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Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

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Funerals for lapsed Catholics?

Question:

I’ve been at funerals where the person had not been a practicing Catholic. Some of these people had never been to Church in all the years I knew them. Why is it the Church buries these lapsed Catholics?

Answer:

Often it is not clear why a lapsed Catholic has lapsed. The Church wants to fulfill the wish of Christ that all be saved. It is not proper for us to pass judgment on the spiritual state of others, particularly if we have not been with them during their last minutes of life.

Remember that at the last moment the good thief had a change of heart and Christ welcomed him into paradise. The parish priest or hospital chaplain will look for any indication that the individual wished to die on good terms with the Lord. Given that indication, the priest will not withhold any of the spiritual benefits that can be given the deceased and those close to him by a funeral Mass.

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