Particularly, "Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy" implies a belief that everyone will eventually be saved. After all, who is more in need of God's mercy than someone who dies in a state of mortal sin?

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    "Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy" is an ask, an expression of desire. It does not imply that all souls will actually get to heaven. If I say I want my team to win the cup, that doesn't mean that my team will win the cup. Apr 15, 2023 at 16:10
  • @DJClayworth Except that, what we are asking is in line with Will of the Father who desires "all men" be saved....-1Timothy2:4, and if what we pray is the Will of the Father, it will be granted indeed 101% -"We dare to hope hell is empty". -Apokatastasis! Apr 28, 2023 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


No. Lead all souls to heaven doesn't imply that all souls will in fact make it to heaven.

Catholic theology teaches that God has a universal salvific will (meaning that God desires each soul to be saved) but that the free will to reject the grace of God means that not every soul will in fact be saved. Catholics likewise may not intentionally exclude souls from prayers for salvation -- that would be an offense against charity. Only the actually damned are beyond our prayers and we don't know who is actually damned.


It is sinful to desire the salvation of someone who dies in a state of mortal sin because that would be against God's justice.

In fact, the saints in heaven rejoice over the damned souls being in hell. St. Thomas Aquinas writes (Summa Theologica suppl. q. 94 a. 3 co.):

the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy.

  • If I remember correctly, St, Catherine of Siena, in her Dialogue, had written that even parents in Heaven who see their child(ren) in Hell will be glad to see God's Justice done.
    – DDS
    Apr 16, 2023 at 0:11
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    God the Father to St. Catherine: And their will is so united with Mine, that a father or a mother seeing their son, or a son seeing his father or his mother in Hell, do not trouble themselves, and even are contented to see them punished as My enemies. Wherefore in nothing do they disagree with Me, and their desires are all satisfied.---cf. "The Dialogue, '' Book II.
    – DDS
    Apr 16, 2023 at 1:15
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    To elaborate on the first sentence, it is sinful to desire someone to be saved who is beyond salvation. It is also sinful to desire that a sinner not repent before death.
    – eques
    Apr 17, 2023 at 20:17
  • @eques Yes, conversely similar to how it's sinful to pray for martyrs: St. Augustine, Serm., 17: “Iniuriam facit martyri, qui orat pro martyre.” ("One harms [the reputation of] a martyr who prays for him.").
    – Geremia
    Apr 17, 2023 at 21:11

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