Going Straight to Heaven

If a person were to make a good confession and die without committing another sin would he/she go straight to heaven?? My understanding is that hell is punishment for mortal sins and purgatory is for venial sins. So without either at death, the soul should go straight to heaven right?

I have to agree with you. I don’t have anything to base that opinion on but it does make sense. In my own family we had a similar event. My Mother’s father was not Catholic but on his death bed he asked for a priest. The priest went to my grandfather and my grandfather told him that he wanted to become Catholic. The priest granted his request immediately (this was more than 80 years ago) and my grandfather immediately went into a coma and never came out of it but died shortly thereafter. In my family it was always believed that he went straight to heaven.

My understanding is that even though a good confession is made and the sin forgiven, there is always some temporal punishment due to sins that have been forgiven. Sins leave a stain on the soul and satisfaction may be made in this life, or the next!

not really, it is Catholic teaching that some form of temporal punishment may still be in place for sin. only God will know as He is the judge. having committed no sin after confession will probably get you to heaven, but directly or not we can only guess

That’s my understanding as well. As far as the grandfather who was baptized on his death bed, I just finished listening to a sermon on Audio Sancto about that. Pretty interesting stuff. (By the way the sermons on Audio Sancto are by traditionalist priests, but they’re all in good standing with their bishops, like FSSP etc.)


No, this is not guaranteed. Some “temporal punishments” might remain. Those are the things that would have you go to Purgatory first. It is related to the understanding of how a priest assigns you a penance or how you are supposed to make works of “satisfaction”. It is also related to the doctrine of indulgences.

The sacrament of reconciliation will remit, at least in part, the temporal punishments, though. CCC:**1496 **The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:

  • reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
  • reconciliation with the Church;
  • remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
  • remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
  • peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
  • an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.

It is possible, though, to waltz out of there, say your penance, and be free as a bird. Pray that God may help you be perfectly contrite, and that you’ll be sorrowful out of love for him. A conversion with fervent charity could wipe out all the temporal punishments (see ccc 1472). I wouldn’t count on that happening.

Leo, the question cannot be answered except through Faith.
If one does make a good Confession, then Pennance and, commit to not sin again then I would hope God’s Mercy would fall upon that person.
I can find no information in the Catechism to ‘substantiate’ my claim.
If it concerns you that much I urge you to consult your Priest.

Thanks for the answers. I was thinking about this and came to the conclusion on my own that it’s likely that some kind of punishment may still remain. However bottom line is no one really knows because it probably varies with each person and each sin.

Pug is correct pointing out CCC 1472 & 1496. Actually I would recommend starting with CCC 1459 and reading up through CCC 1498.
For back round reading St. Catherine of Genoa wrote on Purgatory and much of the Church’s thoughts come from her.
More recent St. Faustina’s Diary gives some interesting glimpses in to the Purgatory thing. In her Diary entry # 20 Jesus has her angel take her to Purgatory and on her return Jesus said, “My Mercy does not want this but Justice demands it.”
Jesus also gave St. Gertrude a prayer for the souls in Purgatory in order to help them purify themselves. We need to be squeaky clean to enter the Kingdom.
WE need to be holy even as God is Holy to be able to stand in his presence.

God Bless!!!

The only sure way to go straight to Heaven is to die immediately after baptism.

As for me, after I die if I find myself in Purgatory I will be very happy because it means I’ve been saved and my final destination will be Heaven.

Not the only way. Martyrs go straight to Heaven too. The willingness to lay down your life for the faith effectively removes all attachment to sin and pushes you up to the front of the line of those waiting to get into Heaven.

Confession means forgiveness, NOT freedom from Purgatory. So if you confess all these awful mortal sins the moment before you die, you’ve still got to pay for what you’ve done, just like criminals who fess up get less jail time (get out of hell) but could see out almost til the end of time in Purgatory.

There’s a plenary indulgence available at the moment of death, and correct me if I’m wrong but the only requirement is regular prayer throughout one’s life. So I imagine this might do the trick :slight_smile: Btw, indulgences have been called the back door to heaven. So getting a plenary indulgence (total remission of all temporal punishment) would by definition mean no Purgatory. But even with indulgences there is faith involved - for it to be plenary (100%) one of the requirements is a total absence of any attatchment to sin - a toughie.

As for me, I’m totally prepared for a long time in Purgatory. I really don’t want to set my hopes any higher than that and then get dissapointed :smiley:

But as long as you live, go for a plenary indulgence every time you receive the Eucharist, and partial indulgences by the handful. Especially do so with the intention of it going to the poorest, most hopeless soul in Purgatory - we don’t know if we’ll be in that position one day.

The amount of penance due for sin is larger than what the priest gives after Confession, and in these times as a general rule, -quite- larger.

Which is why we always pray for the dead, and their eternal rest, and have masses said for the dearly departed, and must do penance in this life for our sins. :slight_smile:

I don’t always see eye to eye with you, Shin, but on this I’m with you 100%. You may have no sins currently on your soul, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to undergo purgation as a consequence of past sins.

Even venial sins must surely offend the infinitely good God greatly - and some priests give SUCH light penances. And others give the SAME light penance no matter the gravity of the sin confessed. Not to mention that most people are uneducated about, and therefore don’t take advantage of, indulgences.

There must be quite the temporal debt mankind is building up :frowning:

Sigh, yes, I have often thought this as well.

But I always remember the priests do not give us our whole penance in any case, we are to do the rest on our own.

‘Penitents who slander their neighors should receive a penance of bread and water for seven days.’

‘Penintents who have taken part in any pagan superstitions should do penance for two years.’

‘Penitents who have consulted fortunetellers and diviners or who have made satanic sacrileges should receive a penance of seven years.’

‘Children who curse their parents should be given a penance of bread and water for forty days.’

St. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop, ‘Instructions to Confessors’ (1572)

Penance from what I have so far read, the penances for various sins appear in many ways consistent from the dawn of Christianity until fairly recent times, where it has all quite vanished. Seems to have gone away with the loss of the sense of sin and justice. Invisible to the eye doesn’t mean its vanished from what we are held to though.

. . . In St. Charles Borromeo’s time, the given penance wasn’t all one was supposed to do either. . .

So… pray for the holy souls and do penance!

From the USCCB’s *Manual of Indulgences, *pg. 54:

§1 A priest who administers the sacraments to someone in danger of death should not fail to impart the apostolic blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached.

§2 If a priest is unavailable, Holy Mother church benevolently grants to the Christian faithful who are duly disposed, a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime; in such a case, the Church supplies for the three conditions ordinarily required for a plenary indulgence.

§4 The faithful can obtain this plenary indulgence at the hour of death, even if they have already acquired a plenary indulgence on that same day.

My understanding of §2 is that the person has been in the habit of obtaining plenary indulgences and is “duly disposed.” I assume this means *repentent *and in the state of grace, regardless of any temporal punishment that may be incurred. This section is not very clear. Nevertheless, it does give us hope that at the hour of our death [under these conditions] we may obtain full deliverance and go immediately to heaven. May God be praised for His infinite mercy!

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