Can the Holy Souls in Purgatory pray for themselves?


I was teaching at our parish’s VBS last week and I ran across something in my lesson plan (we had purchased a program) that I found interesting.

The lesson was on the Communion of Saints and basically was going over who can pray for you.

Now, one thing that it said was that the Holy Souls in Purgatory can pray for us here on earth, but cannot pray for themselves. Is this true?

I asked our local seminarian about it and he said it was something that he could never figure out during high school, either. Why can’t the Holy Souls pray for themselves? And, can they pray for each other, then? If not, why not?

Just curious.


I recall reading something about this somewhere in St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. I will try to post the exact reference later…

In the mean time, I seem to recall that those who have died are no longer able to do meritorious things (works of penance) and only meritorious things can make satisfaction for the temporal debt of sin. Consequently, neither the saints in Heaven nor those in Purgatory can aid those in Purgatory; only the living, who are capable of doing meritorious things can aid those in Purgatory by making satisfaction for the temporal debt of sin that they still owe.


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