What happens to a human after he dies according to the Catholicism? A good answer should reference official church sources.


In the Penny Catechism Q 332. asks, "What are the four last things to be ever remembered?"

The answer is:

The four last things to be ever remembered are Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven. [cf. Ecclus 7:36].

Therefore after death the body turns to dust and the soul of man is judged1.

The soul of man then goes to hell or to heaven (perhaps via purgatory) and awaits the resurrection of the body so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body. [cf. CCC 366.]

1. cf. Heb 9:27 (RSVCE).

Cf. Particular Judgment | New Advent.

Please see also: ARTICLE 12 "I BELIEVE IN LIFE EVERLASTING" of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • @FMS_particular judgement; "but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith " Is this judgement in Heb.9:27 particular judgement and what are criterias of this judgement? Is it only faith or also baptism? If so, then does it needs to be an infant baptism? Also; how do you get this faith? I mean that Cathecism of the Catholic Church(CCC) does not explain words 'works', 'faith' and does not even mention baptism although I know that it is one criteria of 'particular judgement'. Would you add sources that answer the questions? – alvoutila Dec 13 '15 at 9:51
  • 1
    @alvoutila Blessings of the Season. Go here AN OUTLINE OF THE "PENNY CATECHISM" Q9. defines what faith is. Go here Particular Judgment | New Advent for a more detailed treatment on the particular judgment. – user13992 Dec 14 '15 at 7:29

Immediately at death the soul is judged by Jesus Christ, this is called the particular judgment. If you died a Baptized Catholic in a state of grace you will go to Purgatory or Heaven, otherwise you will go to Hell or Limbo of the children.[see notes] A soul in purgatory will suffer there for a time but ultimately end up in Heaven.
Then at the end of the world, the final judgment takes place and the soul is reunited with the body in its glorified form for the saints or in its monstrous form for the Damned. The glorified body has four attributes: brilliance, impassibility, agility, subtility. The Damned will not be able to move in Hell and they will be tortured day and night forever and ever. More in the link.

Notes: People in the Vatican II sect believe anyone can go to Heaven no matter what their religion or actions in life.

Teaching of the Church

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra:

“The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

  • apocalypse_info_click_here: Does all those who are outside the Catholic Church mean those who are members of a denomination who has no "communion" with Catholic Church? In other words does the Catholic Church in your quote only mean the Roman Catholic Church? Do you have a link to your quote? – alvoutila Feb 23 '15 at 8:16
  • @alvoutila It means only Catholics can be saved (not all are). Other denominations founded by Luther, Calvin, etc. cannot be saved because they separated themselves from Christ's Church. That's what the Catholic Church has always taught. I was just suspended for linking to stuff, but 'Cantante Domino' is easy to find online. – user Feb 23 '15 at 12:59
  • @apocalypse_info_click_here You should probably mention that your answer is from a Sede Vaticani perspective, as opposed to a Catholic one. – Please stop being evil Mar 18 '15 at 8:14
  • @apocalypse_info_click_here: I just want to know more. Can you say what is "Sede Vaticani" and "Catholic" one perspective? I ask references for these perspectives. – alvoutila Apr 18 '15 at 17:13
  • 1
    @alvoutila Sedevacantism is the only Catholicism today. A sedevacantist is one believes and professes all the dogmas (eg. One Baptism not three, Outside the Church there is no salvation). Vatican II adherents call themselves Catholic but follow the liberalism of Vatican II and their antipopes the latest of which is Antipope Francis who professes that atheists go to Heaven, that the Jewish OT covenant is still valid, that Protestants are Christians, etc. – user Apr 18 '15 at 23:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.