Can we pray to dead ancestors?

My question is two-fold.

  1. What does the Catholic Church teach as far as whether one goes straight to Heaven after death? I have read where some believe that the dead are simply dead and waiting for Christ to return and I have read that the souls of the dead ascend to Heaven for judgement. Which is the Catholic teaching?

  2. If the teaching is the latter, does this mean that we can pray to our dead ancestors for guidance or help in certain situations that might call for it?

Thank you,


These links should be helpful for understanding the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on the particular and final judgment and praying for the dead. If you have any further questions or concerns that are not answered by these links, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

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If the souls in purgatory are destined for heaven, why do we pray for them?
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