My question in a nutshell is, can Catholics who become Protestants still be saved?
I know several people who were Catholic and became Protestant at various ages. My grandfather was being trained to be an altar boy back when Latin Mass was the standard, and when the priests refused to tell him what the Latin words he would be saying meant, he did not want to be part of a congregation where he had to say prayers and profess things that he did not know the meaning of. He went with his father to a Methodist church after that and became Protestant. He is one of the wisest, holiest men I know, who prays often and frequently cries when thinking about God’s grace. Another family I know converted to Catholicism after being convinced of typical Protestant faith v. works, idolatry, etc. talking points. They are wise, kind, holy people dedicated to studying God’s word, following his commandments, listening to the Holy Spirit, and living as he wants them to. My former pastor converted for the same reasons, and has a vibrant prayer life, loves God and others, and has been used by God in miraculous physical healings that even precipitated members if his family to rededicate themselves to Christ.
It is hard for me to believe that these men and women would be condemned for converting, especially when I’ve seen what seems to be the Holy Spirit working in and through them so beautifully. What us the Catholic Church’s position on this?
Depends. If someone was Baptized Catholic, but, when they were fairly young, decided to be Methodist, that’s not something that individual had any control over. They may be Catholic “on paper” and via their baptism, but, they can’t be judge as a Catholic, because they were not taught what being Catholic means.
Yes. God can save whoever he wants.
I actually know quite a few people who fit that description for various reasons.
My Boss was baptized in the Catholic Church as were his siblings, but his parents left the Catholic Church when the kids were young and was later raised evangelical.
He is a devout Evangelical now-I was surprised when he told me he’d been baptized Catholic!
I have a good friend who was raised Catholic and attended Catholic Schools, she now is evangelical.
She disagrees with the Church’s teachings. Oddly enough here I am studying Catholicism, and she is solidly Protestant. I always wondered if the RCC consider them to be saved.
I don’t think the RCC considers the Pope to be saved. Tomorrow is promised to no one much less the decisions we freely make between now & eternity. Tomorrow thePope Francis may decide to give up, quit fighting & just walk out on the Church. If he doesn’t repent before eternity begins for him, he’s done.
First, baptism is necessary to be saved, but the question of whether a person is baptized, even if they are not of the religion, is still in question because of baptism by desire. So with this, we cannot judge if someone is in heaven unless they have been proven and declared a Saint through the Catholic Church’s rigorous process for canonization.
At the same time, the Catholic church will never be able to tell who is in hell, therefore, they cannot discern souls for condemnation.
In short, all Protestants can still be saved. The thing is that being Protestant is actively rejection a number of teachings and laws of the Catholic Church. As Paul teaches about the Body of Christ, those who are not in full communion with the Body of Christ, believing in everything His Church teaches, will have a harder time in judgement if they are actively rejecting the Church’s teachings as it is considered a sin (from what I read about the applications of Mortal Sins in the CCC).
Example, if a Protestant rejects the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucherist, but they don’t have full knowledge of the teaching because they have been misled for their entire life, this instance wouldn’t be a Mortal Sin, but it probably is a venial sin because there is some negligence to finding the truth (lazy, sloth). If someone is actively rejecting it knowing everything the Church teaches, then it would definitely be a Mortal Sin.
Catholics who convert to Protestantism often mean well, but they make a serious mistake in rejecting the sacraments, especially Jesus in the Eucharist.
Presumably, God will take these cases into account individually when he judges people after death and decide the proper outcome for each person.
Yes, if they believe that Christ died for their sin, they are saved.
Like all grave matter our culpability depends on our knowledge and freedom to act.
And it also doesn’t depend on the perceived ‘holiness and goodness’ of the individual in question. We don’t ‘merit’ heaven. If we live, truly, lives of love and service to God then we are cooperating with Him and we are doing our best to fit ourselves for eternity with Him, but we surely aren’t capable through our actions of ‘earning Heaven.’
A lot of times we hear ‘testimonies’ from people about how ‘The Church’ did something wrong to them. They were denied knowledge of 'what the Latin words meant." They were denied Baptism as a 6 year old. The priest was mean and ‘refused to absolve them.’ The Mass was too loud, too quiet, too emotional, too rigid, too long, too short, too ‘horizontal’, too ‘vertical’. Other Catholics were hypocrites. People were too intrusive. People were too standoffish. The doctrines were too hard.
All these and more are brought forth as ‘reasons’ to deny or quit the Church. Not a one is a valid reason. Every single one is based on a rejection by the person of what he or she thinks is the Catholic Church/faith. However, God is merciful. Very often, the person’s rejection is not of the Church or faith but a mistaken idea of what the Church is, and therefore, since the person does not truly reject the True Church, he or she may be saved through God’s grace.
Unfortunately, in our Internet age, people who hear about what happened to Uncle Joe or Aunt Sally aren’t limited to a few friends and family . . . suddenly millions and millions of people, often poorly catechized and conditioned from birth to the idea of entitlement and individuality, are blasted with what seems like thousands and thousands of stories of kindly Uncle Joe and saintly Aunt Sally who were deceived and mistreated by those awful rigid anti-women mumbo-jumbo pedophile hiding Catholics. . .
and the bashing goes on and on.
God knows the heart of each of us. That is what matters. I wouldn’t worry about these things. It is above your paygrade.
Your question: It is hard for me to believe that these men and women would be condemned for converting, especially when I’ve seen what seems to be the Holy Spirit working in and through them so beautifully. What us the Catholic Church’s position on this?
Answer: That God will be the supreme judge. Also, if anybody asks “are you saved?” Answer that " if I could save myself, God would have no work left in me!!!"
I can see why you would say this, but if you have fundamental beliefs that are at odds with what the RC church teaches, then you would not view that as the best.
As someone who left the RC Church 10 years ago, I continue to wrestle with questions about why I find myself where I am. Right now I’m trying to reconcile why I am outside of the church that Christ founded. Can I be a sort of loyal opposition from within the Church? Part of me simply wants to surrender and say, this is God’s church and 20 centuries after Christ these are teachings that have stood the test of time - who am I to argue? Then again, the church - albeit individuals - have made a mess of things and I feel wounded. I’m still searching and open to being a revert.
All I really care about is God, Jesus, the Eucharist, the Sacraments, Mary, the saints.
Church teachings about the above things are important to me.
Church teachings about most everything else is way down my priority list. I don’t go out violating the Church teachings at my age, but I’m not going to be walking out over them either
Why did you leave the Church?
“There is one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved.” - Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215
“We declare, say , define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” - Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302
“The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her… No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” - Pope Eugene IV, Cantate Domino, 1441
Let others do as they will. This teaching is what keeps me in the Catholic Church.
I left the RC church in 2008 and joined the Anglicans. I was an “all-in” Catholic - even went to seminary in the late 80’s. Got married and started using NFP - used it for seven years and timed the conception of 4 children (though first one miscarried).
Around 2005/6 I began to feel “empty” in my faith. As a Grand-Knight with the K of C I was subject to back stabbing and personal attacks that were very hurtful. My parish priest did not stand up for me. I felt abandoned.
Some deep-seeded animosities I had toward the church also came to a head. I was angry that the church did not accept any responsibility for clergy abuse of minors and that the RC church in Canada would not accept responsibility for abuse of first nations people. I was troubled by the way the church rejected people in same sex relationships as well.
In addition, my own experience of abuse in the seminary by a fellow seminarian still caused me pain. When I brought the abuse to the attention of the seminary rector he was dismissive - suggesting that because the activity didn’t involve penetration that it wasn’t really abuse. His exact words were “Patrick was just letting off a little steam.” I put the experience in a little box in my brain and forgot about it.
People in the church have let me down. And leaving the church has impaired relations with my father who claims I have “lost the faith.” I have not lost my faith. I go to church, am engaged in ministry, teach Christian ed. via Alpha, study and read the bible, pray, and try and bring my children up to be good Christians. I feel I am a better Christian now then when I was RC. And yet, I miss the RC church.
Every six months or so I get this nagging feeling of wanting to return. I miss the identity and the rigour. I miss having a church that actually stands for something. I love what the RC church represents even though people within the church have let me down. I love being “all in” - totally immersed in the daily rhythm.
But each episode of wanting to return is followed by a reaffirmation of why I left and why I feel at home in the Anglican church.
As long as we are alive, we all have the opportunity to be saved. Not all will be saved, of course. But it won’t be because of church denomination.
Dr David Anders answers this one most succinctly. If you die as a friend of God, you are saved.