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Could Judas Iscariot have sought forgiveness instead of falling into despair and hanging himself?

Full Question

Since we know that the only sin that is not forgiven is the sin against the Holy Spirit, could Judas Iscariot have sought forgiveness instead of falling into despair and hanging himself?

Answer

Yes, of course. Bishop Fulton Sheen, in his book Life of Christ, devoted a chapter to the betrayal by Judas, contrasting it with the betrayal by Peter—with which it was similar in some respects—and concluding that the tragedy of Judas’s life was that even after the betrayal he could have been St. Judas Iscariot if only he had repented instead of despaired. The sin against the Holy Spirit, the one that cannot be forgiven, is the sin of final impenitence. God can forgive any repented sin, but man must repent of his sins before he can be forgiven. As only God can judge hearts, we cannot know whether Judas was impenitent to his very death, but we can know that he did not demonstrate the heroic virtue of Peter, who repented his betrayal of Christ rather than allow despair to consume him.










11 comments

  1. Albert Edward Vella Reply

    what are the sins against the Holy Spirit

    1. Amber-Faith Miller Reply

      To my understanding, it is the belief that one’s own sin is greater than God’s mercy and sacrifice. It is the pride of believing that what one did cannot be forgiven by God, and so the sinner refuses to repent.

  2. chyke Reply

    I don’t think Judas had a choice in the matter. Even Christ asked him to Ho do what he had to do. Christ didn’t pray for him as he did Peter. The story of his betrayal and end was foretold and Judas played his essential role in salvation. If not for his betrayal, how would the story of our salvation have ended. Let’s not be quick to judge him.

    1. bemuchadnezzar Reply

      I have the same point with you. How can there be resurrectiob if there was no death? Ultimately How can there be death if not for Judas’ betrayal? Im not trying to justify what he did but look at the facts – he did help jesus fulfill his mission. I sure hope god forgives him too.

  3. lovemyboys Reply

    Jesus did not and does not want anyone to suffer the pains of Hell. If Judas had sought forgiveness, then Jesus’ death would have came about a different way. The sad truth is that there always was, always is and always will be someone who commits betrayal of the Lord, yet remains unrepentant until the end. As the article indicates, there is no unforgiven sin if it is repented. Judas had that opportunity to repent, just like Peter did. And, also stated in the article, we do not know the final state of Judas’ soul. Let’s continue to pray that he repented at the end!

  4. Love being Catholic Reply

    Chyke and Bemuch…you’re right, i believe to fulfill the scriptures he had to betray Jesus, but it ended there…he had a choice to repent, to seek forgiveness like Peter did just as the article states. We don’t know for sure if he did or not, but we can continue praying for his soul just in case. God bless.

  5. anene pius uchenna Reply

    Judas had his chance to have been saved if he had taken salvation when it was placed on his laps. Jesus told him his assignment concerning the betrayal. Soul who latter became Paul had his assignment to persecute Christ but when salvation came his way, he took it. Peter had his own bad predictions but when it unfolded before his very eyes, Peter wept and followed Christ to the ends. Judas had one million and one chances of making heaven but he chickened out.

  6. Ricardo deLeon Reply

    from Ma.Valtorta’s Poem of The Man†God. Chapter 69:

    Jesus:« …It is true that to kill oneself is the same as killing other people. Both our own and other people’s lives are the gift of God and only God Who gives life, has the authority to take it. Who kills himself, confesses his own pride, and pride is hated by God. »

    « He confesses his pride? I would say his despair. »

    « And what is despair but pride? Just think, Judas. Why does one despair? Either because misfortunes persistently perturb him and he wants to overcome them by himself, but is unable to do so. Or because he is guilty and he thinks that he cannot be forgiven by God. In both cases, is not pride the basic reason? The man who wants to do all by himself, is no longer humble enough to stretch out his hand to the Father and say to Him: “I am not able, but You are. Help me, because I hope and wait for everything from You." The other man who says: “God cannot forgive me" says so, because measuring God by his own standards, he knows that another person could not forgive him, if that person had been offended, as he offended God. So here again it is pride. A humble man understands and forgives, even if he suffers for the offence received. A proud man does not forgive. He is proud also because he is not capable of lowering his head and saying: “Father, I have sinned, forgive Your poor guilty son." But do you not know, Judas, that the Father will forgive everything, if one asks to be forgiven with a sincere, contrite, humble, heart willing to rise again to new life? »

    « But certain crimes are not to be forgiven. They cannot be forgiven. »

    « That is what you say. And it will be true only because man wants it to be true. But, oh! I solemnly tell you that even after the crime of crimes, if the guilty man should rush to the Father’s feet – He is called Father, Judas, just for that, and He is a Father of infinite perfection – and crying, implored Him to be forgiven, offering to expiate, without despairing, the Father would make it possible for him to expiate and thus deserve forgiveness and save his soul. »

    « Well, then, You say that the men quoted by the Scriptures who killed themselves, did wrong. »

    « It is not lawful to do violence to anybody, not even to oneself. They did wrong. In their limited knowledge of good, perhaps in certain cases, they had mercy from God. But after the Word has clarified the truth and has given strength to spirits with His Spirit, then who dies in despair will no longer be forgiven. Neither in the instant of the personal judgement, nor after centuries of Gehenna, on Doomsday, never! Is that hardness on God’s side? No: it is justice. God will say: “You, a creature gifted with reason and supernatural knowledge, created free by Me, you decided to follow the path you chose and you said: ‘God will not forgive me. I am separated from Him forever. I think I must apply the law by myself to my own crime. I am parting from life to evade remorse’ without considering that you would no longer have felt remorse if you had come on My faithful bosom. And let it be done to you, as you judged. I will not do violence to the freedom I gave you." That is what the Eternal Father will say to the suicide. Meditate on it, Judas. Life is a gift, a gift to be loved. But what gift is it? A holy gift. So love it holily. Life lasts as long as the flesh holds out. Then the great Life, the eternal Life begins. A Life of blissful happiness for the just, of malediction for the unjust. Is life a purpose or a means? It is a means. It serves for a purpose which is eternity. Then let us give life what is required to make it last and serve the spirit in its conquest. Continence of the flesh in all its lusts, in all of them. Continence of the mind in all its desires, in all of them. Continence of the heart in all human passions. Infinite instead is to be the ardour for heavenly passions: love of God and the neighbour, obedience to the divine word, heroism in good and virtue. I have given you the answer, Judas. Are you convinced? Is the explanation sufficient? Be always sincere, and ask When you do not yet know enough: I am here to be your Master. » …

  7. Joanna Reply

    Only GOD knows whats in the heart and soul of every man. We are not to JUDGE

  8. Lourdu Selvam. Reply

    Jesus prayed to His Father to forgive those who brought about His death. Surely His Father would have heard His prayer and would have given the culprits the grace efficacious enough to make them repent for their sins. A fraction of a second is enough to repent even at the brim of death. Let us think positively.

    1. Luke Reply

      True enough, in Matthew and Mark we see the proclamation of faith from the Roman centurion and his men (Mt 27:54, Mk 15:39)

      In Luke (23:47-48) we have the centurion again, along with the people who had gathered beating their breasts

      And there is some evidence from Tradition that a few of the soldiers and lookers-on became Christians shortly after

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