Protestant: "The Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is made up. It has no biblical basis."
Catholic: In 2 Maccabees 12:42-45, Judas Maccabees offers up prayer for the dead who had sinned by wearing forbidden idols. The book of Daniel says that the very throne of God is fire: "As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire." (Daniel 7:9). And when God speaks, fire issues forth from His mouth: "A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:10). In the New Testament, at Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit appeared as non-consuming tongues of fire to the apostles (Acts 2:3). God also appeared as a non-consuming fire to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2). And then there are these 2 verses of scripture that talk about God and fire: Hebrews 12:29: "For our God is a consuming fire."1 Peter 1:7: "The genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." In Matthew 12:31, Jesus told the parable about blaspheming the Holy Spirit (not believing that the Holy Spirit can save you, no matter what - the sin of despair), and said that anyone who does blaspheme the Holy Spirit "will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come" (Matthew 12:32). Since sins aren't forgiven in Hell, and those in Heaven are already forgiven for their sins, then this one statement indicates another place after death where sins can indeed be forgiven. In the First Book of Peter 3:19 and 4:6, Peter says that after the crucifixion and death of Jesus, that Jesus "went to speak to the spirits in prison", which means that there is a place people go to after they die that is a prison and not heaven nor hell. When Jesus told the parable of the man beating up others who owed him money, after he himself had been forgiven his debts (Matthew 18:23-34), He said "And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart" (Matthew 18:34-35). Since there is no release program in Hell, and no one wants to ever leave Heaven, this also indicates that there is another temporary place of torment where saved sinners go who have been forgiven their sins, but who have not paid all of their debt, down to the last penny, for their sins. In fact, in Matthew 5: 25-26, Jesus says "Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny." Isaiah was caught up into heaven and had to have his unclean tongue cleansed with a burning coal by a seraphim (the angels closest to God, who's very name means burning one (Isaiah 6:5-7). The Bible also says here that Isaiah's guilt was taken away by this fire. Why purgatory? It is a blessing because of what the bible says in Revelation 21:27 - "Nothing unclean shall enter heaven". So unless you are perfect with God when you die, you have no chance to get into heaven, unless you are purged of your sinfulness first. An important point to remember is that the Bible talks about "the abode of the dead", "sheol", and "hades." These terms are NOT referring to hell, but rather the prison that Peter talks about in Peter 3:19 (Revelation 20:14 says that at the end of time, hades will be thrown into hell, which clearly indicates that they ARE NOT the same place). The Catholic Church now uses the term "purgatory" instead of those former terms, and purgatory refers to a place of purifying fire, which burns the hardened crust off of our souls that our sins have formed. Paul prays for the dead Onesiphorus in 2 Timothy 1: 16-18. And besides all of that, there is 1 Corinthians 3:11-15: For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw -- each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.