Can a Former Catholic now Protestant get to Heaven?

I know a couple of Protestants who were originally Catholic, one left in the late teens and the other as an adult. The one who left as an adult seems to have quite a distaste for the Catholic church, the other doesn’t seem to.

If, hypothetically they didn’t commit mortal sins and led a good life could they still get to Heaven? The both read the Bible.


I think according to Lumen Gentium, if they left without really knowing the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation (because they’re invincibly ignorant), then they can still get to heaven (it’s just harder without the sacraments). But if they leave the Church because of social pressure (the Church being unpopular and stigmatized), as many people are doing currently, I would say they are very likely to not receive salvation.

Edit: I should also add that because much of Protestantism teaches that mortal sin can’t separate you from salvation, and therefore it’s okay to commit mortal sins in terms of getting to heaven, that it’s much less likely they will be ultimately saved. That’s one of the dangers of adhering to crazy new doctrines invented in the 16th century.

Yes, of course they can.


I would think they have a better than average chance,

Matthew 10:32. Check it out,

Matt1992 hit it on the button. The edit portion of his quote is the part that I struggle with. I have such a hard time understanding, it actually makes my head hurt, how someone can say that they have been saved and none of their works, whether good or bad, will keep them from heaven. They truly believe God will not judge them. Even if they went out and killed someone tomorrow, Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross has already paid the price for all of their past, present and future sins. :banghead:

Matthew 19:26

No, of course not.

This says it for me.

Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us
Mark 9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

We’re supposed to be leading people to God and if someone who was Catholic becomes Protestant that doesn’t mean the Church hasn’t led person to Jesus, it means She has… It’s not as if a protestant former Catholic who has left the Church gives up believing in Jesus. And lets not forget they were baptized in order to start a new life in Christ by being born again in baptism. That said, they could be led down the wrong path and suffer for their sins just like any of us, so why make judgments?

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

Even by the most liberal interpretation of this dogma a schismatic or apostate has gone “outside” the authority of Rome. So no, how could they? Were it so why remain Catholic if the Church isn’t necessary?

Only God knows. THAT’S the truth!

Sarcasm is difficult to read into electronic postings…this is sarcasm, right?

To question #1 How could they?

Because the ultimate authority for granting entrance into heaven is not the Bride of Christ (the Church), but Christ himself.

To: question #2

[If they did get into Heaven] why remain Catholic if the Church isn’t necessary?

The Church provides the wisdom and truth to give us the tools to walk in the way, and therefore remains relevant. What the Church does not do, is judge its members (or those who are not members) for entry into heaven.

See the Catechism on discussion of Particular and Final Judgment, and you will notice that the Church is not even remotely implied as the judge; Christ is.

Peace and all good!

Thanks for the response.

For the first part Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus is a dogma right? That is a statement that is infallible and thus an eternal truth and the true will of God. If the Catholic Church, as the chosen spokesperson has decreed that those who leave the Catholic Church cannot attain heaven, surely that is what the Judgement of God will be. Does the Catholic Church decree things that God does not endorse?

As for the second, I know the current interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus makes an accommodation for invincible ignorance, but how can one be invincibly ignorant when one has learned about the Catholic Church?

I am a former Catholic myself, and this has been raised with me before.

I can give you many reasons to remain Catholic. Because those who belong to the Church can experience an overwhelming abundance of graces bestowed upon it. For example: The Holy of Holies, one can not understand unless they know that there can be no holier place in this life than at the table of Our Lord at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 19: 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

St. Paul tells us :

1 Corinthians 12:31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

The **most excellent way **is through the Church because that’s where the fullness of truth is found. Of course there are truths found in other religious beliefs, but not the fullness of truth and these truths allow us to experience grace in abundance and lead souls to heaven. So it’s not as if the other religions don’t have something to offer, it’s just that the Catholic Church has the most to offer in the way of truths and graces. It is truly the Holy Spirits Church. The Church is the ship who’s journey is to heaven and Jesus is in the ship quite literally! And those who are baptized in the trinitarian formula find their way into that ship but may not experience all there is to experience along the way had they not participated in the life of Christ set before us by God. (the priestly and sacramental Church life).

Actually Jesus has given all authority on earth to a man, Peter, to lead the sheep and gave him the key to heaven. In apostolic succession that authority has been passed down to subsequent leaders of the Church who are the Popes. That is why the Popes can canonize Saints into heaven.

Matthew 16: 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,* and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”*

Those are directly the words of Jesus. Jesus is the gate John 10:9, but the Popes hold the key to heaven which unlocks the gate.

What that says is that Jesus wants us to be saved through the Church. That’s why there are the sacraments to help us get there. The Church itself being the body of Christ, the union of the Church on earth with Jesus and the angels and Saints in heaven. Something that happens at every mass during the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

I’m sorry, but you are comparing apples to oranges, with some really bad and erroneous theology.

Yes, the Lord gave the authority to man to forgive sin, but they act in the person of Christ when doing so. Nowhere did he give to man the authority or responsibility of eternal judgment…that was and always been only a divine act.

And, the keys given the popes where the keys for the Church on earth, not the Kingdom of Heaven. If the keys given the popes open anything, it opens the gates to the roadway to heaven, but certainly not the gates of heaven itself, because only Christ will be the ultimate judge.

Good heavens! Shouldn’t we be focusing on getting our own souls and hearts right with God, rather than trying to figure out how to judge the souls of others? :eek:

Seriously, let God judge! My ex-Catholic friends who are now protestant absolutely LOVE Jesus, have an intimate relationship with Him, and seek after Him with all their hearts. Do any of you seriously think you have the right to wave Church documents in their faces as judgement on them?

Matthew 7:2
"For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Leaving the Catholic Church is objectively a mortal sin. If such a person later repents, or if he lacks the full culpability of an actual mortal sin, due to a lack of full knowledge of the grave immorality of his choice, he can still be saved.

Christ reigns over all of us, and lives in the priests who forgives our sins. If this is not true, those with mortal sins on them would never enter heaven. I don’t make things up, this is what the scriptures say. Confessions are a divine action of God, with authorized actions of the Priests to forgive sins by Jesus Himself.

Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19** I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, **and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Can Jesus say any clearer? That is is why the Popes have the authority to Canonize Saints and even canonized the bible. Hey if this isn’t the case the Popes are in error, and I don’t believe that they are. That’s also why they exercised their authority and wrote letters speaking about those outside of the Church.

I would have to say I for one was pretty ignorant to the teachings of the Catholic Church 8 months ago. I am 45 and can honestly say I was not Catechized well in my youth. I have learned more in the past 8 months listening to Catholic Answers than I have in the past 45 years. So I can agree to this point that it is possible. However, at the same point if I was to have left, as my son is trying to do. I would have had to turn a blind eye to her teachings as he does when he deliberately ignores certain passages of the Gospels in favor of his own interpretations.

Some Catholics don’t believe Protestants will get to heaven…some Protestants don’t believe Catholics will get to heaven…Jesus said in reply to his disciples asking what reward they would have for following him…“many who are first will be last…many who are last will be first”…also he said…“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”…so Jesus will decide who gets to heaven…not anyone here…the Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Church states that Catholics…non Catholics…believers of non Christian religion… all have the potential for salvation

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