Author Topic: Can evil people repent?  (Read 2398 times)

Offline Jayne

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Can evil people repent?
« on: September 20, 2020, 10:11:38 PM »
This question arose in the context of discussing current events.  It has diverged enough from the original topic that I want to start a new thread.

There seems to be a consensus that deathbed or late in life conversions, especially by those who have have done great evil, are rare.  Some posters appear to believe that they cannot or should not happen.

I have thought of a contemporary example of a person who did extremely evil actions and yet appears to have repented, believed and been baptized: Bernard Nathanson, abortionist and activist.

Quote
In addition to the 60,000 abortions performed at the clinic, which he ran from 1970 to 1972, he took responsibility for 5,000 abortions he performed himself, and 10,000 abortions performed by residents under his supervision when he was the chief of obstetrical services at St. Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan from 1972 to 1978.
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/us/22nathanson.html

These are the abortions that he was directly involved in.  He also indirectly caused abortions through his activism.
Quote
Originally a pro-abortion rights activist, Nathanson gained national attention as one of the founding members along with Larry Ladder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (later renamed the National Abortion Rights Action League, and now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America). He worked with Betty Friedan and others for the legalization of abortion in the United States. Their efforts essentially succeeded with the Roe v Wade decision.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Nathanson

However, he eventually realized that abortion is horribly wrong and stopped doing them.  The last one was in 1978.  He started working for the pro-life cause.  Eventually he became Catholic.

Quote
Nathanson grew up Jewish and for more than ten years after he became anti-abortion he described himself as a "Jewish atheist". In 1996 he converted to Catholicism through the efforts of the Rev. C. John McCloskey. In December 1996, Nathanson was baptized by John Cardinal O'Connor in a private Mass with a group of friends in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. He also received Confirmation and first Communion from the cardinal. When asked why he converted to Roman Catholicism, he stated that "no religion matches the special role for forgiveness that is afforded by the Catholic Church."[7]

From everything publicly known about it, Bernard Nathanson repented of his evil actions, believed in Jesus Christ and was baptized into his Church. There is good reason to think that this man was saved, even though he bears responsibility for the murder of millions of babies.

If, in fact, this man enters heaven and if I make it there too, I am not going to refuse heaven because I have to share it with this baby killer.  I am going to be beyond happy that both of us are there.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 
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Offline Bernadette

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2020, 10:21:04 PM »
I recently read a story on reddit about the commandant of Auschwitz repenting and going to confession shortly before being hanged. There was a link to more information on the story, but alI can’t remember the site now. It was certainly something to think about, and I hope it’s true.
"Make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found."
 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 10:36:48 PM »
They can.

It is rare.

We need some evidence, witness they did repent.  Otherwise it is safe to assume they did not repent because the majority of people don't.

The common error of today is not to condemn people who entered the vineyard late.  It is to canonise heretics and wish heaven for notorious sinners who all the evidence suggests were proud of their evil to the final point in their life where they could express any thoughts at all.

A last minute act of contrition from a notorious sinner is extremely unlikely.  It cheapens grace to the point that we have zero argument with born again Christians who merely confess Christ and confidently believe they are saved.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 12:57:27 AM by Greg »
 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2020, 12:49:43 AM »
Society is built on a framework of common ideas.  There is a creed with some room for discussing ideas and exceptions that break rules, usually however rules are broken with a known justification.  Businesses, sports teams all run like this.  Don't show up to practice you are off the team.  Don't make your quota you are fired and a new person is given a chance to sell what you were selling.  Children are expected to go to school not randomly show up when they want.  Doctors to medical school.  Musicians to play notes in the right order.  Risk produces failure or reward. Criminals are punished.   Prophets are expected to not state things that don't happen.  This is the ONLY rule that allows us to know they are not liars.

When you break, or question without jusification, these rules, consistently, you demoralise people.  They no longer know which way is north.  A heretic like JP2 is made a saint and people say "I don't understand it, but I accept it", so why not St. Mick Jagger?  Bankers, commit wholesale fraud.  Clinton is caught breaking the law, nothing happens.  We have a virus which is killing hardly any more people  than flu but the world locking society down over it.  Why?

The core message of Christ, is keep the commandments, many are called but few are chosen, better that a millstone, the road to Heaven is narrow, easier for a camel to pass through the eye of needle, but when a famous and notorious sinner dies, a woman in this case who was antichrist, some of us postulate that she might be saved.

Notice we never do this about the town drunk, or serial adulterer, or minor personality.  It is always a globally known superevil person like Hilter, Ginsburg or similar.  Someone whose sins are massive, well known, and cry out to Heaven for vengeance.  The sinners in the middle of the bell curve can be damned for all we care.  Nobody ever makes a thing about them possibly being saved or damned.  Nobody cares.  They die forgotten.

How then does one convince a 15 year old boy to avoid pornography and masturbation?  How can he fear anything with such randomness of outcomes. He knows 99% are just like him and this is an ordinary vanilla sin.    1% are as evil as Ginsburg and yet she may have been saved.

You have demoralised him.  He has no frame of reference to judge his risk of damnation.  If it is possible for RBG to get a Royal Flush, then surely he has a good chance of a pair.  You are shuffling the pack in the middle of the game.

Tell everyone about "acts of perfect contrition" often enough, and who will bother going to confession?  I will just make an act of perfect contrition every time I take a shit.  Bingo, I am saved.

Very, VERY unwise to overstress and exaggerate the mercy of God.  It does not turn Daniel, and other scrupulous people, into a normal human being with good stable judgement.  It just makes him a libertine because now he has lost his compass, as opposed to looking at it constantly and falling over a cliff (which will only kill his body NOT his soul).  Err instead on the side of overstressing God's justice.  We live in a world full of sinners who don't care about their sins.  People like Daniel are rare birds.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 07:34:18 AM by Greg »
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2020, 03:16:04 AM »
Greg, you make excellent points in three areas:

1. A modern compulsion to ponder the fates of famous/infamous people more than obscure people who have been lukewarm all their lives and/or whose evil is less "cosmic" in scope. 

2. The casual way that many Catholics speak of perfect acts of contrition.  I would have to search hard for which sermon of Fr. Ripperger's included his comment that "a perfect act of contrition is very, very hard to do, and almost no one can do it."  First, many people do not understand what that perfect act consists of; two, few have reached such a high level of pure love for God that they can be sorry regardless of the outcome of that act of sorrow.  Third, the test is in the doing of it, especially if one is in serious danger of imminent death, so few will be in the position that such pure love will really be tested.

3.  The contemporary problem of habitual mortal sin in relationship to permanent consequences for that.

The only problem with the rest of what you contend (here and elsewhere) is that it's somewhat of a straw man.  Secularists and Catholic modernists make fairy tales out of evil people's lives, or the end of those lives, but traditional Catholics do not, assuming they have been well catechized.  Perhaps some trads have reason to complain about insufficient sermons about damnation, but all priests I know preach about this several times a year.

Nevertheless, I think you do make an excellent point in #3 above, and given that using pornography cuts across all Catholic lines -- modern and trad -- I think it's a fair point to merely inquire of one's own priest as to what is being taught to young people beyond the age of 13.  Catechesis ends in some locations right after Confirmations, and those sacraments can be done at various ages -- 11, 13, 17, whenever.  But the point I'm trying to make is the most intensive period of catechesis for young people is from age 6 to about age 13 or 14.  If the Confirmation is going to be delayed for any reason to age 17 or even young adulthood, there will definitely not be continuous catechesis for all those years before the Confirmation event.  As children get into the teen years, catechesis is much less regular and frequent, and therefore also the warnings about habitual sin.

As to #1, I think this is a problem unique to the modern age - a socially-driven culture in which everyone is expected or allowed to have an opinion on everything, not matter how unrealistic or inappropriate. Before the advent of social media and before the concurrent advent of a confessional, tell-all culture, people did not often opine positively or negatively on the fate of famous souls, including if they were especially evil.  It's always been Catholic teaching that the fate of a soul is the business of that soul and God.  (Let's not go to the subject of canonizations, please.)  But we could, for example, discuss a more universal event for most of us here:  a baptized family member who has not practiced the faith for decades dies without the sacraments, by his own wish.  This could happen in my own family, and I would not dare to speculate in either direction.  I pray for these and similar others, leaving the fates of their souls only to God.
 
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2020, 04:41:20 AM »
If we were judged according to justice absolutely noone would be saved.
"Let all bitterness and animosity and indignation and defamation be removed from you, together with every evil. And become helpfully kind to one another, inwardly compassionate, forgiving among yourselves, just as God also graciously forgave you in the Anointed." – Paul

An ominous dream.
 
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Offline awkwardcustomer

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2020, 05:47:49 AM »
According to Jayne, psychopaths who promote evil for their entire lives are capable of repenting on their deathbeds and being converted.  Those who disagree with her are the kind of nasty, mean people who would complain if a repentant Hitler was in heaven, should they themselves ever get there.  One poster even suggested we were the kind of people who would complain if a cousin who annoyed us at a wedding was also in heaven which, of course, neither the poster nor Jayne would ever do, their spiritual superiority being blatantly suggested if not stated outright.

I'm tired of this kind of thing.  These are the tactics of the left and are straight out of 'Rules for Radicals'.

And it's all over this forum, personal attacks when arguments won't do.
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.
 
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2020, 06:41:28 AM »
According to Jayne, psychopaths who promote evil for their entire lives are capable of repenting on their deathbeds and being converted.

Repentance and conversion are constant, and all of us are going to need a deathbed conversion if we want to be saved. And there's a budding psychopath in each of us.
"Let all bitterness and animosity and indignation and defamation be removed from you, together with every evil. And become helpfully kind to one another, inwardly compassionate, forgiving among yourselves, just as God also graciously forgave you in the Anointed." – Paul

An ominous dream.
 

Offline awkwardcustomer

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2020, 06:45:55 AM »
And there's a budding psychopath in each of us.

Psychopaths love it when people say that.
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.
 
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2020, 07:39:52 AM »
They can.

It is rare.

So we are fundamentally in agreement on this.  That is also what I think.

We need some evidence, witness they did repent.  Otherwise it is safe to assume they did not repent because the majority of people don't.

But why assume either way?  Why not just say that it is unlikely but we don't know for sure?

The common error of today is not to condemn people who entered the vineyard late.  It is to canonise heretics and wish heaven for notorious sinners who all the evidence suggests were proud of their evil to the final point in their life where they could express any thoughts at all.

A last minute act of contrition from a notorious sinner is extremely unlikely.  It cheapens grace to the point that we have zero argument with born again Christians who merely confess Christ and confidently believe they are saved.

Again, I basically agree.  The understanding of death and judgment in NovusOrdoland is appalling. In effect, they encourage the sin of presumption and the heretical belief of universal salvation.  It is common, for example, to attend a NO funeral and hear the deceased spoken of as if he were definitely in heaven.  But Miriam makes the good point that, in discussions among trads, there is probably a far better basis in Church teaching.

When trads talk about wishing heaven for notorious sinners, it probably comes from the knowledge that God wills for all people to be saved and from our prayers that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  We want sinners to repent and be saved because this is what God wants.  Typically trads are aware of how unlikely it is for this to happen in the case of notorious sinners.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 

Offline The Theosist

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2020, 07:45:01 AM »
According to Jayne, psychopaths who promote evil for their entire lives are capable of repenting on their deathbeds and being converted.

And there's a budding psychopath in each of us.

No.
 

Offline Jayne

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2020, 07:52:22 AM »
According to Jayne, psychopaths who promote evil for their entire lives are capable of repenting on their deathbeds and being converted.  Those who disagree with her are the kind of nasty, mean people who would complain if a repentant Hitler was in heaven, should they themselves ever get there.  One poster even suggested we were the kind of people who would complain if a cousin who annoyed us at a wedding was also in heaven which, of course, neither the poster nor Jayne would ever do, their spiritual superiority being blatantly suggested if not stated outright.

I'm tired of this kind of thing.  These are the tactics of the left and are straight out of 'Rules for Radicals'.

And it's all over this forum, personal attacks when arguments won't do.

Classic straw man argument.  Nobody made any personal attacks on you in regard to this issue.  They disagreed with your ideas.  The inability to distinguish disagreement from personal attacks is a Leftist characteristic.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2020, 08:00:16 AM »
And there's a budding psychopath in each of us.

Psychopaths love it when people say that.

Telling small lies to get ahead, not giving alms to a beggar because you think he must have done something to deserve to be in that position, taking pleasure in the pain or the downfall of an enemy, being envious of a more esteemed person or even a brother, being unhappy that someone has more wealth, strength, or beauty than you, lashing out impatiently at someone who inconveniences you, your first thought when hearing of a victimised person being glad that it's not you... This is in all of us, and psychopaths are just people who have cultivated this aspect of humanity to a high degree. If we weren't budding psychopaths, those action films where human beings are casually slaughtered with guns every other minute would not exist; instead, they are immensely popular.

"But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man."
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 08:02:23 AM by John Lamb »
"Let all bitterness and animosity and indignation and defamation be removed from you, together with every evil. And become helpfully kind to one another, inwardly compassionate, forgiving among yourselves, just as God also graciously forgave you in the Anointed." – Paul

An ominous dream.
 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2020, 08:11:52 AM »
If we were judged according to justice absolutely noone would be saved.

If Ruth Bader Ginsburg can be proud of her sins right up until and including the last person she spoke to, her niece, and express her desire to "only be replaced by a liberal President" (meaning she had no contrition for her sins at that point), and yet we allow for any serious consideration of God's Mercy taking place and her avoiding Hell by a perfect act of contrition, (she did not have the last rites or make an act of confession to priest that we know for sure), then according to justice nobody deserves to be damned.  Especially not Martin Luther.

This is de facto, Salvation by faith alone.  Say the magic words, in charity we have to assume you mean them, and you are saved Born Again Christian style.  Your works and hope don't matter a dam.

You end up in the same Heaven as the people who did good works, lived good lives and obeyed the commandments.

Nuns, monks, priests, parents of large families, celebates, pro-lifers who worked for subsistence wages, completely wasted their time.

Shall I tell you who deserves to be saved according to justice?

Yesterday I was in the parish church in Tenterden, Kent.  There are plaques on the wall to a family from the parish there.  They had 3 children.  Two sons were killed in action in WW2 as part of the RAF, giving their life to defeat Germany.  Their sister became a Catholic nun.  Their mother Olive died in 1973 after 58 years of happy marriage and their father, Major Edmund Staples, who was injured, twice, in World War I and was decorated with the Military Cross died alone in 1980.

The son of Major Edmund Staples MC and his wife Olive of Rolvenden, Kent and husband of Doreen, Pilot Officer Staples joined 609 at Middle Wallop under S/Ldr Darley on 8th July 1940. On 12th August he Destroyed a Bf.110 and Destroyed a Ju.87 and Damaged another on the following day. He claimed a Probably Destroyed Bf.110 and two more as Damaged on 7th September, and Destroyed another Bf.110 on the 24th. The following day he probably destroyed a Bf.110, and two days Destroyed another, Destroying a Bf.109 on the 30th. On 7th October whilst flying Spitfire N3231 he was in combat in an engagement with 50-plus enemy aircraft between Portland and Yeovil, with the enemy attacking from unusual heights and with the sun behind them. The squadron lost four Spitfires and Sergeant Feary who was killed in action. Pilot Officer Staples was shot in the knee and his cockpit caught fire but he bailed out safely from 21,000ft at 16:30hrs, his Spitfire crashing at Wynford Eagle, and he was admitted to Blandford Hospital having destroyed a total of five enemy aircraft. After recovery and promoted to the rank of Flying Officer, Staples was posted to 604 Squadron and was flying Bristol Beaufighter T4638 on 9th November 1941 when during a dusk landing he crashed the aircraft at Quarry Hill, Middle Wallop. He died aged 24 and is buried in Brooklands Military Cemetery, Woking

http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/StaplesME.htm

A Catholic family who remain married, lost two sons to the war as heros, their daughter to the convent and grow old and stayed happily married with no grandchildren to console them as a result of their sacrifices.

In JUSTICE alone, such people merit Heaven if God is good.

In Mercy alone, Ruth Bader Ginsburg deserves Hell.  The souls of a million babies in limbo cry to Heaven for vengeance.  Where is the mercy for them?

The Staples have a plaque on the wall of the church asking for prayers.  I wonder how many people have ever prayed for the repose of their souls?  It's more comforting to pray for notorious sinners like Ginsburg, Hitler and Judas.  Makes you feel better to pick the people who least merit Heaven and pray for them.

 
 

Offline Graham

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Re: Can evil people repent?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2020, 08:13:42 AM »
This argument derailing the Ginsburg death thread was just so tiresome. We get it, some of you are extremely holy and pious, just let the rest of us have 5 pages of being happy that witch is finally gone.
 
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