Suppose a person is learning about the teachings of the Catholicism, and dies before that person has reached a conclusion whether he or she would like to join the Church. According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, what would happen to this person in terms of salvation? Now suppose that person leans toward accepting Catholicism, what would happen instead?

1 Answer 1


Catechism of The Catholic Church has direct Answer for your question:

For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament (CCC 1259).

Such a baptism is called Baptism of desire. But for this to be valid, their conversion should be accompanied by internal act of perfect love and contrition by which their soul is cleansed of all sin.

It is also to be noted that the ordinary magisterium of the Church has openly taught the three-fold Baptism (water, desire and blood) since the earliest days of the Church, and never has this teaching ever been condemned by the Catholic Church.

  • What about a person who have no desire to join as yet? As in, they are still in the process of making the decision?
    – user4167
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 11:06
  • 2
    To @euler: In that case, the Catholic Church has no authority over them, and it does not have a definitive answer to that question. That is, only God can tell whether they will be saved or not. But those who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it will not be saved (CCC 846). At the same time those who through no fault of their own ... seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it ... too may achieve eternal salvation (CCC 847). Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 15:03

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