Good-hearted Catholics, seeking to imitate Our Lord in charity and virtue, went on television and social media after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to solicit prayers for the departed judge’s soul.
While understandable, and virtuous in thought, this practice is prohibited by the Church. Let me repeat: it is prohibited by the pre-Vatican II Church to pray for obstinate sinners who rejected the Gospel and died outside of the Church.
There is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord. – Isaiah 48:22.
“They [the saints] pray for their enemies at that time when they are able to convert their hearts to fruitful penitence…And this is now the reason for holy men not praying for unbelieving and ungodly men who are dead; for they are unwilling that the merit of their prayer should be set aside, in that presence of the righteous Judge, in behalf of those whom they know to be already consigned to punishment.” – Pope St. Gregory the Great
“Gregory says: There is the same reason for not praying then (namely after the judgement day) for men condemned to everlasting fire, as there is now for not praying for the devil and his angels who are sentenced to eternal punishment, and for this reason the saints do not pray for dead unbelieving and wicked men, because, forsooth, knowing them to be already condemned to eternal punishment, they shrink from pleading for them by the merit of their prayers…” – St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Suppl. Q. 71, A. 5.
There are many, many other quotations from saints and popes in a similar vein.
As someone pointed out to me: there is a reason why in the traditional mass we only pray for people who died with the sign of faith. Because to pray for anyone who dies without is to deny the dogma that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. On the contrary: we should be celebrating that Ginsburg’s death might provide the opportunity to rectify some of the evils that she promoted during her life. The wicked was struck down and the just should rejoice.
So why are some Catholics unwilling to accept that anyone who dies outside of the Church in a state of grave sin is automatically condemned? Because of the confusion from the “Divine Mercy” devotions and the muddy teaching of the Conciliar Church. These twin pillars of error have wrecked the faith of many Catholics in the dogma that Outside of the Church There is No Salvation.
We, the Church Militant, are to pray for sinners to convert and repent before death. That is our mission. Anyone who dies without repentance and baptism is surely lost with absolutely no caveats as Our Lord told us.
[much of the material for this post, with far more quotations not included, came from the excellent 6 minute video]