(Hope this is the right forum, and that I’ve spelt apostacy right…)

Is it possible for a Catholic to comit the sin of apostacy? Once confirmed in faith, and having gone through the sacriments of baptism and communion, a person is considered to belong to the Catholic church right? So can they ever stop being Catholic? If not, then it is a sin to leave the church? It can’t be if its impossible to. Or am I wrong?


Yes, of course. A Catholic has free will until the day he dies and can commit any sin by an act of his will. He can also repent by an act of his will.

One is a Catholic if one is baptized a Catholic. For a convert after baptism in another Christian denomination, one is Catholic upon making a profession of faith.

Yes. A Catholic can be excommunicated-- which means they are outside the Church until they reconcile themselves and whatever they have done to become excommunicated.

A Catholic can also leave the Church voluntarily, if they defect by a formal act (which requires a specific process defined in Canon Law).

Yes, it is a mortal sin.


Do you know more about this spesific process? Just out of interest…


You can search the forum for “defect by formal act”. there are some other threads on the subject.


Let’s define our terms correctly first.

A HERETIC is a Catholic who obstinately denies one or more defined dogmas of the Catholic Faith.
A Formal Heretic is one who realizes that he is doing this.
A Material Heretic is one who is not fully culpable for
his or her heresy.

APOSTASY is different. Though heresy is also extremely serious, APOSTASY involves more than denying some of the dogmas of the Catholic Church. APOSTASY involves
TOTAL REPUDIATION of Jesus Christ and the totality
of the message of Christian salvation in Christ Jesus.

Very few Catholics ever become Apostates in this sense.
Quite a number of Catholics, however, become at least
MATERIAL Heretics by leaving the Catholic Faith for
other Christian denominations. Many of these Material Heretics
still really love Jesus Christ, but they misunderstand Catholic doctrines and think some of them to be false either because
a) they were not catechized properly or, sometimes,
b) because they didn’t pay attention when they were being taught
Many of these Material Heretics later return to the Catholic Church after years of being protestant, because in the study and prayer they come to realize that the Catholic belief isn’t false
after all, so they come back home.

A Formal Heretic tends to have a strong will and a defiant personality (( like Martin Luther or John Calvin or, much worse than them, the 4th century heretic Arius, who denied the deity of Christ )). Formal heretics usually do not return to the Catholic Church perhaps because their pride gets in the way of them honestly and humbly reevaluating their actions and positions.

Though all forms or heresy are serious, Formal Heresy is
extremely serious. It’s a question of degrees.
Only God can judge the deepest hearts of heretics.

APOSTATES, however, put it right out there for the whole world to see: they proclaim that they don’t believe in Jesus anymore, and very often they openly work against the interests of all the Christian bodies, not just the Catholic Church. And don’t have to have first been a Catholic to become an Apostate. You can be a Protestant, believe in all the right things about Jesus Himself, turn against those things, reject Jesus and reject faith in him, and work against his gospel by publicly mocking it or trying to turn others away from it. Such a person has become an Apostate even though he was never a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Whew. Sorry for rambling,everybody!!! God bless you all.


Didn’t mind a bit. Very clear definitions. Thanks.



Just to back up what jaypeeto4 said, here’s some appropriate passages from the Catechism:

**2089 ***Incredulity *is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “*Heresy *is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; *apostasy *is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; *schism *is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

** Wounds to unity**

**817 ** In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:
Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271


Not quite. The Catholic Church never expels anyone. An excommunicated Catholic is still a Catholic (that is, within the Catholic Church), but a Catholic under a canonical penalty.


How many of you realize the apostasy currently in our ‘Catholic faith’? How many know of the blessings and gifts handed down to priests from the Apostles and the Holy Spirit at ordination since Vatican II have been changed and which now renders many of them useless? How many have researched and learned the diabolical designs of the masons on the Church? How many realize the 3rd secret of Fatima directly explains the apostasy in the church that is taking place today…“The dogma of the faith will be lost in parts of the world, possibly most of Europe and other places. It warns of the subsequent loss of morals as a cause of loss of faith and as a result of loss of faith. It predicts that as a chastisement, God allows the Church to be infiltrated by bad clergy and the bad clergy then accelerate the apostasy of the faithful. Diabolical disorientation results in the Hierarchy and in lay people. One of those sins that brings diabolical disorientation is the sin of contraception : “Do you want to know over whom the devil has power? It is over those who go at marriage like the horse and the mule.” Tobias 6: 16-17 The third secret tells how the large masses of Catholics are decieved in their own hearts and in turn accept the wrong leadership that comes out of the passages of Vatican II - the New Mass, the False Theories of Ecumenism, Collegiality and Religious Liberty and the betrayal known as the Vatican-Moscow Agreement (1962) that allows Communists, radicals and Masons to enter our seminaries, our priesthood, and even to be promoted as bishops. Sister Lucy said that the third secret is contained in Chapters 8-12 in Revelation. “Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. It’s tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth.” Rev 12 - 3-4 The huge red dragon is our apostate roman church (check out the history of the masons plans for priests, bishops and the catholic church on the web or in your libraries - it’s all there) - the seven heads may be the seven hills of Rome…the ten horns are the ten trade agreements almost complete today - they will be the ‘ten kings in revelation’…the third of the stars swept away are our lukewarm and fallen priests and bishops. It is Heresy to think that non-catholics are the same as catholics regardless of their beliefs. So the invitation by Pope Benedict to ‘re-unify’ the church with other religions was prophesied in revelation and in the old and new testaments. It was revealed in the 3rd Secret of Fatima. What has Jesus taught us? “The testimony of man often decieves, but My judgement is true and cannot be subverted. And though sometimes it is hidden and known to but a few, it is always true and does not err, nor can it err, though in the sight of some unwise person it seems to.” Imitation of Christ page 171. How many have researched our history as a church and the saints and the prophets and have read and understood revelation? How many catholics today know their BIBLE - the Living word of God? How many remember their catechism? How many know the conclave that elected Pope Pius, Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict were 'illegal”? How many know the ‘rules’ and ‘doctines’ of a true conclave? How many know that the B.E.A.S.T. is already here? (The Belgium Economic Accounting Services Technologies) - the company that controls all the UPC codes - do you know what the bars in every UPC symbol stands for? 666. The B.E.A.S.T. is 6 stories high and six stories deep and 6 stories wide. It’s located in Belgium. Do you know what the 'mark of the beast ’ is? The chip…which is implanted in the hand or head…the rich are already getting them…here in the US they are manipulating the public into using them by putting them into pets first (the home again chip)…found by satellite and CONTROLLED by satellite: “A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice, Anyone who worships the beast or it’s image or accepts it’s mark on the forhead or hand will also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup if his wrath, and will be tormented in burning sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb. The smoke of the fire that torments them will rise forever and ever, and there will be no relief day or night for those who worship the beast or his image or accept the mark of it’s name.” Rev. 14: 9-11 “It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hand or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for the beast.” Rev 14: 16-17
Those who practice ‘apostacy’ today have blinded the masses. Learn your scripture. Learn your ‘old’ catechism… search for the Truth because it is there.


Hi, sorry to resurrect an old thread but there are still a few points I’m not sure about. Firstly thanks to the above posters the information you give is very useful. I just wanted to confirm the definition of what a Catholic is. For me, I was baptised a Catholic and I was confirmed in the faith around the age of 14 or 15. Since then I have lost faith and would now define myself as an atheist. So as I understand it, this is apostasy. But as a baptised and confirmed catholic how does the church view me? Have I technically excommunicated myself? If I ever returned to the faith in the future would I need to be baptised/confirmed again?


I believe you would be “viewed” as a fallen away Catholic.

Have I technically excommunicated myself?

No, unless you committed one of the offenses, like abortion, that carry an automatic excommunication.

If I ever returned to the faith in the future would I need to be baptised/confirmed again?

No. The Church professes that these two sacraments produce an indelible mark on our souls and not to be repeated.


You would only need to go to confession.


Ok, thanks for these clarifications.


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