mortal sin?

when they say “if you die in a state of mortal sin you can’t go to heaven”, does that mean you don’t go to heaven directly you have to go purgatory first or does it mean you go straight down to hell? i always seem to get confused

if you do go to hell what, if there was this guy that was very strong in his religious life, went to church every day and went to confections twice a month but slipped up and was in a state of mortal sin. so he was going straight to confections and got into a car accident and died would he be going straight to hell because of that one incident in his life.

sorry if this was dragged on please pray for my vocation, right now i don’t know what order God is calling me to. thank-you and God bless

Mortal sin, according to the beliefs of Roman Catholicism, and some Protestant denominations, is a sin that, unless confessed and absolved (or at least sacramental confession is willed if not available), condemns a person’s soul to Hell after death. These sins are considered “mortal” because they constitute a rupture in a person’s link to God’s saving grace: the person’s soul becomes “dead”, not merely weakened. The phrase is used in I John 5.16 -17: “If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one - to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal.” (NRSV)

acupuncturist, acupuncture practitioner
baby gift ideas

In a sense, your question is too simple. When we ask, “Is a particular sin ‘mortal’?,” we are really asking, “in code,” “Will God send that particular person to Hell for doing that?”

When God judges a person at death, it is an exercise in perfect justice, and is therefore probably phenomenally complex. Scripture is pretty clear: Judging is God’s business, not ours.

Bowing to this truth, the Church, years ago, adjusted its terminology by moving away from the words “mortal sin” and “venial sin,” and substitutring in the concept of “grave sin,” where grave sin is sin which tends to be mortal sin.

Whereas on the one hand Christ, in the gospels, expressly warns of cases where somebody sins gravely after a life of virtue and goes to Hell, Christ, on the other hand, will be a just judge.

How many people here, in this website – maybe, every single participant and administrator??? – have climbed out of a chronically-sinful state by falling and rising, falling and rising, falling and rising, and finally leaving that chronic sin behind?

Suppose you have two identical twins, one on the East Coast, the other on the West Coast, and each, after an identical life, begins to climb out of the same serious sin at the same time.

But a bolt of lightning zaps the West Coast twin seconds after he lapses the second time into the chronic sin state, in the course of the salvation process.

In other words, God killed him too quick for him to finally eliminate the chronic sin from his life.

Will God see “mortal sin”?

I don’t know. I have some doubts on that subject.

I think you will agree with me that God doesn’t play “gotcha!” with our souls. Do you really think that God sends people to hell on loopholes? That God, who knows every human heart, sends people to hell who, if they had just lived a few more minutes, would have been reunited with him? If God desires that every person be saved, don’t you think he acts on that desire?

No, God gives every person the grace to be saved, and that includes the grace to return to him after they knowingly reject him (which is what mortal sin is). Nobody goes to hell who has not chosen separation from God over unity with God. Nobody is in hell by mistake.

If you die in the state of mortal sin, you go directly to hell for all eternity.

If a man (strong in his religious life, etc.) got killed on his way to confession, we were always taught that his sin(s) would have been forgiven. You should remember that God, and God alone, knows what’s in our hearts and we just have to leave it up to His mercy and judgment. It’s difficult for us to try and determine who is going to hell and who isn’t and for what reasons. There’s really no sense in doing that. Only God can judge, and only God will judge.

Be faithful and worry about the state of your soul and not so much the man on his way to confession.:slight_smile:

Actually that’s not correct.
If a person makes an act of Perfect Contrition and dies on the way to Confession then their sins would be forgiven but if a person makes an act of Imperfect Contrition and dies on the way to Confession their sins would not be forgiven.

To be quite honest… I am a Baptist Convert, I came to Catholicism this Easter. And i aint looking back.

This Thread has some very Legalistic people in it. God, to be quite honest is not as Subjective as the legalistic people here in this thread make him out to be. I know this for a fact, Because God is the same today, Yesterday, and Forever, Hence our Prayer, Glory be. In the Old testment, There are constantly People, Heinously Breaking God’s law and yet, they are the fathers and Mothers of our faith and i can not wait to meet them in Heaven. Some examples are, Rahab, King David, Abraham, Joesophat, Samson, and Joshua.

The Legalistic people in this thread seem to think that if you slip up once he is going to hell, EVEN after a life of Devotion and Following to God’s Laws. That, my friends is contrary to what we see God Constantly doing. King David, Murder/Adulterer/liar/Coward, yet he was called a man after God’s Own heart. Not because of his Kingly power of his heritage, but because of One thing, his repentant heart. Even though He did all those evil things, He had a heart that said “DEAR GOD i am worthless in your eyes, I am an evil man and i have sinned against you, Forgive me, save me, i am desperate for you love.” I mean read the psalms, Most of those were written when David was in sin, but here is why i say some are legalistic, David had this heart, BEFORE he confessed, David was called a man after God’s Own heart, WHILE he was in sin, Not after. But then the moment of when he had the heart and when he didn’t, doesnt matter. He was a Man after God’s Own heart.

Abraham was a chronic Liar and committed Adultery with Hagar, yet the Old covenant was made with him.

Samson broke every one of his Nazerite Vows, but was a judge and did mighty things to bring back the israelites to God.

Rahab, a whore and a liar, yet she is counted int he line of Jesus.

Johosephat, Was a Glutton, yet he brought the law back in to the temple.

Joshua, laid the foundation in the promised land, but he Killed millions of men, women, and Children.

Your question, OP, is really a frivolous question. it is a matter of the heart. Are you repentant and remorseful, and desire to be back in with God’s grace and do everything in your power to do so? Then as Jesus says “what father would give his son a Stone when asked for a loaf of bread?”

Some one said “God does not play Gotcha! with our Souls.” That is so very true.

The terms “mortal” and “venial” sin are still used by the Church.

For example, see The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs #1854-1876, the section titled “IV. The Gravity of Sin: Mortal and Venial Sin”

Hi thistle,
I think RosaryFan is correct.
Quote from Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma in the commentary portion regarding the dogma of obligation of confession for grevious sins:
…**Physical **or moral impossibility excuses from the material completeness of the confession of sins. When the confession is formally but not materially complete, forgotten grievous sins, or grievous sins, which owing to a state of necessity were not individually confessed, are indirectly remitted. But the duty, founded on the command of Christ, remains of explicitly submitting these sins at the next confession to the confessional tribunal of the Church, when and if the necessity ceases, … (D 1111.)

The Code of Canon Law #960 states:
Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the sole ordinary means by which a member of the faithful who is conscious of grave sin is reconciled with God and with the Church. ** Physical or moral impossibility alone excuses from such confession**, in which case reconciliation may be attained by other means also.

Being killed would certainly qualify as a “physical impossibility” to get to Confession.

I don’t know if I’m one of those people you consider legalistic or not. But I think it’s very important when someone is Catholic to be sure that what they post does conform to actual Catholic doctrine (unless they openly inform us that their view is in contradiction to Church teaching). When someone has “Catholic” as part of their visible identification, readers of their posts would naturally tend to think it reflected Catholic teachings. We have many non-Catholics who come on the forum to learn what the Catholic Church teaches. We have Catholics who come and want to learn more.

I’m certainly no degreed teacher of the faith - but I do know how to search out official documents. Most often it’s a statement that someone makes - that raises question marks in my mind - that sends me on a search. If a statement was in error, I think it’s important to correct the error. And I know that most errors (my own included) are not done purposely or maliciously. I am always very glad if someone spots an error I have made and corrects it.

Hope this might soften your view a little about us “legalists”.

God bless,

No it does not soften my view at all. The reason is, God through St.Paul says and vehemently Fights against Legalism…

First off, I understand that your in trouble If you commit mortal sin. but to Arbitrary says that person is going straight to hell, EVEN after a life of Devotion, That is Legalistic. That is Letter of the law, and we are no longer under a “law” of Damnation but a law of Grace. We have Confession and Communion and the sacraments Now. Those are all grace.

Now I also understand that works really dont get us anything, they are evidence of our faith and required, but they dont save, but a Servant who serves his master Faithfully for years and years and Screws up, That servant is not just cast out like trash… I am not trying to down play Mortal sin, because there are consequences to everything Good and bad, but God would not jsut throw away one of his kids after one act of indiscretion. For example how many times did Israel fall away and God pulled them back? I mean if you commit Mortal sin you better get your *** into confession FAST. I was in mortal sin this Thursday. I went to confession 2 hours later, because i did not want to fall into anything else, because when your in sin it is so much easier for satan to tempt us to do more and just compound our already mortal state.

But you cant just say “Oh your going to hell” I do Believe you can lose your salvation, I mean the Parable of the servant and the talents is pretty clear. I do not, however, believe it is as easy as some on this thread have made it out to be.

I mean how much stuff does a teenage son have to do in order to get a loving father to hate him. And God hates sin. That Hatred is a good hatred too. It takes a lot, for God to remove his hand and let us go our own way and destroy ourselves.

I mean on thursday, If i died on the way to my Church for confession, I have no DOUBT in my mind that I would not go to hell. I might not go to heaven and i would have to spend some time in Purgatory, but i would not go to Hell. I KNOW i am a Child of God and my Assurance is the Fact that i follow him to the best of My ability, even though i fall, I serve him. I know that I have the privliege to walk into his throne room, with Full confidence of whom i belong too. I know this, because i have the privilege to walk into his presence every Sunday or even during the week, when i cant go on Sunday. Me, some one who has been addicted to pornography, a liar, some one who has placed a game “World of Warcraft” Higher then Him and made the game an idol, A boy who disrespected his parents, and has fallen into sexual temptation with his girlfriend, and while we have not had sex we sometimes do things best saved for Marriage. Me, that man, that wretched sinner, now has the privilege and the honor to be in full communion with God. To take Communion and stand and kneel and sit in the full house of God and Be in the very prescience of Jesus.

you simply can not say, “Oh, your going to hell” because it is not that simple.

I guess maybe you didn’t read my post #9 which gave the actual Church teaching/regulation (what I assume you mean by “legal” view). It shows the error of saying that someone automatically goes to hell if they don’t get to Confession before they die. The legal view says there can be extenuating circumstances which allow for forgiveness of serious sin by other means.

If I’m misunderstanding your meaning of “legal” view (that it equates to Church’s official teaching), would you please correct me and let me know what you mean by it.

That i did not read, I apologize. That is exactly how i feel, what the Church says is what i Feel. What i am fighting against. is some said in this thread that “If you die in the state of mortal sin, you go directly to hell for all eternity.” they did not say anything to the effect of what you or I or the church actually says.That is the Legalism and the Legalist.

I beg to differ. What if the man doesn’t say an act of contrition at all, with the intention of saying it in the confessional, but is sorry for his sins nonetheless, and gets hit by a car a block away from the church.

A priest in my parish once told us a story about a man on his death bed who wanted to be baptized a Catholic. By the time Father got over to the nursing home with the Eucharist, Chrism oils, etc., the doctor was on his way out and told him that the man had died. This priest said his sins were forgiven merely because he wished to be baptized (Baptism of Desire). I think the same idea applies here. If you die on your way to the confessional, I would trust that God knows what’s in your heart even if you were mere moments away from saying it out loud. I would hate to be kept out of heaven on a technicality. When you’re sorry, you’re sorry. Being on your way to confession is an “act of contrition” in itself.

The act of contrition must be an act of Perfect contrition. If you are in a state of mortal sin and you do not make an act of perfect contrition and die before getting to Confession your sins are not forgiven. That is the Church teaching. It is not a technicality.

Below is the Church teaching:

CCC 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.

CCC 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

The real question that some never want to answer is this:

Where do people go who commit mortal sins and die in that state and are imperfectly contrite?

The answer is Hell.

Who can committ mortal sin?

God will know.

God will know who is imperfectly contrite.

It really is that simple.

Has anyone here considered Ezekiel 3:18ff in the light of Catholic teaching? I read one poster imply that one mortal sin in a lifetime of grace and piety will not merit hell. Here are the verses:
{3:18} If, when I say to the impious man, ‘You shall certainly die,’ you do not announce it to him, and you do not speak so that he may turn aside from his impious way and live, then the same impious man will die in his iniquity. But I will attribute his blood to your hand.
{3:19} But if you announce it to the impious man, and he is not converted from his impiety and from his impious way, then indeed he will die in his iniquity. But you will have delivered your own soul.
{3:20} Moreover, if the just man turns aside from his justice and commits iniquity, I will place a stumbling block before him. He shall die, because you have not announced to him. He shall die in his sin, and his justices that he did shall not be remembered. Yet truly, I will attribute his blood to your hand.
{3:21} But if you announce to the just man, so that the just man may not sin, and he does not sin, then he shall certainly live, because you have announced to him. And you will have delivered your own soul.”

My two cents.


Tha’s a good quote because Catholic Church teaching is that it is the state of your soul at death which determines if you are saved or not. Strong faith and good works out of that faith during a person’s lifetime have NO merit at all if that person falls into a state of mortal sin. Unrepentent mortal sin at death means eternity in Hell.

What is meant by “an act of perfect contrition” is precisely what you’re describing: being truly sorry. Saying a prayer is not necessary (though it is helpful). Even forming a clear thought I don’t think would be absolutely necessary. It is up to what’s in your heart. Basically, if you committed a mortal sin and if, hypothetically, you were given a time machine, and would NOT choose to travel to the past and prevent that sin from happening, you would in fact go to hell. If you won’t accept the offer of heaven, you sure as hell (quite literally) won’t go there.

I do think that if people were sent to hell even whenever were truly sorry but couldn’t or didn’t make it to confession for one reason or another, heaven would be a pretty empty place.

This thread is 4 years old. We are not to resurrect old threads. If you wish to discuss a topic, even the same one you should start a new thread.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit