It is the Church’s belief that purgatory, a scriptural teaching, is the intermediate condition of most souls immediately after death. We understand that this sorrowful condition (or place) consists of a necessary period of progress for each soul before reaching the immediate presence of God. “There shall not enter into it (heaven) any thing defiled, or that works abomination or makes a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:27). Some Bible translations say “nothing unclean can enter heaven.” Obviously, only those who are written in the “book of life of the Lamb” have been made clean, otherwise, they would still be in a state of uncleanness. (See also St. Matthew 5:48) A careful reading of St. Matthew 12:32-36 tells us that there is a place in the afterlife where sins are able to be forgiven. As shown below, the Blessed Mother makes reference to this.
The Church does not speculate on the exact conditions or the period of time that a soul remains in purgatory. We can only speak of what is revealed in the scriptures or in revelation. Our Lady has said that “in some instances, some souls spend a certain amount of time learning from their mistakes so as to progress in their fulfilment of the Father’s will, while others receive stripes to pay that last penny…the recitation of even a single rosary, Pater Noster, Ave Maria or other prayers can assist the suffering souls of purgatory. These souls, upon progressing and being purged of their grievous errors, will be lifted up from the darkness to the light and eventually into the joy of heaven.” (Message of Our Lady of Uzbekistan, 5 February 2023) The reference to the “last penny” is from Matthew 5:25-26. In Christ’s parable, we can see how the terms prison and purgatory are easily correlated. Additionally, we read in Luke 12:59, “I say to thee, thou shalt not go out thence, until thou pay the very last mite (coin, penny).” If a person was in heaven, they would have no desire to depart from such a glorious place. If the soul was in hell, it is understood that they would not be able to depart. Thus purgatory is a place from which the soul, under the proper conditions, can be delivered.
Our Lady confirms that “living a righteous life now, while on earth, God’s people can defer the period of time in the age to come before judgement. By their good works and acts of charity, fulfilling the authorised indulgences, they can limit the amount of time their souls are present in the place of purgation.” Our Lady said that “the courts of heaven see the acts of reparation and the fulfilling of each of the indulgences as righteous and worthy of reward for both the living and the dead.”
We believe, as taught in the scriptures, that “it is, therefore, a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” (2 Maccabees 12:46) It is believed that our prayers for the dead and doing acts of charity on their behalf can assist in relieving them, even if temporarily, of their sufferings.
With all this being said, the Church does not practise the selling of indulgences.