Am I still a Catholic?


I asked the following question on AAA and didn’t really get a satisfactory answer so I thought I’d try again here.

After a long spell of mental illness (I have Bipolar disorder) from which I am now in remission, I have started again to ponder existential and spiritual matters. I was received into the Church 15 years ago as an adult. Now I think that I consider myself a Catholic-Christian in the sense that Thomas Merton was a Christian and monk, or as Hans Kung is a Christian and priest. By these comparisons I mean that I stand on the theological “left” (not a political statement) and believe in an active, progressive, radical, and even mystical Christianity. I do not believe in orthodoxy for the sake of it. I do not believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally but must be measured against our needs as 21st century society. I could go on, but then this post would get very long. The question is would the Apologists here still consider me to be a Catholic and that I would find a home in this place.

The suggestion to read Chesterton’s Orthodoxy wasn’t very helpful (to me) since I have read it, albeit many years ago. the book is a good read which makes many insightful points. Chesterton clearly believed that truth should translate to joy and wonder. This is certainly a message that we should pay attention to, but his eventual decision to embrace orthodoxy is not a path I feel able to follow. So given what I have said before and my opinion of Chesterton, what do people think? Am I still a Catholic and is this place suitable for me?



I don’t know if you have given enough information for anyone to really be able to answer, and even then I suspect that the best answer is that that is not up to us but between you and God.

In an essential way, you can answer this question by carefully considering the Apostles Creed, (which mirror you baptismal promises) and the Nicene Creed, which goes into more detail as to what we believe as Catholic Christians.

The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and
earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was
conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin
Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and
was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose
again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God,
the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic
Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the
resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.


It is my understanding that there is a procedure which you must follow to officially defect from the Catholic Church, which includes contacting your bishop and telling him that you want out. If you have not formally defected from the Church, you are still considered a Catholic. It is not up to the apologists on this website to make that call. Your heterodox opinions may make you a material heretic and may even lead to your being judged a formal heretic by the Church and excommunicated but you will still be a Catholic. If holding heterodox opinions (such as being for artificial birth control, for abortion, for homosexual lifestyles, for religious indifferentism, etc.) automatically caused a person to lose his membership in the Catholic Church, I dare say there would be few Catholics in the United States.


Thanks for these replies. First, let me say that the question is sincerely meant and not a troll. I am of course well aware of the process for leaving the church and that is not the intent of this post. What I’m trying to get at is whether I should still consider myself a Catholic, even if I do hold heterodox beliefs. My choice of Merton and Kung in my OP was because they are probably as heterodox as you can get within the church and yet they remain(ed) priests in good standing. To help you further in assisting me, if I take 1 line from the Nicene creed:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father

I can state that I do believe that Jesus is the Son of God. The only problem is that I have no idea what “Son of God” really means. Surely it doesn’t mean “son of” in the sense we understand it for I would have thought that would be making God in our image.

Hope that helps clarify a few issues. Once again, this is a serious quest for input so that I can decide the answer to my own question.



If you want a good explanation of the Holy trinity and all it means you should read Theology For Beginners by F.J. Sheed.


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