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After LivesA Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory$
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John Casey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195092950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.001.0001

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Rome's Happiest Inspiration?

Rome's Happiest Inspiration?

(p.225) 9 Rome's Happiest Inspiration?
After Lives

John Casey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory has possibly attracted more opprobrium from Protestants than any other teaching of the Church. It went with the granting of indulgences—one of the precipitating occasions of the Reformation. Purgatory had very little scriptural warrant, greatly increased the spiritual power of the Church, and was thought to give rise to many abuses. Yet (the chapter argues) it was one of the happiest inspirations of Rome, for it led to a deepening understanding of the psychology of repentance, and a more humane vision of the possibilities of salvation. This theme is explored particularly in relation to Dante's Purgatorio along with a brief discussion of T. S. Eliot's poem “Animula.”

Keywords:   Purgatory, indulgences, Reformation, scripture, abuses, Dante, Purgatorio, psychology of repentance, humane vision, T. S. Eliot

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