Baptized in another church


Hi fellow Catholics,

Something has been bothering me, and I don’t know the answer, so here I am again. My mother was a convert to the Church, and very devout. When my father married my mother, he had to convert too (they married in 1953). Well, I guess the faith didn’t “take” for my father as much. When my mother died when I was 10, my father stopped going to church and stopped taking my sister and me to church. He never did return to the Catholic Church, but married my stepmom years later in front of a judge, and was baptized as a Southern Baptist.

I know that a person cannot validly be baptized twice, but he remained a God-fearing Christian the rest of his life. He died in 1993. What is your guess as to what happens to the souls of people like my father? Do you think he could be in purgatory? He was a good man, a very gentle man, and I sure wish he’d stayed a faithful Catholic man, but he didn’t. Will God judge him as a Catholic who strayed? Or someone who loved God even if he left the Church? It makes me very sad to think that Daddy may not be in purgatory. (As for Mom, she was the closest thing to a saint that I knew, a VERY devout and holy woman.)


Do you think he could be in purgatory?

Yes, he could be.

That means you can pray for his soul to be released from punishment, today and every day for the rest of your life. It's good to be a Catholic.:thumbsup:


Pray for your father and leave the rest to God. God will judge your father as he judges us all-- from our hearts, by our knowledge, and by our deeds. Don't try to reduce it to Catholic versus non Catholic, because you do not know what was in your father's heart. His subsequent actions seem to indicate a superficial conversion, one done to please others and not based on knowledge or will.

So, we simply don't know. But we know God is merciful.

My own grandmother died this week. She was nominally Episcopalian but has claimed atheism for years. Knowing how devout I am she would often ask me about my faith. I tried to coax her back to Christianity, but she would have none of it.

So, I prayed for her while alive, and I will continue to offer Masses for her now that she has passed away. I pray God will show her mercy for the things she suffered on earth that made her doubt God, and the not-very-religious upbrining she received from her own parents.

I leave it up to him, who is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful. It is all we can do.


Thank you to both of you who have responded so far. There are many members of my family who are not Catholic, but only my father had been baptized in the Catholic Church and then left and was baptized again in another church. Of course, that's because some Baptists, if not all, do not believe that a Catholic baptism is valid, so they over-ride it.

I have not been very faithful about praying for my mom, my dad, or anyone in purgatory, I am sad to admit. But I intend to improve about this. Just thinking of what they might be going through, and that my prayers could help get them to Heaven, will give me an incentive.

May God have mercy on them and allow them into Heaven with him.



Each morning when I pray my rosary, I also pray for ALL the souls in purgatory, including all of your loved ones, and I will happily continue to do so. I used to be bad at remembering to do it as well, but have gotten much better since I do it at the same time I pray the rosary – it helps me to remember those precious souls better! :wink:

As for your question, all we can do is pray for them and trust in God’s mercy. He is the only one who knows a person’s true heart better than anyone else.


Of course, I pray for all my departed friends, relatives, as well as all the poor souls in purgatory, but you need to remember this: Some of them might already be in heaven. We simply don't know.

1953 was a different time from nowadays, and the expectation was that if one was planning on marrying a Catholic, one didn't just agree not to interfere in the Catholic party's practice of their faith and agree to raise any children of the marriage as Catholics, one was strenuously encouraged to become Catholic oneself. Who knows how many of those conversions were done just for the sake of form? One of my uncles, for example, married a Jewish woman, and insisted that she take instructions. She did, and "converted," receiving all the sacraments of initiation before their wedding (including Confirmation.) However, when my uncle died, she reverted back to the faith of her own youth, Judaism, while maintaining a faith in Jesus. (I understand that there are some Jewish people who identify as messianic Jews.) One of their sons followed her into Judaism: I think he is probably the only Native American Jew in existence!

Your father may have only agreed to become Catholic at the time of your parents' wedding, and may have gone through the motions of Catholicism during their married life. It's my observation that usually it is the mother of a family who is the arbiter of faith-related matters in most families (in my case, it was my grandmother, even though my parents are Catholic.) In any case, I'd take comfort in the fact that your father knows about salvation, and led a good life, and leave all the rest up to the Lord. There are plenty more people in heaven than just Catholics, at least, according to the catechism!


Thank you for the prayers, DeLaine75! I appreciate them very much, and I'm sure all the souls in Purgatory appreciate them even more!!

Thanks Odile53, for your perspective. Neither my father nor my mother came from a religious background, so it's amazing that both of them had faith in God, no matter what religion they ended up. The story I have heard from cousins is that my mom was engaged to marry a Catholic man, and was converting for that purpose. Then, somehow, he broke off the engagement, but she continued on with her conversion, by that point having fallen in love with the Church. She was such a good Catholic! I wish she had lived so I could hear all about how she came to the Church! :)

It gives me comfort to know that others besides Catholics are in Heaven. And I do pray for both of them, and all my departed relatives, and all the rest of the souls in Purgatory.


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