I have heard different “opinions” on the situation I am about to put forth, and would like to get some clarification, if Ipossible. Here is a scenario: John Doe goes to confession every week, and tells all mortal and venial sins. He receives absolution and performs his penance before leaving the church. As he is on way out of the church, the priest asks him if would participate in the “foot washing” ceremony on Holy Thursday. John Doe lies to the priest and say he has to work, when he actually does not. Then, on the way home from confession, John Doe is involved in an automobile accident and is killed. He has an unrepented mortal sin on his soul (the lie to the priest in church). He is condemned to hell, correct? Or does he make it Purgatory? I’ve heard both and am confused.
I wouldn’t consider that lie to be a mortal sin. A more serious lie could be. But not participating in the foot washing is not a major item. Let’s say that he saw an old girl friend and stopped to have coffee with her, got rather chummy and lied about the fact that he is married. That would be a more serious lie and a mortal sin.
So He gets into the car and is killed at the next intersection. If he is able to ask pardon of the Lord in the last seconds of his life, he can be forgiven and go to Purgatory. If not, he will go to hell for all eternity.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.