If I don't have access to the sacraments, can I baptize myself or will I be damned?


Full Question

There is no Catholic Church in my country as the government is very hostile to the Vatican. As a result, I'm not baptized nor can I receive any sacrament. But I hold the Catholic faith and have repented of my sins. Can I baptize myself? And can I confess my sins directly to God? Or am I going to hell?

Answer

While you cannot baptize yourself, rest assured that if you should die with no opportunity for baptism, your desire for it will suffice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains in such cases, "the desire for Baptism… brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament" (CCC 1258). Similarly, your lack of access to the Sacrament of Penance need not exclude you from God’s forgiveness. The Catechism explains:

Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.
When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible. (CCC 1451-1452)

Never underestimate God’s desire for everyone’s salvation and His willingness to forgive the truly repentant! You are in our prayers.


Jim Blackburn