We had a priest today at my hospice meeting who spoke about Catholics’ beliefs about death and dying. Someone asked where all the dead people go who aren’t Catholic. She, a Catholic herself, had been wondering about the people yesterday whose plane fell into the Hudson. If they were Catholic, they probably hadn’t had a chance to confess their sins right before they took off, and if they weren’t Catholic, presumably they wouldn’t be welcomed by all the faithful Catholics doing their penance in purgatory, or already in heaven, so did they end up in. . . . (She actually didn’t say all this last part.)
“Catholics are bound by the sacraments,” he said, “but God is not.” And so, according to him, the Church doesn’t know what happens to non-Catholics.
This was a pretty refreshing point of view (he was a young priest).
But if you don’t really have to do all those sacraments, why bother? And do Catholics know better than God?