It’s probably safe to say that for most Protestant Christians, there are few doctrines more “Catholic” than Purgatory. Unfortunately, most people’s understanding of Purgatory is fraught with myths and misconceptions.
First, here’s how the Catechism describes Purgatory:
“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.
“This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, mentioned in Sacred Scripture… From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead…” (CCC 1030-1032)
Now here are 5 of the most common myths about Purgatory: