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07 Sep 2016 Articles No comments

An Encounter With Jesus Through The Hand Of A Child

Surprises. Our God is full of surprises. A mentor in my life once told me to expect surprises in life, you are sure to have them. Good or bad, you will experien…

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19 Nov 2016 News No comments

Sister Blandina Segale v. Billy the Kid - Nun's canonization Cause approved by US bishops

An amazing woman who habitually calmed angry mobs, opened hospitals and schools and even challenged Billy the Kid has just had her canonization Cause approved b…

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02 Jun 2015 Articles Q&A Comments (2)

What do Catholic mean by "Tradition"?

Catholic Tradition often seems odd to those outside the Catholic Church. People assume it's something that we just... "made up." Sacred Tradition comes fr…

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23 Mar 2015 Q&A Comments (21)

Why is God silent?

Full Question One huge impediment to my faith is that God never communicates with me. I pray daily, attend Mass often, and confess at least twice a month. …

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24 Jul 2015 Articles Q&A Comments (1)

How can I know God's will for my life? What does the Bible say about knowing God's will?

Answer: It is important to know God’s will. Jesus said that His true relations are those who know and do the Father’s will: “Whoever does God’s will is my brot…

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28 Jan 2016 Europe News No comments

Catholic Robert Flello MP appeals to Parliament to legally recognise Christian Genocide in the Middle East

A Catholic MP, Robert Charles Flello has put forward a Commons motion designed to appeal to the Parliament to push the UN to obtain an agreement that the word ‘…

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30 Oct 2014 Articles Comments (4)

On the So-Called “Choice in Dying”

By now you’ve probably heard of the tragic story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who has an inoperable and terminal brain tumor. While Maynard’s age ma…

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03 Nov 2016 Articles Comments (1)

The Myth that Religion Causes War

Religion and War CHALLENGE “Religion is inherently violent, producing countless wars.” DEFENSE This claim does not withstand scrutiny. War is not…

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18 Jul 2015 Articles Comments (6)

Mysteries of the Eucharist (part 1)

What really happens to us when we receive Holy Communion? Why do we call the eucharistic presence “real,” and how does it make a difference in our lives? What …

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What happens to those who die and do not believe?

Full Question

What happens to those who die and do not believe?


It depends. If you mean, “What happens to those who die rejecting Christ?” the Church’s answer is uncompromising: They will go to hell. But no one goes to hell by accident. If someone is simply ignorant of the name of Christ through no fault of his own, there is no sin in that. He has not rejected Christ. Moreover, we know Christ is not constrained by our knowledge. He can work in a heart even when that heart is only dimly aware of it.

Jesus speaks of this in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. The ones judged here are “the nations”—those outside the visible communion of the Church. How are they judged? By the way they responded to Christ when he came to them in disguise. “I was sick and you visited me; hungry, and you fed me; thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” How do the sheep and the goats respond? With surprise. The point is, we may not know it, but Christ comes to us even when we don’t (or can’t) come to him. This is why the Church counsels us to hope and pray for the dead. We must not pretend we know what God is up to in the lives of others. We know where the Church is. We do not know where it is not.

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