Being both Protestant and Catholic?

I have a friend who has told me for years that he wants to become Catholic.

He is an Evangelical, non denominational type Christian that was baptized by his Presbyterian minister father in a river alone. It was recorded anywhere.

He has a previous marriage.

I’ve told him to go to a church and speak to a priest. He claims he cannot because of health problems.

I found a priest that would instruct him and consider reception with me as his sponsor with conditional baptism.

We began talking, over email about tenets of the Faith. During a side discussion, I brought up the teaching about “no salvation without the Church”.
It didn’t go down well, even though I explained it in the clearest of terms. He wouldn’t understand that it does NOT necessarily mean Protestants go to hell.

Then I used the term “one, true Church”. And that got the same response.
He became very defensive of Protestantism, very arrogant about his knowledge of the CChurch, and accused me of being in a fringe movement, that he had never heard of either of those terms…blady, blaady, blah.

Then he said, that he had no intention of separating himself from Protestantism, Butt hat he only wanted the Catholic “added on bits”.

He seems to think that he can be both and was scandalized by me telling him he had to put aside the Protestantism, and take up Catholicism. That Catholicism is not a denomination.

He doesn’t accept Apostolic Succession , or the need to confess to a priest. That’s as far as we got, because everything stopped in it’s tracks at “one, true Church”.

Then the whole project fell apart. He has said some very mean things to me, and still maintains I am the one who knows nothing about the Church.

He says he will find someone else to receive him.

So I guess my question is this:

Is he right? Can one be both Protestant and Catholic at the same time?
It doesn’t make any sense to me.

I am considering if my friend was being influenced by Satan, as the conversation didn’t have much logic involved, and was very confusing. I’d say one thing, and he would refute it. He came to me about being Catholic, but seemed to want to convert me to Protestantism, rather than the other way around.
It left me pretty shake .

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You can’t be both because to be Protestant is to reject the leadership of the Pope. However it does sound like he is on his way back - suggest some stuff he can read and suggest he tries mass

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Rite of Reception (RCIA 490-498) has this statement that the person makes:

  • I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

  • (Name), the Lord receives you into the Catholic Church.
    His loving kindness has led you here,
    so that in the unity of the Holy Spirit
    you may have full communion with us
    in the faith that you have professed in the presence of his family.

In the general intercessions is this prayer:

  • For all who believe in Christ and for the Communities to which they belong, that they may come to perfect unity …

  • For the Church [Communion] in which N was baptized and received his/her formation as a Christian, that it may always grow in knowledge of Christ and proclaim him more effectively.


I would point out two things to him:

  1. If you belong to a “fringe” group, fringe has to be defined as 1.3 Billion people…about 16% of all humans on Earth.

  2. If Catholicism is wrong, it was wrong for 15 centuries and it wasn’t until Martin Luther came along that Christians started to get it right. Does that sound logical?

Peace and good.


No, he’s wrong. One can’t. Though very often the faith of a Catholic and the faith of a Protestant are by no means so far apart as many Protestants, and many Catholics too, seem to think they are.

Good luck to him with that. I don’t think he will, though. Not unless he opens his eyes to one or two things first.


There are many Evangelical Protestant types who attempt to make their own blend of things (which is why there are so many denominations out there), and several have tried to use the bits and pieces of Catholic faith and culture that they like in combination with Protestant theology. Perhaps he’s trying to formalize that a bit not realizing how impossible it truly is.


That’s among the easiest way to prove Protestantism is wrong, among the plethora of other reasons. Faith has nothing to do with it as it’s pure logic. Even atheists don’t try to deny logic.


To be protestant means, literally speaking, to be in protest to the Catholic Church. It’s in the name: Protest-ant. So no, logically, one cannot be both in protest of the Catholic Church and a member of the Church at the same time.

Taking the bits and pieces he likes of Catholicism without converting still makes him a Protestant.
In fact, you could argue it makes him more Protestant than ever, since that’s what Protestantism was founded on–picking and choosing what bits of the faith they wanted to retain, while tossing the rest.

Conversion requires a change of heart. Right now, he’s trying to have his cake and eat it, too. That’s never going to work. Pray for his openness to the Holy Spirit, and leave it in God’s hands for now.


This argument is the single biggest reason I converted from Protestantism to Catholicism. It’s funny because I set out to research why Protestantism is true and Catholicism is wrong and ended up a Catholic! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Remember the parables?

Perhaps you were the one to plant seeds, but, someone else will be the one to water the seeds and even another person will harvest.

Thing is, your friend is beginning. I would encourage him to keep asking hard questions, to keep praying, to begin meeting with the priest and you let the Holy Spirit keep working.

Remember, it is not our job to go pull all of the old leaves off the tree in the fall, they will fall, even if they hang on through winter the new growth in the spring will push the dead leaves away. This is a process, for most people it is not a flash cut of all of the beliefs they grew up with.


He is wrong. You cannot be both.

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Meaning the Catholic Church? Or do you in fact belong to something that could be seen as a “fringe movement”, such as the SSPX or Opus Dei? (I know that Opus Dei isn’t technically a “fringe movement”, but that is how it would be seen by somebody outside the Church and even by a lot of people inside the Church.)

It’s more likely that there are gaps in his knowledge and that he has a deficient understanding of Catholic and Protestant theology and ecclesiology. I often talk to people who are confusing and illogical, but I don’t think that they are being influenced by Satan.

No. That’s like asking if you can be married to a person and divorced from the same person at the same time. Protestantism is a rejection of the Catholic Church. If you become a member of the Catholic Church you cannot simultaneously be rejecting that Church by being Protestant.

This guy isn’t ready to be a Catholic. You helped plant the seed, whether anything grows from it or not is beyond your control at this point. Just pray for him and don’t worry about it.


Same here! :joy:

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Life is so weird like that!!

That’s awesome. That is exactly what happened to me! When you really start to study scripture, church fathers and church history there really is no other conclusion. The only thing that gets in the way is our own pride.


It seems like there are two ways of becoming Catholic. Either using your braincells and studying your way into the Church or getting married.

I studied Theology at a protestant school and realised I was Catholic at heart and then it took me 20 years to process the whole thing and start RCIA. It didn’t help that there were no Catholics around work, social life, school, family etc.


Very nice! I must say that pride was a biggie with me. Also, having no living Catholic family members and a set of EXTREMELY Protestant in-laws have made it somewhat difficult. Totally worth it though.

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It’s funny because I didn’t think there were any around me either until I told people I was starting RCIA. Kind of strange, but multiple people I know (some for years) started coming out of the woodwork and telling me that they are Catholic.

I totally believe that you didn’t have anyone around, I am just relaying what has happened in my life.

I certainly don’t believe this.
As a (nearly) life long Lutheran, there is so much of Catholic teaching that we/I agree with. If the Catholic Church was wrong for 15 centuries, then all of us are wrong about most of what we believe.

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