If a person doesn’t detest his sins, they can't be forgiven.
That thought should strike terror into the soul, but given the condition of the soul of modern man, most will simply yawn at it. One of the major effects of sin today is the growing enormity of the unforgivable sin — that one which cannot be repented of because there is no desire to repent of it.
There is no desire to repent because there is no knowledge that we need to repent. And there is no knowledge of the need to repent because there is no sense of sin. And there is no sense of sin because there is no knowledge of sin owing to culpable ignorance. And culpable ignorance is to be distinguished from invincible ignorance.
In the 1800s, an Italian priest, St. John Cafasso, preached to prisoners on death row. So successful was his work with the condemned prisoners that he became known as the "priest of the gallows." Saint John had intense experience with souls just before they were dispatched into eternity. So his counsel in this matter of the need for renouncing of sin is to be most especially considered.
He says the following: "It must necessarily happen that, on account of this most certainly culpable ignorance in which most men live, an enormous number will come to be damned, because no sin is pardoned which is not detested, and it is impossible to resist sin properly if it is not known as such."
It's so good to hear clear Catholic thought, to breathe clean, pure Catholic air. Contrast this clarity with the idiocy of the current proposition that we have a reasonable hope that all men are saved.
Most men are damned. All the saints who have approached the topic have said so. Even St. Teresa of Avila, who never committed a mortal sin, was shown not just a vision of Hell, but the place that had been prepared in Hell for her by the devil. The vision was shown to her to rouse her from her then lukewarmness.
We need to cut the garbage being peddled around the Church these days by clerics that most people go to Heaven. That thought has no grounding in Catholic tradition, beginning with Our Lord Himself.
We must hate our personal sins, detest them because they offend Almighty God. That is the point of contrition — being contrite because we have so offended the Divine Majesty. But this is language the Church of Nice doesn't want to hear.
Consider this: We hear sometimes conversations about this or that notorious sinner having gone to confession on his deathbed. It's then bandied about by Church of Nice spokesmen that he is in Heaven. What we never hear about is the degree of hate that he would have to have had for his sins for them to be forgiven — meaning, for example, that if he were to suddenly be cured miraculously, he would never go near his former sins.
We have to have a firm purpose of amendment — meaning to amend our lives, to change. Absent that, there can be no pardoning, because there is no real sorrow and detesting of the sin.
Consider the case of Enlightment star Voltaire. He abused and mocked the Church continually. Then he suddenly fell ill and a priest was sent. He received last rites, but unfortunately for him, he recovered his health.
Shortly after he returned to his former ways, bowing to mocking by his friends. A short while later, he once again found himself on his deathbed, but this time his friends prevented the priest from attending to him. Voltaire died screaming that he saw the devil coming for him.
Anyone who does not hate his sins cannot be pardoned for them. Saint Paul understood very well when he said "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling."
There's a good chance that the much-celebrated Voltaire now wishes that he had hated his sins in this life.