Death, children, and Catholic teaching

When I was young and someone I knew died, my parents often said that whoever we knew who died went to Heaven. This sort of made me feel better because I was going to see them again.

I want to a little bit more traditional when it comes to the Catholic teaching on death but I’m not sure how. From what I know about Catholic teaching, except for the Jesus, Mary and the saints, we don’t know who goes to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell. So if, God forbid, someone we know dies, what I do say to them in regards to our dead loved ones’ eternal fate?

My father just died, and while I hope he will go to heaven, I don’t know that. What concerns me is some denominations just assume, when you die, that you are going to heaven. I’ve even heard some priests echo this, because it’s such a difficult teaching to try to suggest otherwise.

What would I tell a child? I haven’t come up with that, but I think I would try to encourage anyone, even children, to pray for a loved one, say, after his death. I guess I would try to say that we have to be absolutely perfect in order to get into heaven and that it’s hard for any of us to be perfect. No sin at all, no matter how small, is allowed in heaven. So, for this reason, we must pray for people, so as many as possible can get to heaven.

Also, once they do get to heaven, they can pray for us, but I’ve heard it said some people need help. We need to help them. I would say we hope that person is in heaven, but we still need to pray for his soul, to make sure the soul is ready to go to heaven. Pray, pray, and pray for souls who have died and those in purgatory.

If the soul is already in heaven, it won’t need the prayers, but they aren’t wasted. They will just go to help someone else who does need them.

The best assumption is that your loved one has gone to Purgatory.

If you think they are in Purgatory you will pray for them but if you think they are in Heaven you won’t as they wouldn’t need it.

For very young children, I tell them that the deceased person are now on their way to heaven. They may first have go to a rest stop called purgatory and it our job to send many prayers to God for this person so God will open the gates for them. People go to rest stop to get their souls ready to see God because we cannot do this even if we have a tiny sin. The prayers clean the sins away, and even though the souls are waiting, they know they will see God, so they are not sad.

I also say that when someone dies, if they lived a very very good life without any sins, these people go right into heaven without a rest stop. They are called Saints.

And for people who are very very bad, and not sorry, they go to another place where they wlll never, ever go to heaven.

Since God can only see a persons soul and heart, he only knows where a person goes.

So it is best that we pray for everyone who passes away everyday, so they get to heaven quickly.

I hope this helps-

I think your response is absolutely perfect :thumbsup:

Thank you CradleJourney:)

Much better than assuming heaven, but it still makes judgment that the person is in a state of grace, which we cannot know for certain.

Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

This is the way I want to do it. I don’t want to say I’m going here or there. God will take me to where I need to be.

I don’t know what you should say to a child if they ask but only God knows the destination of anyone who dies. We do not know so we should not say or even suggest where that person has gone because have no idea of the state of a person’s soul at death.
All we can do is hope and pray they are in Heaven.

If the child dies under the age of 7 and they have been baptised, you can be sure they are in Heaven as they are not yet at the age of morality so haven’t yet committed any personal sins yet are free from original sin, however if they hadn’t been baptised (and under 7) they would be in Limbo.

Apart from that, it is impossible to tell because someone who has been good they’re entire life may fall into a state of mortal sin shortly before death and bad people throughout their entire lives could have epiphanies and confess shortly before death and die in a state of grace so, yeah, it’s impossible to tell.

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