Faith and Good Works


As I understand it:
You will go to hell if you die in a state of mortal sin.
Not having faith is a mortal sin. To get rid of mortal sin, you must confess to a priest.
If you die in a state of venial sin, you will eventually go to heaven, but you will have to go to be purified in purgatory first.
You can get rid of venial sin, by doing good works. If you have made up for your venial sins, you will be rewarded for any extra deeds you do.

If any of this is incorrect, please tell me.


It would be really helpful if you’d include your references to these beliefs, for example a Scriptural reference, or a paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or a papal decree, or a specific Church ec, whatever the source.








He’s clearly not precise in his language, Tom, but I think your one-word answers are perhaps even more misleading.

Confession to a priest (or an act of perfect contrition including the resolve to seek the sacrament of penance as soon as possible) is ordinarily necessary to receive forgiveness of mortal sins and be reconciled with God and the Church.

Almsgiving and good works do get rid of venial sin: paragraph 1434 of the Catechism says:

The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”

If we die with unremitted temporal punishment for our (venial) sins, we will need to be purified before entering heaven, and that purification is called Purgatory.



Yes, you are correct in this statement. When you commit mortal sin, you reject the Holy Spirit which is residing in your soul. You must be forgiven of this sin, before you can hope to receive His Graces again.

Not having faith is a mortal sin.

Everyone has temporary moments of despaire, you may have to detail this a little further.

To get rid of mortal sin, you must confess to a priest.

The Church teaches that if we repent and go to a priest to confess our sins, and do the required penance from that priest, then God will forgive our sins. It does NOT say that this is the only means of forgiveness. It just means that your forgiveness is assured if you follow these guidelines (for lack of a better word).

If you die in a state of venial sin, you will eventually go to heaven, but you will have to go to be purified in purgatory first.

Nothing un-pure will go into heaven. Man is certainly not perfect. Something must purify us before arriving in heavean.

You can get rid of venial sin, by doing good works. If you have made up for your venial sins, you will be rewarded for any extra deeds you do.

Performing the Will of the Father will help store up His Graces in our souls. “My Food is doing the Will of the Father”.

Jesus constantly talked about our judgment. Never in these talks does Jesus base our judgment on anything other than our works. Hmmmmmmm…


By having faith I mean not being a Catholic. That is a mortal sin, right?

And you will be rewarded for any extra good works you do?

Good Works: Do any types of good works count to the above question? I read on this forum that in the bible it says that only works that one cannot boast about. Whats with that?


By having faith I mean not being a Catholic. That is a mortal sin, right?

And you will be rewarded for any extra good works you do?

Good Works: Do any types of good works count to the above question? I read on this forum that in the bible it says that only works that one cannot boast about. Whats with that?


I’d recommend looking up these questions in the Catechism of the Catholic

No, not being Catholic does not constitute a mortal sin.

I took your meaning to be we earn “points” for doing good works. No, it doesn’t work that way.

Many people misread the writings of Paul in reference “works”. Paul was the Apostle to the gentiles, when he refers to “works” he’s referring to “Works” of the Law, those things required to be a good Jew. Works of the Law are not required. He is not referring to “good” work, or works of Christian charity. We do works of Christian charity because we love God, not to earn brownie points. Jesus demands we “do”, we’re called to action.


Is any of this helping? If you have a question, one at a time, let’s discuss it. Which one is confusing you? Can we start by reading the Catechism paragraphs 830 - 835? Maybe we can work our way thru?


Not being Catholic is a mortal sin, because you go to hell for it.

Works of Law? Does that mean like being a good catholic


No, not being a Catholic is not a mortal sin, and no, you don’t go to hell for not being Catholic.

No. A work of the Law are those things required to be a good Jew. For example circumcision, ritual cleansing, sacrafices, following Jewish dietary rules, things of that nature.
The CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) paragraphs 1849 – 1876, is a great place to start to understand what is and isn’t sin.
Sin is an offense against God. You cannot offend God if you don’t know Him. You offend God by not seeking Him.


There are certain things we, as humans, instinctively know (a right conscience). These things are placed in our soul by God. A sin would be to reject those things (eternal law), you know to be true and correct, because they don’t agree with your earthly desire.
A sin is offense against God. It’s doing what you know is against reason, truth, and your right conscience.
To sin you have to choose deliberately, both knowing and willing, something you know to be wrong. A mortal sin must also be something of “grave” (important) matter. You cannot commit a mortal sin accidentally.


Dominikus, you sound really confused about the Catholic faith. Your profile says you’re “Roman Catholic”. Could you please give me a little hint about your religious background? I have to ask, how old are you? Please don’t take these questions wrong, I’m not passing judgment, simply trying to figure out where to start.


I’m 15.

Just to clear this up. Not being Catholic isn’t a sin. But is refusing to become Catholic, once you have had the chance to?


Knowing that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ built, and is His channel of Salvation, and then rejecting that Church would be considered a sin.


Well, I’m glad to see you’re interested in learning about your faith.

That’s impossible to answer, as it depends on the individual’s knowledge, understanding, intent and consent. If you completely understood all Catholic teachings, believed all to be true, and still stubbornly refused to become Catholic because it conflicted with your earthly desires, and you understood this separated you from God, and completely understood that this separation, which could have been eliminated, would result in your eternal damnation and still refused to convert, I believe God would not favorably judge you. However that is a judgment God would make, not you or I.
To commit a mortal sin you need to meet three criteria; the offense needs to be of “grave” nature (murder or adultery for example); you need to have complete knowledge, this includes a complete understanding of the result of your action, or inaction; and third you need a deliberate consent. All three must be present. God decides the degree of each, for example knowledge; did you understand that this offense was a “grave” matter? God knows, and He decides.
To address your question of becoming Catholic, it would depend greatly upon the individuals understanding of Catholic teaching. If you had a perfect and complete understanding, then yes it “could” be a sin, however who in this world has a complete and perfect understanding? God will decide if the understanding is sufficient. Are you worried about someone you know? Since you are already a Catholic, I’m figuring it isn’t you.


I know I sound like a broken record, but, the Catechism could help your understanding.

1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture,129 became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.
1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.
Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.
1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:
When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131
1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.
1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.
1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.
1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.


If works of law requires you to be a good jew, then how does that apply to catholics?


“But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by perseverance in good works seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rom. 2:2-8).

What exactly does this mean?



No. Faith comes through grace. One should pray for the grace to believe, but to those not yet granted that grace, not believing is not a mortal sin.

Christ gave his Apostles the power to bind and loose. That power is handed down to the priesthood.

You can be forgiven for mortal sin if you sincerely sorry and have a firm intention of going to confession – but die before you can do that.

Mortal sin is also forgiven at baptism, of course

If you die with no mortal sin on your soul, you will go to heaven. Purgatory deals with the punishment due for sin, so even forgiven sins can carry punishment afte4r death.

You can acquire merit and receive indulgences (which remit penalties due for sin) through good works, but you don’t “get rid of sin” that way.


Purgatory is for punishment for sins. I don’t quite understand this. If you die in mortal sin, you go to hell.
If you die in venial sin, you go to purgatoty.
If you die in no sin, you go to heaven.

A friend told me that if someone goes to heaven straight away, they are a saint.

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