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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

Can I have a Mass said for the repose of the soul of a Protestant? What happens to my prayers if he’s in heaven or hell already?

Question:

Can I have a Mass said for the repose of the soul of my Protestant friend? And what happens to my prayers if he’s in heaven already or, God forbid, hell?

Answer:

You can, and should, have a Mass said for your Protestant friend, or anyone for that matter.

If the one we are praying for is in heaven, he is not in need of our prayers. If he is in hell, no prayer can benefit him. But because the Church does not presume to know if any particular soul is damned, we are not to judge but to pray. The rest is up to God. Only God judges the heart (cf. 1 Sm 16:7).

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