Apostates: leaving the church

What are the qualifications of an apostate? Does the apostate have to blaspheme, commit heresy, backslide, or desecrate holy things?

I notice one historical apostate was Martin Luther. His wife was also apostate, because she broke her monastic vows and married. The Catholic encyclopedia points out that apostates are not allowed to receive a burial but then the apostates probably don’t want a Catholic burial anyway. After all, Martin Luther became convinced that the Catholic church of his time was corrupt.

During a marriage, if one spouse finds truth in a different religious teaching and officially converts, but his or her spouse remains a Catholic, has she or he become an apostate?

I used to think Luther was a heretic,

Apostate is someone who loses faith in God .

It really depends on how one defines apostasy. The catechism defines apostasy as “the total repudiation of the Christian faith”. There are also broader definitions of apostasy the include simply rejecting ones prior beliefs even if it is not a rejection of all their beliefs. From a Catholic standpoint Luther would have been considered both a heretic and schismatic.

To the OP, to commit the sin of apostasy simply requires one to reject their religion. The do not have to do anything that is offensive to that religion to do so. For a christian this would be anything from saying they don’t believe in God, to rejecting Christs divinity, to joining a non-christian faith. So in your marriage question, the one who left the faith would be apostate, but the Catholic would not since they had not repudiated their beliefs like their spouse did.

It has already been pointed out that Martin Luther was not an apostate. I have read a few bios on his life and the times he lived in. To put it in perspective, Luther was a lowly, scrupulous monk who became overwhelmed by the corruption he witnessed. There has always been (think of Judas the betrayer of Jesus) and always will be corruption in the church (the recent s_x @buse scandal). Luther had no power to do what he did, but the political leaders of his time took off with his anti-Roman church rhetoric and unleashed hell on the peoples of Germany. Luther did not approve of ransacking the parishes, destroying icons and other religious symbols. When questioned about the rosary, he said let the people keep their rosaries. I know a few Lutherans today that still pray the rosary. Regarding Mrs. Luther, former nun, the religious of the time where being massacred. He quietly found the nuns safe havens, had them married off to protect them. It is said that Katherina was the last nun so he decided to marry her. I see compassion and nessessity not an act of defiance on her part. The nuns could have all died as martyrs, though.

We should not hold hatred against them or vitriol. He was a heretic, a schismatic, but more recently there have been others who have turned their backs on the Catholic faith, turned to other Christian religions or sadly those who are truly apostate giving up their faith in God entirely because of the corruption and scandals. Lord have mercy on them.

Catechism of the Catholic Church ;free online via a google search. Check it out:)

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.”


What if a Catholic diocese cannot officially recognize the Pope as the leader because the state government will persecute those who are loyal to the foreign leader or otherwise see the Pope as a threat to the state?

Sounds like China

We make crosses

Seriously. We should not deny our faith in Christ.

Apostasy is leaving the Christian Faith.

The RC would consider both Martin Luther and myself to be heretics.

Babies are baptized into the Catholic faith and grow with its teachings - what if this child grows and finds that he/she does not agree with its teachings?

Thanks, Mary!


Guess what!

Probably the same thing that happens to a baptized babies in the Lutheran Church that grow to find they do not agree with Lutheranism.

They leave the Church.


Probably the same thing that happens with Lutheran babies baptized that grow and find they do not agree with Lutheran teachings,

They leave the Church.


Then you prayerfully work out your problems with the guidance of the Church, which is guided by the Holy Spirit, and you do NOT leave the Church because it doesn’t fit your won selfish desires and beliefs.

May God bless you all abundantly and forever! :slight_smile:

So if someone converts to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism from Christianity would be considered an apostate correct?


Is a person obligated to obey their conscience or are they obligated to obey the Roman church? If my conscience and the Roman church are telling me two different things, which am I obligated to obey?

The Church. Humans are really good at deceiving ourselves and justifying anything we feel to be right. It is the whole reason Christ left a Church to guide us. If it was just a matter of each person following their conscience then Christ would have had no reason to leave a Church in the first place.

Is that what your church teaches or is it your opinion?

“We should always be prepared so as never to err to believe that what I see as white is black, if the hierarchic Church defines it thus.” St. Ignatius of Loyola

Prov 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.

Matt 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?

Prov 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Seems clear enough.

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