Does St. Rita’s example mean we should pray for the death of infants?

St. Rita of Cascia had two sons who “were determined to revenge their slain father. [Since Rita wasn’t able to change their minds, she] prayed to God, asking Him to take her sons before they lost their souls to the mortal sin of murder. One year later, her prayers were answered when both of her sons fell prey to dysentery and died.” (

If it’s good praying for someone’s death to protect them from the possibility of mortal sin, wouldn’t it be just as logical to pray for the death of all infants? Asking God to take them would make it impossible for them to sin.

(This question doesn’t necessarily reflect what I actually think - I’m just curious as to what CA thinks about it. Thanks!)

Infants rarely plan murder.

We are not called to emulate everything saints do, as their lives, or (unless they were Pope) their words, are holy but not infallible.

I would say no, because we don’t know who the infants will become. We cannot see their future, so we have no right to say we know what they will do. Plus, they have as much of a right to live as we do, and I know I’m not perfect, haha! Good question, though. I think it’s similar to St. Dominic Savio’s favorite saying: “Death over mortal sin”. But, since we can’t know who those infants will be, it’s not a case for us to handle. :slight_smile:

No, we do not or should not pray for the death of infants. Other than being born with “original sin”…a tag I don’t really like…an infant is born with a clean slate. We should pray that for every child there should be an abundance of grace and blessings heaped on every newborn, for there is bound to be a few new saints in the making. In the NT God wanted infants to live, otherwise He would not have made Jesus His son.


We should pray for all the infants born to glorify God by their lives.

I think that some of the sayings attributed to saints are exaggerated or taken out of context.

I think I would offer up a different prayer. i.e. I can think of other alternatives to dysentery to prevent murder or the death of a child to prevent him / her from falling into mortal sin.

That said, I believe the sentiment is correct. “Everything” is a better alternative to eternal damnation. Given the choice between dying young and eternal damnation it would be better to die young.

Fortunately, we have the alternative of salvation through Christ and his Church to offer our children instead…

Mathew 18:6-9

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!

If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire.

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna."



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