"Faithful" departed

I wasn’t quite sure where to put this question, so I hope this is ok here. I pray for the faithful departed everyday. My friends, family and I also pray for other souls who have died. My question is this. Why does the following prayer specifically say “faithful” departed and is the prayer meant to exclude lost souls, non-Catholics, etc. I have asked this question before and didn’t think the answer that I was given was very spiritual or reflective of God’s love for all of us. I had dropped the question, until last week, when I said the prayer in front of a non-catholic and I was asked, “what about the unfaithful and the non-Catholics, don’t they get to go to Heaven?” I told him it is a good question and that I have asked the same question myself. I have no answer, but I told him that I would post the question. I humbly request any assistance in answering this question.

It is possible to be faithful and not be Catholic. If a person lives in a way true to what he or she believes to be God’s law (or the natural law written by God on every person’s heart, if the person does not know God), salvation is possible for them.

Now, if a person knows that the Catholic Church is the true Church established by God and refuses to enter it, that is a different story.

We do not pray for those in hell (lost souls), as their fate has been sealed. But since we do not know definitively who is in hell, we should pray for all those who have died (even serious sinners; who knows whether they had a deathbed conversion of heart?). God in His mercy will sort it out.

“PhilotheaZ” gave you a wonderful answer. :yup:

I would like to add, that although my late Dad… wasn’t a baptized Catholic… I still pray for him as part of the “faithful departed”. Because during his life, many times… he expressed his love for Jesus… and Mary! :slight_smile: He also expressed a desire to become a Catholic… though, sadly… it did not happen before he died.

My great hope is that Our Merciful Lord… granted my Dad a “Baptism of Desire” into the Catholic Faith.

God bless. It’s an awesome question!

I have been thinking/meditating on the responses as I pray my Rosary. The anxiety behind the thoughts with regards to God forgetting any of us has dissipated. And for this, I am grateful to God. At one point, I thought that perhaps I should stop saying the prayer for the Faithful Departed altogether, but I haven’t. Instead, I have focused more on God’s mercy and how He will judge us. I continue to say the prayer with ease and peace with thoughts.

May we always know we are loved.

Gratefully yours,
Song of Sunday

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.