Catholic or Not ?

If someone I know that is Catholic says that they don’t believe certain beliefs of the church to be bad ,you know everyone does it (birth control,pornography,etc.) would it be safe for me to say that they are NOT Catholic ?

No. They are Catholics who are dissenting from the truths of the Church - and IF done with full knowledge (of Church’s teaching about the gravity of the matter, and the gravity of dissenting), they are Catholics in a state of serious/mortal sin.
Pray for them.

A bad Catholic is still a Catholic, because they’ve been baptized in the Catholic Church, so saying they are not Catholic technically would be theologically incorrect. If they think the things you mentioned are morally acceptable things to do, they obviously are not a Catholic in good standing with the Church- but that does not change the fact that the Church still considers them Catholic.

Whenever you are confronted with people like this, you have to consider two things: on one hand, you need to stand up for the Faith; on the other hand, you need to be sure that you are not a stumbling block (lack of charity, etc.) for someone coming back to the Faith. It has been my experience that most Catholics who dissent from Church teaching on issues like contraception, premarital sex, pornography, skipping Mass, never going to confession are not living this way because they want to disobey the Church. I have found that they often REALLY don’t understand that these things are morally wrong (as hard as it can be to understand how some people are ok doing things such as having premarital sex, using birth control, and only going to Mass twice a year, there really are people who truly don’t understand that they are wrong or why they are wrong).

Yes, it would be safe for you to say it.

So long as you say it to yourself where there is no possible way for any one else to hear you. :smiley:

To say it to the other person, what point could be served? It would likely incite argument and defensiveness.:mad:

Rather than making such a statement, I would suggest that you ask them, ‘If you don’t believe these things, why do you consider yourself Catholic? And if you are Catholic and don’t agree with the Church, do you know why the Church has its positions?’

Well, something like that. My point be to incite discussion and hopefully a change of heart.

But to tell some one, ‘you’re not a Catholic’ is pretty harsh - no matter how well intended you may be. :blush:

Actually, according to Church Canon 751, anyone who rejects one or more Catholic Church teachings is considered to be a “heretic” … … Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith …And according to Canon 1364 §1, heretics are AUTOMATICLY excommunicated from the Catholic Church … … an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication … The phrase “latae sententiae” means a judgment or sentence which has already been brought, in other words, a sentence or judgment which does not need a future additional judgment from someone in authority; it refers to a type of excommunication which is automatic. Such a sentence of excommunication is incurred “by the very commission of the offense,” (CCC 2272) and does NOT require the future particular judgment of a case by competent authority.

Hope this helps.

Excommunicants are still considered Catholics. Their communion with the church is considered gravely impaired, but the Church does not consider it possible to dissolve the character imparted by baptism.

How can one be something in which they do not accept? Would someone be pro-life if they believed in pro-choice?

Unless a Catholic writes an notification to the Church stating they are leaving the Catholic Church and receive an official acknowledgement from the Church then they remain Catholic (albeit a fallen one).
A Catholic does not stop being a Catholic just because they commit a grave sin.

Even after a Catholic does such a thing, they ar still a Catholic.

They simply have a notation in their sacramental record.

Reconciliation through the bishop will allow them to resume the full sacramental life.

I am biologically a child of my two parents whether I want to be or not. I can walk away from my family and refuse to have anything to do with them. But, the fact remains that these people are my family and I am related to them no matter how much I may wish it to be otherwise.

Baptism incorporates us into the Body of Christ. We become children of God, siblings to Christ and one another. We are incorporated into a family. Nothing can change that. Nothing can kick us out of that family. Nothing can make us “not” part of the family of God. Baptism is neither repeatable nore removable. It changes us and creates a spiritual reality analogous to the biological reality of our parental heritage.

We can walk away, but we remain Catholic. We can come back, as well, and resume the sacramental life at any time.

This statement indicates you believe incorporation into the Body of Christ is somehow dependent upon our beliefs. It is not.

It’s OK to have doubts - these will always exist. It’s ok to not understand them but it’s not ok to deny them just because we have doubts. It’s a matter of obedience. Also, they should keep their doubts to themselves with the exception of asking questions.

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