Prayer for Judas . .

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ecs_220

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This post was inspired by bquinnan’s “Judas and Communion” thread:

Is it right and proper to offer intercessory prayer for the soul of Judas Iscariot?

“Judas is lost forever”, it has been said, “He betrayed Our Savior to His killers for personal gain, then committed suicide – self-murder – which forever negated any prospect of repentance and salvation.”

True, Judas was a thief; true, he handed over Jesus for money. But did he not repent, realizing his own sin of betraying “innocent blood” (Matt 27:4)? Could his earthly life’s end not be considered a just (at least in his own heart) act of self-punishment, in the absence of an authority who would rightly convict and sentence him for his self-confessed crime under the Mosaic law? Would not Christ’s plea, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” apply also to the traitor among the Twelve?

Perhaps an apologist can jump in here, but I have from time to time prayed for Judas Iscariot – most often accompanied by a prayer that Our Lord will excuse my own ignorance in the matter.
 
Suicide is a grave and mortal sin alone. He probably could have repented and gone to heaven if not for that. But guilt of sin can be mitigated (is that the right word?) by mental illness and other circumstances. It’s kind of difficult to assess the mental state of someone who lived 2000 years ago.

I gues my personnal answer to you (which, when combined with $2 will get you a cupof coffee and not much else) is anything is possible with God, but I wouldn’t count on it.
 
By my reckoning, for what it’s worth, Judas committed the Sin against the Holy Spirit, which is unforgivable either in this world or in the next. That is to say, by his suicide he blocked off all channels of sanctifying grace either in this life or in the next (purgatory). Jesus said it would have been better for him if he had never been born (Mark 14:21).

That says it all.
 
I know that Jesus told him “it would have been better if you had not been born.”

I’m guessing that if there’s such a thing as the opposite of cannonization, that’s pretty much it.

There are two potential ends for each person: Heaven or Hell. If one makes it to Heaven, even with a nice long stay in Purgatory, then being born is a good thing. For anyone in Hell, it would would be better if they had never been born.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say with 99.999% certainty that Judas Iscariot is probably not too comfortable right now (and I don’t mean in the Purgatorial sense).
 
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Herrobp:
…I’m gonna go out on a limb and say with 99.999% certainty that Judas Iscariot is probably not too comfortable right now (and I don’t mean in the Purgatorial sense).
Does that leave me a 0.001% chance that my prayer for his soul might not be in vain? Let me pose another query: does my concern for the soul of Christ’s betrayer place me in a sinful position? It is not my intent to be presumptuous or to offend Our Lord by my intercession; are we not urged to pray for those for whom no one prays? Might it not be better to run the risk of merely wasting my time, to beg God’s mercy on the Lowest of the Low?
 
You can certainly pray for Judas and all the other historical figures that we might consider, “most likely in hell” and you won’t be sinning if you choose to do so.

If Judas did make it (which I find very hard to believe considering the evidence from Scripture and tradition), then he would probably be spending a long time in Purgatory and in need of your prayers.

Whether the prayers you offer up for his soul will be efficacious for him in the after life, no one knows except God.

Why not pray for the souls in Purgatory in general, and God will see to it that those prayers will help someone who is in need of it?

Miguel.
 
I’d think a person in hell *is *in need of prayers. I pray for poor Judas because I’ve always felt sorry for him. Didn’t he commit suice because he felt so horrible over what he had done? Maybe I’ve taken it wrong. I’ve always taken it that he realized what he had done, and he committed suicide. I know suicide is a horrible sin, but… I’m sure God makes an acception once in a while? :confused: Maybe?
 
Prayers won’t help somebody who is already in hell, its too late.
 
Thats true prayers won’t help people in hell, they had their chance and chose other than God. I think that Judas is in hell because of committing suicide, that is a mortal sin because you are breaking the commandment Thou shall not kill and also there is no chance for repentance. That means that he died with a mortal sin on his soul and therefore the church teaches that he will go to hell. Pray for those in purgatory there your prayers can help. Peace.
 
Permit me to add my 2 cents here. I believe it is the providence of God alone to judge the soul of the individual. We are permitted, and even encouraged, to judge other’s actions, but not permitted to push the “up or down” button on the elevator of eternal destiny for that person. The bottom line is that we simply don’t know that state of Judas’ soul when he died and that’s what determines where a person spends eternity. If the following example is even POSSIBLE, then I don’t think we can determine Judas’ current residence:

What if Judas didn’t die immediately upon hanging himself? What if it hurt like heck when he jumped, but the fall refused to break his hyoid bones, enabling him a “second chance”, as it were? What if, while hanging from the tree, he repented of his attempt to commit suicide (and of his handing over the Son of God, which he may have even done beforehand)? What if he even tried to extricate himself from the noose, having realized his mistake, but died nonetheless? Would Judas not also be granted the mercy provided by God, having fulfilled the requirements for forgiveness?

I’m not saying that’s the way it happened, but wouldn’t you agree that it is possible? That’s the reason why the Catholic Church pronounces some individuals as attaining Heaven (e.g. thru canonization), but remains silent as to the contrary.

Furthermore, I think that trying to interpret the words of Jesus when he said, “…it would be better for him if he were never born…” is an exercise in self-interpretation of Scripture, which we, as Catholics, condone as a “tradition of men”. Surely we can discuss what MAY have been meant by that statement, but to my knowledge an infallible pronouncement has never been made regarding it’s meaning.

Far be it from us to judge the soul of another individual…
 
Maddalena,

I think we need to be careful in ascribing what WE believe to be “just” and what is right in the eyes of GOD. If Judas is in Hell, it isn’t because he made a mistake and is now wishing he hadn’t. If he’s in Hell, it’s because the time finally came for him to make a decision to either be in the presence of God or the absence of God, and he chose Hell himself. God doesn’t send people to Hell, he let’s them have their way. In the end, I guess God says to us something to the effect of, “Thy will be done.”

God desires all of us to be with him, but our free will would mean nothing if he plucked some individuals from the brink of the fires of Hell from, time to time, who chose to go there rather than be with him. That would render the attribute of love meaningless. If that were the case, he may be an all-merciful God, but he wouldn’t be an all-loving and all-just God, which we know are attributes of the God we serve. Not only are our prayers for those in Hell non-efficacious, they are not even wanted by those we are praying for.
 
slaps hand on forehead --/"’) Perhaps I should not comment on things I know nothing about or just sya nothing at all. >>;
 
SLOW BURN

“Far be it from us to judge the soul of another individual…”

True, in the normal course of events judgment is not ours to render. But we have the judgment of Jesus in his own words. If it were better that Judas had not been born, where else can he be but in Hell?
 
I guess I would reply in this way, Carl. Is it possible that Jesus may have meant something other than what you offer for it to have meant? Suppose Jesus was using that statement to describe the infamy Judas has received from his actions? Calling someone “a Judas” today denotes a traitor or scoundrel. And this is over 2000 years later! I’m not suggesting that this was his intent. He may have been saying exactly what you propose. It’s just that I think sometimes we’re a bit naive when we attempt to ascribe a meaning to the words of an individual that lived in a time and place far removed from our own. Here’s an example:

A friend of mine who was raised Pentecostal once stated to me the following while we were discussing Mary’s perpetual virginity. “If Mary was always a virgin, then why does the Bible speak of the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus?” Her way of looking at the passage is the problem with the Protestant view of the interpretation of Scripture. She never considered that her private interpretation may be incorrect. She was reading the passage as if a contemporary author had written in yesterday. If that were the case, she may have had a valid argument (but still couldn’t tell for certain, since she couldn’t appeal to an infallible authority). But this passage was being written in Greek by a man in first century Palestine who was quoting someone who likely spoke Aramaic. While the Greek language does, I believe, have a word to distinguish “brothers” as we think of the term, the Aramaic language does not. They used the term “brothers” to denote individuals who had the same parents, as well as half-brothers and various relations of cousins.

The point is, we just need to be careful when we try to make proper sense of those who said the words 2000 years ago. You are surely welcome to your opinion and I respect it. In fact, I’d never really thought about your argument as an answer to the question posed. That’s the great thing about this site. Just when I think I’ve heard every argument for or against something, someone like you drops a novel one on me! The Church allows us liberty to believe as we may, so long as we don’t attempt to pass off our conclusions as an official teaching of the Church. As for me, I can’t offer an opinion either way (and between you and me, that’s a rarity! 😉 ; there’s just not enough information to know.
 
ecs 220:
This post was inspired by bquinnan’s “Judas and Communion” thread:

Is it right and proper to offer intercessory prayer for the soul of Judas Iscariot?

“Judas is lost forever”, it has been said, “He betrayed Our Savior to His killers for personal gain, then committed suicide – self-murder – which forever negated any prospect of repentance and salvation.”

True, Judas was a thief; true, he handed over Jesus for money. But did he not repent, realizing his own sin of betraying “innocent blood” (Matt 27:4)? Could his earthly life’s end not be considered a just (at least in his own heart) act of self-punishment, in the absence of an authority who would rightly convict and sentence him for his self-confessed crime under the Mosaic law? Would not Christ’s plea, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” apply also to the traitor among the Twelve?

Perhaps an apologist can jump in here, but I have from time to time prayed for Judas Iscariot – most often accompanied by a prayer that Our Lord will excuse my own ignorance in the matter.
John 17:12 "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (NASB)

The “son of perdition” spoken about here in John 17:12 is Judas Iscariot.
 
Touche, Ric. Well done. As such, I’m not aware that it is official teaching of the Church (if you subscribe to the authority of the Catholic Church, that is 🙂 )that Judas’ soul resides in Hell, but yours is the most compelling argument I’ve seen. 👍
 
Slow Burn:
Touche, Ric. Well done. As such, I’m not aware that it is official teaching of the Church (if you subscribe to the authority of the Catholic Church, that is 🙂 )that Judas’ soul resides in Hell, but yours is the most compelling argument I’ve seen. 👍
Thanks Todd,

And to just let you know - I am an Evangelical Christian that does not subscribe to any of the authority of the Roman Catholic church. 😉
 
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Ric:
John 17:12 "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (NASB)

The “son of perdition” spoken about here in John 17:12 is Judas Iscariot.
Right. And Judas Iscariot was the only one of the Apostles who “perished” (either “hanged himself with a halter” or “fell…his internal organs bursting forth…” or both) while Jesus walked the earth. Whether one submits to the authority or teaching of the Catholic Church or not – and despite the fact that one definition of the English word “perdition” is “hell” or “eternal damnation” (the other is “destruction”) – that passage alone does not tell me that Judas Iscariot is definitely now definitely in a state completely devoid of hope. I understand the view that he probably would be, but need we resign ourselves to it?

BTW, a close family member of mine took his own life many, many years ago. I’m certainly glad that the Church has expressed a new, more compassionate view toward victims of suicide (and their loved ones), rather than the cut-and-dried extrabiblical “too late, too bad” stance of centuries past.
 
Agreed, ecs. To attempt to define with certainty that Jesus meant what WE THINK he meant is not our prerogative. This is a defining point in the division between Catholicism and Protestantism. Without an authority to appeal to, we simply could never know anything with certainty. The Catholic Church is the only Christian church to even make the claim. Until there is an infallible pronouncement as such (and there will not be since public revelation is closed), we are only free to speculate.
 
“Until there is an infallible pronouncement as such (and there will not be since public revelation is closed), we are only free to speculate.”

The words of Jesus are not infallible? “Better that he had not been born.” “Son of perdition.” Next you’ll be telling us Jesus was only speculating when he said to the Good Thief, “This day you will be with me in Paradise.”
 
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