What if you die on the way to confession?


#1

There is a scenario in my head that I can’t seem to figure out:
Lets assume that a person who is in the state of mortal sin(sin doesn’t matter) dies in a car accident on their way to confession.

The person died in a state of mortal sin and from what I’ve gathered from the forums is that this means that they are not allowed into heaven(can someone tell me where this is orthodoxy?). Yet this person is repentant/sorry for their mortal sins as evident by the person trying to go to confession.

This is unsettling. Obviously, we can never truly know, but If some one could be please add some clarity that would be fantastic.

I have an alternate interpretation:
Perhaps dying in a state of mortal sin is not an automatic sentence to Hell; but instead, just means that ones soul is “damaged” and they cannot receive the Eucharist. It seems to me that this interpretation works better with my limited and still growing knowledge of Catholicism. But I’m not sure with how it works within Catholicism and not just my understanding of it.

Thank you fr your responses and please be nice. I’m just trying to learn. Also if you could leave your sources that would be fantastic.


#2

Man is bound by the sacraments, God is not.
In the end, all that matters is what is in the heart,
God will take care of the rest! :)


#3

[quote="ubilla20, post:1, topic:294256"]
There is a scenario in my head that I can't seem to figure out:
Lets assume that a person who is in the state of mortal sin(sin doesn't matter) dies in a car accident on their way to confession.

**The person died in a state of mortal sin **and from what I've gathered from the forums is that this means that they are not allowed into heaven(can someone tell me where this is orthodoxy?). Yet this person is repentant/sorry for their mortal sins as evident by the person trying to go to confession.

This is unsettling. Obviously, we can never truly know, but If some one could be please add some clarity that would be fantastic.

I have an alternate interpretation:
Perhaps dying in a state of mortal sin is not an automatic sentence to Hell; but instead, just means that ones soul is "damaged" and they cannot receive the Eucharist. It seems to me that this interpretation works better with my limited and still growing knowledge of Catholicism. But I'm not sure with how it works within Catholicism and not just my understanding of it.

Thank you fr your responses and please be nice. I'm just trying to learn. Also if you could leave your sources that would be fantastic.

[/quote]

If a person dies in mortal sin, they go to Hell. If,however, there is time and the person was genuinely sorry for thier sins--not just because their afraid of going to Hell, but because they are sorry for having offended God and if there's time before they die, God would come to them and give them a chance to repent in their final moment before they die.


#4

Remember, God is intimately involved in every action that happens in our daily lives (ie. there's no such thing as coincidence). God wants all of us to reach heaven more then any of us can possibly imagine. God would not allow a person to die without having every possibly opportunity to obtain salvation in their life. When a person dies, we have to assume that they were at the end of their personal journey to find God and that they either secured their salvation or secured their damnation.

If a person were to die on their way to confession we have to assume that they either obtained perfect contrition for any unconfessed sins or that they finally and completely turned their backs on God as with the boy in this rather saddening story:

source - saintsbooks.net/books/Fr.%20John%20Furniss%20-%20Confession.html

XV. THE BOY WHO COMMITTED SIN AGAIN.

THERE was a boy who had been very wicked. It happened that there was a Mission given in the town where he lived. One night during the mission he went into the church. He stood near the platform where the missioner was preaching. He felt a struggle in his heart during the sermon. While the words of the missioner sounded in his ears the grace of God came into his heart. The struggle was over; he was converted. The tears were running down from his eyes. He was saying to himself, "I never thought about these things before. I will change my life." He went home and asked his father for some pens, and ink, and paper. He shut himself up in a room alone. He got ready for Confession. His tears of repentance fell on the paper where his sins were written, and wet it. He folded up this Paper, put it in his pocket, and set off to the church to make his Confession, but never reached the church!

As he went along the street it happened that he lifted up his eyes and saw a certain house. In that house there was living one who had often led him into sin before. Now he was in danger! The devil had been all along watching this boy. He was at his side while he was getting ready for confession, and he went through the street. Now was the Devil's moment, when the boy had his eyes fixed on that house. The devil put a temptation into his heart. The temptation was this -- that he should go into that house and commit the sin once more, only once more. The Priest would forgive this sin along with the others. What, then, did the boy do when he saw the house and felt the temptation? Did he fly away? No. Did he say Jesus and Mary help me? No. If he had done so God would have helped him. He stood there with his eyes fixed on the house and allowed the temptation to keep hold of his heart. At last he said, yes, I will go in. He then went into the house and committed a mortal sin. After this he said to himself, I think I will not go to Confession, to-night. I will go back home. He went to the street door, opened it and looked out. It was dark, he could see nothing; all was quiet. Still, death was lying for him at that door. Near the door on the outside a man was standing with his hand stretched out. In his hand there was something bright and glittering. It was a long sharp knife. That man had long hated the boy and had made up his mind to kill him. He knew that the boy was in the house and he was watching for him to come out. The boy saw neither the man nor the knife. Now, he thought he would set off for home. He put his foot out of the house. Before he had time to set it down on the ground the knife had gone through his heart. He screamed out and fell down dead at the door. His soul went straight to Hell. So his soul was lying in the flames of hell, and his dead body was lying in the street, with the Confession paper in his pocket!


#5

As soon as we know or believe we are in a state of mortal sin, we should make a sincere Act of Contrition. If we are truly sorry that we have offended God, and we have resolved with His help never to sin in that way again, then we are restored to a State of Grace at that very moment. But we are still obligated to go to Confession at the first opportunity. If we should die on the way to Confession, we will not go to Hell provided we are indeed sorry for our sins. God does know our hearts, and if we are sincere He will most certainly know it and be merciful. But mortal sin is indeed a "turning away" from God--a complete separation from Him. It means we have decided that doing something that we know is very wrong is more important to us than God and worth being separated from Him. A person dying in that state of mind remains in that state for all eternity. We must think in terms of Heaven as being with God--not as paradise or fun land--but being united with God. Someone who has chosen to commit mortal sin will not find happiness in being with God. Instead they found happiness in committing the sin or in being separated from Him. This person would not be happy in Heaven and would find it painful to be in His presence--even more painful than Hell if that makes sense. It is a difficult concept to grasp, but I learned this from Mother Angelica's teaching. When someone goes to Hell it is both Just AND Merciful. It is Just because the person deserves Hell. And it is Merciful because that person would be more miserable in Heaven. The fire and pain of Hell is a merciful distraction from the misery of being separated from God for all eternity (with the separation being that person's choice). Heavy stuff for us humans to grasp, I know.


#6

You may find the teachings on perfect and imperfect contrition the answer to your question. God bless!


#7

Thank you for posting this link…I needed some teaching on the difference of perfect and imperfect contrition as well. :slight_smile:


#8

[quote="ubilla20, post:1, topic:294256"]
There is a scenario in my head that I can't seem to figure out:
Lets assume that a person who is in the state of mortal sin(sin doesn't matter) dies in a car accident on their way to confession.

The person died in a state of mortal sin and from what I've gathered from the forums is that this means that they are not allowed into heaven(can someone tell me where this is orthodoxy?). Yet this person is repentant/sorry for their mortal sins as evident by the person trying to go to confession.

This is unsettling. Obviously, we can never truly know, but If some one could be please add some clarity that would be fantastic.

I have an alternate interpretation:
Perhaps dying in a state of mortal sin is not an automatic sentence to Hell; but instead, just means that ones soul is "damaged" and they cannot receive the Eucharist. It seems to me that this interpretation works better with my limited and still growing knowledge of Catholicism. But I'm not sure with how it works within Catholicism and not just my understanding of it.

Thank you fr your responses and please be nice. I'm just trying to learn. Also if you could leave your sources that would be fantastic.

[/quote]

Your statement is heresy and contradicts the Church teaching.

CCC 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.


#9

Answer from the apologists:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=368468&highlight=Hell


#10

Thank You everybody for the replies.

Clearly my alternate hypothesis is incorrect(Thanks thistle for pointing that one out :rolleyes:). However, the idea of Perfect Contrition seems to answer my question very well.

Does anyone have any recommendations for further reading about perfect contrition? The ones posted are pretty good but are on sketchy looking websites and i'm wondering if there's anything more official looking?

Thanks again for answering my post.


#11

[quote="ubilla20, post:10, topic:294256"]
Thank You everybody for the replies.

Clearly my alternate hypothesis is incorrect(Thanks thistle for pointing that one out :rolleyes:). However, the idea of Perfect Contrition seems to answer my question very well.

Does anyone have any recommendations for further reading about perfect contrition? The ones posted are pretty good but are on sketchy looking websites and i'm wondering if there's anything more official looking?

Thanks again for answering my post.

[/quote]

Perfect contrition
How to make an act of perfect contrition


#12

[quote="ubilla20, post:1, topic:294256"]
The person died in a state of mortal sin

[/quote]

Sorry but there is no way you can get out of that one. Once you die in mortal sin you go to Hell. Even if you are truly sorry. There is no way out. End of story.


#13

[quote="vjnycguy, post:12, topic:294256"]
Sorry but there is no way you can get out of that one. Once you die in mortal sin you go to Hell. Even if you are truly sorry. There is no way out. End of story.

[/quote]

Yeah, but they are on their way to confession...I have a hard time believing a loving god would send you to hell anyway...thats just me though ;)


#14

[quote="Angelsflight, post:13, topic:294256"]
Yeah, but they are on their way to confession...I have a hard time believing a loving god would send you to hell anyway...thats just me though ;)

[/quote]

If you are in a state of mortal sin and you die on the way to Confession having made an act of perfect contrition you would be saved.
If you are in a state of mortal sin and you die on the way to Confession and you have made an act of imperfect contrition or none at all you go to Hell.

You seem to be confused. God does not send anyone to Hell. Anyone who commits a mortal sin has rejected God's love and if they die unrepentant they have freely chosen to separate themselves from God forever and go to Hell.


#15

[quote="Angelsflight, post:13, topic:294256"]
Yeah, but they are on their way to confession...I have a hard time believing a loving god would send you to hell anyway...thats just me though ;)

[/quote]

Sorry but if you are in the state of mortal sin when you die you can not enter Heaven. It is written that you descend into Hell if you die with mortal sin. It was your duty to get rid of it. Although the all loving God would probably not call you to die if you are on your way to confession. Although if he did for some strange reason. Then you will go to Hell. Sorry, but that's the truth you don't have to like it. This message isn't directed to you only it's for everyone who opposes the idea you don't go to Hell if you are on your way to confession and die with mortal sin.

  • Vjyncguy

#16

What about in my situation: I've been baptised Catholic but I'm not going to be confirmed until Easter 2013 and I'm not planning on making my first confession until then. If I died in between, I'd go to hell?


#17

[quote="SilverCamellia, post:16, topic:294256"]
What about in my situation: I've been baptised Catholic but I'm not going to be confirmed until Easter 2013 and I'm not planning on making my first confession until then. If I died in between, I'd go to hell?

[/quote]

If you are in the state of mortal sin, yes.


#18

What about in my situation: I've been baptised Catholic but I'm not going to be confirmed until Easter 2013 and I'm not planning on making my first confession until then. If I died in between, I'd go to hell?

You do not need to be confirmed in order to go to Confession. If that were so, then children and teens would not be able to go to Confession. You are baptized Catholic and that's all you need in order to go to Confession. It's a long way to Easter, and none of us knows when the Lord may call us Home. I would strongly encourage you to seek Confession NOW.


#19

Here is a different thread of the same title...

Interesting arguments over there too....

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=522592


#20

[quote="SilverCamellia, post:16, topic:294256"]
What about in my situation: I've been baptised Catholic but I'm not going to be confirmed until Easter 2013 and I'm not planning on making my first confession until then. If I died in between, I'd go to hell?

[/quote]

If you are a baptised Catholic you can go immediately to Confession. You do not have to wait until you are confirmed.


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