Asked in Catholicism

Do Catholics believe in Heaven and Hell?



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Most certainly. The belief in Heaven and Hell are both doctrines of the Catholic Faith which means they are so fundamental to the Catholic belief that to deny them is to deny the Faith. Catholics believe that the soul only has two ultimate destinies, either to spend eternity in Heaven with God, or to spend eternity in Hell without Him. The Catholic concept of Heaven consists in the Beatific Vision, this means that the soul will be able to contemplate God, to "see" Him, to its full ability and hence, the soul will be rapt in the mysteries and love it will find there. The Catholic concept of Hell is a place of absence where the soul will ever be in torment since it can never be united to its Creator, God. Catholics believe as well in the resurrection of the body and thus Heaven and Hell are physical places as well to accommodate the physical form. To this end, the body will either be glorified in Heaven or twisted and tortured in Hell by fire and cold.

Catholics also believe in Limbo and Purgatory. Purgatory is an intermediate stage used to purify souls that will go to Heaven but which yet have some temporal restitution they must make in justice. Purgatory will cease to exist at the end of the world since all souls will then either be in Heaven or Hell.

Limbo is for those souls who die without reaching the age of reason and who have not received baptism. Since they have Original Sin on their souls they cannot enter heaven, but since they have no personal sin either, they are not to suffer Hell. Thus they are placed in Limbo, a state of natural happiness.


Since the doctrine of Hell is such a controversial subject, there are Catholics that will say they don't believe it exists. More liberal Catholics now say that the major religions (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.) all go to heaven. Some other Catholics will try to argue that there is no proof that God has sent anyone to Hell.

Roman Catholic Answer

Yes, of course, heaven is perfect life eternally with the Most Holy Trinity:

from The Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, English translation 1994

1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity - this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed - is called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

and hell is eternal pain and frustration: 1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:14-15) Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethern. (Cf. Mt 25:31-46) To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."