Tag: funeral

Whatever Happened To Purgatory? 

Whatever Happened To Purgatory? 

Whatever Happened to Purgatory?

The doctrine of purgatory is full of compassion, common sense, confidence, joy and eternal hope.

Have you noticed how many Catholics seem to have forgotten purgatory?

When a loved one dies they say, “Aunt Hilda has gone to be with the Lord” or “Daddy is in heaven now.” or they comfort the bereaved by saying, “George is with his beloved Gladys now.” Or at Catholic funerals the preacher consoles the loved ones with talk about the departed being in heaven now.

This isn’t Catholic. It’s Protestant.

Most Protestants believe in the Calvinist doctrine of eternal security and think that as soon as a person dies they go straight to heaven. They quote the beautiful Bible verse, “to be absent in the body and be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). But St Paul is expressing his hope here, not a certainty. In context his words are, “We have confidence and would prefer to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.”

However, there is more going on here than just the influence of Bible believing Calvinists. The real influence in this Catholic theological drift is universalism and semi-universalism.

Universalism is the heresy that everyone will be saved and semi-universalism is the wishy-washy halfway house in which people know they can’t hold to universalism so they say, “It is our hope that no one is in hell and that eventually everyone will be saved.”

I should point out that universalism and semi-universalism is usually held by nice, upper-middle-class educated people who don’t really know anyone who is not equally nice, educated, polite and middle class. They don’t know any really awful, sinful, nasty people so they can’t imagine that God would send anyone as nice and polite as them and their friends to hell.

What are the consequences of this universalism and semi-universalism? It’s just the kind of complacent, sentimental feel good religion we see in contemporary American Catholicism.

Since everyone will be saved we smoothly and sweetly assure people that “Uncle George is in heaven now” and “Be happy. Jimmy is with Jesus.”

One of the main reasons we’ve fallen into this trap is because we have forgotten purgatory.

The prevailing Protestant culture (which denied purgatory long ago) teaches that if the loved one isn’t in heaven immediately then he or she is in hell immediately and we sure don’t want to say THAT at the funeral or the bereavement counseling session. So we go the way of being nice and even when we know Jimmy and Uncle George were not exactly ready for yet to be ushered into the presence of the Almighty, we say so anyway.

Heaven has therefore become a kind of democratic all-inclusive theme park where everyone gets in and everyone has a happy time, world without end AMEN.

Another symptom of this “Grandpa went straight to heaven” heresy is the declining number of requests we get for requiem Masses to be said. Of course if people think Grandpa went straight to heaven they see no need to have Masses said for the repose of his soul.

Protestants and liberals don’t believe in Purgatory.

I’ve even heard a liberal nun tell a catechumen, “We don’t believe in all that since Vatican II.”

Sorry sister!

The Catholic belief is that most Christians, when they die — if they are not in a state of mortal sin — go to purgatory.

Purgatory is not a third place, but a kind of ante-chamber of heaven.

It’s where you go to finish your homework. It’s where you go to wash up before dinner.

Belief in purgatory is both compassionate and common sense.

It is compassionate because it allows for a place for us to go to finish the work of becoming “perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.” It is compassionate because it takes human responsibility seriously and allows us to continue to co-operate with God’s grace for our soul’s purification.

Purgatory is common sense because all of us realize that very few of us are saints ready to enter directly into God’s presence, but also we know that (hopefully) not many of us are so desperately evil as to reject God forever and go to hell.

Therefore what do we say at funerals? We can be consistent with Catholic beliefs and also be compassionate.

We can say, “Thank God for George’s life. What a terrific man he was. We’ll all miss him, and you can bet I will continue to pray that God will complete his work of grace in George’s life.”

We can say, “Thank God for Jimmy. May God continue to lead him into his life, light and happiness.”

Purgatory is therefore a doctrine not only full of compassion and common sense, but also full of confidence, joy and eternal hope.

*Article Originally Written And Posted By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, For National Catholic Register. 

Watch Heartbreaking Pictures: Open Casket Funeral Is Held For 15yr Old Heroic Santa Fe School Victim Who Was Shot While Shielding His Classmates From Bullets 

Watch Heartbreaking Pictures: Open Casket Funeral Is Held For 15yr Old Heroic Santa Fe School Victim Who Was Shot While Shielding His Classmates From Bullets 


  • Christian Riley Garcia, 15, was one of the ten people gunned down in an art class last Friday at Santa Fe High School in Texas 
  • Family and friends held an open-casket funeral service for Christian on Friday
  • His classmates have said that Christian used his body to barricade a closet door during the shooting, shielding others from bullets
  • Christian was a history buff who dreamed of pursuing a career in the military
  • Another service was held for 63-year-old teacher Cynthia Tisdale, earlier Friday

Friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of a heroic student who shielded his classmates from gunfire during last week’s shooting at Santa Fe High School.

Christian Riley Garcia, 15, was one of the ten people gunned down in an art class on the morning of May 18.

His classmates have said that Christian used his body to barricade against a closet door in the classroom to prevent the shooter from getting inside.

An open-casket funeral service was held on Friday in Crosby, Texas, in remembrance of the 15-year-old who had displayed bravery ‘far beyond his years’ during the tragic massacre just one week prior. 

‘[Christian] grabbed me and my teacher and got us into the closet,’ Christian’s best friend Courtney Marshall, 15, told ABC News.

‘[The gunman] just shot into the closet. I saw my teacher just die in front of me and I just saw my best friend die in front of me.’

‘Christian saved my life – he’s a hero.’

Christian, a history buff who had dreamed of pursuing a military career, had grown up attending Crosby Church in the Houston suburb of Crosby where the service was held. 

‘The sacrifice of his own life, others were allowed to escape and had some time to get away,’ Pastor Keenan Smith said of the teen’s bravery. 

‘We know there were several lives lost but his story is a story of true heroism. He gave himself so others would have a chance.’   

A service for another one of the victims, 63-year-old Cynthia Tisdale, was held earlier on Friday.  

The beloved substitute teacher had been married to her husband for nearly 50 years and had four children and 11 grandchildren.

Her service was held in League City, not far from Santa Fe southeast of Houston.

Pagourtzis has been charged with capital murder for the shooting that killed Christian and Tisdale along with eight others: teacher Ann Perkins, 64, and students Sabika Sheikh, Chris Stone, Kim Vaughan, Angelique Ramirez, Aaron Kyle McLeod, Christian Garcia, Jared Black and Shana Fisher.

The parents of 17-year-old Chris Stone filed a lawsuit against the gunman’s parents on Friday based on claims that Pagourtzis used a gun owned by his father.

Christopher Stone and Rosie Yanas have charged Pagourtzis’ parents with not properly securing their weapons and allowing their son access to ammunition, as well as being negligent by entrusting him with weapons.

They also claim that Pagourtzis’ parents didn’t obtain mental health counseling for their son or warn the public about his ‘dangerous propensities’.

On Thursday Texas Governor Greg Abbott met with survivors who recounted horrifying stories of dodging bullets, hiding from the attacker and seeing classmates get shot.

They pleaded with Abbott to push for gun reform, specifically mentioning a need for higher security on school campuses as well as background checks for potential purchasers. 

The three-hour discussion was organized by March For Our Lives, the student-led group that formed following the Parkland shooting in February.

The Republican governor appeared receptive to reform ideas, but the staunch Second Amendment supporter is not expected to push for major changes in legislation. 

Alfie Evans Funeral: Grief Stricken Father Calls His Son A “Warrior” And “Our Hero”

Alfie Evans Funeral: Grief Stricken Father Calls His Son A “Warrior” And “Our Hero”

The grief-stricken parents of Alfie Evans on May 14, buried their son. Although no one from the media or Alfie’s Army was able to attend the private funeral to talk with Alfie’s father Tom or hear remarks to their family, since it was closed to the public, the flowers that adorned the hearse carrying Alfie’s body to the funeral park gave people an indication of what his parents think of his little boy. And Tom was captured in photos looking distraught.

The hearse was decorated in flowers with the words “Warrior” and “our hero” on top. The casket itself was adorned with images appropriate for a little boy — with pictures of soldiers dressed in British garb and a heart with the words Alfie’s Army on it and honor of the million or more people who registered at the family’s Facebook page to support their battle against the British courts and hospital system intent on taking Alfie’s life and denying their parental rights.

The battle to save Alfie Evans became an international cause and a reminder that patients and their families ought to have the final say about the care and treatment for their loved ones as opposed to hospitals and courts making those decisions and denying patients their right to life. The pro-life movement around the world has focused on this problem for decades and Alfie’s battle and that of his family brought that fight to an international level.

Hundreds of supporters of Alfie and his parents lined the streets as the funeral procession made its way to the funeral park where Alfie would be buried. Comments in British media from the Alfie Army supporters indicated they are still steadfastly supportive of Alfie and his family.

Here’s more:

Mums Candice Cadette, 30, and Cherrelle Bright, 31, came over from Manchester to show their support, with mum Candice saying: “He was an amazing little boy with so much courage.

“We just all need to come together to support him and his family and show that they’re not alone.

“He’s stolen everyone’s heart and I feel like he’s our family. It’s devastating.

“If it was one of my children it would mean so much to me that people were supporting me and keeping his spirit alive.”

Anne-Marie Guddery, 49, from Liverpool said: “I wanted to come and show my respect to the family and the little boy.

“I don’t think any parents should have to go through what they have.

“That’s why you see so many people here.

Amazingly, despite all of the international hoopla, attention, and controversy surrounding Alfie’s death, there will be no investigation or autopsy it appears.

The funeral comes after news that the British government appears to be investigating the Christian organization that helped them — in what could be a political retribution for helping Alfie’s parents protect their son.

As LifeNews reported previously, Justice Hayden came under fire for comments he made about a Christian legal group whose attorneys helped represent Alfie’s family. In the courtroom he slammed the group calling one law student who was assisting the family “deluded and fanatical.”

The group responded, saying “We reject the prejudicial and inflammatory comments made by Mr Justice Hayden.”

Meanwhile, as LifeNews reported, British prime minister Theresa May defended the hospital. She argued that medical experts ought to be the ones to make decisions in such cases as opposed to parents and family.

But Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler disagrees and told LifeNews that courts should never have prevented Afie’s parents from caring for their son, who ultimately died on Saturday less than a week after doctors yanked his life support without their consent.

The head of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network told LifeNews: 

“Like Tom and Kate Evans, I know how terrible it is to be powerless to care for a loved one, but I cannot imagine the unique tragedy of being prevented from caring for a child in the way that the United Kingdom and European Courts barred them from exercising what so many recognize as their basic parental rights to provide care.”

“We will honor Alfie’s memory,” concluded Schindler, “and we will do whatever we can to affirm the value of every life, regardless of condition and the right of every parent to care for their children in a life-affirming way.”

Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews that people need to be very clear about what happened with Alfie. She says he was “sentenced to death” by courts and doctors. She says what happened to Alfie and his parents needs to never happen to get to any other child or patient.

The pro-life leader placed the blame for his death squarely on judges and hospital officials who claimed Alfie was too far gone to save.

“Let’s be clear: Alfie Evans was sentenced to death by Britain’s National Health System and the High Court. Their intransigent commitment to the country’s faulty single-payer health system led them to conclude it was better for Alfie to die than leave the country and receive potentially life-saving treatment elsewhere,” Tobias said.

Alfie Evans ended up dying very early on a Saturday morning after the children’s hospital that was supposed to provide him with appropriate medical care and treatment disconnected his life support without his parents’ permission. That action came after a long and extensive legal battle between Alfie’s parents and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, with the British court system agreeing with doctors by saying that Alfie was supposedly too far gone for additional care and treatment or experimental medical treatment to possibly help his neurological condition.

Alfie supposedly suffered from a degenerative neurological condition and administrators at Alder Hey, which is a National Health System Foundation Trust, sought, and received, approval from the High Court to discontinue treatment in direct opposition to the wishes of Alfie’s parents. The High Court’s decision was met with outcry around the world, and was condemned by world leaders including European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, Polish president Andrezej Duda, and Pope Francis.

Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome offered to treat Alfie and he was granted Italian citizenship to expedite his transport to Italy. However, the High Court prohibited Evans and James from removing their son from Alder Hey.

Alfie’s father Tom Evans spent the last 10 minutes of the 23-month-old little boys life desperately trying to revive him with mouth to mouth.

Meanwhile, Alfie’s mother Kate has posted a poem remembering Alfie that has already been shared thousands of times on Facebook.

In posts on Facebook, Alfie’s mother and father confirmed his passing.

“Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support,” she wrote.

“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30 absolutely heartbroken,” the boy’s father Tom Evans wrote on Facebook.

Family friend Laura McKenzie said: “Tom and Kate really appreciate everyone coming and showing their love.

“The whole world showed how much Alfie was loved and we’ll never, ever, ever forget him or his name. No one will.”

After his death, family and supporters of Alfie Evans celebrated his life in pictures and hundreds of tearful supporters of Alfie Evans and his family gathered at a park near Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to release balloons to honor the little boy after his death. And Pope Francis expressed the kind of sentiments that people around the world are expressing. He talked about his sadness and he talked about Alfie being embraced by the Lord in heaven.

“I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace,” the pope tweeted on Saturday.

The legal battle sparked anger nationwide in England but also internationally as people stood up for Alfie’s parents and strongly opposed courts and hospitals making life and death decisions for patients over their families objections.

There is concern that the hospital contributed to his death.

As LifeNews reported, after removing his life support without permission, officials at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital waited 28 hours before finally feeding the 23-month old boy, who was fighting a rare neurological condition. Alfie’s Father Tom Evans confirmed at the time that his son was finally being fed but he condemned hospital officials for waiting so long to finally get him the nutrition he needs.

“They only started feeding him at one ‘o’clock yesterday. It’s disgusting how he’s being treated,” Evans said. “Not even an animal would be treated like this. He’s proving them wrong. It’s time to give him some grace and dignity and let him go home or to Italy.”

The other day, Alfie’s parents changed course and decided to end their battle.

Alfie Evans’ father Tom Evans called for supporters of Alfie and his family to “stand down” so they can begin “building a bridge” with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and its staff. The statement from Alfie’s father was surprising given the animosity that had developed between the Evans family and the hospital. Hospital officials have spent months in court preventing Alfie’s family from taking him to a hospital in Italy or even taking him home. Hospital officials even went as far as misleading courts by saying that they never said Alfie would die quickly after his life support was removed — even though they initially said Alfie would die within minutes after yanking his life support over his parents’ objections.

But perhaps seeing that there was little opportunity left to fight for Alfie’s rights and their right to take him abroad or take him home or sensing a need to appease the hospital to bring him home, Tom Evans struck a conciliatory tone.

Later, the family of Alfie Evans blasted a false news report saying his parents are supposedly preparing for his death.

Alfie’s parents had hoped to take the little boy to the hospital in order to potentially get experiemental treatment that could help his rare degenerative neurological condition but courts repeatedly denied that. Justice Hayden ruled that Alfie’s family would not be able to fly him to Italy for treatment and appeared to say that this was the final decision related to his case. He said flying Alfie to Italy could harm his health because, as court testimony indicated, the flight could trigger possible “continuous seizures due to stimulations” of the flight. But Alfie’s parents are concerned Alfie will die if he doesn’t get care and possible experimental treatment in Italy.

A British doctors group, The Medical Ethics Alliance, expressed its horror over the treatment of Alfie Evans that it called a “medical tyranny.”

And Italy’s Healthcare Chief has slammed the decisions by UK courts to treat Alfie the way that they had. The President of the Italian National Institute of Health lambasted the UK High Court’s decision yesterday on Alfie Evans’ that resulted it the children’s hospital being allowed to remove life support over Alfie’s parents’ objections.

Pope Francis repeatedly spoke on Alfie’s behalf and urged that Alfie’s parents be allowed to bring him to Italy.

Members of Parliament are leading a new campaign for a law to prevent the tragic situation happening to Alfie Evans and his parents from happening to any other family. The new campaign calls on MPs to debate the matter in the House of Commons – with potential plans for “Alfie’s Law.”

Alfie Evans is not the first little boy to be held hostage by the court system and the healthcare system. There have been many other cases where courts and doctors have made the life or death decisions for a patient over the objections of their family.

One of those cases involved a little boy named Charlie Gard. In essentially the exact same circumstance, the British courts decided that his parents did not have the right to make the decision whether his life support was disconnected and a hospital yanked his life support without their consent. Charlie ultimately died not long after that happened. Chris Gard and Connie Yates’ little boy passed away just before his 1st birthday in July 2017.

-Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. Amen

Catholic Priest Denied Permission To Attend Alfie’s Funeral 

Catholic Priest Denied Permission To Attend Alfie’s Funeral 

Fr. Gabriele Brusco, close to family, forced out of England by UK bishops

A Catholic priest who ministered closely to the Alfie Evans’ family is being forced to return to Italy, after pressure from the English bishops.

He will not be permitted to attend Alfie’s funeral, scheduled for Friday.

Fr. Gabriele Brusco with Alfie Evans

Father Gabriele Brusco, who offered continual spiritual assistance to the sick toddler in his final days, also withdrew his request for incardination in the diocese of Westminster, after a meeting called by Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington on May 2. 

The duration and contents of the interview are top secret, by express wish of Abp. Sherrington,” reported Riccardo Cascioli of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, “but it must not have been a particularly pleasant occasion if at the end of the conversation Father Gabriele decided to withdraw the request for incardination in the diocese of Westminster.”

Brusco had been in England for two and a half years, discerning whether he might join the Westminster diocese. When he read in the news that the Evans family was having difficulty finding a priest to offer on-the-spot spiritual assistance, Brusco immediately offered his services. In Alfie’s last days, Brusco returned and remained continually by Alfie’s bedside for three days and three nights

According to reports, hospital staff complained of his presence because of his advocacy on Alfie’s behalf. 

“[In] a brief homily pronounced just before Alfie’s ventilation was removed,” Cascioli reports, “Father Gabriele had appealed to the conscience of the health workers, to their personal responsibility, to avoid a move as serious as that of putting a child to death.”

Blood running from Alfie’s mouth and drainage from his nose. Tom Evans wrote: “These pictures are from when we have entered Alfie’s room and this is how he was left!”

The archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm Patrick McMahon — who had defended Alder Hey Hospital previously — investigated the matter, and successfully secured his removal from hospital grounds.

Brusco is now being forced out of England, expected to be back in Italy Monday and awaiting his next assignment.

Cdl. Vincent Nichols, head of the bishops of England and Wales, doubled down against critics, accusing some of seeking “political capital” and not truly interested in serving “the good of this child.” He went on to insist that the hospital and courts were correct in allowing Alfie to die.

It’s very hard to act in a child’s best interest when this isn’t always as the parents would wish,” Nichols said, “and this is why a court must decide what’s best not for the parents but for the child.”


Alfie’s parents repeatedly complained of the poor care their son received at Alder Hey, posting photos of his moldy breathing tubes that carried oxygen into his lungs, as well as unexplained injuries found on his body.

Disturbing details have emerged of Alfie’s final moments: Benedetta Frigerio reveals that Alfie was showing promising vital signs only two hours before death, but took a downturn after a cocktail of unknown drugs was administered by a hospital nurse.

Two hours before dying, the oxygen saturation was about 98 and Alfie’s [heart]beats were about 160, so much so that Thomas was convinced that they would let him go home soon (as the hospital administration told him on Friday afternoon). Before dying, while Thomas had gone out for a moment, leaving Kate half-awake and another family member in the room, a nurse entered and explained that he would give the baby four drugs (no one knows what) to treat him. After about 30 minutes the saturation dropped to 15. Two hours later Alfie was dead. 

Tweet allegedly quoting Fr. Brusco

According to one Italian priest, he quoted Fr. Brusco as saying, “I heard their cries while trying to stop the doctors who wanted to give their little boy lethal doses of sedatives … . I invoked the Madonna while Tom and Kate practiced mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on their son.”

The severity of the scandal surrounding Alfie’s death has prompted Cascioli to urge the Vatican to make an apostolic visitation to England to investigate.

Eternal rest grant unto Alfie oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen. 

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