In The Godfather, can anyone that is more familiar with the Catholic faith, tell me if Michael would be considered absolved of his sins considering that he agrees to "renounce satan and all of his works"? Having done this after all of the hits of the crime bosses are carried out?

The Baptism Murders

  • 1
    I'm puzzled at why you changed your accepted answer. In the scene in question, a baptism was taking place, and Michael Corleone was not the one being baptized. That being the case, his answers referred to the infant being baptized, and not to himself. That being the case, iterationx's answer is irrelevant. Your question didn't ask generally whether someone who commits murder can be absolved.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 18:18
  • Like I said, both were good answers and each answered a different part of my question. Thank you for your effort.
    – dmcgill50
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


No, Michael Corleone would not be absolved, because he was not answering for himself.

A godparent at an infant baptism speaks on behalf of the infant. When the priest asks, "Do you renounce Satan?" and the other questions, he's asking this of the infant to be baptized, not of the godparent. The godparent answers because the infant can't speak for him/herself at that age.

An older child or adult being baptized would answer the questions for him/herself.

  • Then to take it one step further, considering the character of Michael, wouldn't we think that he might be considered invalid as a candidate for Godfather?
    – dmcgill50
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 16:38
  • 5
    That would seem fairly obvious. The godparent is supposed to help the godchild grow in the faith. Michael is not exactly the best candidate for this. But unfortunately there are a lot of what we might call cultural godparents, who are chosen in order to honor that person, rather than because that person would be good in that role.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:15
  • 7
    @dmcgill50 Micahel would be an excellent candidate for Godfather. Just a very bad candidate for godfather. Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:14

He would need to be firmly resolved to not commit another murder again and go to confession to be absolved, or have perfect contrition.

The Old Law teaches that sins are forgiven through a priest, Numbers 15:22-25. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Law and rendered it void, however the New Law corresponds to the Old Law in many ways. One of these ways is that confession to a priest is also a characteristic of the New Law.

Jesus Christ gave the Apostles to absolve sins in John 20:21-23.
Also in Matthew 18:18 we see Biblical proof of confession.

It is Catholic doctrine that a single Mortal Sin will remove man from a State of Grace also known as the State of Justification or the State of Sanctifying Grace. If one dies without the State of Justification, he will be condemned to Hell.

When one confesses one's sins to a valid Priest, we say that "he is absolved of his sins", it means that a person is restored to a State of Grace. One who is restored to a State of Grace may still have to suffer the fires of Purgatory for a time. Purgatory is taught in 1 Corinthians 3:15, the passage ends with "he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" - this indicates a place with fire that is not Hell and that ultimately leads to Heaven.

Firmly resolved means that one cannot be planning on committing the sin again in the future. If one confesses adultery for example, and is still living with his girlfriend, then that confession would be invalid, and the sins would not be forgiven, it would in fact be sacrilegious and the confession itself would be a mortal sin.

St. Theresa of Avila tells us that "The majority of Catholics are damned due to bad confessions"

For confession, the fear of Hell is adequate for the sins to be absolved, this is known as imperfect contrition. However Perfect Contrition is a form of sorrow that arises from a love of God.

Practically speaking, a devout Catholic would go to confession. However if a Catholic found himself on a deserted island, and was in a state of Mortal Sin, then he would not lose all hope, because he can still be restored to a State of Justification.

  • Thanks! Wish I could give both of you credit for the "answer"!! Both were excellent.
    – dmcgill50
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 23:10
  • Purgatory is not held to be necessarily a place, but might only be a process.
    – Alypius
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 18:03

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