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In Roman Catholic doctrine, the condition of those who have died in a state of grace but have not been purged of sin. These remaining sins include unforgiven venial sins or forgiven mortal sins. Souls burdened by such sins must be purified before entering heaven. The church also teaches that souls in purgatory may be aided by efforts of the living faithful through prayers, almsgiving, indulgences, and other works. The existence of purgatory has been denied as unbiblical by Protestant churches and most Eastern Orthodox churches.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on purgatory, visit Britannica.com.