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Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven.The belief in purgatory has not been without controversy.Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin." Additional references are found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew.

A hermit living there told him that amid the rocks was a chasm communicating with purgatory, from which perpetually rose the groans of tortured souls.

The hermit also claimed he had heard the demons complaining of the efficacy of the prayers of the faithful, and especially the monks of Cluny, in rescuing their victims.

The Eastern Orthodox churches observe several All Souls' Days during the year.

The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass (see Purgatory).

According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places.

The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes.

The custom of setting apart a special day for intercession for certain of the faithful on November 2 was first established by St. The celebration was soon adopted in several dioceses in France, and spread throughout the Western Church.

It was accepted in Rome only in the fourteenth century.

In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven.

This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory.

Indulgences were sold as spiritual pardons to the poor and applied to the souls of the dead (or the living) to get people into heaven.