Can a Mass be offered for a deceased atheist?


I can request that a Mass be offered for my friend. Do not anticipate any questions from the rectory secretary. Yet, I’m asking myself whether an atheist who has passed, who never thought about Christianity while alive, can possibly merit from a Mass.


Funeral masses cannot be offered for non-Catholics, but the sacrifice of the mass can be offered for any intention. You can pray for the souls of the deceased, regardless of whether they were formally Catholics in this life, and priests can do likewise when celebrating the mass. The fate of this person’s soul is in God’s hands. It never hurts to pray!


By this do you mean saying mass for a non catholic?
Are you sure?
I didn’t think its permitted, I’ve always thought that Requiem mass are held primarily for the Catholic faithful not for anyone, but again in our parish we held a Requiem mass for the victims at the Philippines a year ago and Im pretty sure not everyone who died during the catastrophe there where Catholics, so I don’t know??
Also I couldn’t see the harm really?


A Mass can be offered for anyone, living or dead, Catholic or non-Catholic.


Can. 901 A priest is free to apply the Mass for anyone, living or dead.

A person who, as you describe, “never thought about Christianity,” needs the prayer of the Mass, and that soul will certainly benefit from it.


We need to be careful about how we qualify the term “Requiem Mass,” since different people will say different things.

If by “Requiem Mass,” you mean a funeral Mass, then you’re partially correct. It’s not common that non-Catholics are given Catholic funeral rites, although it can be allowed under certain circumstances (e.g.: If an Orthodox Christian died, and was unable to receive funeral rites at an Orthodox church, a Catholic priest may celebrate a Funeral Mass as not to deprive the deceased of a funeral) (see can. 1183).

However, Masses for the Dead can be celebrated for anyone. This is not a funeral, but a Mass offered for a deceased person.

Likewise, the Mass of the day can be offered for the repose of a non-Catholic soul.


Yes you can. Just remember that during Good Friday Service, one of the prayer intentions is specifically for those who do not believe in God.


I think its really a good idea to pray for the souls of all types of non-Catholics. Its likely the non-Catholic souls in purgatory could use the prayers and will be quite grateful and willing to return the favor when I am there (hopefully) and they are in heaven.


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