Speaking in Absolutes
Judging Others' Souls
Condemning Someone to Hell
Saying Someone is Damned
Damn | Damnation
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Question / Issue:
"I suggest you start
telling people outside the Church they are going to Hell and that Catholic
sinners are going to Purgatory"
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
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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