All Catholics Are Going to Hell? Really!?

All Catholics Are Going to Hell? Really!? May 23, 2024
Fiery Landscape of Hell
Image by Eynoxart from Pixabay

Straight to Hell

I have often been told, as have any number of Catholics, that being Catholic will put one on a direct path to Hell. No passing “Go”. No collecting $200. Nope. Straight to Hell.

What should a Catholic do when told they are condemned to Hell if they remain Catholic? Well, I’m going to use a question I received from one of my e-newsletter subscribers to address that issue. Having an apologetics e-newsletter — Apologetics for the Masses — with almost 70,000 subscribers, I quite often (almost daily) get questions from one or more of them on various issues having to do with the Catholic Faith. This one is typical of any number that I receive dealing with this particular topic:

Q:  A co-worker of mine recently found out that I’m Catholic and he came up and started a conversation with me that quickly turned (at his instigation) to religion. He basically said to me that he was concerned for the eternal salvation of my soul because I am Catholic and told me that I needed to accept Jesus into my heart in order to be saved. I got a little angry with him and let him know that I didn’t appreciate what he was saying, and he need not bother talking to me about religion, or anything else for that matter, anymore. After thinking about it, I realized I probably could have handled the situation a little better, but I am still a bit angry that he would assume I’m going to Hell just because I’m Catholic. I’m wondering where he gets off making an assumption like that, but I also would like to know, how could I have handled it differently?

All Dogs Go to Heaven, and All Catholics Go to Hell

A: Ah, yes, the ol’, “All dogs go to Heaven and all Catholics go to Hell,” routine. To answer the first part of your question: “Where does he get off” assuming Catholics are not saved and are headed for eternal damnation, I’m going to say something that might shock you at first, but bear with me — I applaud him for doing what he did. I say that because, by him striking up that conversation with you he was actually showing you the love of Jesus Christ. Now, he is obviously quite ignorant of what it is Catholics believe and why when it comes to the matter of salvation. Nevertheless, he was acting on good faith, even if he was also acting out of ignorance.

That whole conversation grew out of his concern for the salvation of your soul. He took a big risk talking to you, especially at work, about such a topic; yet he did so because he wanted to bring you to Jesus Christ and thus get “saved,” as he understands it. Obviously, I disagree with his assumption that folks who are Catholic are necessarily going to Hell, which is an assumption that is made by many non-Catholic Christians — they are often taught that by their pastors — but, again, I admire him for his boldness and for the love of Christ that he was exhibiting for you. I cannot begin to tell you how much I admire that kind of attitude and how much I wish more Catholics had that kind of attitude…how much I wish that more Catholics would be concerned with the salvation of souls…all souls.

But at least he’s Christian

So many times I have heard a Catholic say something like, “Well, my son married a Baptist girl and he started going to her church. I wish he was still going to the Catholic Church, but I have no problem with the fact that he’s going to a Baptist church, at least it’s Christian.” They have “no problem” that their son (or daughter or brother or sister or mother or father) has left the Catholic Church and is now going to a Baptist (or Methodist or Presbyterian or Evangelical or…) church!? They have no problem that their family member has left the Eucharist -– the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ –- in order to receive a piece of bread and some grape juice!? They have no problem that their family member no longer goes to Confession!? They have no problem that their family member has now rejected the Pope, Mary and the Saints, the priesthood, and the many other gifts of God that reside in the Catholic Church!?

That kind of attitude drives me absolutely bonkers! If you believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, then how can you be “okay” with anyone leaving the Eucharist for something much less? Or, how can you be satisfied that a loved one, or a friend, or a co-worker, or anyone else –- who is not, nor has ever been, Catholic — has never received the Eucharist in the first place? If you love them, if you care about them, do you not want to do all that you can to try and get them into the Church and to receive the Eucharist? To receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ?

I don’t want to offend anyone

We are often so concerned about offending someone, that we simply turn away from even making an attempt to share with them the truths of the Catholic Faith. Your co-worker was probably concerned about offending you as well, but he swallowed his fear, trusted in Christ, and struck up a conversation with you anyway.

Now, you might say, “Well, but he offended me and so it backfired on him and I don’t want to have the same result.” Did it really backfire on him? Haven’t you been thinking about that conversation since you had it? Didn’t that conversation bother you enough that you had to ask someone about it? Isn’t that conversation making you think about your faith journey and where you are as a Catholic Christian? Even though you got angry, he was actually very successful in what he was trying to do. He planted a seed in your soul. A seed that the Holy Spirit is using to work on you and which may one day bear great fruit; although, not exactly in the way your co-worker intended.

We are called to evangelize!

We cannot hold back from evangelizing folks because we’re afraid of offending them. We have an obligation to share the truths of our faith with those around us and we cannot let fear of offending someone stop us. Jesus Christ was not afraid of speaking the truth. Jesus Christ was not afraid of offending anyone. As long as we speak the truth in love, with respect for the other person, we need not be afraid, because Jesus will use our efforts for the good of all involved, even if it doesn’t seem like we were initially successful. Our job is to throw the seeds out there, then pray for the Holy Spirit to do His job and bring those seeds to fruition.

So, how could you have handled the situation differently? You could have thanked him for being concerned about the salvation of your soul and you could have told him that you have the same concern for his soul, and then asked him if he would be open to hearing about the Catholic Faith. And, in order to be better prepared next time, and there will be a next time, I would recommend a talk of mine entitled, Apologetics for the Scripturally-Challenged, that you can get for free -– on CD (if you still have a CD player in your car) or mp3 download –- at my website: It teaches you how to respond in just such a situation and turn the situation into an opportunity to evangelize…an opportunity to shine light into darkness…an opportunity to plant seeds.

About John Martignoni
A Finance guy who got dragged into apologetics kicking and screaming. Founder/President of the Bible Christian Society, that each year reaches hundreds of thousands of people around the world with the truths of the Catholic Faith. "Apologetics for the Masses" newsletter -- -- has about 70,000 subscribers. Speaker, writer, radio/TV host. Two books: "Blue Collar Apologetics" and "A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism" (EWTN Publishing), available at Hosted EWTN Radio's weekly Open Line Program for 17 years. Founder/President of Queen of Heaven Catholic Radio. Former Director of the Evangelization, Pro-Life, Family Life, Campus Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, and Stewardship offices for the Diocese of Birmingham. You can read more about the author here.
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