So you've killed dozens of people, cheated on wife, destroyed families blah blah. Then before dying the priest administers you the last rites. Is everything forgiven? Will you go to heaven because you confessed?

I'm confused at this; what's the incentive to be good throughout life?

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    If you have genuinely repented of all those grave sins (so that your confession is valid), then you will end up in heaven (unless you commit new sins afterward), probably after a long time in purgatory. Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 3:01
  • I think this question has already been asked. Here's a related question regarding particular judgment Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 13:25
  • The sacraments of the Church are valid as long as the soul is disposed to receive the sacraments. Even in a regular confession, a person who refuses to amend his sinful ways of mortal sins will not be absolved when he confesses his sins to a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation. The Last Rites, when administered while someone is near death will always be accompanied by the sacrament of confession. At special Masses where the "Last Rites" are carried out, the obligation to confess one's mortal sins to a priest remains in force. For the unconscious, one can only hope on the mercy of God.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 14:00
  • @KenGraham That looks like the core of a good answer. I could have sworn there was a near identical question to this, but I think I am using the wrong search term. Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 15:28
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    Chlorinate06, your question is about trying to rules lawyer one's way into heaven, which suggests to me that you do not accept the teaching on Particular judgment in CCC 1022. If you think that anyone who arrives for particular judgment can BS the Almighty, then I think that you won't be happy with any answer from Catholic teaching. A core belief is that God will see the Truth in man's heart, and as Jesus said, the Truth shall set you free. Is anyone truly repentant? Only God, and that individual in their heart of hearts, knows the truth of that. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 21:08

1 Answer 1


The Catechism of the Council of Trent on Extreme Unction quotes St. James 5:14-15:

Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Describing the effects of Extreme Unction, the Catechism says:

this Sacrament is imparted grace that remits sins, and especially lighter, or as they are commonly called, venial sins; for mortal sins are removed by the Sacrament of Penance. Extreme Unction was not instituted primarily for the remission of grave offences; only Baptism and Penance accomplish this directly.

Another advantage of the Sacred Unction is that it liberates the soul from the languor and infirmity which it contracted from sins, and from all the other remains of sin. The time most opportune for this cure is when we are afflicted with severe illness and danger to life impends, for it has been implanted in man by nature to dread no human visitation so much as death

See also the 14th session of the Council of Trent on the Sacraments of Penance and Extreme Unction.

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