What are your thoughts on this Mark Twain Quote?


“But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian’s daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?”

That was a quote from famous writer Mark Twain.

What are your thoughts on it?


Peace and all Good to you!

Do you know where in Mark Twain’s writing this quote came from?

I’m no expert on these things but since Satan is an Angel (albeit now a fallen one), he knew what the eternal consequences of his choice would be and, being a spiritual being and angel, his choice was final and irrevocable so any prayers for him could not result in any conversion. His angelic nature is a game changer I think.

I probably haven’t expressed this very well so apologies if I make no sense!

God Bless


Satan is that unclean spirit who has irrefutably set his will against God and imprisoned himself in narcissism and malice. We don’t pray for Satan or his angels for the same reason that we don’t pray for the human souls who are in Hell, and to do so would either be - at best - done out of ignorance and with futility, or - at worst - be done out of deplorable arrogance, where the praying person is openly defiant towards Church doctrine and says to himself in his heart “I am wiser than God.”


Satan and his angels are damned. There is no point to pray for them. Angels aren’t like us, they make a choice and that’s it, there’s no going back.


Mark Twain is a great author but a poor theologian. In his later years his writings took on a particularly anti-Christian, even anti-theist turn. Read, for example is short book “The Mysterious Stranger.”


His autobiography.

Mark Twain was an atheist. My opinion is that he was calling out what he saw as hypocritical Christians who would pray for anyone but not the one Twain says “needed prayers the most.”


Angels are thought to be spirits of compleat understanding, meaning that when they choice to understand something their knowledge is full and unchangeable. As the devil and those that followed him made this choice with full understanding they have no recourse. It is an unforgivable sin. This is not to say they are all knowing, as they did not know of Gods plan for redemption of man. If they had that understanding, full and compleat, I would say none of them would have fallen.


I pray for the unwanted and unloved souls in purgatory. But I do not, per se, pray for Adolf Hitler, nor Judas. If I find out in the next life my prayers made a difference to either or both of those men, I will be none the less happy for it.


While we pray for souls even though we may fear that they may be in hell, in satan’s case, we know he is already beyond hope because we are told so in Revelation 20:10,“The devil who had lead them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” NAB


Actually it was an 1st-3rd century heresy to pray for the devil. And besides, Jesus himself condemns Satan so I guess either we question Jesus or take it as a give away answer to the question.

As for Judas, if Jesus preaches hope no matter what, we probably have a clue where Judas ended up when uttered the words in Mt. 26:24 when he said:
“woe to that man through whom the Son of Mankind is being given up! Ideal were it for Him if that man were not born”*

It’s always worth being born even with all the punishment/suffeing in the world if we’re assured of heaven. Therefore, the only reason why one is better not to have been born if one ends up in hell.


OK here’s a prayer concerning Satan:

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


Peace & all Good to you!

Thanks LostSheep :). I was packed off to England to go to school so my knowledge of Mr Twain is rather limited by I’m always interested in expanding my knowledge of authors & good books.

Yes, anti Christians do love to accuse us of hypocrisy. Sometimes they get it right but in this case JimG has it spot on, Mark Twain is a great writer but that don’t translate necessarily into being a good theologian.


:thumbsup: Amen!


Peace and All Good to you!

Well said Patty, if it’s good enough for Our Blessed Lord, it’s certainly good enough for me too :slight_smile: :thumbsup:

I didn’t know that there was an early heresy which prayed for the devil, thanks for sharing :).


Mark Twain was a humorist. He never meant for these words to be taken seriously. He was being ironic.:cool:


Thank you. :slight_smile:


Twain’s novel Connecticut Yankee is very anti Catholic, a backhanded slap at the Church under the guise of fiction, full of the worst kind of characterizations of the Church and of Catholics.

Please don’t let on that there are any slurs at the Church. I want to catch the reader unawares, and modify his views if I can.

Those were his own words in a letter to Sylvester Baxter, a reviewer for the Boston Herald.

Connecticut Yankee was sold as a subscription book, a chapter being delivered at a time, and these contained disgusting illustrations by a man named Dan Beard portraying priests and religious as drunkards being led by Satan and other such themes.



Peace and all Good to you!

You’re welcome :slight_smile:

What was the name of that heresy where the adherents prayed for the devil by the way?


Well, now I’m thinking really hard. It was during one of our Philosophy classes actually so I can’t really remember. But the more I think of it, I think it’s more like praying for the souls in hell. He was a pious philosopher/theoligian I believe, could even be saint. I’m trying hard to recall now.


We do not pray for Satan because hell is eternal. To pray for Satan would be to pray that God’s justice will be undone. What is the point?

“Thy will be done on earth (and in hell) as it is in heaven.”

Satan is not praying for us. Satan is preying on us! :bigyikes:

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.