Can the Souls in Purgatory Pray for Us?

As Catholics, we pray for the holy souls in Purgatory, that their process of purification and perfection may be hastened so they may experience the Beatific Vision of the Lord in heaven.

But can the souls in Purgatory pray for us? This was a question that Monsignor Stuart Swetland received not just once, but twice this week. On Go Ask Your Father™ a listener said that at her parish they conclude Mass by asking the holy souls to intercede for them, but she was told they shouldn’t do that. She asked Msgr. Swetland which was correct. Msgr. Swetland offered his response, and also gave an example of how to respond to questions about the faith when you don’t have a definitive answer on hand. Msgr. Swetland said:

“I got a similar question this morning on Morning Air®, and I think this is an open theological question. Because I believe that, as members of the Body of Christ, they can pray for others, they just can’t pray for themselves because of the situation they are in.

But I may be wrong on that. I was going to actually be talking to some theologians I know, who know this area of theology better than I, to double check this. But I don’t see how members of the Body of Christ can’t pray for each other, even for those who are in Purgatory. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to.

Part of what is going on is an increase in charity that they need to become perfected. So, my personal theological opinion, as it stands now (and I’m open to being corrected), is that the souls in Purgatory could pray for us, but they can’t, in their circumstances, pray for themselves. But I will check that with some theologians who know eschatology better than I, just to see if I’m correct. If I’m not, I’ll correct myself on air.

I do know there are theologians who disagree with me, but I’m almost positive the Church hasn’t ruled definitely on this. Again, we’re dealing with areas of speculative theology.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

Go Ask Your Father airs weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.