Follow usTwitterFacebook


11 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (1)

Pope 'deeply saddened' by brutal killing of missionary nuns

Vatican City, Sep 11, 2014 / 02:05 am .- Pope Francis has expressed his condolences following the brutal murder of three Italian nuns in Burundi over the weeken…

Read more

12 Aug 2016 News Comments (1)

Martin Luther was a ‘teacher of the faith’, say German bishops

In a new report Germany's bishops say the 500th anniversary of the Reformation must involve repentance on both sides Germany’s Catholic bishops have praised Ma…

Read more

02 Nov 2014 Articles No comments

How to Make the Case for Marriage

Whether we like it or not, secularism is the dominant mode of public discourse today. Even those we encounter who are not "anti-faith" often place a high value …

Read more

30 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

What's it like to play for the Pope? Here's how one Catholic artist described it

Performing for Pope Francis at Saturday’s Festival of Families in Philadelphia was an answer to prayer for musician Marie Miller, but getting a personal thumbs-…

Read more

15 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (18)

Without an annulment, is it OK to date as long as we are chaste?

Full Question My husband and I married in the Catholic Church, but now I am separated from my husband and in the process of divorce and annulment. Priests …

Read more

13 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

Are people who die while excommunicated damned?

Full Question What happens to those who die while excommunicated? Do they go to hell? Answer Excommunication of laypeople principally means that …

Read more

10 Sep 2014 Vatican No comments

Church educates through actions; not 'theoretical' lectures

Vatican City, Sep 10, 2014 / 04:44 am .- During his general audience Pope Francis continued to reflect on the Church as mother, explaining that she teaches us b…

Read more

16 Jun 2015 Articles Resources Comments (1)

Thomas Merton, Lent, and the Perils of Avoiding Suffering

We spend one day a week not eating meat, and on a few days we skip meals altogether. We voluntarily deprive ourselves of good things. We intentionally pon…

Read more

22 Jan 2016 News USA Comments (1)

Custom made car Pope Francis used during his visit to Philadelphia up for auction

Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced that the Popes’ Fiat 500L ride that he used during his visit in September to Philadel…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Is it right for the Church to give lapsed Catholics funerals?

Full 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?


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.

Catholic Answers Staff



  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    “particularly if we have not been with them during their last minutes of life.”

    So if Hitler made a full confession and had Last Rites, then he would not have to go to “hell” to join the Jews he sent there (with a head start on their eternal torment) for failure to have become baptized Catholics? You can kill 6 million Jews and still go to heaven, while your victims go to hell, as long as you’re sorry in your last couple minutes and perform the correct ritual before you die, right? This is justice? This is fair? This is what a good god would do?

  2. Timothy J. Corbitt Reply

    Patrick, where did you get the idea that Catholics think that the Jews went to Hell? The Catholic Church has never designated any person as being in Hell, and leaves that decision up to the Perfect Justice, and Perfect Mercy of Christ. If Hitler confessed, and he was not sincere, he would not have fooled Christ.

    1. Patrick Gannon Reply

      As a child, I was taught that only Catholics go to heaven. Is that no longer the case? Can you point me to the relevent section of the catechism? From my understanding the issue is still very muddy, and basically boils down to a) you have to be Catholic or b) you have to be ignorant. See:

      What do you mean in saying the Church “has never designated any person as being in Hell”? I’ve heard plenty of priests refer to people they said were in Hell, and many who told all of us that we would go there too if we didn’t believe, say and do the right things.

      Hell just got bigger. They closed down Limbo, and all those souls have nowhere to go but Hell because they weren’t baptized. To the best of my understanding the catechism says you have to be baptized. I think the unofficial policy is that they now have a “hope” for salvation.

      Of course some research regarding the words Sheol, Gehenna, Hades and Tartarus lead us to understanding that Hell as we understand it is not biblical.

  3. Francis Kamau Reply

    The two answers given above go with gospel teaching. We should not judge our neighbors. Only God can see the motives of our hearts.

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories