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Question Title Posted By Question Date
Final Judgment John Friday, July 29, 2011


Bro. Ignatius,

My question concerns final judgment

A Catholic Priest that I have admired and respected spoke on the subject of final judgment. His talk, not only confused me, but has disturbed me greatly as well.

I have always understood this to be true, while we live, we live in a time of God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness, but, at the exact moment of death, we will then find ourselves in a time of God’s justice.

This good Priest said that upon death, as we stand before Christ, Jesus will give us one last chance to accept Him, and, if we say yes, Jesus will save us from final damnation.

I know that God is the absolute final judge, and that He can do whatever He chooses to do, but according to Scripture, and Church Teaching and Doctrine, this is not what we, as Roman Catholic’s are taught.

I want to offer this quote, which has been copied from “The Catholic Catechism” written by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. which states on Page 255:

“The New Testament is so clear on the subject of death and its aftermath that the Gospels are almost thematic on the need for serving God faithfully in this life, because after death there is no chance of repentance”.

God bless and thank you for your continued service to God and to those of us who need your help and guidance.


Question Answered by

Dear John:

I am saddened when I hear stories like this. I am sure the priest is kindly and is trying to provide solace, but true kindness and solace does not come from error.

The Church teaches infallibly that "with death the possibility of merit or demerit or conversion ceases." This is divinely revealed dogma to which all Catholics must believe.

To quote then Cardinal Ratzinger, in his commentary of the change in Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II in Ad tuendam fidem, entitled, Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei, concerning divinely revealed teaching:

These doctrines require the assent of theological faith by all members of the faithful. Thus, whoever obstinately places them in doubt or denies them falls under the censure of heresy, as indicated by the respective canons of the Codes of Canon Law.

In addition the Church teaches:

Immediately after death the particular judgment takes place, in which, by a Divine Sentence of Judgement, the eternal fate of the deceased person is decided.

If indeed this priest is proposing that after death we have a second chance at salvation, then he isflirting with heresy, and certainly is no longer in communion with the Church.

I would suggest that you talk with the priest about this. Be sure that he is indeed teaching this. It is possible that you misunderstood him, or that he unintentionally misspoke or that he just did not explain his point well. If he really did teach that we have a second chance after death and is unwilling to reform, then the Bishop must be informed.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary



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