In regards to the purification of the soul before entering heaven; suppose a person has a desire that is sinful and has struggled with it for many years to the point that it has become habitual. The person realizes the struggles to overcome the bad habits and prays constantly and goes to frequent communion. At the moment of death, the person receives the sacraments and is repentant of their sins; however, the desires have remained. Do the desires also have to be burned off in purgatory before one can enter heaven; even though the person was absolved of the sin, receives the apostolic pardon and dies in the state of grace? I know that by receiving a plenary indulges the temporal punishment of sin is removed, but what about the desires that have remained?

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    This question raises a very important point!
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    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 2:29
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  • That's the beauty of Purgatory... we can be imperfect upon death and still enter into God's perfection by the transforming fire of His love.
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2 Answers 2


Purgatory and Plenary Indulgences?

In order to gain a plenary indulgence we must have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin. That means we must not have any desire to commit sin.

Indulgences are not magical and plenary indulgences have to be truly merited.

Here are some general guidelines for gaining indulgences from the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Vatican.

General Remarks On Indulgences

  1. This is how an indulgence is defined in the Code of Canon Law (can. 992) and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1471): "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints".

  2. In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions (below, nn. 3, 4), and the performance of certain prescribed works (nn. 8, 9, 10 indicate those specific to the Holy Year).

  3. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.

  4. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:

  • have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;

  • have sacramentally confessed their sins;

  • receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);

  • pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

  1. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope's intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope's intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary" are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father's intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.

  2. For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).

  3. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.

Nevertheless a partial indulgence is gained


One has to understand the purpose of the purgation of purgatory. You really ask two questions, I am only going to address purgatory. A previous answer addresses indulgences (which help repair the damage).

Purgatory has nothing to do with inordinate desires, per se. Its not desires that are repaired, but rather the damage done and the inordinate attachments (as the previous answer quotes, "temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven". These are cleansed because, as summarizing the entire OT, nothing unclean can enter heaven. When we are perfected after the purgation, there will be no inordainte desires because we will not be subject to concupiscence.

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