15. Eucharist: Helps the Dead

Catholic Position

¶1371 The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful
departed who “have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,” so
that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ:

Put this body anywhere! Don’t trouble yourselves about it! I simply ask you to remember me at the Lord’s altar wherever you are.

Then, we pray [in the anaphora] for the holy fathers and bishops who
have fallen asleep, and in general for all who have fallen asleep
before us, in the belief that it is a great benefit to the souls on
whose behalf the supplication is offered, while the holy and tremendous
Victim is present…. By offering to God our supplications for those
who have fallen asleep, if they have sinned, we . . . offer Christ
sacrificed for the sins of all, and so render favorable, for them and
for us, the God who loves man.

¶1689 The Eucharistic Sacrifice. When the celebration takes place in
church the Eucharist is the heart of the Paschal reality of Christian
death. In the Eucharist, the Church expresses her efficacious communion
with the departed: offering to the Father in the Holy Spirit the
sacrifice of the death and resurrection of Christ, she asks to purify
his child of his sins and their consequences, and to admit him to the
Paschal fullness of the table of the Kingdom. It is by the Eucharist
thus celebrated that the community of the faithful, especially the
family of the deceased, learn to live in communion with the one who
“has fallen asleep in the Lord,” by communicating in the Body of Christ
of which he is a living member and, then, by praying for him and with
him.

Scripture Says

Romans 14:12
12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Hebrews 9:27
27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

John 3:18
18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God.


John 5:24
24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and
believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Commentary

  • Christ’s sacrifice alone atones for sin. No church ritual can satisfy the justice of God.
  • Christ’s death was a once-for-all sacrifice. It cannot and need not be repeated.