Roman Catholic Church
In the West there is ample evidence of the custom of praying for the dead in the inscriptions of the catacombs, with their constant prayers for the peace and refreshment of the souls of the departed and in the early liturgies, which commonly contain commemorations of the dead; and Tertullian, Cyprian and other early Western Fathers witness to the regular practice of praying for the dead.[14]

The West felt that it was inappropriate to pray "for" the martyrs, since they were believed to be in no need of such prayers. Theoretically, too, prayer for those in hell (understood as the abode of the eternally lost) would be useless, but since there is no certainty that any particular person is in hell understood in that sense, prayers were and are offered for all the dead, except for those believed to be in heaven. These are prayed to, not for. Thus, prayers were and are offered for all those in Hades, a word that refers to the abode of the dead who are not known to be in heaven, but that is sometimes rendered as "hell".[15] With the development of the doctrine of purgatory, the dead prayed for were spoken of as being in purgatory and, in view of the certainty that by the process of purification and with the help of the prayers of the faithful they were destined for heaven, they were referred to as the "holy souls".

Limits were placed on public offering of Mass for the unbaptised and notorious sinners, but prayers and even Mass in private could be said for them. The present Code of Canon Law states that, unless the person concerned gave some signs of repentance before death, no form of funeral Mass may be offered for notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics; those who for anti-Christian motives chose that their bodies be cremated; and other manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful.[16]

On the other hand, "provided their own minister is not available, baptised persons belonging to a non-catholic Church or ecclesial community may, in accordance with the prudent judgement of the local Ordinary, be allowed Church funeral rites, unless it is established that they did not wish this."[17]

During the slaughter of the First World War, Pope Benedict XV on 10 August 1915, allowed all priests everywhere to say three Masses on All Souls' Day. The two extra Masses were in no way to benefit the priest himself: one was to be offered for all the faithful departed, the other for the Pope's intentions, which at that time were presumed to be for all the victims of that war. The permission remains.
Each Eucharistic Prayer of the Order of Mass has a prayer for the departed.

[edit] Anglicanism
The Church of England's 1549 Book of the Common Prayer still had prayer for the dead, as (in the Communion Service): "We commend into thy mercy all other thy servants, which are departed hence from us with the sign of faith and now do rest in the sleep of peace: grant unto them, we beseech thee, thy mercy and everlasting peace." But since 1552 the Book of Common Prayer has no express prayers for the dead, and the practice is denounced in the Homily "On Prayer" (part 3).[18] Nonjurors included prayers for the dead, a practice that spread within the Church of England in the mid-nineteenth century, and was authorized in 1900 for forces serving in South Africa and since then in other forms of service. Many jurisdictions and parishes of the Anglo-Catholic tradition continue to practice prayer for the dead, including offering the Sunday liturgy for the peace of named departed Christians and the keeping of All Soul's Day.

[edit] Protestant churches
The sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation continued at first the traditional custom of praying for the dead, but before long came to denounce it, partly because they believed it to be without biblical foundation, partly through their rejection of the doctrine of purgatory and the practices associated with it.[14] Prayer for the dead is still avoided by those of marked Evangelical belief.[14]

[edit] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)
The LDS Church has a number of sacred ordinances and rituals that are performed for the dead. The chief amongst these are baptism for the dead and the sealing of the dead to families. These practices are based upon multiple New Testament scriptures, some of which are 1 Corinthians 15:29-32, Matthew 16:19