Are Catholics "born again"?


Do Catholics consider themselves to be born again? If so when or how are they?

When they commit a “mortal sin” do they then “die” and aren’t born again until a Priest says they are?


Yes, by the Grace of Christ.

The Catholic Church teaches that God justifies a person with the created gift of God’s justice, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God and of Christ and life everlasting.

To be born again, one must repent, believe and be baptized.


Here’s a few articles that might be helpful.

The short answer is yes Catholics are born again and if they commit a mortal sin they must repent.

The normative way of repentance is through the sacrament of confession. If a person is truly repentant but does not have the sacrament available to him or let’s say dies in an accident on the way to confession for example, God is not limited to the normative way and is certainly just and merciful.

The priest does not say the person is born again after they repent of mortal sin. You are born again only once during baptism.


This may be the most bigoted “Christian” link I have ever read. I quote:

"When a Catholic says that he has been “born again,” he refers to the transformation that God’s grace accomplished in him during baptism. Evangelical Protestants typically mean something quite different when they talk about being “born again.”

For an Evangelical, becoming “born again” often happens like this: He goes to a crusade or a revival where a minister delivers a sermon telling him of his need to be “born again.”

“If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe he died for your sins, you’ll be born again!” says the preacher. So the gentleman makes “a decision for Christ” and at the altar call goes forward to be led in “the sinner’s prayer” by the minister. Then the minister tells all who prayed the sinner’s prayer that they have been saved—“born again.” But is the minister right? Not according to the Bible."

Whoever wrote that will be judged accordingly, and I am glad I will not be in their shoes at judgment.

I was myself saved at an alter call, but only when I was chosen. Indeed it wasn’t the first time I had tried. As a child there were classes that preceeded my confession and “repentence”. Later in my adulthood I tried it, but didn’t understand that I still wasn’t honestly ready for repentence. I loved my life.

There is little doubt in my mind that if a person simply goes forward, with no eye toward repentance, they will not be born again. However, I believe most are born again at an alter call. And I also believe that the Lord will lead those that aren’t, eventually to true repentance. Being born again is the beginning of the path of sanctification.

To suggest that Protestants believe that a person can offer a little lip service to God, and be saved, would be to suggest that we believe we are saved through an act of the flesh. I would ascribe that as being more of a Catholic concept than Protestant.

Just as Protestants may at first misunderstand their requirement to repent, do you really think there is any shortage of Catholics that think they are saved by shuffling into church, going to confession, and having a Priest pat them on the head and say “you’re back in”, that believe they are saved, even though still truly unrepentant? Repentance isn’t about lip service to God either.

There is little more than a remnant left in any Church today, as the author of the quoted ably helps to illustrate. And I believe the whole Church is evermore awash in false doctrine, as we proceed through the “falling away”, or apostasy. The problem is that we don’t look for it in our own churches but point the finger at others Churches. Same goes for us individually. I believe that this has much to do with that “man of sin”.

It is my impression that if a Catholic commits a “mortal sin” they are then “out”. Out of God’s grace. Died in Christ. Period. So why wouldn’t they then need to be born again?


This would seem to be inconsistent with what rayne89 believes regarding a Catholic being born again.

Perhaps I misunderstood, but I got the impression that when a person (generally a fairly new-born infant in the Catholic faith if I am not mistaken), is baptized they are born again.

What you wrote in your last sentence seems to be more of the order in which many evangelical Protestants, and most of the instances in Scripture describe it.


Do you believe that God chooses some people to save and other people He choses to send to hell?

And that if you had died after the first few (?) times you went forward at the altar call - you would have been sent to hell because you weren’t born again - or “chosen” yet?

I’m :confused:


Sin sepreates us from God. God doesn’t turn from us - but when we sin, we turn from God by our chosing to do wrong. We do not need to be “born again” (since that was complete at our baptism) - but we do need to restore our relationship with God and turn BACK to Him - which we do by asking for forgiveness.


John - it sounds like you have some really good questions and are sincerely seeking to grow in your understanding of God’s will for us. My advice to you is this; Be patient. Stick around and keep seeking. If you are faithful in your search, He will be faithful, too.


[quote=JohnWilliams]This may be the most bigoted “Christian” link I have ever read. I quote:

Whoever wrote that will be judged accordingly, and I am glad I will not be in their shoes at judgment.

What is this all about? How can you say in one breath don’t be bigoted and then do exactly what you say should not be done? “I won’t judge BUT I sure am glad it won’t be me being judged like that guy will be in due time!” What a load of feces. Do you really think your viewpoint is obscured to an omniscient God if it is not to those mere humans that read your post?

Obtaining various view points on a message board is to be expected. If you find any of them inconsistent then go directly to the horse’s mouth. If you want official Church teaching on a particular issue then go to the source. CAF message board is not the conduit by which official Church teaching is disseminated.

[quote=JohnWilliams]It is my impression that if a Catholic commits a “mortal sin” they are then “out”. Out of God’s grace. Died in Christ. Period. So why wouldn’t they then need to be born again?

Your impression is in error. thus your conclusion from that impression is also in error.

If we use your erroneous impression and conclusion, then any Christian that sins after he is born again is eternally damned. I am pretty sure you don’t really believe that.

Repentance is the well worn path that each Christian takes to the foot of the cross.



I agree with you. The definition went a bit overboard. We are born again by water and the Word by the power of the Holy Spirit through Baptism. As we obey, confess, are foregiven, we are Justified through Christ Jesus our Lord. A good study would be the decisions of the Council of Trent which gives a beautiful and definitive understanding of the truth of salvation.

We are born again and through a life of Justification we mature into the New Creature we are made to be.



That would be a difficult position to support in light of this verse:

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But I do believe that God knew before the foundations of the world, exactly who would wind up being “in” and who would wind up being “out”, and each hair on their heads.

What I tried to indicate was that I wasn’t ready for a relationship with Jesus Christ the times before when I thought I was doing the choosing. If I had been really honest with myself I might have seen that. If I had been killed prior to that my fate would have rested in Jesus in judgment. I can only address what was and is, regarding the condition of my heart, certainly not Jesus “what if” judgments.

Jesus chose to change my heart at His appointed time, which was also when I was ready for Him. I can see with confidence now, after having been filled with the Holy Spirit, that I was technically chosen before the foundation of the world, all along. I was not confident of that before I was “born again”. Perhaps The Lord wanted to enrich me in the world first, so I could understand now, that He gave me all I have and I am responsible for treating it accordingly.

Even after I was born again I went through a frustrating period of a couple of years where I was not being used by the Lord. I kept trying to choose what He wanted me to do. I could not see that I was going through a process of sanctification, and didn’t understand the extent to which I was still too filthy for Him to even consider using me as a representative. I am still, of course, a sinful wretch, but I can see how I was from here.

And even before I was born again I was a good guy that didn’t swear, raised a couple of kids, maybe perhaps drank more wine than I should have, and was offended by things that offend Jesus, but was not living my life for Him. And I loved the things of this world and my life here. Wanted for nothing.

When the Lord did finally find me fit I was very powerfully led for some weeks. It was as though my hands weren’t mine and my thoughts moved on their own. It was a result of my having gone to the Lord with a question that was stinging my heart in regard to the salvation of my Jewish brothers and sisters, several of whom are friends and are very devout. I have been intensely on that path since.

I guess you could call my turning point the difference between simply following my conscience, and instead actually living my life in and for Jesus Christ. I am more blessed every day.


What do you consider to be the inconsistency?

Perhaps I misunderstood, but I got the impression that when a person (generally a fairly new-born infant in the Catholic faith if I am not mistaken), is baptized they are born again.

Yes. In Catholic theology, receiving baptism is the moment one is born again as a son of God by adoption in in Jesus Christ.

What you wrote in your last sentence seems to be more of the order in which many evangelical Protestants, and most of the instances in Scripture describe it.

What I wrote is a concise summary of the Catholic teaching of Justification in the Council of Trent (Session Six, Chapter Six), although to be accurate, I should have wrote, “believe, repent and be baptized”:


Awakened and assisted by divine grace, they conceive faith from hearing, and they are freely led to God. They believe that the divine revelation and promises are true, especially that the unjustified man is justified by God’s grace “through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).


Next, they know that they are sinners; and, by turning from a salutary fear of divine justice to a consideration of God’s mercy, they are encouraged to hope, confident that God will be propitious to them for Christ’s sake. They begin to love God as the source of all justice and are thereby moved by a sort of hatred and detestation for sin, that is, by the penance that must be done before baptism.

Be Baptized:

Finally, they determine to receive baptism, begin a new life, and keep the divine commandments.

The Catholic Church believes baptism to be the “instrument” by which God, through the merits of Christ, gives the gift of new life to a person, transforming him into an adopted son of God through Christ.

From the Catholic Church’s perspective, God thus gives a person grace to believe, repent and to seek baptism, and then, at the moment of baptism, God gives him the grace to be born again as his adopted son in Christ.

If this now-adopted son of God in Christ commits spiritual suicide (i.e. a mortal sin) he’s spiritually dead. Instead of getting “born again” again, this son needs to “resurrected”, if you will.

Catholics believe this “resurrection” to be at the point of Reconciliation. To get to this point, God gives him the grace to believe and repent and to come back home.

The reason why those in mortal sin do not need to be “born again” again, is that they are already sons of God by adoption in Christ.

Before baptism, they were merely sons of Adam. After baptism, they become, through a new birth, new creatures-- sons of God. Mortal sin does not transform them back into being sons of Adam. They stay sons of God permanently, even if they commit spiritual suicide. Yes, they’re dead sons, but they’re sons, nonetheless.

So, the solution here is having one’s life restored, and that’s where Reconciliation comes in, rather than being born again again.



That is wonderful and something my Priest often reminds us of… God wants our whole hearts… our whole lives… so often people just go throw the motions, missing out on so much.

I know so many Catholics who have experienced just what you’ve described. They wouldn’t call it “being born again” (because again, we believe that is complete at baptism) but they DO dedicate themselves more fully to God - sometime later in life, no doubt in response to the Holy Spirit working in their lives.


I think it’s good to point out that Catholics see being born again as the beginning of conversion and not the end. Our Baptism is the beginning of our life in Christ. But we must continually be converted closer and closer to Him as we take up our crosses daily, crucify the flesh, and live according to the Spirit. We should have conversion experiences everyday–some of these are more pronounced than others (the more pronounced conversion experience is what many non-Catholics call a born again experience, rather than Baptism). The end of our conversion is when we finally are purified from all sin and we enter the glory of Heaven :slight_smile:



I believe this would be almost universally agreed with in the Church.

I might be less inclined to agree with this in the case of infant baptism.
I believe Catholics and Protestants wouldn’t suggest that a baby would likely be sent to perdition simply for not having been sprinkled by a Priest or Pastor.
Further in this vein I believe that those that haven’t been shown the gospel whether by age, or circumstances, are likely considered in judgment on that basis.
In some Protestant Churches they have a commitment or dedication ceremony instead of baptism, in which the parents promise to dedicate their child to Christ, meaning through their own example, teaching, churching, etc. Perhaps this might tend to hold the feet of the parents to the fire a little more, as opposed to them being tempted to think that a Priest of Pastor got it done for them. These dedications have seemed to me to be a bit less mechanical than a typical infant baptism.
If I am not mistaken, there are few examples of infant baptism in scripture.

Amen Brother, and until then I guess we are stuck being our wretched selves, but striving evermore to be like Jesus.


I would add that if the poster believes that God is the one behind sending the person to hell, instead of the sinner’s free will that chooses hell, that he is guilty of heretical predestinarianism. If that is his view of a loving father and God, than we may be talking about a different god entirely, because it is not our Jesus who claps his hands in glee when another sinner is led through the looming gates of hell…


I believe that if any catholic walks with Christ like John described then they are born again (whether or not they call it that) and will be going to heaven as Jesus promised us.:smiley: I know many catholics who call themselves born again(not because of infant baptism)but because they were ready, willing and able to give their whole lives over to Christ. They stayed in the CC. I, an evangelical born again christian(Thanks to God)belive there are catholics who are saved the way we/God views salvation.Salvation is available to all(not just members of the CC)but only a few accept the gift. On the flip side I believe there are many catholics and protestants and dare I say evangelicals that are not saved. If we were able to know who was truly saved in God’s eyes and going to heaven, I think it would be a much smaller number then we think.:frowning:
Just my:twocents:


This is my question: How do you know? How would ever be able to see inside someone’s heart and know if they are “saved” - and let’s use your view of salvation… how would you know if they are born again?

I had a conversation with my former Pastor’s wife. She spoke of her parents… Catholic, who attended mass, read the Bible, prayed daily & led “good” lives. She said despite all of that, she knew they were not saved.

How did she know?

It seems that Evangelicals decide who is saved & who isn’t. I just can’t figure out what they base it on? Because even the OP said he responded to the altar call several times before God chose him… how did he know that time it “stuck?” It is simply an emotional thing? :confused:


I was suggesting that a days old infant might have difficulty with the first two.

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