19. There are some people who do not accept the offering of prayers for the dead, as according to their belief, the soul has only two alternatives to be saved or to be eternally condemned to suffering which would result in prayer being useless in either case. Without discussing the merits of this belief, let us admit for a moment the reality of eternal unpardonable penitence which our prayers are impotent to interrupt. We ask if, even in this hypothesis, it would be logical, charitable or Christian to refuse prayer for the reprobate. However impotent these might be in liberating them, would these prayers not be a demonstration of pity, capable of softening their suffering? On Earth, when a man is condemned to perpetual prison, even if there was not a minimum chance of obtaining a pardon, is it forbidden for a charitable person to help alleviate the weight of the sentence? When someone is attacked by an incurable disease, there being no hope of cure, should we abandon the person without offering some kind of relief? Remind yourselves that amongst the wicked you may find someone who has been dear to you, perhaps a friend, a father or mother, a son or daughter; and ask yourself if, because of your belief that there is no possibility of a pardon, you would refuse a glass of water to mitigate their thirst? Or a balsam which would heal their wounds? Would you not do for them what you would do for one condemned to the galleys? Would you not give them proof of your love and console them? No, this idea would not be Christian. A belief which hardens the heart cannot be allied to one of a God who puts the duty of loving one's neighbour in first place.
The non-existence of eternal punishment does not imply a denial of temporary penalty, given that it is not possible for God in His justice to confound good with evil. In this case to deny the efficiency of prayer would be to deny the efficacy of consolation, encouragement, and good advice. This would be equal to denying the strength we absorb from the moral assistance received from those who wish us well.