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I heard at Mass, during the Liturgy, that one of our church members died about 3:00 on Divine Mercy Sunday. The priest explained that she will go straight to heaven, for having died during the third hour, the hour in which Christ breathed His last breath.

I have been looking for a reference to this, but I can't seem to find one. I started with St. Faustina, but I didn't find exactly what I wanted.

Can you help, please?


The Roman Catholic Church teaches that after death people must be purified by paying off the punishments for all temporal sins committed in life. This is done by spending an indefinite period of time in a realm they call purgatory. One of the reasons Catholics seek confession of their sins to a priest is to be absolved of their venial sins so that their time in purgatory is lessen. Masses are said for the dead and candles are lit to help speed up the process so that loved ones spend less time in purgatory. So many Catholics accept this teaching, never realizing that none of this appears in the Bible. It is solely the imaginary doctrine of men and not a teaching of God.

Think about what this priest has done: He has declared that there are multiple ways into heaven. In his teaching most people go through purgatory, but a few lucky people are able to bypass this. This is contrary to what Jesus taught. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). A declaration that someone gets a free pass into heaven because of the hour they died is to declare that God is unjust -- that He is not applying the same standard to all men. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:10). In making this declaration, the priest is placing himself in the judgment seat of God, something that even the archangel Michael dared not to do, "Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"" (Jude 9).

Best that I can tell, this priest has gone beyond what even the Roman Catholic Church has imagined. I was unable to find mention of this exception among Roman Catholic writers. The priest has made the Roman Catholic teaching of purgatory a form of a lottery.

The real problem, however, is that purgatory is not taught by God in His Word. Jesus taught in Luke 16:19-31 that there are two realms for the dead: Abraham's bosom (or paradise) and torments. He very specifically stated that it is not possible to cross from one realm to the other. "And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us" (Luke 16:26). Where a person goes is based on his life and is determined at the time of his death. After death nothing will alter his state. If a person, because of the evil he has done, ends up in torments, he cannot at a later point cross over into paradise.

A secondary problem is that the day selected for the anniversary of Jesus death is not the true anniversary. Jesus died during the Passover, but you might notice on the calendar that the Jewish Passover feast rarely coincides with the Roman Catholic's Easter celebration. This is because the Roman Catholic church wanted to sever its ties with Judaism with uses an odd calendar that contains leap months. It set Easter at the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. The selection of the day has nothing to do with the Bible, it was a man-made ordinance. In addition, the Bible states that Christians remember Jesus' death each first day of the week (Sunday) (Acts 20:7). There is no command to remember his death once a year. Thus, there is nothing special about the yearly anniversary of Jesus death as far as the New Testament is concerned.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding the Roman Catholic Church