|Originally posted by DaryLLL
Do Catholics believe dead humans are already resurrected in heaven?
And what about purgatory?
I could see formally recognized saints getting a get into heaven free card and being there, but one's own ordinary mother? Has she already been judged and transported heavenward, or does she have to wait?
Broadly speaking, Catholics and Protestants all agree that the dead will be resurrected at, or near, the end of time. These resurrected people will be judged by Jesus, and sent on their way to eternal reward or eternal punishment.
But Catholics actually believe everyone is also
judged immediately upon his own death. So everyone who's died in the past has already been judged, and is in Heaven, or Hell, or Purgatory. They are at the moment incorporeal, but will be reunited with their bodies at the resurrection.
(Purgatory is where people who are destined for Heaven but aren't pure enough to enter yet, go to get pure. Everyone currently in Purgatory is going to Heaven, guaranteed.)
So, there are two
judgments, see? The "particular" judgment (of individuals when they die), and the "general judgment" (of everybody at the end of time). The resurrected folks who have already had their particular judgment already know where they're
spending eternity, but they have to show up for the general judgment anyway, like a summons.
There are three people in Heaven right now corporeally, that is, with their bodies. Jesus, Mary, and the prophet Elijah.
There is a list, or "canon," of people the Church is pretty sure are in Heaven. (There are some angels on the list, too.) Catholics are allowed to venerate these "canonized" saints in public. You can pray privately to anyone not on the list (e.g., your own mother) if you think she's in Heaven.
While great pains are taken to make sure only holy people get canonized, the canon is not infallible, except for a handful of people we know
are in Heaven, because the Bible says so.