Dear Father Angelo,
I take the chance to thank you for your availability towards all of us who write.
The question I would like to ask you is this : if a man commits tens of mortal sins (murders and such) during his life, can he be saved? And if he can be saved, will he go to Heaven anyway?
Even if he could not be saved, would there ever be a possible way to save his soul?
Answer from the priest
1. God’s mercy is bigger than all sins.
Christ on the cross expiated them all and more than abundantly.
Now there is only one thing left to do: that this atonement is welcomed by each one of us.
We can only welcome it through repentance and sacramental confession.
2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church writes in this regard:
“There is no fault, however serious it may be, that cannot be forgiven by the Holy Church. «We cannot admit that there is a man, however infamous and wicked, who cannot have the certainty of forgiveness through repentance» (Roman Catechism, 1, 11, 5).
Christ, who died for all men, wants that, in his Church, the doors of forgiveness are always open to anyone who turns away from sin” (CCC 982).
3. Regarding this last statement, the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the following Gospel’s words: “Then Peter approached him and said: «Lord, if my brother commits sins against me, how many times will I have to forgive him? Up to seven times?». And Jesus answered him: «I don’t tell you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Mt 18,21-22).
Not only the doors of the hearts of individuals must always be open to forgiveness, but also those of the Church.
Therefore, so they are.
4. Then the Catechism of the Catholic Church goes on by saying: “Catechesis will strive to awaken and cultivate faith in the faithful people in the incomparable greatness of the gift that the risen Christ has given to his Church: the mission and the power to truly forgive sins, through the ministry of the Apostles and their successors” (CCC 983).
5. These statements are followed by the quotes of three great doctors of the Church.
The first is St. Ambrose: “The Lord wants his disciples to have the widest powers; he wants his servants to do in his name what he himself did when he was on earth” (De poenitentia, 1,34).
6. The second is from St. John Chrysostom: “The priests have received a power that God has not granted to either the angels or the archangels… What the priests do down here, God confirms up there” (De sacerdozio, 3,5).
On the other hand Jesus told them: “Truly I tell you: everything you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and everything you lose on earth will be lost in Heaven” (Mt 18,18).
7. The third is from St. Augustine: “If there were no remission of sins in the Church, there would be no hope, no hope of eternal life and eternal liberation. We give thanks to God who gave his Church such a gift” (Sermons, 213).
8. It should also be added that God does not just wait for man to feel sorry. Through the mysterious action of grace He also incessantly invites him to repentance and reconciliation.
Therefore the work of salvation is all His, both in its beginning and in its completion. For a man, it is simply enough to correspond to it.
If he does so, he is safe and therefore the gates of Heaven are open to him while those of hell closed instead.
I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.