Are all validly baptized people actually Catholics?


Fr. Vincent responded to an earlier question with this statement:
"The sacraments, especially baptism, are what make us Catholics, not how well we understand or practice our faith."
Does it follow then that protestants who are validly baptized become members of the Catholic Church in some way, even though they would reject that notion? Is that why they are called “separated bretheren”?


Dear Sue,

In a sense they are Catholics. However, they are not aware of this and some would be horrified at the thought. This indeed is why we call them “brethren.” However, for them to activate their membership, they need to make a public profession of faith, accepting all that the Catholic Church teaches. So they need to spend a period of time learning what the deposit of faith (Catholic teaching) entails. Until then, they are not allowed to fully activate their membership in the Catholic Church by receiving the Eucharist.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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