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To the Heart with Father Pete

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Dolores asks: Catholics who are baptized are required to go to confession at least once a year during the Easter season? And if they have committed a mortal sin. Confession is encouraged more often as needed or desired to gain grace and stay closer to our Lord.

Father Pete: This is an excellent question. It is a Church precept that every Catholic goes to confession once a year, and another precept to receive communion in the Easter season. The heart of your question however has to do with mortal sin, and non-Catholics (see the rest of my answer which includes more of your question). If anyone dies in the state of mortal sin (which is a complete separation from God’s will by one’s own free choice) that soul is condemned forever to hell. If that is the case, we know that in this life, mortal sins are forgiven by baptism (when one is an adult who is responsible for sin) and, after baptism, by confession. So, if someone is not baptized or even if they are, if they are not Catholic or if they are Catholic and do not confess, is there another way to be forgiven? This question includes Catholics, Protestants, and non Christians. If any of them are in Mortal sin and do not confess or get baptized and then dies, what happens? The answer is – we do not know. The ordinary means that God uses to save a soul is baptism and confession. If one is either ignorant of these means of salvation or simply refuses them, only God can judge. But, it is up to us to encourage one another to educate our conscience, confess our sins at least once a year, and to not presume upon God’s mercy. Our eternal salvation is not to be taken for granted.

                                       + Love, Fr. Pete