Anonymous asked:

Do Catholics believe that Protestants will go to heaven?

Karl Keating replied:

"The Catholic Church teaches that… to go to heaven you have to die in a state of sanctifying grace, also called habitual grace. You’ve got to have grace in your soul at the moment of death. If you don’t you’ll go straight to hell. If you do and you have a perfect love for God at that moment you go straight to heaven. Probably though if you’re bound for heaven you will need to occupy some time in purgatory purging or cleansing yourself of the last affection for sin. You can be repentant of your sins and die in the state of grace and still be inclined towards sin and have an affection for sin. But if that’s your situation you’re not really in the shape you should be in to be in heaven with God, and therefore that’s the purpose of purgatory…

Who can be in the state of grace? A person who is authentically repentant of his sins can be in the state of grace. Is it possible for a Protestant to be in that condition? Yes says the Catholic Church. But does that imply then that it makes no difference what church one belongs to? No not at all. All things being equal one’s chances for salvation are much better as a Catholic than as anything else. The reason being that the Catholic Church has two things. First the complete Christian truth without any mixture of error in its teachings. So all of its doctrines and all of its morals are completely accurate. You want to have that ideally because you want to be able to follow the truth as perfectly as you can.

The second thing is the Catholic Church has the seven sacraments which are the ordinary sources of grace. They were set up by Christ to be the chief ways that grace comes into our souls. Not the only ways, but the chief ways. So a Protestant denomination, say the Baptist Church on the one hand does not have the fullness of truth. It has a lot of true teachings. Matter of fact most of its teachings are true. But some are not. And the other thing is that it does not have, and it doesn’t claim to have, the sacraments in the catholic sense. It certainly does not have any of them other than baptism which the Catholic Church recognizes as being valid within the Baptist Church. And it actually could have matrimony because that’s a sacrament that’s given between two lay people. A priest is not necessary for that to be effective. So the Baptists have, as an example have a lot of truth and sources of grace for example baptism. But they don’t have the whole package. That’s why again all things being equal one’s chances for heaven are better as a Catholic than as anything else. Does that help Anonymous?"

Anonymous asked:

So basically what you’re saying is, if we’re a born again believer in Jesus Christ and if we commit a sin if we confess that sin we won’t go to purgatory after that. Is that how it works?

Karl Keating replied:

"No. The problem that a Protestant say would have if he commits a serious sin, what we call a mortal sin…an easy one would be murder to use as an example. It’s so vicious a sin that it drives grace out of the soul. So once you commit that kind of a sin you are graceless. How do you get grace back into the soul? Through authentic conversion of heart, authentic repentance right? Is it possible to do that simply praying to God straight and indicating your sorrow for what you’ve done? Yes.

But what happens is that human beings tend to fool themselves all the time. And we think we’re accomplishing something when we don’t. It’s very difficult to be authentically repentant, perfectly so that when you pray to God straight on your own without the assistance of a priest in the sacrament of confession it’s hard to have the complete kind of repentance that you need to have that reinfusion of grace.

The advantage of the sacrament of confession is that that perfect contrition as we call it isn’t necessary in the sacrament. An imperfect contirition is sufficient. For example an imperfect contitiron is sorrow for your sins out of fear of being punished for them in hell. That’s enough to be forgiven in the sacrament of confession. The Catholic Church teaches it’s not enough to be forgiven outside the sacrament when you’ve commited a serious sin.

Outside the sacrament you’d have to have perfect contrition which is a superlative form of sorrow for your sins because you’ve offended God, not because you’re afraid of what he’s going to do to you. A lot of people think that it’s sufficient if they pray to God outside a confessional, say outside a sacramental path of forgiveness and they convince themselves they have this higher degree of sorrow, this contrition. Often times they don’t. So the result is they may not have gotten authentic forgiveness for that serious sin and therefore may not have had grace going back into their souls. The problem is in a way you can’t tell. Because if you’ve paid attention to youself over the years you know how often you fool yourself into thinking that you’ve perfected something when you haven’t. So it’s very easy to not be authentically contrite when you’re just praying to God straight for forgiveness.

Which means in a way you’re never really sure outside of having access to the sacrament of confession whether you’ve been forgiven. That’s why a lot of people in non-Catholic churches go through life worried that they’ve never been sorrowful enough to get God’s forgiveness for their serious sins. That’s not a situation that a Catholic needs to fall into. Because he has the sacrament that Christ set up confession, also called penance and reconciliation where he knows because the Church tells him. Once you are absolved in the confessional by a minister empowered by God himself, by Jesus Christ, you can be sure that sin is forgiven and that you’ve got the grace back in your soul and you don’t have to worry about it after that. You don’t have to second guess yourself and so that’s the big advantage..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2015)

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Show air date: June 2, 2015

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Karl Keating

Question appeared in show: 11:50

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