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'Quick Help' Page: Damnation/Caution About Speaking In Absolutes

 

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Speaking in Absolutes

Judging Others' Souls

Condemning Someone to Hell

Saying Someone is Damned

Damn | Damnation

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"I suggest you start telling people outside the Church they are going to Hell and that Catholic sinners are going to Purgatory"

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

First, stating such things as absolutes doesn't seem to allow for any change (e.g. while a non-Catholic can't be saved outside the Church, a person who is not Catholic will NOT necessarily go to hell because they can convert at any time). Absolutes without full explanations can confuse people and make them feel that there is no hope (e.g. if you tell someone that they will go to hell for murder, it could be very true, but it is also true that they can repent and avoid going to hell...so saying someone will go to hell for murder isn't a complete picture all by itself).

Second, I would caution against saying where any particular person will end up after their death. We cannot know for certain (outside of canonization or a special revelation from God) where anyone will end up as that is for God alone to judge. It seems safest to say that sinful Catholics "MAY" end up in purgatory "IF" they are saved and that non-Catholics are (objectively speaking) in a gravely dangerous situation. We cannot say with certainty that someone who is not Catholic will go to hell, since repentance/conversion can come even a moment before one's death, even if it is not apparent to others. Nor can we say with certainty whether someone who is saved will go to purgatory (it may be likely, but not certain). So we must be careful not to make such statements. Again, keep in mind that it is God's place to judge, not ours.

Lastly, on behalf of the deceased, it is 'safest'/most charitable to assume they are in purgatory so we may be inspired to pray for them.


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