An aquaintance struggling with cousin going to hell


Firstly, apologies if this is in the wrong place. I am struggling with an online conversation I have been having with an aquaintance, his cousin died recently. His cousin wasn’t a Christian and didn’t believe in God and he is now concerned that, because he* used* to be an alcoholic, amongst other things, but changed before death, he will have gone to Hell because he didn’t believe (let alone confess his sins).

He’s basically asking me if there is any hope for non-believers, and whether God has compassion and mercy.

Being a new Catholic I am not yet confident enough to put forward a case to him, and wondered what your views were on the matter? They may help me to help this person in question.

Thank you for your thoughts…


Thinking someone you love may suffer eternal damnation is a terrifying thing. We only see the surface of people, and don’t know what’s going on inside. Even people who seem quite angelic on the outside could be having issues on the inside.

My thoughts are that God is all merciful and all good. We have to trust in Him and in His mercy. None of us deserve to be with Him forever, so we can only hope He lets us in the door. That cousin may have had a last minute realization and made a perfect act of contrition, even if he didn’t realize that’s what he was doing. Only God knows our final destinations.


There is absolutely hope: You need to study the Catechism:
Look up:
Paragraph 3. The Church Is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
Go down to :
The Church and non-Christians
Start at paragraph 839


839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325
"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338


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