Why Do Catholics Pray for Purgatory Souls

Many believe there is no reference to purgatory in the Scripture, but there are references. The books of Maccabees are found in the Catholic cannon of the Hebrew Scriptures but are absent from the Protestant 16th-century cannon. Despite this difference in belief, it must be considered a reflection of the faith and practices of the Jewish people, who prayed for the dead and still do.

"It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins" (II Mac. 12:42.)

The dead can be found in the appeal of the Apostle St. Paul on behalf of Onesiphorus: "May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day" (II Tm. 1:18) This is equivalent to Catholicism's invocation to the Lord to, "grant eternal rest" to a faithful departed.

One of the first references to this tradition appeared in the pen of Aristidies of Athens, he wrote about A.D. 140: "If one of the faithful dies, obtain salvation for him by celebrating the Eucharist and praying next to his remains."

St. Augustine (d 430) prayed for his mother, St. Monica, "Forgive her too, O Lord, if she trespassed against you in the long years of her life after baptism. Forgive her, I beseech you: do not call her to account. Let our mercy give your judgment an honorable welcome, for your words are true and you have promised mercy to the merciful (confessions, Book 9:13.)

Prayers for the deceased clearly imply that there is a purgatory of some kind, or else, why bother. The Scriptures speak of a cleansing fire after death (I Cor: 3:15 and Mat. 12: 32).

The Council of Trent reflected these things and found it infallible witness to the unanimous testimony of both Scripture and tradition… there is a purgatory, and the souls detained there are aided by the prayers of the faithful (D983.)

Credit: Father Benjamin Luther.

If you would like to write Medjugorje USA