Sin, Death and Hell


#1

I have a question that has been bothering me for some time and I would like to get some opinions.

I’ve read many times on these boards about if we die with a mortal sin on our soul we would go straight to hell. There is no denying that sin and temptation is everywhere and I’ve even heard that everybody sins an average of 7 times a day (I don’t remember where I heard or read that so I can site a source). If a person goes to confession on a regular basis and one day they commit a mortal sin and have every intention of going to confession at the first available opportunity but unfortunately die before having that opportunity of going to confession (i.e. car accident, etc.). Since God knows that individual was going to confess anyway, do you think that person can be saved, that is go to purgatory instead of hell? I really wonder about this. To help guard against going to hell, I made up my own personl pray and follow it with an Act of Contrition. I do this at least three times a day (morning, noon and night). I know it’s not the same as confession (I personally go to confession every other month), but the Church I belong to only has confessions once a week. I know that confessions can be made by appointment at any time but I’m sure priests don’t have the time if everybody called up all hours of the day and night to request a special confession.

Thank you and may God always be with you all.

Mark


#2

Hey Mark!

BTW what you mentioned is a quote from Proverbs 24:16 which says,“For a just mall shall fall seven times and shall rise again: but the wicked shall fall down into evil.” I think it also gives you some insight into your question.

Notice that it promises that he will rise up again and go on, but that the wicked will remain in their evil. Isn’t this what our journey of faith is all about. Even the Japanese have an adage that parallels this proverb that says “7 times down 8 times up” which has to do with perseverance.

To get more into your issue of mortal sin…I really don’t think that faithful Catholics very often fall into it. Consider what it takes.
Grave matter: It’s gotta be SERIOUS.
Knowledge: You’ve gotta KNOW it’s a grave wrong.
Full consent of your will: Basically, given the other two conditions , you’ve gotta say, “I don’t care, I’m going to do this anyway!”

At that point, congratulations, you’ve just committed a mortal sin and have put your soul in danger of hell fire.

I don’t know many faithful Catholics who would have that problem because they actually go out of their way to avoid it. Grave matters don’t just fall outta the sky on us, and you cannot accidentally commit a mortal sin. It just doesn’t work that way.

Personally, if I did commit a mortal sin I’d be finding a priest to hear that confession asap.


#3

That is a official Church teaching.

There is no denying that sin and temptation is everywhere and I’ve even heard that everybody sins an average of 7 times a day (I don’t remember where I heard or read that so I can site a source).

That number doesnt mean anything. Certainly the average person (at least Catholic) doesnt sin 7 mortal sins a day. Just about everyone commits venial sins each day, but those are forgiven through simple prayer (eg Our Father), and as you know venial sins dont put your soul in jeoparday.

If a person goes to confession on a regular basis and one day they commit a mortal sin and have every intention of going to confession at the first available opportunity but unfortunately die before having that opportunity of going to confession (i.e. car accident, etc.). Since God knows that individual was going to confess anyway, do you think that person can be saved, that is go to purgatory instead of hell? I really wonder about this.

It turns out the Church has officially spoken on this issue, here i the Catechism quoting the Council of Trent:
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
(Catechism)

To help guard against going to hell, I made up my own personl pray and follow it with an Act of Contrition. I do this at least three times a day (morning, noon and night). I know it’s not the same as confession (I personally go to confession every other month), but the Church I belong to only has confessions once a week. I know that confessions can be made by appointment at any time but I’m sure priests don’t have the time if everybody called up all hours of the day and night to request a special confession.

Unless you are struggling with mortal sin, you shouldnt be too worried (im not sure if you are worried). Other than that though, prayer does keep you alert and helps protect against temptation.


#4

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