Praying for the Salvation of the Deceased (According To Padre Pio)
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There is a theological problem which has preoccupied me for quite a while. According to Catholic Teaching, individual judgement takes place immediately after death. If a soul is damned, there is no way she will ever get out of hell again. So, when praying for the deceased, it seems that we cannot pray for their salvation – because judgement has already taken place –  but can only pray for either the release of this person from purgatory or the alleviation of their sufferings.

But to be honest, whenever I pray for a deceased person, especially if it is a person whose salvation seemed to be endangered…let’s say a family member who was atheist and committed suicide…my heart urges me to pray for their salvation, and not just for the mitigation of their punishments.   
This dilemma even tempted me to flirt with semi-heretical ideas like a finite hell or Universalism…but those theories are at odds with Catholic Tradition, and dont’t even solve the problem (in the first case, prayer wouldn’t matter because the person cannot be saved, in the latter case, prayer doesn’t matter because she is already saved).

However, some time ago I stumbled upon a dialogue between Padre Pio and a physician (in a book from Fr. Alessio Parente – my translation from German), which solved the dilemma:

Padre Pio:  “Don’t you know that I can still pray for the good death of my great-grandfather?”

Physician: “But how can this be? He must have died long ago!”

Padre Pio: ”I know. But I can nonetheless pray that he might have a good death. (…) For God there is no past or future . Everything is eternal present. And since for Him everything is present - to express it in our human, temporal language – he already considered those prayers of us. Therefore, I repeat, you can still pray for the good death of your already deceased great-grandfather!”

 
So, to apply it to the dilemma: In the case of our deceased, atheist family member, we cannot pray for the release from hell or a change of God’s judgement….but our prayers could still give those people the necessary grace to accept God in their last moment on earth.

What do you think...is this theory in accordance with Catholic Teaching?
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
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Praying for the Salvation of the Deceased (According To Padre Pio) - by JosefSilouan - 01-27-2019, 06:00 AM



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