Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theological Studies (MTS)


As a pastoral minister, it should be a great privilege to spend time with the terminally ill and those grieving the loss of a loved one. Many times in discussions with these individuals, the question: “What happens at death?” will arise.

Catholic teaching has, for about 900 years, included the concept of Purgatory as a possibility of what occurs at death. Being able to understand this concept theologically can help the pastoral minister in being more compassionate and understanding to those in need.

This paper may be a source of learning for anyone in this situation: the dying, the grieving, and the pastoral minister. It also may seen as a source for anyone who is simply curious to know the Church’s teaching on Purgatory and how this teaching has evolved over the years. It should help to understand in some way the deep compassion and mercy of God.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Theological Studies.