has compassion on us erring sinners. He permits souls who have not been purified of the debt they owe to Him as a result of their sins to make satisfaction for them in the Church Suffering, Purgatory. Today’s  Commemoration of All Souls, therefore, reminds us to pray every day for the Poor, Suffering Souls in Purgatory so that their participation in the joys of Heaven, which is assured, can be expedited and their suffering expiated.

The souls in Purgatory have died in a state of Sanctifying Grace. They are saved. They will enter Heaven. As death ends their ability to pay back what they owe for their sins, the souls in Purgatory must experience the intense hell fires and other excruciating pains of the Church Suffering to be purified. We, however, can help them to pay back what they owe by having Masses said for them, by remembering them in our prayers, especially in our Rosaries, by visiting Catholic cemeteries frequently (and by praying for the Poor Souls every time we pass by a cemetery and are unable to visit), and by commending them to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Poor Souls in Purgatory are particularly grateful for the assistance we can provide them by means of our Masses and prayers. Those whose stay in Purgatory is cut short by means of our prayers and sacrifices will help us to persevere to the point of our dying breaths in states of Sanctifying Grace. They will help to shorten our own stay in Purgatory if we die a good death and are in need or purification following the pronouncement of the Particular Judgment upon our souls.

Devotion to the Poor Souls must be part and parcel of the daily prayer life of every Catholic. We pray for the Poor Souls in general, yes. However, filial piety requires us to pray specifically, that is, by name, for our parents and grandmothers and brothers and sisters and other close relatives. It is an act of great charity to remember other souls by name, including people we may have never met in this life. Don't have a good memory? Write down these names on a piece of paper. Take out the piece of paper when praying before Our Lord in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament every day or when praying in the quiet of the "room" of your own hearts. Saint Francis de Sales taught that those who pray for the Poor Souls discharge all of their obligations to perform works of Charity for others, and I, for one, am counting on that truth to help me at the moment of my own Particular Judgment!

A number of people known to me, personally have died in the past twelve month. Although the time available to me now does not permit anything other than a listing of names of those who have died since November 2, 2022, or those who deaths in more recent years became known to me within the the past year, are,  among those known to me and/or who  have been recommended to my prayers by others: Father John T. Murphy, the founder of the Save the Babies Foundation who fearlessly defended the innocent preborn and suffering manhandling from police officers on many occasions, Mr. Louis Hubert Remy, the giant of authetnic Catholic tradition in France who took on all comers with great fidelity to Catholic truth, Dr. Edward Habert, a biology professor for many decades at Nassau Community College whom I got to know when we were both teaching religious education at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park, New York (one of Dr. Habert's sons had been a student of mine in the Spring 1981 Semester at Nassau Community College and I became very good friends with the Habert family for some time thereafter), Mr. Francis Adalbert Dreger, a stalwart of the pro-life movement on Long Island, Dr. Rudolph L. Daniels, a history professsor who was my chairman while I taught at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, during the 1992-1993 academic year (Rudy was an expert on the American railway system), Mr. John Watson, a Catholic lobbyist in the Philadelphia area, Mr, Joseph Wall, a pioneer of Operation Rescue, John Ambuul, the father of thirteen children and the granfather of eighty-eight grandchildren who worked closely with Father Kenneth Baker's television programs and with the late Father Jonh A. Hardon, Mr. Howard J, Walsh, the truly irreplaceable apologist of the Catholic Faith who owned Keep the Faith, Inc., and was one of the most humble and generous souls one could ever meet, Father Joachim Olendzki, the longtime pastor of Saint Stanislaus Church in Pine Island, New York, a Polish-Brazilian who was the longtime pastor of Saint Stanislaus Church in Pine Island, New York, and who offered the Immemorial Mass of Tradition several times a week in his parish (he was ordained in Rome in the same group as the future Edward "Cardinal" Egan; Father Oldenzki joked with me about my criticism of Egan by saying, "There you go, criticizing poor Cardinal Egan, who doesn't know a single thing about the Catholic Faith). Mr. Edward Baird, a classmate of mine from Oyster Bay High School, Gina Rose Pelletiere, one of two teachers from Farmingdale High School, Farmingdale, New York, who died in a bus crash in Orange County, New York, two months ago, Mr. Juan Carlos Araneta, who assisted Father Adan Rodriguez at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monrone, Connecticut, for about a decade, and the indefatigable pro-life warrior and devoted client of Our Lady and Saint John the Beloved, Mrs. Barbara Burgess, who died at the age of ninety on August 2, 2023, the Feast of Saint Alphonus de Liguori and the commemoration of Pope Saiint Stephen II. Most of these people, save for Gina Rose Pelletiere, were remembered every day during their lives after I had gotten to know them while the souls of others have been remembered since I was informed of their deaths.  We trust that they will help us after our deaths if, please God and by the prayers of His Most Blessed Mother, we die in states of Sanctifying Grace as members of the Catholic Church.

It is important to remember that we should keep praying for a person's souls  no matter how long it may have been since a particular person had died. We must keep praying for that person's souls until we ourselves die. We never know for sure, unless the Church canonizes someone whose soul we are praying for, if a particular soul has gone to Heaven even if we think we have satisfied all of the requirements for a Plenary Indulgence to be applied to that soul. We don't know for sure if we have indeed satisfied all of the requirements (especially that of being totally detached from one's sins). Thus, we keep praying and praying and praying. No prayer is ever wasted. If the deceased soul of a particular person has no need of our prayers, either because they are in Heaven or, God forbid, in Hell, then Our Lady will direct the fruit of those prayers to some other deserving soul.

Keep praying for your relatives and friends until you die. Keep praying for the soul who is most abandoned, for the soul who has no one to pray for him, for the soul who is closest to leaving the Church Suffering and entering the Church Triumphant in Heaven, for the soul who was most devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Mother of God, especially through her Most Holy Rosary, for the souls for whom we have promised to pray but whose names may have escaped us over the course of time. Keep praying for the Poor Souls every single day without fail.

Although the Poor Souls cannot help themselves, they can help us. Pray to them for so that we might live so prayerfully and penitentially here in the Church Militant on earth that we might be able to escape Purgatory altogether. Pray to them for our temporal needs (they are particularly helpful in getting waking us up on time without an alarm clock, believe it or not). We have friends in the Church Suffering. We must rely on these friends to help us to save our own souls and to fulfill the duties of our own particular states in life.

Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., wrote the following in The Liturgical Year about the Commemoration of All Souls:  

Truly this day is grand and beautiful. Earth, midway between heaven and purgatory, has united them together. The wonderful mystery of the communion of saints is revealed in all its fullness. The immense family of the sons of God is shown to be one in love, while distinct in its there states of beatitude trial, and purifying expiation: the trail and expiation being but temporary, the beatitude eternal. It is the fitting completion of the teaching given us through the entire year; and every day within the octave we shall see the light increase.

Meanwhile, every soul is recollected, pondering over the dearest and noblest memories. On leaving the house of God, let our thoughts linger lovingly upon those who have the best claim to them. It is the feast of our beloved dead. Let us hear their suppliant voices in the plaintive tones that, from belfry to belfry throughout the Christian world, are ushering in this dark November night. This evening or to-morrow they will expect us to visit them at the tombs where their mortal remains rest in peace. Let us pray for them; and let us also pray to them: we need never be afraid to speak to them of the interests that were dear to them before God. For God loves them; and, as His justice keeps them in an utter inability to help themselves, He makes amends to His goodness by hearing them all the more willingly on behalf of others. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year: Time After Pentecost, Book VI, p. 92.)

The readings for Matins in the Divine Office appointed for November 2 also contain an important reminder from none other than the illustrious Saint Augustine of Hippo on the care for the deceased: 

If this be true, doubtless also the providing for the interment of bodies a place at the Memorials of Saints, is a mark of a good human affection towards the remains of one's friends. Yet it follows not that the bodies of the departed are to be despised and flung aside, and above all of just and faithful men, which bodies as organs and vessels to all good works their spirit has holily used. For if a father's garment and ring, and whatever such like, is the more dear to those whom they leave behind, the greater their affection is towards their parents, in no wise are the bodies themselves to be spurned, which truly we wear in more familiar and close conjunction than any of our putting on. For these pertain not to ornament or aid which is applied from without, but to the very nature of man. Whence also the funerals of the just men of old were with dutiful piety cared for, and their obsequies celebrated, and sepulture provided: and themselves while living did touching burial or even translation of their bodies give charge to their sons.

And when this affection is exhibited to the departed by faithful men who were most dear to them, there is no doubt that it profits them who while living in the body merited that such things should profit them after this life. But even if some necessity should through absence of all facility not allow bodies to be interred, or in such places interred, yet should there be no pretermitting of supplications for the spirits of the dead: which supplications, that they should be made for all in Christian and catholic fellowship departed, even without mentioning of their names, under a general commemoration, the Church has charged herself withal; to the intent that they which lack, for these offices, parents or sons or whatever kindred or friends, may have the same afforded unto them by the one pious mother which is common to all. But if there were lack of these supplications, which are made with right faith and piety for the dead, I account that it should not a whit profit their spirits, howsoever in holy places the lifeless bodies should be deposited.

Which things being so, let us not think that to the dead for whom we have a care, any thing reaches save what by sacrifices either of the altar, or of prayers, or of alms, we solemnly supplicate: although not to all for whom they are done be they profitable, but to them only by whom while they live it is obtained that they should be profitable. But forasmuch as we discern not who these be, it is meet to do them for all regenerate persons, that none of them may be passed by to whom these benefits may and ought to reach. For better it is that these things shall be superfluously done to them whom they neither hinder nor help, than lacking to them whom they help. More diligently however does each man these things for his own near and dear friends, in order that they may be likewise done unto him by his. But as for the burying of the body, whatever is bestowed on that, is no aid of salvation, but an office of humanity, according to that affection by which no man ever hates his own flesh. Whence it is fitting that he take what care he is able for the flesh of his neighbor, when he is gone that bare it. And if they do these things who believe not the resurrection of the flesh, how much more are they beholden to do the same who do believe; that so, an office of this kind bestowed upon a body, dead but yet to rise again and to remain to eternity, may also be in some sort a testimony of the same faith? (Matins, The Divine Office, November 2, Commemoration of All Souls.)

Countless thousands of Catholics gained the Toties Quoties indulgence that started at noon on Monday, November 1, 2021, All Saints Day, and ends tonight at at 11:59:59, the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be six times each for the intentions of Holy Mother Church under the usual conditions of making a good Confession within a week before or after, worthily receiving Holy Communion within the week and having the right intention of heart. We have a full week to visit a cemetery to pray for the dead there. It is, of course, recommended to pray all fifteen decades of Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary while visiting cemeteries during the next seven days and throughout the month of November whenever possible.

The day of ire awaits us all as the Dies Irae reminds us. May we show our love for the Poor Souls in Purgatory so that the day of ire will be for each one of us a participation in the application of the Divine Mercy upon our immortals souls, making it possible for us to rest for all eternity from our labors in this vale of tears with all of the saints, basking in the company of the Queen of All Saints, Our Lady, and all of those who have gone before us marked with the sign of Faith. May our Rosaries this month of November be offered in a particular way for the needs of the Poor Souls.

Our Lady of Deliverance, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, pray for us.

Réquiem æternam dona eis, Dómine: et lux perpétua lúceat eis

The Prayer of Saint Gertrude the Great for the Poor Souls

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Litany of the Poor Souls in Purgatory

(for Private Devotion)

The just shall be in everlasting remembrance; He shall not fear the evil hearing.

Absolve, O Lord, the souls of the faithful departed from every bond of sin, And by the help of Thy grace may they be enabled to escape the avenging judgment, and to enjoy the happiness of eternal life.

Because in Thy mercy are deposited the souls that departed in an inferior degree of grace, Lord have mercy.

Because their present suffering is greatest in the knowledge of the pain that their separation from Thee is causing Thee, Lord have mercy.

Because of their present inability to add to Thy accidental glory, Lord have mercy.

Not for our consolation, O Lord; not for their release from purgative pain, O God; but for Thy joy and the greater accidental honor of Thy throne, O Christ the King, Lord have mercy.

For the souls of our departed friends, relations and benefactors, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those of our family who have fallen asleep in Thy bosom, O Jesus, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those who have gone to prepare our place, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For priests who were our spiritual directors, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For men or women who were our teachers in school, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those who were our employers or employees, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those who were our associates in daily toil, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For any soul whom we ever offended, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For our enemies now departed, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those souls who have none to pray for them, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those forgotten by their friends and kin, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those now suffering the most, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those who have acquired the most merit, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For the souls next to be released from Purgatory, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those who, while on earth, were most devoted to God the Holy Ghost, to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, to the holy Mother of God, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For all deceased popes and prelates, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For all deceased priests, seminarians and religious, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For all our brethren in the Faith everywhere, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For all our separated brethren who deeply loved Thee, and would have come into Thy household had they known the truth, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those souls who need, or in life asked, our prayers, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

For those, closer to Thee than we are, whose prayers we need, Grant them light and peace, O Lord.

That those may be happy with Thee forever, who on earth were true exemplars of the Catholic Faith, Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.

That those may be admitted to Thine unveiled Presence, who as far as we know never committed mortal sin, Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.

That those may be housed in glory, who lived always in recollection and prayer, Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.

That those may be given the celestial joy of beholding Thee, who lived lives of mortification, self-denial, and penance, Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.

That those may be flooded with Thy love, who denied themselves even Thy favors of indulgence and who made the heroic act for the souls who had gone before them, Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.

That those may be drawn up to the Beatific Vision, who never put obstacles in the way of sanctifying grace and who ever drew closer in mystical union with Thee, Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.

Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, And let perpetual light shine upon them.

Let us pray:

Be mindful, O Lord, of all Thy servants and handmaids who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of grace. To these, O Lord, and to all who rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light and peace, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

The Dies Irae  

Dies iræ, dies illa, Solvet sæclum in favílla: Teste David cum Sybyla.

Quantus tremor est futúrus, Quando Judex est ventúrus, Cuncta stricte discussúrus!

Day of wrath and doom impending, David's word with Sibyl's blending, Heaven and earth in ashes ending.
O what fear man's bosom rendeth, when from heaven the Judge descendeth, on whose sentence all dependeth

Tuba, mirum spargens sonum, Per sepúlcra regiónum, Coget omnes ante thronum.

Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth, through earth's sepulchres it ringeth

Mors stupébit et natúra, Cum resúrget creatúra, Judicánti responsúra.

Death is struck, and nature quaking, all creation is awaking, to its Judge an answer making.

Liber scriptus proferétur, In quo totum continéntur, Unde mundus judicétur.

Lo, the book exactly worded, wherein all hath been recorded, thence shall judgment be awarded.

Judex ergo cum sedébit, Quidquid latet, apparébit: Nil inúltum remanébit.

When the Judge His seat attaineth, and each hidden deed arraigneth, nothing unavenged remaineth.

Quid sum miser tunc dictúrus? Quem patrónum rogatúrus, Cum vix justus sit secúrus?

What shall I, frail man, be pleading? Who for me be interceding When the just are mercy needing?

Rex treméndæ majestátis Qui salvándos salvas gratis, Salva me, fons pietátis.

King of majesty tremendous, Who dost free salvation send us, fount of pity, then befriend us.

Recordáre, Jesu pie, Quod sum causa tuæ viæ: Ne me perdas illa die.

Think, kind Jesus, my salvation caused Thy wondrous Incarnation, leave me not to reprobation.

Quærens me, sedísti lassus: Redemísti Crucem passus: Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Faint and weary Thou hast sought me, on the Cross of suffering bought me, shall such grace be vainly brought me?

Juste judex ultiónis, Donum fac remissiónis Ante diem ratiónis.

Righteous Judge, for sin's pollution grant Thy gift of absolution, ere that day of retribution.

Ingemísco, tamquam reus: Culpa rubet vultus meus: Supplicánti parce, Deus.

Guilty now I pour my moaning, aAll my shame with anguish owning. Spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning.  

Qui Maríam absolvísti, et Latrónem exaudísti, Mihi quoque spem dedísti.

Through the sinful woman shriven, through the dying thief forgiven, Thou to me a hope hast given.

Preces meæ non sunt dignæ: Sed tu bonus fac benígne, ne perénni cremer igne.

Worthless are my prayers and sighing, yet, good Lord, in grace complying, rescue me from fires undying.

Inter oves locum præsta, et ab hædis me seqústra, státuens in parte dextra.

With Thy sheep a place provide me, from the goats afar divide me. To Thy right hand do Thou guide me.  

Confutátis maledíctis, flammis ácribus addíctis: Voca me cum benedíctis.

When the wicked are confounded, doomed to flames of woe unbounded, call me with Thy Saints surrounded.

Oro supplex et acclínis, cor contrítum quasi cinis: Gere curam mei finis.

Low I kneel with heart's submission, see, like ashes, my contrition, help me in my last condition.  

Lacrimósa dies illa, qua resúrget ex favílli Judicándus homo reus.

Ah! that day of tears and mourning, from the dust of earth returning, Man for judgment must prepare him.

Huic ergo parce, Deus: Pie Jesu Dómine, Dona eis réquiem. Amen.

Spare, O God, in mercy spare him. Lord, all-pitying, Jesus blest, Grant them Thine eternal rest. Amen.