The Catholic Church is the largest denomination of Christianity, with over one billion members worldwide. With this, its teachings and beliefs are widely known, even by people who are non-Catholics. For this reason, most people wonder, “are Catholics going to heaven?”
This question can not be answered with a clear yes or no, as it is hard to judge every Catholic church member based on the church itself. Additionally, different catholic churches have different teachings and beliefs, making it impossible to know which catholic member will go to heaven. The Bible is, however, clear that for a person to have eternal life, they must hear Jesus’ words and believe in God, as John 5:24 states.
So, where do Catholics believe they go after death? Heaven or Purgatory? What do Catholics have to do to get to heaven? Do Catholics pray to Mary? Is Catholicism a requirement for heaven? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Where do Catholics believe they go after death? Heaven or Purgatory
Before we answer where Catholics believe they will go after their death, it is essential to truly understand what the Catholics believe in when it comes to their Faith. The Catholic Church entirely believes in one God, the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the same belief that all other Christians believe in, making them no different.
However, while some Christians only believe that a person will only enter heaven or hell after their death, Catholics do believe that there is an additional waiting space for death, which they refer to as Purgatory, in which a catholic believer will go to be purified of any pending sin, as they wait to go to heaven.
From the explanation given above, it is clear that all Catholics believe they will go to heaven eventually after their death. The Purgatory is only a temporary place and not their eternal destination.
So, what is the Purgatory?
The perfect description of this place is provided in the catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC1030). This book describes Purgatory as a place where a dead catholic is purified of their sins to attain the necessary holiness required to access the joy of heaven.
This can only be done to those who died in friendship and God’s grace but had other imperfections which need to be perfected for them to be worthy of heaven. The Catholics argue that purification is needed before a person proceeds to heaven, as nothing unclean will enter before the presence of God, as Revelations 21:27 records.
The Catholic Church explains that when a person dies, they first undergo an individual judgment, or ‘the particular’ in most cases. During this process, a person is informed whether their final destination will be heaven or hell. During this time, a dead catholic member is purified of any sin, which would have led them to be sent to hell when Jesus came for the second time.
What do Catholics have to do to get to heaven?
As mentioned earlier, different Catholic churches have different beliefs and certain practices that some have been commanded to do to go to heaven. Bible scholars from Got Question ministries suggest that Catholic members who strictly follow the Roman Catholic beliefs are not saved and will, therefore, not go to heaven, as they involve themselves in certain rituals that the Bible does not support.
They further explain that a member of the Roman Catholic Church who wants to get to heaven will be required first to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior through Faith. They will then be required to receive the baptism in the Trinitarian formula. The person will then be required to observe all of the catholic sacraments, especially the Eucharist, to be equipped with additional or extra grace. Lastly, the person will be required to die having confessed all of their mortal sins, and they will be granted an entrance to heaven.
Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church also suggests that a person must go through more purification in Purgatory to be sure of their position in heaven.
Some religious scholars have called these practices irrelevant, implying that the Bible calls Christians to only believe in Jesus Christ, and they will be saved, which will lead them to heaven when they eventually die. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through Faith. It is not the results of your efforts but God’s gifts, so no one can boast about it.”
Additionally, some Catholics are called upon to repent, have Faith, get baptized, and attend a confession to get to heaven. In their teachings, some catholic churches call all their member to repent of their sins first and have Faith that God has forgiven them all their sins. They should be baptized, showing they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
However, in case they find themselves in sin again after doing all these things, they are required to go to confession and confess their sins before the priest. They will then receive the sacrament of confession, and their sins can be forgiven. They can only be assured they will see and enter heaven through all these things.
Do Catholics pray to Mary?
Catholics have been suggested to pray to Mary sometimes, a thing that most Christian doctrines do not do. Catholics usually pray to Mother Mary in their argument, citing their reason for doing so from John 19:26–27. “Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, so he said to his mother, “he is your son.” Then he said to his disciple, “she is your mother.” From that time, the disciple took her to lie in his home.
Through the above scripture, Catholics suggest that by Jesus saying those words to his mother and the disciple, he made Mary the mother of all those born again in him, giving her the gift of compassion. With this, Catholics reveal that they only pray to Mary when they ask her to intercede on their behalf to God, just like other Christians ask their fellow members to pray for them.
Furthermore, the second edition of the Roman Catholic Church Catechism clarifies why Catholics pray to Mary. It states that when Catholics pray to Mary, they adhere to God’s plan, sending Jesus, his only son, to save them. By doing so, the Catholics invite Mary, the mother of Jesus, into their homes (hearts) just like the disciple who Jesus loved.
Is Catholicism a requirement for heaven?
Catholicism is not a requirement for heaven, as no scripture in the Bible mentions it. The Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian denomination that demands its members to obey and observe some catholic rituals that will enable them to go to heaven one day. However, the Bible remains clear that only salvation will make a person see heaven. Acts 16:31 says, “they answered, “belief in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved; you and your family.”
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.