King Henry VIII and Martin Luther were excommunicated.
Supposing they begged God for forgiveness with a contrite heart just before they died, would they be condemned to Hell for being excommunicated? Should they have seen the Pope for it to be lifted before death?
I would think if they had made a good confession and received absolution from a validly ordained priest in good standing they would have been forgiven. I’m sure that wouldn’t be the end of the process in their cases though.
I would think if they had made a good confession and received absolution from a validly ordained priest in good standing they would have been forgiven. I’m sure that wouldn’t have been the end of the process in their cases though.
Excommunication is a legal punitive action of last resort by the Church, not an act of condemnation by God resulting in certain loss of salvation.
Although only God knows, and we cannot be absolutely certain, Henry and Martin could quite possibly be in heaven, or enroute following a purification in Purgatory.
The same could be said for those we consider righteous. Someone we think is truly a saint, maybe harboring things in their heart that only God knows, and they may not necessarily receive the offer of promised salvation.
Excommunication is not damnation. It’s a very severe, and very public warning to a particular individual that he has divided himself from the Church and is most likely on the path to Hell for certain sins. It doesn’t mean that the Church is barring that person from Heaven, only that the Church is warning the person She excommunicates.
As such, yes, excommunicated person can certainly repent at the moment of death, and be saved from Hell, but I daresay there’s a lot of Purgatory time for them for having waited so late and done so much damage before their deaths.
It has been explained that an Excommunication is a legal option of the Church. It is not a condemnation to hell.
Joan of Arc was excommunicated. She is now a saint. Of course her excomunication was not “lifted” but rather declared null.
Excommunication does not survive death. It dies with the person. A fact demonstrated when BXVI lifted some excommunications of a group of people but not on the ones who had died. Because the excommunication ends at death.
One might say that after death it is in a different jurisdiction…