Am I going to hell?

I left the Catholic church for good after high school. During that time and up until that time I was hopeless, and I was depressed and even contemplated suicide a few times. I did what I was supposed to do per the church and yet found no hope. This isn’t the church’s fault necessarily, but this is where I was at. I was never sure of where I would go…hell or heaven. Some years later I became a born-again Christian, and I realized after doing some reading about the Catholic faith via the Catechism that I was actually anathema for what I did. Meaning that regardless of my intense faith in Christ and an a sincere embracing of what He did for me on the cross, I was still going to hell because of the fact that I left the one “true” Catholic church. My friends, please tell me how this can be. I love Jesus. I love other believers. I try to pick up my cross and follow Him, I pray to him daily, I have striven to be a better Christian by being in His will daily. I don’t go to Catholic church, but Scripture is my world view.

That being said, how is this doctrine of anathema supported in Scripture? According to the church I am not family. I’m gone, destined for hell.

Dear friend,

No one who loves Christ will go to hell. You were young and unaware of many things. The anathema was to clarify that only the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth as opposed to the new forms of Christianity that were formed by the advent of Protestantism, The Catholic Church teaches that people who through no fault of their own do not appreciate what the Catholic Church is (which included you after high school) can indeed go to heaven if they have tried to live a virtuous life according to their conscience.

I suggest that you go to Confession and get yourself settled with the Church. Welcome home!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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