How big a risk do lapsed Catholics run?

Sister Mary of Agerde, writing in the mid 1600s, reminds us of something very important:  Catholics who “repudiate” The Church are especially punished.

After having read three of the four volumes that comprise Sister Mary’s great book, The City of God, it is impossible to ignore, belittle, or argue with anything she says.

She is a holy woman, writing under the direction of Mary and The Holy Spirit.  When such a blessed woman says “Catholics who repudiate The Church are especially punished.”, it is not sane to ignore her warning.

We all know lapsed Catholic who decide not to receive The Sacraments.  Are they “repudiating” The Church?  How big a risk do lapsed Catholics run?

The evening before The Crucifixion gives examples of repudiating.  Peter denied Christ three times, a form of repudiation.  Most of the other disciples ran away, somewhere between lapsing and repudiating.  They all recovered their courage, faith, and obedience.  They were forgiven and were saved.

Judas went beyond repudiating.  He actually and intentionally betrayed Christ and did not ask to be forgiven.

So, lapsing is not as bad as repudiating.  Repudiating is not as bad as attacking.  Lapsing, repudiating, and attacking without seeking forgiveness brings eternal pain.

We have to tell lapsed Catholics that they run the risk of being labeled “repudiators” if they die before seeking to make things right.  If repudiation, as with Peter, ends with contrition things may be all right.

Secondly, we have to be clear that there is a difference in degrees with repudiation.  A person who’s lapsed because of an inability to get right with The Church because of an as yet to be requested annulment, for instance, may be treated more leniently than those who leave because they won’t seek to be avoid, and ask to be forgiven for,  some proscribed activity involving greater sinfulness.

Sister Mary brings up something vitally important about the last-minute confessions that many lapsed Catholics think will save them.  “At the hour of death, satan and his dark minions surround the departing soul, distracting it from making a final confession.”

That is the warning we must give to lapsed Catholics who do not fully understand “How big a risk to lapsed Catholics run?”