deathbed confession?

If you have lived all of your life in complete sin, and while on your deathbed you have a change of heart and get a priest to give you confession, will you go to heaven?

I want to say no. Just because you are scared enough about your eternal soul to ask for confession while facing death doesnt give you a free pass. Even if you go to judgement with a clean soul, will we be judged about how we generally lived our life?


I disagree, kind of. If the person was truly sorry for their sins, I think God, being all merciful, would forgive them. Though nobody can say who is and is not saved. It is never too late to ask for God’s forgiveness.

I think if the person is confessing “just in case” Hell exists, I think that would be a case where the person may go to Hell. But if the person were truly repentant, I believe we serve a merciful God who would forgive him or her. He or she would still have to suffer the temporal consequences due to his or her sins, but I think God would be happy. The person came to Him. I think in the end, that is all God really wants of us.

Actually, unlike Heaven where we do have a list of people definitely there (Canonized Saints), we don’t have a list who are definitely in Hell. Who, faced with the glory of God Almighty would be able to turn away from Him?

Sinners ought to never get a free get out of jail card. They must be punished for eternity, even if they repent.

And the ones that think they never sinned so badly that they could play the role that is only the role of Jesus,

Good luck with playing God. You are not qualifyed to play the part.

I agree with the previous posts that if it were a true Confession then that person would probably go to Heaven. However, I’ve been taught that their Heaven wouldn’t be as great as someone who lived a holy life. I know that sounds weird so I’m going to do my best to explain it…

Let’s say the deathbed confession person goes to Heaven. Their soul is like shot glass. Small, but still overflowing with God’s love and joy. Now look at a saint in Heaven. Their soul is like a 5 gallon tub overflowing with God’s love and joy. That’s why it’s important to live a holy life and not simply repent as we’re dying.

I hope that makes sense to you. But if not, hey, I tried my best…

God Bless!

Assuming that you receive baptism by water, fire, or desire, and have at least imperfect contrition, yes.

There are degrees of glory in heaven. Also we are saved by the grace of God, not our own doing, except that we must cooperate with that grace.

Luke 23:39-43 Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

I think Catholicism solves the deathbed confession problem quite easily. He would probably still go to heaven (God is merciful), but he would also probably spend a long, long time in purgatory that he could have avoided if he tried to work with God during his life (God is just).

Purgatory makes a lot of sense to me if I were to accept the idea of the Catholic God.

It really for me is a deal breaker with protestants who refuse to accept it.

Orthodox do in their own way with Toll Houses, but it is not the same.

I vote catholic if God ever gives me the gift of faith. On that issue.

Edit to add: unless it cost people money to have a shot at purgatory. That would not be something I would be okay with.

Aren’t we all sinners? Since we all are you basically just said we should all be punished forever. :wink:

I agree that there is no “get out of jail free” card, but being truly repentfull, and confessing your sins is the first step in repairing the “damage” so to speak.

In regards to the OP I think it highly depends on the persons situation, and how much they know. For a mortal sin to exist you need the following criteria:
1.Its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter.
2.It must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense (no one is considered ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are inborn as part of human knowledge, but these principles can be misunderstood in a particular context).
3.It must be committed with deliberate and complete consent, enough for it to have been a personal decision to commit the sin.

Since it must be commited with full knowledge of the offense, so if such a dieing person has a revelation and just realizes all the sins he has commited, and then seeks forgiveness. I think it could be possible for him/ her to acheive heaven. But if a practicing Catholic who knows all the rules but chooses to sin anyway, then it might be a whole different matter :rolleyes:

It’s so hard to tell because I’ll never know what another person has gone through, and have no right to judge them. I’ll just keep praying for the dieing and the souls in purgatory and leave the judging to God :slight_smile:

You’ll be in my prayers that a strong faith and love for God may come to you. :slight_smile:

Hmmm, the thief on the cross comes to mind…

I am sorry that I did not make it clearer that I was employing sarcasm with my comment that sinners out to never have a get out of jail card.

I don’t believe that anyone can say that a deathbed confession would not “take”

I do believe there are some that are trying to kick Jesus out of the ball of wax by deciding for him what he can only kinow.

Thank you for the kind thoughts and words.

That’s pretty strict, isn’t it? Doesn’t Catholic teaching say that mortal sins can be forgiven, and even right before one’s death? However, my own belief is that certain sins–due to their gravity and number–may not be pardonable; the example usually given is the sins committed by Hitler. I doubt that even a sincere deathbed confession would help him. Still, that’s up to G-d to decide, not me.

Even the atrocities committed by Hitler are forgivable, if he repented, but he’d probably be in purgatory forever and a day

You see, I obviously completely agree that everything Hitler did was unspeakably awful, but I have always wondered if he was “right in the head.” Okay, let me rephrase, he clearly wasn’t, but I wonder if he could have had something mentally wrong with him that could lessen the culpability of his actions, to what degree I don’t know. Do you know what I mean? Like, anybody willing to do what Hitler did clearly has a few issues.

I don’t know where he is and I doubt this is the case, but I have always wondered what God would do if it turned out Hitler was crazy or something and wasn’t technically capable of mortal sin.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that this was the case or that Hitler should be or is forgiven. I just wonder how much a man as sick as him could be held responsible for his actions.

Regardless, I am sure he will be spending just about forever in Purgatory, at best.

You go eventually to Heaven. But there is, of course, Purgatory, where you pay the balance of the unfulfilled reparations for your sins on earth. No, it doesn’t give you a free pass.

Hi helpme93,

The phrase I bolded above is actually pretty important. The chances that someone who has lived a life in complete sin will have a sudden change of heart on their deathbed are pretty slim. But technically possible.

That being said, yes if someone has a true change of heart and makes a good and honest confession, such a person will go to Heaven. Of course, we will never be able to truly know if someone has a true change of heart, which is why God alone can judge with certainty.

Hope that helps!

Im sorry if you thought that I was playing the role of God, StrawberryJam. I don’t know if that comment was directed towards me, but I was merely just wondering what people thought about this scenario and offered my own opinion on it based on my catholic faith. I am not judging anyone.

Something else to ponder: Even if someone has repulsive as Hitler goes through a bajillion years of purgatory, they would be entirely altered to be suitable for heaven. Again, assuming he had a change of heart before committing suicide.

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