Answer me this


What is the OFFICIAL Catholic view of Protestant churches such as Baptists, Methodists (all branches), Presbyterians etc.?
Does the CC hold the same view of groups such as JW’s, Mormons etc as it holds of more “mainline” Christian churches?
Please clarify for me please. As a Congregational Methodist am I officially considered a heretic or infidel by the Vatican?


As long as you profess a belief in the Holy Trinity, you are Christian. We consider Protestants to be “separated brethren,” yet we eagerly look for the day when all are in Christ’s Church. We believe the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth, and the Protestant churches have only bits and pieces. Christ desires all to be one.

As for the exact phrasing within the Catechism, I don’t know. Perhaps someone else will post that.

In Pax Christi


I just so happen to have my Catechism right here (who would have thought surfing the forums would encourage me to crack it open so often? :wink: )

838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.”


If you came to my front door I would say," How dare you clutter my doorway you dark heathen pig-dog." JUST KIDDING!!:smiley:

Catholics view Protestants as brothers and sisters in Christ. If you are baptized and become Catholic your baptism is recognized as sacramental. Not true with the JW’s and Mormons. You would make a profession of faith after attending RCIA classes and then receive the sacraments of confirmation and reconciliation and the Eucharist. We love you guys and wish that you could see the fullness of our faith and with love and prayers maybe someday Jesus’ prayer ( John 17) will materialize.

God Bless…teachccd:)


The Catholic Church realizes not every Christian is born a Catholic Christian. It does not hold them particularly accountable in the same fashion it does a Catholic who, believing fully the Catholic faith, leaves for a protestant denomination.

[818](“javascript:OpenPopupWindow(”) “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”


No. I am assuming you were baptized in your congregation. If so, you are considered a baptized Christian. Another poster is correct about the reference to “separated brethren”. You are not considered a heretic.


Protestants are heretics.

Canon 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith.


Yes, but wouldn’t that apply only to one who was baptized within the Catholic faith itself and then left at one’s own volition?

In Pax Christi


Interesting, the Catechism 2089 has “catholic” in lower case, which changes the meaning of the word, and, by extention, the definition.

from, entry: "catholic"
cath·o·lic –adjective

  1. broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal.
  2. universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
  3. pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.


Cath·o·lic –adjective

  1. of or pertaining to a Catholic church, esp. the Roman Catholic Church.


It applies to ANY and ALL Baptized people.



Seriously, we consider your baptisim to be a sacramental baptisim the same as any Catholic.

Besides you’re a Southern boy. That makes you all right with me.


Hammer, I think an assertion like that might be understood by our Protestant original poster to mean that Catholics think him guilty of the grave sin of heresy. Since that would likely be a misunderstanding, that is why I don’t make the assertion. However, there remains the distinction between formal and material heresy, as you are aware. I assumed that OP was not asking for an analysis involving these terms. If in fact he was interested in this, here is a brief AAA thread for him to read on this site.


I also hold that (most) Protestants are heretics, but it is very important to know that this term makes no judgement on your eternal salvation (since we, as humans, are unqualified to make that assessment), nor does it preclude you from future inclusion in the Catholic Church.



I believe even a confused, loving Satanist can be saved. I’m sure my wife’s dear departed grandmother is a saint.


We, as Catholics believe that Baptism is the official means by which we enter the Church. Any baptism performed by a baptised person, using water, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”, and intending to perform a valid baptism is in fact valid. Therefore, any validly baptized person is a member of the Church.

Catholics believe there is only one Church (the Catholic Church of course), so if you are validly baptized and believe in Jesus as Christ, then you are a member of the Catholic Church, because Christ only established ONE Church.

JW’s and Mormons are not members of the Church because they have not received valid baptisms.

As far as the issue of heresy. The definition of heresy was given, but to be considered a “heretic” you would have to make a conscious rejection of what you know objectively to be the Truth. Being Protestant, I doubt you have objective knowledge of the Truth of Catholic doctrine, so I doubt you could be a “heretic”. Some of the doctrines you hold would be called material heresy, because they are objectively not Truth according to the Catholic Church, but believing in material heresy does not automatically earn you the label “heretic”.

As far as the fate of your soul, the Catholic Church has NEVER made a difinitive statement concerning ANYONE’S damnation, and never presumes anyone to be condemned, as your soul will be judged by God, by criteria that we do not fully comprehend.

Hopefully that helps some. God Bless…



I am A convert of some 18 years, and I belonged to a lovely protestant church.

One day I picked up a Jerusalem bible someone had left in a tea shop, and as I picked it up it fell open at Gospel of John CH. 6. I read it, and I saw, right at that moment, just what I was missing,

I whispered these words, just as Peter did, “where else can we go Lord, for you have the message of eternal life”.

" The Blessed Sacrament". Read John 6 .

Yes the Catholic church accepts all Christin churches that believe in the Holy Trinity, so you might find this enough.

However, be ye not only hearers of my word!.

They said of Jesus, “what manner of man is this?, he wants us to eat his flesh, this is wrong”.

A minister friend of mine said, “if you believe in this eating of flesh it is paramount to canabalism”.
I prayed about it and here are the words I received.




A few minor corrections:

  1. A baptism can be performed by anyone: Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Athiest. They do not need to be baptized. They need the words and the intent and the water.

  2. Any validly baptized person is a member of the Church. They do not need to believe in Jesus Christ. (think about a 1 year old, members but do not believe).

This is just formal membership. That is, they would be a member if the Church wanted a full membership list. BUT the list may include those who will eventually NOT be members. The only way out is to be condemned to Hell. Once there, you are no longer a member.

Easy to get in, and once in, you don’t want out!!! :frowning:


The Catechism states:
**819 **“Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”

Does this help?


Thank you. You are correct that any validly baptized person is a member of the Church. I’m not so sure about baptism though, although you could be right…I’ll have to look.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: " V. WHO CAN BAPTIZE?
1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon.[57] In case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.[58]"

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