Non Catholics going to heaven


#1

All of my siblings were raised catholic. Some of them have married outside the church and no longer believe the teachings of the catholic church. It is my understanding that the catholic church teaches that if someone brought up in the catholic faith later rejects the catholic faith that they would not be allowed in heaven for that sin(of rejecting the catholic faith) they had committed. It is also my understanding that you cannot be held accountable for a sin if you do not know it is a sin. I’m sure they do not know it is a sin to reject catholic teaching. My question is this… If I tell them that if they reject the catholic faith they cannot go to heaven, aren’t I kinda damning them to hell since they would then know it is a sin and they would be held accountable for it.

Would it be better to not say anything to them so they would not be accountable for the sin.

Thanks so much for your response.


#2

Lumen Gentium says*, “Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or remain in it, could not be saved” (14).*

Many are ignorant and are guilty of that ignorance, while others are ignorant through no fault of their own. That is why we cannot judge another. We do not know what stumbling blocks are keeping them from knowing the truth. What is important is that they keep seeking truth and follow it to the degree they are able.

Remember, just because one is presented with information does not mean one automatically now knows that it is true. Sometimes information is presented in a way that makes it more difficult to believe. Consider someone who says they are Catholic, but leads a sinful life. What effect would that have on another who is trying to believe?

No, don’t leave them in ignorance when they ask questions. The Holy Spirit inspires their questions. He is in charge of conversions, not us. We should just let him use us when necessary.

Meanwhile, keep a good relationship with your siblings and encourage truth seeking. Be a good example of a Catholic by being a good brother, husband, father and friend. Teach them the faith through your life, and if they ask questions, answer as best as you can. But most important, pray for them.


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