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What does the Church actually have to say about Hell and Mortal sin (i.e. your ticket to hell)?

Below are several sections from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on these subjects. Click on the title to visit the complete teaching on the subject.

Clearly, the church teaches that hell exists- that sin is a reality of life and there are grave dangers to our salvation. That is not up for debate.

The question that has me wondering is- Why do so many followers and preachers of the Word have such a preoccupation with hell? Is such a focus justified?

Take a moment and read and reflect on these excerpts. They clearly teach that  hell exists but can we conclude that we must live in mortal fear that we are all going to go  there.


1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.”617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:621

The Gravity of Sin Mortal and Venial Sin

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

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