Where do souls of non-Christian go after they die?


Do they go to Purgatory? Or they become ghost wandering in this world? Is it true that only Christian can go to Purgatory? Thanks in advance.


My hope is that they go where I hope to go - - - - - - - - - - to be with God who created us and see him as he is ," face to face" .


They go wherever they belong.

Purgatory is for anybody who died without being in mortal sin but has some amount of temporal punishment.


Souls never become “ghosts wandering in this world.” When any soul, Christian or not, dies, it is judged and sent to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. Purgatory is open to all.


First it’s important to understand what Purgatory is:
Purgatory is a place or process whereby souls, who are on their way to Heaven, are purified of all attachment to sin/all stain of sin.
1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire." (CCC 1030-1031)

So, only souls destined for Heaven will go to “purgatory”. Those not destined for Heaven will go to Hell. We know that Christ is the only way to enter into Heaven. We also know that God can save, by means known only to Him, those who have not had the chance to hear about Christ and be born into His family (Baptism).

So, is it true that only Christians can go to Purgatory? As far as WE know, yes, that is accurate…unless it’s a case where the person had not had the opportunity to become a Christian in the first place.


This is true if you define “Christian” broadly to include those who accept Christ at the point of death. For example, as a Muslim or atheist dies, at the moment of death he sees or experiences Christ through the mercy of God, and accepts him. By your definition, this person would now be Christian, even though he did not live as a Christian on earth.


Right. But I left it really vague since none of us can ever know if/how that happens. I did make a clarification to my last sentence after posting, to point toward that a bit.


I understand Jesus judges us all whether we about it (Christians) or not. Where everyone goes it is entirely up to Him.


Thank you guys so much.


The spiritually poor enter before the spiritually wealthy.


Possibly. They could also go to Heaven or Hell.

The wandering soul theory was condemned by the Church.

Nope. It’s there for everyone :slightly_smiling_face:


I believe we know already that people at death do not need to be Christians, by the normal meaning of that word, to enter heaven. They simply require the desire to be so had they the opportunity.


Can non-Christians die in God’s grace and friendship?


What does that mean? I don’t get your point


Don’t you think that a Jewish person or Muslim who devoutly prays daily to God - the God of Abraham, the same God as our God the Father - has a “friendship” with God? Perhaps more of a friendship than a baptized Christian who rarely bothers to pray.

Grace is more of a Catholic/ Christian concept; however, merciful God can and might well provide for it for a non-Christian person if God wishes to do so.


Possible. There is no way for us to know for sure.


Muslims and Jews are praying to a different God. Theirs is not a Trinity and thus different.


There was just a thread on this recently.

They are still praying to the God of Abraham even if, from a Catholic perspective, they misunderstand his nature.


We’ve been over this before many times on the threads.

With respect to the Jewish people, they are clearly praying to the same God that Jesus did, in other words, our God. Their failure to accept Jesus as Son of God does not make them “pray to a different God”, because the Trinity is inseparable from each other, so if I pray only to God the Father it’s going to reach God in all three persons whether I intend that or not.

With respect to the Muslims, the Catechism is clear that “together with us (Catholics) they adore the one, merciful God” and are thus included in God’s plan of salvation. I will just refer to Tim Staples’ column on this rather than go through it all again.



So is “praying” to God what makes you in “friendship” or right relationship with Him or is it following Him in the Way, the Truth and the Life He gave us in the Church?
In other words does all it take to be in friendship with God prayer?

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