Purgatory is the Roman Catholic doctrine on the fate of souls that are in God's grace at the time of death but which require, as a matter of divine justice, punishment for unforgiven minor sins ("venial" sins) or for having committed major sins ("mortal" sins) that were forgiven prior to death. These souls are believed to undergo a final purging after death, and then will enter Heaven. The doctrine of purgatory was formulated at the Councils of Florence and Trent, based on Biblical exegesis (although Purgatory is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, some theologians cite 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 as a scriptural basis for it). Those whose transgressions are too great to ever warrant redemption don't go to Purgatory, but are instead sent straight to Hell after death.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church. Accessed April 23, 2007.