Does the soul which dies in mortal sin go straight to hell, or does God offer his mercy one last time?

Full Question

Fr. Groeschel says that at our final hour God offers his divine mercy to each individual. I believe this, but isn’t this contrary to the Catholic teachings that if an individual dies with mortal sin on his soul, his destination is hell?


The Lord’s divine mercy is contingent on whether the person wants it or not. The Church has always taught that even in the last moments of life if a person repents, he or she will receive God’s mercy and be forgiven.


  1. Christian Azuero Reply

    How we are save?, it is a complex topic. But if you have faith on Him and you love Him you will be saved and therefore you follow Him because of His grace, He died on the cross for our salvation. When you die you go to purgatory. It is a state of soul in which the sins are cleansed. If you love Him, you will repent from your sins to receive His righteousness so that you can be perfect and be with him on heaven. When they say at the very last moment, this can be on hearth or in the other life but you have to repent.

    1. Christine Swanson Reply

      I think if you are totally sorry for any Mortal Sin I think God will forgive you.You though have to be really sorry for whatever you did.

      1. Vicki Sawarin Reply

        Just to be sorry is not enough. You need to go to confession & have your sin forgiven. If you are Catholic, you can receive the Last Rites of the Church to cleanse your soul, before you die.

        1. dave hahn Reply

          If a priest is not available and you sincerely are sorry for your sins God will forgive you even of you don’t go to confession. God is not limited to the Sacraments. For us it is the ordinary means but in some circumstances God can work outside of them.

      2. Andrew Reply

        Christine I completely agree with you!!!

    2. Jim V. Reply

      Well said.

    3. michelle tavakolu Reply

      God is mercy and love. I think God wants everyone in heaven. Those who out of no fault of their own didn’t know about Jesus during their lifetime will be asked at last moments by Him if they believe he is God and are sorry for their sins will go to purgatory or heaven. Christians have he duty to spread the gospel by word and their lives and praying for the souls in our lives who are leading sinful lives ,for those who are in error, non-belivers, our enemies, by fasting, good works, adoration, daily mass/holy communion, and masses said for these. At judgement I’m sure we will be held responsible for those we knew and not if we prayed for their souls while they were leading lives not worthy of heaven.

    4. valerie Reply

      Repentance is only possible while still alive. So if we turn to God with our last breath then our souls will eventually (likely after a period in purgatory) go to heaven. Dying with mortal sin on our soul means that we have rejected God fully and comprehensively for all eternity. Then, there is no turning back. A person who is used to rejecting God during this life is likely to reject God when death comes for him. So, at all times, choose God, choose life and pray that when our time comes we will turn to God and reject Satan.

  2. Deacon James Charlie Reply

    In what I believe, souls in purgatory are helpless and it’s only up to us to be taken out of the it through our prayers for them. In praying I always include “All the souls, including those who have no one to pray for them and are forgotten”. So. it is through our prayers that the souls in Purgatory will receive God’s grace and they in turn will pray for us when our time comes.

  3. Zera Innocenti Reply

    last moments of life if a person repents, he or she will receive God’s mercy and be forgiven.) i think sinner can abuse that , thinking that its ok to sin and sin and he go ask forgiveness when he close to die how do we make people to stop to sin then

    1. Lea Leger Reply

      when you ask forgiveness , it should be sincerely, sin no more. Ex. when you kill someone and repent that you wont do it again and you know its mortal sin ,God will forgive you but when you kill repeatedly you will never forgiven. God forfgives only those who have sincere hear. No one is unclean shall enter heaven, when you are in the state of graced you will be saved through cleansing fire or purification of fire.

  4. Georges Kawkabany Reply

    Sinners cannot abuse of GOD’s Mercy…Nobody knows WHEN he will die and HOW…You might not be able to repent…

  5. Nidal Reply

    We have to be ready, can’t gamble on last minute repent, I believe whoever believe in Jesus as saviour and live sincerely by his teachings will always be saved though he might had a mortal sin.

  6. Linda Lee Reply

    If you remember one of the criminals that was on a cross with Jesus asked to be remember. The Lord replied “You will be with me today in Paradise.”

    1. Lea Leger Reply

      The criminals repent sincerely, Jesus forgave him, he said you will be with me in paradise, Jesus did not say you will be with me in Heaven. The criminal saved but need to purifiy his sins through cleansing fire (Purgatory) to enter in heaven. The Bible says, nothing unclean shall enter Heaven, we are all sinners. but the souls who die in the state of grace will be saved (purgatory) but it depends what you have done on earth. God will judge according to your works.

    2. Leo A. Escarpe Reply

      Amen and amen…. but he repented and Lord Jesus knows his humble and sincere heart, that’s why he got God’s ever the best reply, what a beautiful grace of God’s love and mercy…

  7. Carel Patrica Smith Reply


    1. D. Harmon Reply

      The Holy Bible does not “classify” sin. There is no such thing as mortal sin, venial sin, etc. This is something taught through Catholocism and is not Biblical. To God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, a sin is a sin is a sin. In our “human” understanding, it is difficult to comprehend, much less understand that God does not judge sin by degree. The concept of mortal and venial sin present an unbiblical picture of how God views sin. The Bible states that God will be just and fair in His punishment of sin and that on the day of judgment some sin will merit greater punishment than others (Matthew 11:22, 24; Luke 10:12, 14). But the fact is that all sin will be punished by God.

      I was raised in the Catholic Church and am now a Christian. I have come to understand that the ONLY words that should guide my life are those contained in the Holy Scripture in the Holy Bible. Catechism, as taught by the Catholic Church, is not based on the Holy Scripture. If anyone chooses to remain in the Catholic Church, that is certainly their choice. I simply pray that family and friends of mine who remain Catholic read, study, and bind in their hearts the “Words of God and Jesus Christ” from the Bible.

      Read more:

      1. Vicki Sawarin Reply

        Just what do you mean by” I was raised in the Catholic Church and am now a Christian ?” Catholics were the first Christians. I feel sorry for you, as you have put yourself in a very precarious situation. If you are Catholic, you will always be a catholic. Not a smart one, as you have lost your chance to go to heaven. Jesus established the Catholic is His Church. All others were started because mankind did not want to follow Christ’s teachings & threw out of the bible or changed, what they did not want to do. Your family & friends, who remain Catholic will miss you when they get to heaven. At best, you may get to purgatory unless you go to confession & start receiving the Body & Blood of Christ again. Some protestant churches give communion but it is not the Eucharist. Only Catholic priests have the power of transubstantiation. I do know what I speak of. Ask God for forgiveness, before it is too late.

      2. jess Reply

        Maybe the guy is from the “born again” group of fundamentalist. From the protestant line. “Sola scriptura” line is a dead giveaway.

    2. Lea Leger Reply

      you are wrong, not only suicide is mortal sin. Mortal sin are, suicide, abortion, murder, adultery, fornication, sexual relations between sex sex.

  8. carmella hisbach Reply

    Why am I having trouble getting my late husbands ashes blessed by a priest. I was not with him when he passed and he didn’t have last rites or any blessing

    1. NORAH Reply

      All the ten commandments are mortal sins.

    2. April Dryburgh Reply

      Instead of trying to have his ashes blessed, it might be better to ask for a Mass to be offered for the repose of his soul.

    3. Vicki Sawarin Reply

      Priests are not allowed to do that. You can have Masses said for your husband; light a candle in church and of course, pray for him. Also, it is wrong to keep the ashes at home or to scatter them.. They should be buried or placed in a place specially for that purpose.

  9. NORAH Reply

    There are many mortal sins, all the ten commandments. Adultery, stealing, to kill etc.

  10. Michael Reply

    I think the questioner was referring to a belief some sects have that God will give a final opportunity AFTER a person dies to accept him. This of course is contrary to not only Catholic teaching but also the teaching of most Protestant and evangelical sects. Nearly all Christians believe a person who sincerely believes and repents just before death will be saved.

  11. Louie Reply

    Spirit i willing, but flesh is really weak. We are all sinners and it is only in God’s grace that we can be strong.

  12. Anne Häger Reply

    Jag tror att det beror på storleken på brottet eller synden, här måste det finnas visa änglar som ser skillnad på ren illvilja att inte förbättra sig och och ett samhälle som skapats för att bara vissa ska överleva eller ett samhälle som har rättvise skapat möjligheterna att alla får en chans att få ett drägligt liv med bra inkomst så ingen behöver lida.Och ingen behöver stjäla eller begå brott.

  13. sarah cutter Reply

    i have a question it is this does anyone k to please now or heard of the booklet GOD THE FATHER speaks 2 his children through a nun from Istaly in the year 1932 . asking the church honour him with a special feast day .he knowsrs the church honours him at holy mass and trinity sunday but he wants a feast day to his person as father of us all .i am wondering if the church ever acted on that .i read the little book and i found it very touching that the eternal father would stoop down 2 us in such humility.

  14. Don Roberson Reply

    Id say it is best we repect God and repent when we are able to here and not bank on being offered mercy after death…people who have illnesses and slow deaths are somewhat blessed as was the thief on the cross in the sense that they have some time to repent….however car wrecks that people die instantly might be a different story….better we repent now and not roll the dice…im sure the Lord who gives us free will would appreciate sincere repentance over us not repenting and depending on his mercy after death…if he even offers that…he is a just God so we can blame anyone but ourselves…i hope for the sake of the lost souls who have left us that God is merciful to them…and all who find themselves unprepared…

  15. Lawrence bocanegra Reply

    Hell described as:
    Mt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
    Hell prepared for:
    Rev. 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
    This happens right after you die. Eternal life begins right here, right now, after you grieve what you have done and realize that the one and only way to salvation is from Jesus.
    Punishment of, described as:
    Bodily Matt. 5:29, 30
    In the soul Matt. 10:28
    With degrees Matt. 23:14

  16. Gayle Reply

    God is too gracious to forgive us and too perfect that He cannot tolerate our sin…
    Now is your time to repent and return to JESUS alone…

    Hebrews 9:27
    And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes JUDGMENT…

    John 14:6
    Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father EXCEPT through me…”

  17. VANASSA LUKE Reply

    Then hell is empty. Everyone will accept. The real question everyone should ask is what does the Word of God say. It and it alone should be a CHRISTians standard. It is clear, if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are going to hell. Romans 10:9 teaches us how to accept Jesus, Matthew 25:46 teaches us about the alternative to Jesus Christ. I am a catholic, I am a CHRISTIAN. I am a a follower of Jesus Christ and His teachings, and that ONLY.

  18. Helen North Reply

    I feel Christ came here to teach Love !! i was raised Catholic however spirituality has led me in a different awareness level. There is a purpose why we were put on earth. Each of us has to find their own truth. We must respect each others beliefs. I am only sharing mine.. i have always been curious to know why I was here and followed my quest to find truth. i believe in Karma and Reincarnation. We must be responsible for our own actions.. i believe in the Law of Retribution. What we put out we shall get in return. There are many who are searching for something more and also have questions.

  19. John Reply

    The problem here is whether or not someone dies thinking about God and eternity. The tree will always fall in the direction it leans!

  20. Monica Robinson Reply

    How long do you pray for someone I purgatory because you will never know if and or when they pass through so how long should you pray for them ?

    1. Nweze Kenechukwu Josemaria Reply

      For as long as you can, since you have no way of knowing if they’ve been cleansed.

  21. Lin Reply

    Where is purgatory in the bible? I don’t believe in other works except the bible.

  22. Josefina Marquez Reply

    People some of you pass a way and come again to life?

  23. Reply

    Why risk it? Strive to stay in Gods good grace.

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