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The Catholic Church has a process to canonize someone, to declare that they are a saint, that they are

truly in heaven and worthy of public veneration and imitation.

("Mary and the Saints", - website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

If the Church can declare that someone is "truly in heaven", why do they not also have authority to declare that someone is likewise damned and truly in hell?

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I want t edit this into shape, but right now I can't see how. Have you got some examples of people declared to be saints that are damned? Right now the question seems to be based on faulty generalization. Can you provide specifics to give us something to go on? – David Jul 16 '14 at 11:37
@DavidStratton Btw, thank you and whoever edited one of my questions. I am thinking ... for sanctity, one criteria is heroic virtue. So the opposite? Don't know what catholics think ... – FMS Jul 16 '14 at 11:40
Are you asking why Catholics believe that the Church has the authority to declare someone a saint (and by implication, saved) but not to declare someone damned? – curiousdannii Jul 16 '14 at 12:44
I'm going to give you a -1 on this one for keeping a similar problematic question form as last time. It's fine to scope the question to Catholicism, but I don't think it's really fine given the working philosophy of this site to explicitly restrict your pool of respondants to Catholics - anybody should feel free to answer as long as they faithfully present a Catholic perspective. – bruised reed Jul 16 '14 at 13:01
It'd probably help if you provide your reasoning as to why you think that the Catholic Church can saint people. Then request the reason for contrast. Saint/Damning doctrine is not common knowledge to a lot of people (like me) and it'll narrow your question. – LCIII Jul 16 '14 at 13:43

1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

That is because Jesus gave Peter the keys to heaven and earth (Matthew 16:19). Not keys to hell. In other words, Peter (and his successors) can bind and loose on earth and heaven (Matthew 18:18) not in hell. They do not have authority on beings outside of the church. And people in hell are outside of the Church.

P.S: Christ alone has the keys to hell (Revelation 1:18)

PPS: One can never be certain that another is for ever damned since there is always a chance for someone to be converted, even at the last moment of their lives. This is a matter between God and the dying person.

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