That person dies without receiving the sacrament of reconciliation (let say by lack of time for example). Does he/she goes to hell?
1450 "Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction."49
1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."50
1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51
1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52
1454 The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings.53
It is possible.
However, God never rejects a contrite heart. It is against His very divine nature: “God is love”.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an ordinary means of salvation and grace, a bridal gift of Christ the Bridegroom to His Spouse, the Church. But as s. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Deus non alligatur Sacramentis”, “God is not tied by His Sacraments”. If someone has repented and wished to confess but did not have the material time or the possibility to do so, we must trust in Him who “did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” and “did not come to condemn the world, but so that the world may be saved through Him”.
Different is the case for those who are Christians not in full communion with the Church or non-Christians. To them the Sacrament is not available, but the Good Shepherd must take care of them in mysterious ways, so that “of those given to Him, he may lose none” - where those given to Him are those who chose the way of light and life, fully revealed by Christ the Light to the Church.
My understanding is that we should never consider that someone is in Hell unless we know so by special revelation (ex. in the case of Judas, or in the case of some private revelations). Prayers never go lost, and God, who is not constrained by time and space, will listen to the prayer of His little ones on behalf of their brothers even if they arrive many years after they were needed.
Re: having the opportunity to confess a mortal sin, one should not consider this a “loophole.” For example, within a ten-mile radius of my house in Dallas, there are at least 5 parishes, including a chapel that has scheduled confession time every day. The parishes have scheduled time at least once a week. In my experience, if one goes to a parish and tells the priest he has a mortal sin on his soul, the priest will take 5 minutes to hear his confession.
I love God’s mercy, but I cannot try to take advantage of it based on when it may be convenient for me to receive the sacrament. Just a thought … worth the paper on which it is typed!
QUOTE-My understanding is that we should never consider that someone is in Hell unless we know so by special revelation (ex. in the case of Judas, or in the case of some private revelations). Prayers never go lost, and God, who is not constrained by time and space, will listen to the prayer of His little ones on behalf of their brothers even if they arrive many years after they were needed. QUOTE
This caught my eye. Judas has never been declared as being in hell. What are you speaking of?
I am speaking of Judas, the Son of Perdition. He has never been “declared” as being in Hell because as far as I know the Church never declares such a thing. Scripture is rather clear that Judas chose damnation, but certainly it is not up to us to know this with certainty. I do take it for granted, and I would be greatly amazed to find out otherwise, but nothing is impossible to God.
Looked at in any light the crime is so incredible, both in itself and in all its circumstances, that it is no wonder that many attempts have been made to give some more intelligible explanation of its origin and motives, and, from the wild dreams of ancient heretics to the bold speculations of modern critics, the problem presented by Judas and his treachery has been the subject of strange and startling theories. As a traitor naturally excites a peculiarly violent hatred, especially among those devoted to the cause or person betrayed, it was only natural that Christians should regard Judas with loathing, and, if it were possible, paint him blacker than he was by allowing him no good qualities at all. This would be an extreme view which, in some respects, lessens the difficulty. For if it be supposed that he never really believed, if he was a false disciple from the first …] he would not have felt the holy influence of Christ or enjoyed the light and spiritual gifts of the Apostolate.
At the opposite extreme is the strange view held by the early Gnostic sect known as the Cainites. Certain of these heretics, whose opinion has been revived by some modern writers in a more plausible form, maintained that Judas was really enlightened, and acted as he did in order that mankind might be redeemed by the death of Christ. For this reason they regarded him as worthy of gratitude and veneration. In the modern version of this theory it is suggested that Judas, who in common with the other disciples looked for a temporal kingdom of the Messias, did not anticipate the death of Christ, but wished to precipitate a crisis and hasten the hour of triumph, thinking that the arrest would provoke a rising of the people who would set Him free and place Him on the throne. In support of this they point to the fact that, when he found that Christ was condemned and given up to the Romans, he immediately repented of what he had done. But, as Strauss remarks, this repentance does not prove that the result had not been foreseen. For murderers, who have killed their victims with deliberate design, are often moved to remorse when the deed is actually done.
A Catholic, in any case, cannot view these theories with favour since they are plainly repugnant to the text of Scripture and the interpretation of tradition. However difficult it may be to understand, we cannot question the guilt of Judas.
On the other hand we cannot take the opposite view of those who would deny that he was once a real disciple. For, in the first place, this view seems hard to reconcile with the fact that he was chosen by Christ to be one of the Twelve. This choice, it may be safely said, implies some good qualities and the gift of no mean graces.
But, apart from this consideration, it may be urged that in exaggerating the original malice of Judas, or denying that there was even any good in him, we minimize or miss the lesson of this fall.
In his fall is left a warning that even the great grace of the Apostolate and the familiar friendship of Jesus may be of no avail to one who is unfaithful. And, though nothing should be allowed to palliate the guilt of the great betrayal, it may become more intelligible if we think of it as the outcome of gradual failing in lesser things. So again the repentance may be taken to imply that the traitor deceived himself by a false hope that after all Christ might pass through the midst of His enemies as He had done before at the brow of the mountain.
And though the circumstances of the death of the traitor give too much reason to fear the worst, the Sacred Text does not distinctly reject the possibility of real repentance.
I think if the person repents in their heart and really mean it but dies before he’s able to go to confession then God will accept that repentance. If someone is stranded on a fishing boat and is about to sink and confesses their sin in their heart before they drown, God will accept it because there was no time to go to confession when you’re going under like that. If you’re on a plane and you know it’s about to crash you can confess any sins at that moment and God will accept it because it’s impossible to get to confession at that time. (That’s what I would recommend if you’re in a situation where you know you’re about to die, better start praying and confessing in your heart!) But you have to mean it and not do it deliberately as a loophole. Like you can’t deliberately plan to kill yourself and then confess it in the last breath of your life, because you deliberitely put yourself in a situation where you can’t go to confession after the sin. God sees the heart, so you can’t try to play God like that and think that will be accepted. Remember God is smarter than us.
Your right, it really doesn’t look good for Judas. I can’t but feel so sorry for him though.