If we die,does just one mortal sin, in- between confessions merit an eternity in hell?


How will you reply to someone challenging a Catholic with this question?
Some people think that our Church keeps us always feeling guilty and fearful of hell.That Protestants are made to feel happier about life and themselves,given that we are human and imperfect, and bound to make mistakes no matter how much we try.So we should be accepted a little more for what we are.
That the penalty has to be fair to the sin,and one missing Church, for example, does not merit eternal fire in hell, since God is a loving God.


Well mortal sin depends on full knowledge of what you’re doing and the deliberate intention to do it. Ultimately it’s down to God who sees into all our hearts, the Church was given the power to forgive or retain sins however. You do your thing (we all do) and you take your chances, I know I try to do what the Church teaches is right and reflect on what I might have done to offend my brothers and sisters and God and confess, confess, confess! :thumbsup:


Accept evil? No. Let them be happy, let them be delusional, God demands we be perfect, “As My Father in Heaven is perfect”. Anything short of His perfection is imperfection, anything short of His goodness is evil. This fact, that is something you can accept. Should we fail to adhear to His commands, it is well and just and good that for our failure, our tantamount rebellion against the Most High God, Creator of all the Heavens and Earth, that we burn for all eternity. Does no one love Justice? How could an imperfect thing stand before the Most High God? He would be dust! Incinerated by His glory!

No. Jesus led a perfect life. He was man. He could do it, we can do it, and if we fail to do it, we get what wwe deserve. “Trying” counts for nothing.

I wasn’t aware missing Church was a sin. Regardless, if it was, it most certainly would merit fire, if not Hell fire. God in His infinite mercy, has provided for those souls which seek His will, a place where their sins might be purged away, and their souls cleansed as to be able to enter Paradise.

But one sin, one single, horrible, wretched, vile, twisted, wicked choice to serve self over the Almighty, that most certainly deserves Hell.
(A spirit of despair might be afflicting me, please pray for me, and heed my words as lightly as possible.)*


I think missing Mass when you have a good excuse is acceptable.


Missing Mass,it is an example of mortal sin,but I put it as an example.
Once I gather all the answers from those that wish to reply, I will print them out and give them to her for evaluation,rather than relating what you said in my not so eloquent words.
I hope all these lead her to become a Catholic. I do not want to scare her away though.



well mortal sin is not just making a mistake… it’s a conscious ‘walking away’ from God, without repentance. If you commit a mortal sin and then repent of it and are meaning to go to Confession, but die before that, you won’t go to hell… but if you don’t repent, or refuse to confess, well that means that you walked away from God and don’t want to come back…

God never leaves us, but we can leave Him.

It’s not that a mortal sin “merits” hell… it’s that mortal sin is turning away from God, and unless you turn back (repent), how can you be saved…

that’s how I look at it at least :slight_smile:

God bless.


This person can only think these things from outside the Church. From experience, I think it is obvious that Catholics are do not always feel guilty and fearful of hell. Some fear is good, Saint Paul said work out your salvation with fear and trembling. But all the same this is not the constant state of Catholics.
Perhaps it is like fear of being in a car accident. I am careful not to go through stop signs etc, and fear of doing such a thing is good, since you could easily end up very poorly then. But I do not drive always full of fear. Concern over committing a mortal sin is good too, but most Catholics do not live in a state of anxiety over the idea of committing such a such a sin and of hell.
Perhaps Catholics lack such fear because they know that we are not tempted beyond our power and because they know something of God’s love and mercy, and in fact that these things are the most important things about God.


" God is Love" 1 Jn 4:8 and he has unlimited mercy on us.

I hope that we all have one last chance to “repent and believe in the Gospel” Mk 1:15.

How that works, I don’t know, but “Jesus I Trust in You!!!”

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!



So, it’s all in a person’s heart. If one truly knows he/she has offended God, and doesn’t care, turns his/her back, for any grave sin, then by that one choice of defiance and unrepentence they have denied God.


You can’t go to Hell unless you want to.

So unless you want to go to Hell, you hope and trust in God.

For God wills to save all.


It is really a wonder how God can speak to us in such surprising and unexpected ways. This topic was heavy on my mind just now. I jump on the forums all the time, and I was surprised to see just the thing I was thinking about in discussion already! :smiley:


Saying something to the effect that ‘just one mortal sin couldn’t possibly damn me’ is as senseless as saying ‘just one little bullet to the brain couldn’t possibly kill me’. Absolutely it not only could but does. God is love, but to use the bullet analogy, a chid who’s determined to blow their brains out in spite of the most loving and caring parent, so a loving God won’t stop us severing our relationship with Him.

As for Mass attendance - didn’t Jesus say the person who was faithful in little things would be faithful in great? And since we are commanded to keep the Sabbath holy, who’s to say God hasn’t got His own ideas of how we are meant to do that? Ideas which, being part of the commandment, would certainly be grave breaches if we fail?

Why not be faithful to Sunday observance regardless of whether or not you think it’s a mortal sin - that way you’re covered even if it is, and it’s good discipline for larger commitments.

And guilt? We have a far better remedy for that than any other - confession, where we have the priest’s reassurance, as Christ’s instrument, that we are forgiven. Very helpful for humans who tend to need tangible signs.

The Catholics I’ve known are by far the least hypocritical, and the most accepting of human faults and foibles, of all Christians - my non-Catholic buddies tend to get much more genuinely shocked that people commit adultery and such (as if God didn’t command against it for the very reason that it was a common sin). You can’t help but be reasonably laid-back when you see (as I have sometimes) your own priest in line to confess to another priest, after all!


Mortal sin by definition means a person is deliberating rejecting God’s love so if such a person dies unrepentent then yes they would deserve through their own free will to spend eternity in Hell.


Great post, Lily.

What destroys the die-on-your-way-to-confession-and-go-to-hell ‘argument’ is the fact that contrition, even imperfect contrition, constitutes the change in will that prevents damnation.

A person who commits mortal sin, by definition, has rejected God, consciously. If you die in that state, you are damned. Since the will is set at death, you will spend eternity hating & cursing God as you are tormented by the fire of His justice.

But the soul that repents of that sin has already turned back to God. He is not so punished.

I am sure this is the teaching of the Church but do not have the references handy.


I agree with most of your posts, but I need to add that God probably will put in the scale all the acts in your life,the good and bad deeds that characterized your existence, not only your single, unconfessed mortal sin.I was suprised that none of you mentioned that, which is not a detail, for the final judgment.


If you are not damned, then, yes, of course, everything counts - every single thought, word and deed will be laid bare at the Judgment, and we weave now the crown we will wear for eternity!

However, again, a person who dies in unrepentant mortal sin is damned. He has damned himself, with full consent of his will. Nothing else matters concerning the question of his final state.


Yes, but if we rely on that method then how do you explain the “good” thief that was crucified next to Christ? He went straight to heaven and I don’t think the scale analogy would apply for him.


Your mortal sin - and more importantly your lack of repentance for it knowing that it is a mortal sin - also characterises your existence, every bit as much as the good you might do.

There was a recent case here in Australia of a judge who committed perjury - to avoid a $75 traffic fine! He got a stiff sentence in spite of the notable good works he’d done during his career. Why? Precisely because he committed the heinous crime of perjury FOR SUCH A TRIVIAL REASON.

That showed far more contempt for the law than if he’d done it to save someone’s life or for a more serious reason. And the contempt was so breathtaking that it did, even in that one apparently trivial crime, completely devalue all the good he’d done.

Think about it - and remember He struck Uzzah to death just for touching the Ark? And the two who offered incense when they weren’t supposed to? Clearly He doesn’t always take the same view of what constitutes a serious offence as we do.


Lily, your talking about a person that does not feel contrite.My hipothetical case referred to a person that commited a mortal sin on a thursday, and confessions are held on Wednedays and Saturdays at her church.That person has an accident and passes away on a tuesday, for example. She has led an exemplary life otherwise.
Answer to that please.


Perfect Contrition is certainly enough to procure absolution in such a case - if the person had resolved to go to Confession as soon as possible.

Not that you brought up any example of the sort before now - nor previously mentioned that the one who had mortally sinned was repentant. :shrug:

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