ALL THE SUFFRAGES OF THE LIVING ARE NOT OF ADVANTAGE TO THE DEAD IN THE SAME MANNER, OR WITH THE SAME VIRTUE ; NOR ARE THEY OF ADVANTAGE TO ALL OF THEM.
1. Let us begin with the first clause of the proposition, which is, that our suffrages are not profit able to the dead in the same manner, or with the same virtue. Suffrages, whether for the living, or the dead, consist principally in the holy sacrifice, in prayers, and in alms. This is easily proved even from such a remote authority as St. Augustine. He says: (Serm, 172, de verbis Apost. n. 2.) "But there is no doubt that the dead are assisted By the prayers of holy Church, and the salutary sacrifice, and the alms which are bestowed on their souls, to the end that the Lord may deal " "more mercifully with them, than their sins deserved. For this, handed down from the Fathers, the universal Church observes." Thus, it is evident from St. Augustine, that there are three kinds of suffrages, sacrifice, prayers, and alms. But two of these, prayers and alms, do not operate on the dead, in the same manner, or with the same virtue, as sacrifice ; for the holy sacrifice in virtue of divine institution, operates, as theologians term it, ex opere operato, that is, necessarily, provided the due conditions are placed. This cannot be said of prayers, or alms.
These were not instituted by God, to operate in the same way, or with the same virtue, as the venerable Sacrifice of the Altar.
2. The truth of the second clause of the proposition—that the suffrages of the living are not of advantage to all the dead—is easily proved. Suffrages do not profit—do not remit pain, either for the blessed, or the damned. The blessed do not need our suffrages. They have no pain to remit. They have arrived at that happy abode, of which St. John wrote in the Apocalypse (vii. 17.) "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Neither can our suffrages be of advantage to the damned. Their pain is incapable of being remitted. They are beyond the reach of assistance, or even of consolation. The sentence of eternal damnation is written before their eyes. They " shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Apocalypse, xx. 10.)