Purgatory, Indulgence question
With All Souls' Day passed by and the plethora of Indulgences available to us in November.  My understanding is that on a All Souls' Day when you pray for the dead, you gain the indulgence for the dead one. My question is that this is making the assumption that said person is in Purgatory. But What if the person is in hell?  Do the prayers that are offered up for said person are transfer to some store house of prayers for the souls in Purgatory, do they still apply even though the person has no chance to go to heaven, or do they apply to the individual offering the prayers as while the person may not know the condition of the soul he is praying for (Something none of us know), he is still performing a meritous and pious act.

It bears pointing out that the satisfaction being granted through an indulgence begins in the "storehouse," the treasury of merit (of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and all the Saints) and the grant of an indulgence draws satisfaction from that storehouse and applies it to a particular soul. So at worst, it stays in the storehouse to be applied to someone else.

Anyway, I've read the answer to this question in some credible work, but I can't seem to remember exactly where...Basically, like any prayers for the dead, God will apply them in the way He deems mostly fitting, even when the soul actually is in Purgatory.  Unlike indulgences granted to the living, indulgences obtained for the dead do not have the irrevocable pledge of God tied to the binding and loosing power of the Church.

Fr. Alexius Lepicier (who would become a Cardinal later) explains this well in his work “Indulgences, their origin, nature, and development” published in 1895 (sorry for the weird formatting):

Quote:12. Yet, we should observe with St. Bonaventure,^
that the souls in Purgatory are united to the Mili-
tant Church by the bonds of charity, not by the
chains of true subjection. As soon as a soul departs
this life, it ceases to be subject to the jurisdiction of
the Church, and is submitted immediately to God's
tribunal. Hence, the Church can pronounce on the
faithful departed no juridical sentence, no formal
judgment, no direct absolution : this God alone can
now do. Yet, she can help them hy way of suffrage,
offering, or impetration ; that is, she can draw from
off her own treasury the merits of Christ, and offer
them to God, praying Him to accept these suffrages
in their behalf And in this indirect manner, the
Church helps the souls of her children that are de-
tained in the flames of Purgatory.

As regards the power of the Keys of the Church,
the intention of the donor, and the abundance of the
merits of Christ and of His saints, an Indulgence
applied to the souls in Purgatory should have the
same effect as if it were applied to the faithful on
earth. But with God's intention, on whom the appli-
cation entirely depends, it is not so.

For, although we may have a confident trust that
God will take into account our good wishes and sup-
plications, yet He has not pledged Himself irrevocably
to do so, at least in the measure which we ask ; so
that we cannot infallibly be certain that such a soul,
for which we have, by fulfilling all the conditions,
gained, for instance, a plenary Indulgence, is at once
on equal terms with the Justice of God and ushered
into Paradise. In fact, that should be said of In-
dulgences which the Sacred Congregation of Indul-
gences declared about the privilege annexed to some
altars,^ viz., that "in its real application it is a par-
don, the measure of which corresponds to the good
pleasure of Divine Mercy, and to His acceptance of
the satisfaction which is offered to Him."


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