Born and baptized catholic now a JW


I was just wondering, when one is born in a Catholic family and baptized Catholic, and baptizes in another church (ie, as a Mormon, or JW) later in life, does this mean to the CC that this person gave up their real baptism? Thing is that my husband was a Catholic and then baptized as a JW, and now I am wondering what it means to the CC. My pastor said he’d still be a Catholic if he didn’t formally renounce the faith, but wouldn’t it mean that becoming a JW and baptising as a JW he has denied the CC teachings formally?

Your husband would have to write a letter to his bishop declaring that he knows what the Church teaches and rejects it willingly and freely in favor of becoming a JW in order to no longer be considered a Catholic. And for your peace of mind–you are not obligated to tell him that.

The Church hierarchy has only quite recently clarified the way in which one defects from the faith. I think we can all agreed it is patently obvious that a Catholic who goes on to accept baptism from a different church later in life is renouncing his faith in the Catholic Church and her teachings. But canonically, i.e. in the eyes of Church law, one only formally defects from the faith by submitting one’s intention to do so in writing.

This is mostly relevant to cases of marriage, where an individual who did not formally defect in writing would not be able to marry validly outside the Church, whereas a person who did submit a formal defection would be able to validly marry without the Catholic Church witnessing the marriage. Outside of those cases I don’t know if it makes a big difference because on the moral level, defecting from the Church carries basically the same weight regardless of whether one fills out a paper or not.

Something else to consider: one cannot ‘give up’ one’s baptism.The sacrament places an indelible mark on the soul that cannot be removed. In this sense, it is like confirmation and holy orders, which are also ‘one time only’ sacraments.

It IS true that one can be ‘taken off the rolls’ of the Church by requesting this of the bishop, but this has no effect on the permanent nature of the sacrament. That’s why someone who apostasizes - abandons the faith - need only go to confession to be reconciled to the Church.

Deacon Bob

Thank you for that clarification. It’s so good to know that God’s mercy is infinite within his Church, isn’t it?

It is indeed, but then God doesn’t have to listen to canon lawyers!

Does he give up his real Baptism? You can’t give up your Baptism you are marked for eternity as validly Baptized.

What it means to the CC is that he freely left the Catholic faith and is no longer Catholic. He should send a letter to his former Bishop telling him that he has done this.

It’s such a shame that Annibale Bugnini and company eliminated the reading of the Last Gospel which clearly states the truth about the divinity of Jesus Christ which the Arians and now the JW’s deny. Chalk one more soul lost to not following the axiom of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.

However, according to B16, and before him JP2, we all worship the same god now… so I guess it really doesn’t matter any more.

Canon lawyers, my good brother deacon, would be first to testify to the infinite mercy of God and the limits of the law. They would, in fact, observe that the supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls and that the law is a tool rather then an end in itself.

I am so very sorry your husband has bought into the lies peddled by the JW’s. :frowning: As a former JW myself, I know how convincing they can be. I will hold your husband in my prayers.

Thank you all for your responses. My husband told me what JWs do is write a letter to the Church and say they don’t want to be Catholic any more. I guess he had to write it in order to become a JW by baptizing as one.

Bad thing is that when he was 10 yrs old his mother converted and with her falling she took my husband and 3 other daughters w/her to that religion. I hope one day he comes back to the CC.

God bless all for your kind responses.

I would think that canon law would support that a child of 10 years old would be incapable of renouncing his Catholic faith formally. He would have had to have done so after the age of 14 I believe.

His mother switched over when he was 10, he baptized as a JW when he was 19.

Unless these details are posted in the original post it is very hard to give a correct answer.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit