What's The Significance of Necrologies?


The title says it all: Why does the church keep Necrologies of the clergy?

I hope the question doesn’t sound the wrong way.

I just wonder what the purpose of a necrology is? What’s it used for?

Necrologies probably aid in the event of a possible beatification or canonization, but they may serve other purposes as well.

It would be interesting to try to see if the necrologies lend historical significance to social movements and as such.




I think it’s just to be able to pray for the dead. Priests being celibate don’t have progeny to pray for them, but their fellow clergy is their family and is asked to pray for those priests who have died.


I agree. Necrologies provide a lasting record so that prayers may be continually offered for the repose of the souls of the deceased. Such lists keep the memory alive for members of religious orders who might otherwise be forgotten with the passing of time.

They can also be useful for historical research as the years go by, but this I think is a secondary benefit.


I appreciate them because I want to pray for the priests I know who have passed on and I have lost contact with.


The day one dies is (if in a state of grace at the time) is the day they were received into heaven.
Kind of a day to celebrate, no?
All Saint feast days are the date of their death. Not their birthday.


Small edit: The day one dies (if in a state of grace at the time) is the day they are judged and then they will either enter Heaven or divert to Purgatory for a while.


There is no “time” in the afterlife. The day one dies is the day one’s body dies. The rest takes place in eternity, which we can’t comprehend. (Waiting for the flames now.)


You do understand that there is a purgatory, though, and we cannot say that purgatory is achieved solely at the instant of death.
And by the way, the deceased are not outside of time. They still have some relationship with earthly time, because they await their resurrected bodies.


One CAN go immediately to heaven.


Eeesh — I never said that one cannot go immediately to heaven. I said that on the day of death, each person finds out his eternal destiny, be it heaven, hell, or heaven by way of purgatory. In fact, Fr. Z’s first sentence from the article you linked to says just that!
I only added my earlier comment to counter your implication that all who die in a state of grace go immediately to heaven. (Saints’ days are on their day of death because we know that they completely bypassed purgatory. For everyone else, we just don’t know.)


Well, the day we die is the day we enter eternity, so I fully understood what you meant and think our (physical body) death date is the day that should be celebrated. We never know if someone - other than canonized saints - go straight to heaven or spend time in purgatory and how much time.

I think many, maybe most, who die in a state of grace spend time in purgatory. A state of grace does not imply perfection.


:rolleyes: Yes, that first sentence affirms my statement. Yes.
So we know saints bypassed purgatory. There ARE others who are not canonized.
Many make a full and good final confession.




The Catholic Church is scarcely alone in maintaining necrologies of its members. I’ve seen fraternal and alumni organizations do the same thing, usually merely for the purposes of serving as a memorial for their deceased members. Among us Catholics, however, we don’t merely commemorate our dead; we are obliged in charity for pray for the repose of their souls. The necrology certainly helps serve the purpose of reminding us of those who need our prayers.


It also reminds us members of the Church Militant of the existence of two other parts of the Church, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant.


Just because someone dies In the state of grace doesn’t mean they automatically enter Heaven. More than likely the soul goes to purgatory to be purged of all imperfections and to make reparation for the temporal punishment of their sins. This is why we pray for the dead, especially at funerals. Unfortunately, many funerals have become canonizations so people forget to actually pray for the dead because they assume the soul is in heaven.


I don’t know why everyone seems to be “canonized” after they die. I guess it’s partly our desire to avoid saying anything negative about them. They aren’t there to defend themselves, we don’t want to victimize them, and we over-compensate.


With some religious orders necrologies of deceased members of the community are read aloud after dinner. This helps us remember those that came before us, both in prayer and example, but also serves as a reminder that our lives on this planet are short and limited, and that death is a reality for us all.


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