Faith/Spirituality Forum: The Repentant Thief

The Repentant Thief QUESTION from Konrad on October 5, 2002 Dear Bro. Ignatius
So good of you to take the time to answer so many questions. I understand and believe in the doctrine of Purgatory, but one thing confuses me. When our Lord said to the repentant thief, This day you will be with me in Paradise, did that mean that the thief did not have to go to purgatory? He presumably lead a life of sin, and certainly didn't have the opportunity to do his purgatory here on earth. How could he bypass purgatory after death and go straight to Heaven?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on October 9, 2002 Dear Konrad:
Well, just a point of order. We must remember that there is no time in the spiritual realm. So one's purgatory can be in the twinkling of an eye from an earthly point-of-view.
It appears that Jesus either granted the thief a plenary indulgence or the pain of the Cross was so severe that the theif certainly paid his debt and did his purgatory on the cross.
We too can go straight to heaven if we receive last rites and qualify for a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence wipes the slate clean and purgatory is not needed.
And if we are martyred, the death we incur pays our purgatory and we go straight to heaven.
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