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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Does the Catholic Church send people to hell by excommunicating them?

Question:

Why does the Catholic Church send people to hell by excommunicating them?

Answer:

It doesn’t. The Church doesn’t have the power to send anyone to hell. Only God can do that. More properly, people who go to hell send themselves there because they choose hell over heaven, themselves over God.

Excommunication is the Church’s top judicial sanction and involves excluding a notorious sinner from communion with the faithful. It is intended as a warning to the sinner that he needs to repent. It isn’t a condemnation to hell.

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