On Cail Corishev’s blog (which I’ve linked to and complimented in the past, though we don’t agree on everything) I responded to somebody named BradA who wrote this:
I have not been in the RCC for quite a while, but I don’t recall contraception use sending the user straight to hell.
There’s a funny thing going on here. Brad’s obviously saying that he doesn’t remember the Catholic Church condemning contraception as a grave sin. In that sense, he’s wrong, since it does.
But in another sense Brad is absolutely right. Using contraception doesn’t send the user straight to Hell. Neither does divorce, torture, rape, murder, or even genocide. Contraception only satisfies one of the three requirements for sin to be mortal, that is, to send you to Hell: it is a grave sin. But if one commits it without sufficient knowledge and full consent of will, then using contraception would only be a venial sin.
This is true of the worst imaginable crimes, and I think is the main reason it’s unhealthy to speculate about who really is and isn’t in Hell.