Can someone be Catholic and later turn Protestant?


#1

An example would be someone who is baptized in the catholic church had their first holy communion/confirmation. If they say they were just too young to understand it and now older age turn to a protestant church are they indeed still a Catholic but a fallen away Catholic? Can they officially call themselves a protestant? I know many people who take this stance.

Also, what if they received the sacraments as a child and turned into an atheist as an adult. Are they really an atheist since they were baptized in the lord as a baby?

I know they might not say they are Catholic and they are protestant/atheist etc but I tend to think of them as Catholic but fallen away...

Any suggestions on this.


#2

In 1 Tim 1:19, St Paul talks about some people who "have made a shipwreck of their faith". He was actually referring to some people who have deliberately violated their consciences.
We cannot read what is in the core of people's consciences (only God can), but we can be sure it is possible for a person to cut himself away from God's graces by deliberate and conscious means.

Baptism leaves an indelible mark of the Holy Spirit, and nothing can take that away. The mark however, still leaves us with free will. The mystical body of Christ can include anyone who is a sincere follower of Christ, although IMHO, an atheist is floating around in the sea.


#3

Yes they can, technically I was totally Catholic on paper, but not in spirit, was protestant on paper, but not in spirit for a number of years, and am Catholic on paper and in spirit now. I had some really bad teachers in the past, so go figure. If I were to understand in fullness of what the Church was about, I believed it all, and then turned away, the above posters post would be relevant, sadly, too many are in the same boat as I in the past, so yes, they can go that route out of ignorance.


#4

How does one know if one has left the faith out of ignorance or deliberately? What would be an example of these?


#5

[quote="dfp42, post:4, topic:200986"]
How does one know if one has left the faith out of ignorance or deliberately? What would be an example of these?

[/quote]

Your conscience will tell you.

I once heard it said that if there is one thing worse than sin, it is the denial of sin.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, states:

*“1792. Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.”,
*
where I attempt to parse some phrases:

Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel

I surmise that ignorance is brought about when you are in the boondocks and isolated from the rest of humanity and civilization. No TV, no books, no teachers, and no Google. But for the greater mass of people, especially those who are in a position to make a difference in this day and age, ignorance can only be decidedly voluntary. One is supposed to be obliged in conscience to seek the truth and not be content with what is personally comfortable from a conveniently “practical” point of view, yet it is so convenient and comfortable to make a shortcut. I therefore call this conscience a quick and easy “Do-It-Yourself” conscience.

Enslavement to one’s passions

All slaves have masters, and in this case, the master is one’s passions. The distinction being that this is a self-inflicted slavery that shuts out discernment and with it – freedom. Indeed the flesh is weak, and that is why the Lord instructed us to pray “lead us not into temptation…”. On the other hand those who become slaves by choice invite temptation and then wallow in it, and therefore I call this conscience, a “pawned” conscience.

Bad example given by others

When “everybody” is doing it, it must be acceptable and therefore “right”. This is heightened by peer pressure within the close confines of one’s social circle, or even of one’s subjective and personal perception of what is considered acceptable by the larger social sphere. Notions of acceptability prevails and liberal fad rules. I call this conscience a “Popularity Contest” conscience.

Autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority

The conscience exists in a vacuum, whose discernment does not include an outside point of reference. As a case in point, it is dangerous to choose a car without dutifully consulting car-buying guides and mechanics. In the spiritual sense where the stakes are much higher, it should be imperative to be even more conscientious in seeking guidance from external authorities, especially from those whose knowledge and wisdom is drawn upon a studied foundation of more than two-thousand years of consistent teaching. If we find ourselves disagreeing as Catholics with the teaching of the Church on a serious matter, it’s probably not the Church that’s wrong, the problem is much more likely with us. Maybe I’ll call this conscience a “clueless” conscience.

Lack of conversion and of charity

I have stated at the onset that the denial of sin may be worse than sin itself, and come to think of it, the only sin might be denial itself. The adamant refusal to be open to correction could be in fact the only barrier to conversion and charity. This is characterized by a spirited self-righteousness that can only be perhaps corrected by a bolt of lightning, which is not entirely impossible, to those of us who have heard of the road to Damascus. Anyway, a less dramatic conversion could just as well be effective.

randomthoughtsmusings.blogspot.com/2008/02/conscience-and-denial-of-sin.html

so we must be careful of an erroneous conscience:

randomthoughtsmusings.blogspot.com/2008/08/erroneous-conscience.html


#6

[quote="dfp42, post:1, topic:200986"]
An example would be someone who is baptized in the catholic church had their first holy communion/confirmation. If they say they were just too young to understand it and now older age turn to a protestant church are they indeed still a Catholic but a fallen away Catholic? Can they officially call themselves a protestant? I know many people who take this stance.

Also, what if they received the sacraments as a child and turned into an atheist as an adult. Are they really an atheist since they were baptized in the lord as a baby?

I know they might not say they are Catholic and they are protestant/atheist etc but I tend to think of them as Catholic but fallen away...

Any suggestions on this.

[/quote]

If you are asking for the Catholic Church's teaching on this, it is that such a person is always a Catholic by virtue of their baptism.

They may be a Catholic who has fallen into schism, apostacy, or heresy. They may be a Catholic who has notoriously or formally defected. But, they will always remain a Catholic. Such a person would be barred from the Sacraments either by virtue of their own actions (likely for "joe in the pew"), or possibly by a formal canon law process (likely for public Catholic figures, priests/religious, etc, who defect). They are, according to Canon Law, still under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church and all laws of the Church.

They can return to the Catholic faith by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and depending upon the specific situation it may also require lifting of excommunication by the Bishop and/or publicly and formally renouncing the sect they defected to and possibly even making a new profession of faith.

But, despite whatever requirements put upon a person seeking to return to the sacraments, that person is still a Catholic before, during, and after any decision to reject the Faith. They are Catholic from the moment of their baptism and shall be always.


#7

[quote="dfp42, post:1, topic:200986"]
An example would be someone who is baptized in the catholic church had their first holy communion/confirmation. If they say they were just too young to understand it and now older age turn to a protestant church are they indeed still a Catholic but a fallen away Catholic? Can they officially call themselves a protestant? I know many people who take this stance.

Also, what if they received the sacraments as a child and turned into an atheist as an adult. Are they really an atheist since they were baptized in the lord as a baby?

I know they might not say they are Catholic and they are protestant/atheist etc but I tend to think of them as Catholic but fallen away...

Any suggestions on this.

[/quote]

I have a friend who received all her sacraments when she was young, but now considers herself non-Catholic. She is a very devout Christian, just not Catholic. I wouldn't call her "fallen" or "fallen away". She has a lot of faith still, but for whatever reason, feels the Catholic Church is not for her, at least at this point in her life. That is her choice, and I respect that.


#8

[quote="Ailina, post:7, topic:200986"]
I have a friend who received all her sacraments when she was young, but now considers herself non-Catholic. She is a very devout Christian, just not Catholic. I wouldn't call her "fallen" or "fallen away". She has a lot of faith still, but for whatever reason, feels the Catholic Church is not for her, at least at this point in her life. That is her choice, and I respect that.

[/quote]

Yes, that's the hard part. In one sense since they are an adult they should be able to choose their own faith. On the other part however I feel that if I love my brother or sister shouldn't I want them to be Catholic and come back home to the Church?

I don't know, it's very easy to just sit back silently and feel hopeless about situations sometimes. I think that's why the world is in all the trouble it is in today. People just give in anymore and accept all things. I'm not talking about coercing people into faith but by doing it out of love and I find many people won't even go there when family members are going the wrong way. Its almost like the world is saying do whatever makes you happy and I'm happy. No one wants to rock the boat and upset or offend anyone... :(


#9

[quote="dfp42, post:8, topic:200986"]
Yes, that's the hard part. In one sense since they are an adult they should be able to choose their own faith. On the other part however I feel that if I love my brother or sister shouldn't I want them to be Catholic and come back home to the Church?

I don't know, it's very easy to just sit back silently and feel hopeless about situations sometimes. I think that's why the world is in all the trouble it is in today. People just give in anymore and accept all things. I'm not talking about coercing people into faith but by doing it out of love and I find many people won't even go there when family members are going the wrong way. Its almost like the world is saying do whatever makes you happy and I'm happy. No one wants to rock the boat and upset or offend anyone... :(

[/quote]

I'm not giving in to anything. We have discussed this as friends. She is a devout Christian who no longer views herself as Catholic. That is her choice, and I don't think it is a hopeless one. She still believes in Jesus as her savior. God gives us all the right to make choices, and never forces, so why would I?


#10

[quote="dfp42, post:1, topic:200986"]
An example would be someone who is baptized in the catholic church had their first holy communion/confirmation. If they say they were just too young to understand it and now older age turn to a protestant church are they indeed still a Catholic but a fallen away Catholic? Can they officially call themselves a protestant? I know many people who take this stance.

Also, what if they received the sacraments as a child and turned into an atheist as an adult. Are they really an atheist since they were baptized in the lord as a baby?

I know they might not say they are Catholic and they are protestant/atheist etc but I tend to think of them as Catholic but fallen away...

Any suggestions on this.

[/quote]

I can remove the nameplate on my small foreign car and stick a Cadillac nameplate on the front, but that does not make it a Cadillace. A baptized Catholic is Catholic for all eternity. He can get an atheist tattoo, join another denomination, follow Buddhism, or be circumcised to become a Jew, but he remains Catholic. Baptism imparts and indelible seal on the soul that can never be erased. The Catholic can formally defect from the Faith by contacting his bishop, and be relieved of obligations under Catholic canon law, but still remains Catholic.


#11

Should a devout Catholic desire for a devout Christian to become a Catholic and come home to the true faith? Or is it best to let go of the situation and leave it up to God. I know in my family for example, no one will dare talk about religion during a get together anymore. It would seem as it would lead into an argument about judging one another. I do remember a time when grace was said before meals along with getting the family members together on Sundays. It seems as though we all got older, busy, wiser and smarter we know what’s good for us as adults.

It’s like a relationship with a family member you haven’t talk to in a long time, well because you just grew apart. Who’s fault would it be? Mine since I haven’t reached out? Or the other person since they haven’t reached out either? I recently asked my mother about this with an uncle that doesn’t come around anymore and I wondered what happened to cause this. The reason given was that it takes 2 to tango and that’s just the way it is. So, if he doesn’t talk to me, I won’t talk to him type of mentality. To further explain it, she stated it was my uncles wife’s fault because she doesn’t want anything to do with the family. There is so much of this type of attitude in my family and I feel caught in the middle of it. There is so much gossip going on about people and I know it’s not done out of love. I’m having a problem with this to be honest. I personally wouldn’t care about having a relationship with others that much if it wasn’t for me coming back to the Catholic faith. Something seems to be screaming out to me that I should try to bring peace and unity between us all. Not with a club, but out of love.

Does anyone feel this or understand what I mean. I am affected by the breakdown of the family and I don’t know what I can do, if anything. Please help if you can on any advice.

Thank you.


#12

“Erroneous Judgement” which includes “Ignorance” is covered in detail in “CCC, 2nd Ed”. 1791 &1792.

These two paragraphs should answer your question.
Ignorance can be sinful.

This is why I believe that all Catholics over age 16 must read the CCC, 2nd ed., thoroughly.
CCC is a authoritative teaching of the Church.


#13

[quote="puzzleannie, post:10, topic:200986"]
I can remove the nameplate on my small foreign car and stick a Cadillac nameplate on the front, but that does not make it a Cadillace. A baptized Catholic is Catholic for all eternity. He can get an atheist tattoo, join another denomination, follow Buddhism, or be circumcised to become a Jew, but he remains Catholic. Baptism imparts and indelible seal on the soul that can never be erased. The Catholic can formally defect from the Faith by contacting his bishop, and be relieved of obligations under Catholic canon law, but still remains Catholic.

[/quote]

How is it possible to formally defect from the Faith by contacting his bishop? What would one do walk into the bishops office and say "I don't want to be Catholic anymore, so put me on your do not call list?" I don't understand how you can be relieved of obligations? Do you have any examples of this?

This seems confusing Ie. someone who claims they have a disability and can't work, but in reality they really don't have a disability and get free checks from the government.


#14

[quote="puzzleannie, post:10, topic:200986"]
I can remove the nameplate on my small foreign car and stick a Cadillac nameplate on the front, but that does not make it a Cadillace. A baptized Catholic is Catholic for all eternity. He can get an atheist tattoo, join another denomination, follow Buddhism, or be circumcised to become a Jew, but he remains Catholic. Baptism imparts and indelible seal on the soul that can never be erased. The Catholic can formally defect from the Faith by contacting his bishop, and be relieved of obligations under Catholic canon law, but still remains Catholic.

[/quote]

So, if someone's Catholic parents have them baptized as an infant, that person is just stuck with Catholicism for their whole life? Like it or not? Whether they believe in the teachings of the Church or not? That's just silly.

Equally silly, I suppose, is arguing about it. If this baptized person decides that Catholicism just isn't his cup of tea and decides to leave, he probably isn't going to care one way or the other what the Church teaches. It simply won't matter.


#15

But would a Catholic consider someone baptized as a Lutheran or Methodist etc. to always be a Lutheran, Methodist, etc. on some level even if they converted to Catholicism? The idea of once you are in you are always and forever despite your wants, beliefs, actions seems ludicrous to me.


#16

Actually, I believe this canon law changed recently…like in the last year or so. There was such a thing as formal defection…where someone is not bound to catholic form and obligations…

but now they can’t formally defect anymore. That is my understanding.


#17

I recently met a fellow raised in the Catholic faith, who is not the most anti-catholic individual I have EVER met. He goes so far as to refer to Catholics as "papist pukes" and then mentions a lot about how ALL our priests are paedophiles and Hell.

In discussion with this chap it was plain to see he had little understanding of the Catholic Faith, despite that he was raised Catholic. I feel terribly sorry for him, that he left the true faith because he obviously wasn't educated to the faith, and of course, falling in with very anti-catholics has tainted his conscience and soul to the point that he claims he will never return to the faith.

All we can do is pray for people like this.


#18

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:15, topic:200986"]
But would a Catholic consider someone baptized as a Lutheran or Methodist etc. to always be a Lutheran, Methodist, etc. on some level even if they converted to Catholicism? The idea of once you are in you are always and forever despite your wants, beliefs, actions seems ludicrous to me.

[/quote]

Or taken further my little brother Minister Muhammed was baptised as an infant in the United Methodist Church. Today he preaches for The Nation of Islam. Is there a mark on him? Is he a Christian or does that only happen with Catholic infants who don't get a Bishop to accept a resignation letter later in life?


#19

Yep. He has the indelible mark of Baptism on his soul. He was claimed for Christ and can never be anything other than a Christian.

His rejection of Christianity makes him an apostate. But, that is an adjective describing him in relation to his Christianity.


#20

No. And that is because in the Catholic understanding of the Sacrament of Baptism there is only one Baptism and only one Church into which someone is baptized: the Catholic Church.

A non-Catholic, baptized Christian is a member of the Catholic Church. They are simply impefectly connected to the Church. Because they were not baptized into the Catholic Church (meaning that they purposely did not seek to join themselves to the Church as professed in the Rite of Baptism) through their own desire or their parents’ desire, the baptized non-Catholic is not bound by Catholic canon law. They are, of course, bound by divine law.

Such a person, when they make a profession of faith and become formal members of the Catholic Church are completing their baptism through the remaining sacraments of initiation and binding themselves to the visible Church and her law and governance.

It is what baptism means. It changes a person forever, making them a member of the Body of Christ. The bible tells us that nothing can snatch us from God’s hand, this is what it means-- we are forever marked for Christ. We can reject it, walk away from it, etc, and pay the consequences via our eternal destination, but we cannot UNdo it.


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