Charlie Manson is dead. To pray or not to pray


I was in the second grade when I first heard about Charlie Manson and the Tate murders. I read Helter Skelter in middle school and now at 83, Charlie Manson is dead.

And now, for the usual dilemma, should we pray for the repose of such people? I think as Catholics we required to. God in his infinite mercy calls on us to forgive and pray for the conversion of all people, no matter how evil. Charlie joins a long list of gruesome murderers who have finally been called to judgement, John Wayne Gacy certainly comes to mind.

Will God look the other way for those who “forget to pray for the repose” of such people, or is that being hypocritical? When I do pray for people [first and foremost their victims and the people they corrupted to their will] I usually add the words, if it pleases thee."

I am posting this in moral theology, as praying for evil people after they die, is really the issue.


Of course we should. We don’t judge. And God in His infinite mercy could have granted him the graces to repent even in his final moment. God is not bound by time - I believe our prayers are always beneficial.


Pray, of course pray for Charlie and all his victims and their families.
Charlie was raised by a God-fearing mom and relatives. He went off the rails.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.


I note that on your general point, I force myself to pray for criminals who do acts I particularly hate, on a regular basis.


We should. We don’t know what state those persons’ souls were in at the time of their deaths. I would think it wise to pray for the soul of any person, they are human after all and did have the chance to be redeemed with God’s help, all the way up until the end of their lives.


Perhaps I am cheating, but when I found out about it I simply prayed for the whole world and not him in particular.


Yes, we should. My attitude is that when I arrive at Heaven’s gate, I hope to see ole Charlie (and Adolph, Genghis Khan, Joseph Stalin, and the rest of that ilk) in heaven. Figure then, I’m a stone cold cinch to make it myself… :smiley:


Yes, it’s funny how that works isn’t it? Even so, I am still going to try my best to take any chances. You take chances when you show up late for a movie it won’t be sold out. For eternity, you should pull out all the stops. Eternity is forever.


You must always pray for the souls of the dead. Who knows? We might see him in everlasting grace after all.


I’ve not thought of this, but I would surely say yes. We know that if a soul does not go to heaven/purgatory the prayers will be applied to someone else in need.



This particular murder really disturbed me. As I have said, I was in the second grade, and prior to this, I am not sure if I had even heard of murder. The press did a huge expose about the Tate murders, Sharon her career, the Folgers. The fact she was almost ready to have her baby made the whole thing even more traumatic. I never knew such things ever even happened. I am sure my parents never stopped to think how much it would all bother me. Bundy and Gacy were hard ones too.

So I had to think about this one for a while before I prayed for Manson’s repose, but I did pray for him as I was constructing this thread.


Praying for the repose of his soul & for the souls of all who were victims of that horrific weekend.


While it’s not our place to judge the sins of others, there are times when those sins are obvious, and this is clearly one of them.

We know the fact that he sinned, but we can never set ourselves as the final judges of others’ souls.

We know that his soul needs our prayers, and we can say (without being judgmental) that he needs our prayers much more than the average person. Put another way, we have all the more reason to pray for him because we know he needs our prayers even more.

When Christ commanded us to pray for our enemies, He knew it would not be easy.


What if he does eventually make it to heaven? Then he can pray for us. :thinking:


I agree. Well stated.


Good way of looking at it.

Think also, how many people think the same of us?


Charles Manson is one of the few people who received more publicity while in prison than before. One could easily surmise that he relished that publicity, which finally died down during his final years.
We don’t know if there was any change of heart during his last months of life. We don’t know if there has been any change of heart in the lives of his followers. Do pray for them.
God is the final judge of each of us.
Scripture tells us not to rejoice over the demise of our enemies. I will not mention the death of which person left me feeling guilty because I did indeed feel better that he was no longer living. He was no longer a threat to our country.
What should our response be in such a situation? When we do not know if a person has repented, or if to our limited knowledge he has not?
We ask for mercy, and pray for God’s justice.

I think there is a story about St. Theresa of Lisieux who prayed for a murderer condemned to the guillotine. It was a man for whom nobody cared and who showed no signs of repentance. Finally at the last second before his execution, he turned to God for mercy. We never know.


It is always a good idea to pray for something that cannot be verified. :slight_smile: Also to pray for other things which will happen with very high degree of likelihood. For example to pray for more snow during a blizzard. However, it would be a very bad idea to pray for something that most likely will not happen, but it could be verified if it did. Like praying for the regeneration of a lost limb. Or praying for a heat wave in the middle of that snow storm. :wink: Such supplicatory prayers could be disastrous for the supplicant’s faith… if he would be a rational person. Of course, no rational person would pray and hope that the prayer would change the mind of the immutable God.


We should pray for everyone, this poor man needs our prayers.

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