We can say the same thing about Jim Rap’s diatribe. First when it comes to works, Catholics have always differentiated between the work of Christ in His Passion Death and Resurrection, and simple human works. In fact the Catholic Church does not recognize beneficial spiritual effects of works which are not done in union with Christ. As an example…
The Catholic Church encorages Spitirual and Corporal works of mercy.
Corporal Works of Mercy are normally defined as these seven acts. The first six enumerated in Matt. Chapter 25 the seventh is derived from Tobit,
To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty.
To shelter the homeless.
To clothe the naked.
To visit and ransom the captive, (prisoners).
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.
Now anyone can do these things, and feel wonderful about themselves for doing it. However for them to be worthy of spiritual merit, one must be in a state of Grace, and do them with the intention of uniting the works with those of Jesus, and not for self glory. They are elevated to a spiritual work because they are done for the glory and honor of God.
Most Protestants have been ill informed, they have been taught that Catholics believe that they can earn their way into heaven by their own works, and that they don’t need Jesus or the Cross to do so. The truth that the Catholic Church has from the time of the Apostles taught Christ Crucified, and that when we come to Christ and follow Him, we are not simply saved with no way out of our salvation, but need to follow His teachings. He told us we needed to be baptized, He laid hands on the Apostles and breathed on them, telling them that they had the authority to forgive sins in His name. We read in the Bible that the Church is founded on Jesus, we also read that it was founded on the Apostles, and we read that Peter the Rock would be where the Church was to be founded. Well can all these things be true? Yes, We as the mystical body of Christ have Christ Jesus as our head. He most assuredly gave His authority to Peter, and to the Apostles. We read in the NT that as Jesus laid hands on the Apostles, they too laid hands on others, giving them the authority to lead the Church and do what Jesus comissioned. It’s more than just saying I have Faith in Jesus. It is putting that faith into action, and living a life according to the Teachings of Jesus, both those in the Bible, and those handed down by word, as St. Paul writes.
As to Purgatory in the Bible, if you read the whole Bible, not the edited Bible wherein Luther and other Protestants removed entire books, you will read from 2 Maccabees, that there was a collection taken to send to the Temple in Jerusalem to have sacrifice offered for the souls of the dead. If we want to be intellectually and historically honest, we can’t just chuck out books of the Bible that disagree with or have difficult teachings.