Why do Catholics pray for the dead?
All who die in God’s friendship go to Heaven. But if we haven’t properly atoned for our sins, we are purified in Purgatory first. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls Purgatory, “a final cleansing of human imperfection before one is able to enter the joy of heaven.” Praying for the souls in Purgatory helps them pass through faster than they would otherwise. “Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin” (2Maccabees 12:46).