Thanks for your question.
The doctrine of Purgatory is NOT in Holy Scripture! It is an invention of the Roman Catholic Church arising from two fundamental errors.
1. The substitution of ‘do penance’ for ‘repent’.
KJV Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
Douay-Rheims Acts 2:38 But Peter said to them: Do penance: and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins.
The Greek word is ‘metanoeo’ which means ‘to change one’s mind’.
2. That we have an immortal soul which leaves the body at death, to go either to the joys of heaven or the torments of hell.
This is not supported by scripture. In scripture the soul is the person.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The word translated soul is the Hebrew ‘nephesh’. The Hebrew speaks of ‘dead’ souls; a fact which is concealed in the English because the translators translate ‘nephesh’ as ‘body’ in the 8 places where it is said to be dead.
Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body (‘nephesh’) of any man shall be unclean seven days.
Adam who was made a living soul was condemned to die (and so become a dead soul) because he sinned.
We all, as living souls, die because we sin.
Ezekiel 18:4...the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Because the Roman Catholic Church insists that the souls of the dead are alive they had a problem of what to do with those who died before completing penance imposed upon them. Purgatory was invented as a half-way house where they could complete their penance before being permitted to enter heaven. It became a source of revenue for the Church in that dead relatives could be released from purgatory for donations to the Church. Plenary indulgences were granted to swell the coffers by pilgrimage. Below is an extract from one from 2007.
APOSTOLIC PENITENTIARY DECREE
according to which is granted a daily Plenary Indulgence on the 150th Anniversary of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes
...Each and every member of the Christian faithful who, truly repentant, is purified through sacramental confession, restored through the Most Holy Eucharist and offers prayers for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, will be able to gain a Plenary Indulgence daily, which may also be applied, by way of suffrage, to the souls of the faithful in Purgatory...
It is apostasy of the worst kind but only what would be expected of the Church called in scripture Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the earth (Revelation 17:5).
Hell in scripture is the grave and so translated in places.
In the Old Testament:
Genesis 44:29 And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave (Hebrew ‘sheol’).
‘Sheol’ is translated in the King James Authorised as: grave 31 times, hell 31 times, pit 3 times.
Douay-Rheims always translates ‘sheol’ as ‘hell’ so we must ask whether we think Jacob is in ‘hell’ or the ‘grave’.
In the New Testament:
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave (Greek ‘hades’), where is thy victory?
Douay-Rheims does a mistranslation.
Douay-Rheims 1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
‘Hades’ is translated in the King James Authorised as: hell 10 times, grave once.
That ‘hades’ is the Greek equivalent of ‘sheol’ is seen when Peter quotes Psalms 16:10 in Acts 2:27.
Christ was in the tomb until the third day. His soul was dead in the tomb until the third day. What is also certain is that Christ was not in ‘paradise’ between his death and resurrection. Peter clearly shows that the resurrection was the bringing of Christ’s soul from the grave.
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Greek ‘hades’ the grave), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption... the patriarch David... 30... being a prophet... 31... spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell (Greek ‘hades’ the grave), neither his flesh did see corruption.
The paradise that the thief was promised an entrance into is the kingdom of God. This is not in heaven as is falsely claimed. The kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven) is to be set up on earth at the return of Christ. It will be the restored kingdom of David.
Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
This will be the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy and is yet future:
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
I say unto thee, Today:
Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
There are no punctuation marks in the Greek text. The placing of the comma before ‘today’ is a decision made by the translators. If the comma be placed after ‘today’, which is just as valid, the whole sense of the statement is changed.
The thief had asked Christ to remember him when he came into his kingdom.
Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
Jesus is saying you don’t have to worry about whether I will remember you then; I am telling you now, today, that you will be in my kingdom. The thief died in the certain knowledge that he will be raised to life in the kingdom of God.
No one will enter the kingdom until Christ returns to raise them from the dead. The thief will have to be raised from the dead to enter the kingdom.
Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
As far as his acceptance without baptism we can look at what Paul says.
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Baptism then is symbolic of dying with Christ. There is nothing ‘holy’ about the water and it doesn’t matter who baptises us. What matters is what we believe when we are baptised and whether we have repented of our old way of life.
The thief acknowledged that his death was just indicating repentance, he believed the gospel of the kingdom of God, he knew that Christ was the promised king. This in itself was remarkable in that Christ’s disciples hadn’t understood. His words showed his faith in the promises of God. He was dying with Christ for real not just in symbol.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Just as Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness so the thief believed and it was counted to him for righteousness.
We too have to believe the truth concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12) and be baptised into his death for it to be counted to us for righteousness. What the Bible actually says is a lot different to the interpretation given by the Catholic Church. There is no priesthood established in the New Testament and we need no priest because there is only one mediator between God and man.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
I hope this helps.