Can the damned pray for us?


I had this strange thought the other day…I know they are cut off completely from God. Not to sure about predestination but What about those who pray for people before they die.

Example: A friend of mine and I talk and he says he will pray for me. He spends 15 minutes praying the rosary for me. A few weeks later he slides in his faith commits a mortal sin and then steps in front of a Bus and is killed. Would that be an example of the damned praying for us?

Hypothetically- I could have had a person pray for my conversion end up in Hell. I know its a horrible thought but it popped into my head…someone could have a huge impact on this world praying for souls to be released from purgatory and for the conversion of souls and then end up in Hell themselves. What do the souls think when they get to Heaven and find out that the person who prayed for their conversion slipped and fell into mortal sin?


Well, Judas probably prayed for his friends before he betrayed Christ…

The Blessed in Heaven will see that God is just, no matter what happens


It is a very real possibility, St Paul in 1 Cor 9:27 actually makes it clear he must keep his body in check lest “after preaching the Gospel to others I, Paul, might become a castaway”.


Your hypothetical doesn’t address your question, since prior to his accident he was not “damned”. So when he prayed for you he was not already damned. You also seem to think it’s easy to “slide in faith” one who is dedicated to God doesn’t easily or carelessly “slide”. To commit a mortal sin requires full knowledge, full consent, and it needs to be a grave offense. This means you understand the act you’re about to commit is grave, you fully understand the act is going to separate you from the grace of God, and you fully accept this consequence (to reject God). That’s not something a devout Catholic does by “sliding”. It’s a deliberate act, or refusal to act.


Great answer Tom! And if I may - souls in hell cannot pray for themselves let alone for the living. It just doesn’t work that way.
The Church militant can pray for the Church suffering (purgatory). The souls that are raised to heaven by our prayers from purgatory can now pray for us. That is, the Church Triumphant can pray for the church Militant. Simple huh?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


The souls in Purgatory can pray for us, but not those in Hell.


No. The souls in purgatory need our prayers. Once they enter heaven, that’s when they pray for us.

This is a moot point my friend.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


No. They might but one in hell will not have the will do do any charitable act.


No. They might but one in hell will not have the capacity. See Luke 16:19-31.


It is a moot point indeed - but remember that we of the Church militant need the prayers of others and yet can pray for others too.

Perhaps, although souls in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, part of their purification occurs through praying for us who remain on Earth.


They do need our prayers, but many Saints and theologians have said that those in Purgatory can pray for us, too.

Catholic Encyclopedia
Do the souls in purgatory pray for us? May we call upon them in our needs? There is no decision of the Church on this subject, nor have the theologians pronounced with definiteness concerning the invocation of the souls in purgatory and their intercession for the living. In the ancient liturgies there are no prayers of the Church directed to those who are still in purgatory. On the tombs of the early Christians nothing is more common than a prayer or a supplication asking the departed to intercede with God for surviving friends, but these inscriptions seem always to suppose that the departed one is already with God. St. Thomas (II-II:83:11) denies that the souls in purgatory pray for the living, and states they are not in a position to pray for us, rather we must make intercession for them. **Despite the authority of St. Thomas, many renowned theologians hold that the souls in purgatory really pray for us, and that we may invoke their aid. **Bellarmine (De Purgatorio, lib. II, xv,) says the reason alleged by St. Thomas is not at all convincing, and holds that in virtue of their greater love of God and their union with Him their prayers may have great intercessory power, for they are really superior to us in love of God, and in intimacy of union with Him. Francisco Suárez (De poenit., disp. xlvii, s. 2, n. 9) goes farther and asserts “that the souls in purgatory are holy, are dear to God, love us with a true love and are mindful of our wants; that they know in a general way our necessities and our dangers, and how great is our need of divine help and divine grace”.

When there is question of invoking the prayers of those in purgatory, Bellarmine (loc. cit.) says it is superfluous, ordinarily speaking, for they are ignorant of our circumstances and condition. This is at variance with the opinion of Francisco Suárez, who admits knowledge at least in a general way, also with the opinions of many modern theologians who point to the practice now common with almost all the faithful of addressing their prayers and petitions for help to those who are still in a place of purgation. Scavini (Theol. Moral., XI, n. l74) sees no reason why the souls detained in purgatory may not pray for us, even as we pray for one another. He asserts that this practice has become common at Rome, and that it has the great name of St. Alphonsus in its favour. St. Alphonsus in his work the “Great Means of Salvation”, chap. I, III, 2, after quoting Sylvius, Gotti, Lessius, and Medina as favourable to his opinion, concludes: “so the souls in purgatory, being beloved by God and confirmed in grace, have absolutely no impediment to prevent them from praying for us. Still the Church does not invoke them or implore their intercession, because ordinarily they have no cognizance of our prayers. But we may piously believe that God makes our prayers known to them”. He alleges also the authority of St. Catharine of Bologna who “whenever she desired any favour had recourse to the souls in purgatory, and was immediately heard”.


yes, thoes in hell cannot pray for us becuase a person will not have the desire to pray for another except by the grace of God working in them. Thoes in hell are separated from God, and since all love comes from God, all thoes in hell are stripped of whatever love they had for there fellow man on earth. The souls in hell have nothing but absolute hatred for everyone. Its so sad


Let’s define what you mean about the “damned.” Please refute with proof if this is wrong by posting the Catholic priest’s oath, but the “damned” include the anyone, read it for yourself below.

"I do denounce and disown any allegiance as due to any Protestant king, prince, state, or obedience to any of their inferior officers. I do further declare the doctrine of the church of England, of the Calvinists, Huguenots and other Protestants to be damnable, and those to be damned who will not forsake the same.

Pretty much anyone who’s not Catholic.


If it helps you to pray and meditate, that’s fine. There is no harm in your thinking. Please, just make sure that you pray for the souls in Purgatory…they need our prayers. Especially those souls who have no living relative remaining on earth to pray for them. Or, the souls of priests, bishops, and religious people, whom we don’t pray for because we instantly assume that they are in heaven. There are souls in purgatory that will be there 'till the last day. So pray for them.

                          Church Triumphant - in heaven

                          Church Militant - on earth

                          Church Suffering - in purgatory

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


I don’t think so!

What scriptual proof is there for that? The best I can find is in the parable of Luke 16:19-31.

But quickly, “Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment. Abraham said to him, ’ They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them; And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”

In somewhat of a stretch you could apply it in that we (physically alive) did listen to those before us, therefore dead cannot help us.


What is your vatican source for this alleged oath? I’d like to read it in it’s entirety for context.


There are souls that will be there to the last day, but not all souls in purgatory will be there to the last day. Once their purification is complete, they will be taken to heaven. We don’t know nor can we fathom the length of the stay of souls in purgatory. Ours might be there, or not, until the last day.


Yes, you are right.


Assuming that this is authentic, it does not follow that everyone who is not Catholic is damned. Rather, it says “those to be damned.” In other words, those who are on the path to damnation. Those on the path to damnation still have the chance to repent.

Consider it from a Fundamentalist perspective: those who have not accepted Jesus are those “to be damned” and they will be damned unless they accept Jesus.

If you want to discuss whether or not Purgatory exists, start a new thread or search for an old one. Don’t hijack this thread, please.


I was able to find it in various locations which was verified by ex-priests according to the sources. I’ve been hoping that further confirmation could be given by people on the web. But everything has been consistent so far leading me to believe the authenticity of the oath.

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