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  1. There really isn’t a justifiable reason to truncate the Canon, so this should be recognized as Scripture as well.

    What we see is that Judas Maccabeus’s comrades died as idolaters. He also anticipates a future general resurrection and judgment, which was the Pharisaic vector underway and gaining strength. In order to make atonement for that idolatry, he prays and gives alms for the dead, with the hope that they’ll fare better in the final judgment than otherwise.

    But this is a propitiation for the forgiveness of a mortal sin.

    The happiest home for this verse is purgatorial universal reconciliation. Under PUR theology, these mortal sinners have a big old judgment coming. But alms and prayers can express a genuine desire and hope for additional mercy. Hell IS purgatory, in other words, and so we don’t have to delineate between “hellish punishment for sin” and “disciplinary action with a point” like with Catholic purgatory.

    As it so happens, Jews who believe in an afterlife under the Pharisaic tradition (the tradition through which Christianity blossomed) also believe in a purgatorial punishment and reject endless hell as outrageous.

    So, my answer would be “Yes and no.” Indulgences, like prayers or alms, can act as prayers for mercy for those who have fallen — in any state, even mortal sin like idolatry. And postmortem mercy for mortal sinners is only possible if hell is purgatorial.

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