If a man misses man for frivilous reasons one week, but decides a week later that he should confess his mortal sin to the priest and through very bad luck dies in a car accident on his way to the confessional, does the church teach he will go to hell with mortal sin on his soul?

Different scenario, same sin. What if he doesn’t feel the need to confess this sin, but in every other aspect of his life he is a good Christian, devout to the Lord in every other way. Would he go to Hell (according to Catholic teaching)?

I am having a difficult time with this issue theologically, as a Catholic. I just do not believe that God is that legalistic. Does the Church? (And, no, I’m not talking about myself…it is a hypothetical question as my bigger issue is the legalism of the church. I’m wondering if my view of how the Church views sin and salvation is correct.)

Can’t give you a straight answer. Sorry. Maybe somebody else can. I can try to cheer you up, though, because you seem to be putting thought in this, and thought can be painful.

This one reminds me too much of the question back when everybody was darn sure Friday was meatless:

“If a man is eating a hot dog on Friday on a ship that’s crossing the International Date Line, and the front of the ship has crossed, but the back of the ship has not, does the man’s position on the ship, front or back, while he consumes the hot dog, determine whether or not he has sinned?”

God judges…He knows and you should know he knows, so if you wonder…go to confession.

About the hotdog…was it Kosher? …and would that make a difference?

**You are right. God is not legalistic.

We are the ones in this senario looking for every excuse one can dream up.**

God is not legalistic, God is simply Just, He does exactly what He says He will do. He has said if you do “A” or don’t do “B”, this will happen to you. If you do “A” or don’t do “B” why would you think it would be wrong for God to do as He said He would do?

The same type of questions we used to have to answer in the Old Baltimore Catechism!!!

Can any of younger folks believe that we used to have to answer questions like these every week in Catechism class? They were graded too::thumbsup: and discussed, in class.

Ah yes the good old days:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Actually, that was my question, if he repented for his sin in his heart, even though he didn’t make it to confession, would he still go to hell?

My issue isn’t that I am making excuses. I am trying to determine how legalistic God is.

I’m not really understanding your answer. Does that mean that the Church teaches he would go to hell?

No. His intent to go to Confession (and following through with the intent to the best of his ability) is enough.

Of course, if he is not hit by a bus, he must not allow himself to become distracted, or to delay unnecessarily in going to Confession - but his intent to go suffices as if he had actually gone, in God’s eyes, if he dies on the way there.

Different scenario, same sin. What if he doesn’t feel the need to confess this sin, but in every other aspect of his life he is a good Christian, devout to the Lord in every other way. Would he go to Hell (according to Catholic teaching)?

If he didn’t understand the seriousness of the sin, then it is not a mortal sin, since it lacks the component of “full knowledge” so, no, he would not go to Hell for that.

I am having a difficult time with this issue theologically, as a Catholic. I just do not believe that God is that legalistic. Does the Church?


CCC 1456: Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.”

1457: Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.

Thank you. I’ve read that before,t hough. Could you explain it to me, though? In the terms of my example.

The Church teaches that that is a REAL possibility. That decision is of course between the person and God.

See, I guess the baffling part for me is that if someone spent their entire life loving and praising God, and tries his best to fulfill all of God’s commandments, but falls short (as all of us sinners do…thus, the reason we need a savior), then why would God send this man to Hell because he was unlucky enough to die before his confession? I mean, we are all sinners…some of us may die before our next confession. I cannot believe that if some are lucky enough to make it to confession before they die and can be saved, yet others who aren’t so lucky will not be…yet both sets of people have the same hearts, sinnful yet repentant, loving our Lord. I guess that’s what I struggle with.

Okay. That makes more sense to me, then. Thank you.

I don’t think I said that he would be going to Hell. I said that it was a possibility. If he was not repentent, missed an opportunity to go to Confession through his own fault, etc.

Thank you for the clarification. I was always taught that to be repetent was not enough, that without the sacrament of reconciliation, there was no way to enter heaven with mortal sin on your soul. I guess I was taught incorrectly. I am glad, because that teaching never truly made sense to me. Thanks again!

Just so you know, another poster used this thread as an excuse to investigate Eastern Orthodoxy.

Maybe if the post had not had so many loaded words and came off as if the teaching was insane, she would not have been convinced that it was a bogus teaching.

Not to make you feel guilty, but next time could you start off with the benefit of the doubt in favor of the Church being correct and your understanding being unclear?

Ouch. I don’t feel guity, quite honestly. I came onto this board with a sincere, honest question about something that was troubling me. I never came on claiming that that WAS, indeed, Church teaching…I simply said that someone told me it was (my parents and brother), but I didn’t believe it…I asked for clarification.

I have no guilt though, to be honest, that someone has investigated another denomination. I think it’s good to always investigate things…especially our faith. My brother researched other faiths and ended up a stronger Catholic because of it. At some point in our lives we have to be Christian because we know it to be true for ourselves, not because we were born into it. (I’m not sure if I’m articulating this right. I’m extremely tired. )

But back to the matter at hand, did you really find my post to be that problematic? If I made the “teaching” to look insane, but someone answered my question that that wasn’t actually church teaching, then who cares if it looks “insane”? It’s not church teaching anyway! :slight_smile: Seriously, I’m sorry if I upset anyone, but I can’t see anything I did wrong.

You know, I started to feel badly about it. I went back and reread my post. Where does it sound inflamatory? Do you see at the end that I clearly ASK if this is Church teaching?

Is your “bigger issue” of the** Church **being “leagalistic” straightened out yet?:confused:

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