Why prayerfor the dead?

I was asked why the catholics pray foir the dead

Catechism of the Catholic Church 958:

958 Communion with the dead. "In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them."Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.


From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Mark 12:27 "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Also in 2 Maccabees 12:43-44:

He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind;
for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.

Taken from the Bishop Council’s website.

Turn the tables! Why stop praying for the dead? First of all, they are not dead! Tell those who ask to read Luke 20:38, Matthew 18:8-9, Matthew 19:17, and Mark 9:43-45 without glossing over it. They are not dead, but have entered life.

This lack of charity, this spiritual degradation began in 1500s Germany, in the mind of a very disturbed Augustinian monk. It has nothing to do with the practice of pre-Christian Judaism or of Christianity as established by Christ.

If they are going to reject a Catholic, ask them to reject Luther. And pray for him.


…as Catholics we believe in the Mystical Body of Christ: the Church; this Body of Christ is composed of: Christ, the head, and the Church the body.

The Body of Christ is composed of all members (Believers) which include those who are alive today, those who are dead, and those who have been taken into Heaven.

This relationship with the members who are dead is not new… (as noted in the previous posts: God is not a God of the dead but of the Living: all the dead in Christ are Alive to God).

The Apostles understood this and as the Church Immerged Believers practiced Baptism for their dead beloved; that is, they Baptized themselves for their loved ones who had passed prior to Christ’s Great Commission (St. Matthew 28:16-20):

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]29 If this were not true, what do people hope to gain by being baptised for the dead? If the dead are not ever going to be raised, why be baptised on their behalf?

(1 Corinthians 15:29)
Understanding, from Scriptures, that nothing impure will enter Heaven… and that Believers will be purified, as gold, in order to purge all impurities… we pray for the dead so that the Holy Spirit would purge their impurities and cleanse them so that they may gain Eternal Salvation and be welcomed into the Presence of God.

Maran atha!



Catholics believe that even righteous people are rarely, if ever, perfectly holy when they die and must first be made perfectly holy in a final sanctification process before they can enter heaven. Catholics believe that praying for the dead may hasten their final sanctification and ease any suffering they may be experiencing.

*] If a soul is in heaven they need no prayers they have everything. Except we don’t know for sure that the one who died is in heaven.

*] If a soul is in hell, prayers do them no good. And we don’t know for sure who died and escaped hell.

*]If a soul is going through purgation, (purification) before entry into heaven prayers surely help THEM, but we don’t know for sure if a soul is in this process
Given the fact we don’t know for sure where any soul goes after death, we pray for all souls, not taking any destination or journey, for granted.

Here’s a process described in scripture, that occurs AFTER death ( i.e. on the Day), when a soul dies and is judged. This process of purification described for a soul, doesn’t talk about how long the process takes. Just that it takes place for THOSE who are saved and will go to heaven. This doesn’t take place for one who is damned.

And since there is no clock in the afterlife, if the purification process is quick then great. But what if in our time, it takes a soul a long time to be purified? Prayers will help that soul.

Therefore, given those possibilities, Prayers for the dead is a good and charitable act.

1 Cor 3:
10 According to the commission of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Nowif any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble— 13 each man’s work will become manifest; for*** the Day *****(“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+3&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-32582b”)] will disclose it, because *it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. ** 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

**(“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+3&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-32582b”)] the Day: i.e., the day of the Lord: God’s searching judgment.

*and there is this

Look at the arguments from scripture and tradition

Well said!:thumbsup:

Because we care enough about them? As I pray for my children I pray for my forefathers. It is the least I can do. But at the same time, it never feels enough.

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