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Jews, Catholics, and the Eastern Orthodox have always historically proclaimed the reality of the final purification.[color=red:2y2x9dc5] It was not until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century that anyone denied this doctrine.[/color:2y2x9dc5] As the quotes below from the early Church Fathers show, purgatory has been part of the Christian faith from the very beginning.
Some imagine that the Catholic Church has an elaborate doctrine of purgatory worked out, but there are only three essential components of the doctrine: (1) that a purification after death exists, (2) that it involves some kind of pain, and (3) that the purification can be assisted by the prayers and offerings by the living to God. Other ideas, such that purgatory is a particular “place” in the afterlife or that it takes time to accomplish, are speculations rather than doctrines.