Fellow Catholics: Do you care whether Protestants Convert?

This is a blog post I just wrote. It’s about some of the reasons that I think we should care more about this topic more than I think we often do (in general, that is). I know, at least for me personally, it’s easy to get complacent, even though intellectually I do think it’s very important to bring people fully into the Church.

It gets me to wondering: Fellow Catholics, how concerned are you as to whether your Protestant loved ones (or other Protestants you know) convert, given that the Church teaches that the Catholic Church is the one true Church?

If you post in this thread, by all means share what you voted. :slight_smile:

There’s a poll attached. My answer is 9. The combination for me is:

“It’s a high priority: Christ prayed for Unity, and that can only fully happen in His Church”
“It’s a high priority: Christians need to come together FULLY in order to be more effective in the world.”
“It’s a high priority: The Full Truth is important, not only part of it.”
“It should be a high priority, but I fall short of acting as though it is” :blush:

Blessings in Christ,

The thing I would be most concerned about would be their salvation. Everything else is secondary.

Provided the particular protestant denomination has valid Christian Baptism (most do), it comes down to the question of whether it is “easy” or “hard” for a person of good will to fall into mortal sin. If it is easy, their salvation is precarious, because protestants don’t ordinarily have recourse to Sacramental Confession. If it is hard, I would be much less concerned.

The Catholic Church, however, does not say one way or another. It is probably the biggest topic of debate among Catholic theologians.

Given the uncertainty, I strongly prefer that they convert. I am the first Catholic in my family. Only one other family member has converted, but he’s not your average Catholic.

Since nobody else has converted, I can only hope in the mercy of God.

I had actually intended to include an option (although it’s sadly too late now, I think, to change the poll) of “It’s a high priority because even if they are Christian, devoutly practiced Catholicism is the safest path of all for their salvation.” That, too, would have been among my own answers.

By the way, I’m the first–and only–Catholic in MY family, so as with yourself this topic is near and dear to me, not merely heady and intellectual. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

Blessings in Christ,

Even assuming he is invincibly ignorant, a Protestant’s salvation, is dependent on either never committing a mortal sin, or on having perfect contrition, something even Catholics rarely have. And they must do this with only two sacraments in their life.

And, even for those few Protestants who are saved, they must spend who knows how long in purgatory, since they lack access to indulgences.

So yes, it is very important.

Catholics are not supposed to try to convert people. Proselytizing is not a Catholic activity.

Pope Francis recently called proselytizing “nonsense” and said evangelizing is an invitation to “come and see”, that conversion is up to God.


Brow-beating, which in our modern lingo has become the meaning of “proselytize,” (a word that at one time was simply synonymous with evangelizing) is indeed not a Catholic activity, and is rightly condemned by the Pope. However, planting the seeds that God may “give the increase” and work conversion in someone’s heart is Catholic. Nor does “planting the seeds” mean merely living a Catholic life and hoping that others may catch on. Preaching is not a Protestant thing, it’s a Catholic thing, and has been since the beginning. Missionary activity–going out and preaching the truth to those who are outside the fold–is a Catholic activity. Preaching the Gospel “to all nations” is one of the highest mandates Jesus gave us. The Church is a missionary Church, and has been since the beginning. Her mission is indeed to “make disciples of all nations.”

I’m not saying you were denying any of this, of course, and you were likely just cautioning us against brow-beating. In which case I completely agree. :slight_smile:

Blessings in Christ,

This may be the most ridiculous thing I’ve read posted on this forum.

I don’t try to force my faith down people’s throats, but I do pray for their conversion.

I do not try to force my religion down anyone’s throat but I certainly take little qualms with defending Catholic teaching when its under attack. My only real umbrage I take with another religion stems from Islam and its fanatical frenzy and lack of concern for human life, a teaching that has been responsible for the persecution and loss of scads of my kin.

If a person expresses interest in the Catholic faith and would like to engage in discourse concerning its doctrines, I am more than happy to help this person in his or her spiritual journey.

There are appropriate platforms for us to engage in apologetic dialogue and which are more effective at bringing people closer to the truth via the Holy Spirit than Jehovah Witness-like, in your face missionary work. Away from that platform, let us leave people alone to believe as they wish unless they express interest in that sort of conversation first.

That’s not what Pope Francis was talking about and neither are we.

Proselytism has an element of coercion to it and is not authentic evangelism.

It is important to seek the fullness of truth and not settle for less and then follow it wherever it leads us.

We are most certainly called to share our most holy faith and call all men to conversion through our words and works and it is indeed one of the spiritual works of mercy.

To answer the thread topic though…absolutely! If one has found a pearl of great price or a treasure buried in a field then one certainly will want to share that joy with others. Look at John 4:1-38 to see a direct example from Our Blessed Lord Himself.

If one really believes that he has found the fullness of truth then they will logically want to share that with others, and, since so many n-Cs feel quite free to attempt to evangelize us Catholics away from the faith, I consider all such efforts to be an open invitation to counter evangelism. Read about St. Francis de Sales as a prize example.

I would highly recommend the following talk by John Martignoni that handles all this better than I can. Does God want everyone to be Catholic?

Yep. All of that. But especially, “It’s a high priority: Christians need to come together FULLY in order to be more effective in the world.” by which I mean that the majority of the people on the planet are not even Christian. We are a better witness for Christ if we are unified “…so that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” (Jn 17:21)

No proselytism, just evangelization.


I often ask God that those who love Jesus already, in the Word, look to do his will, will come into the Church and love Jesus in the Eucharist and our blessed Mother. May their fresh enthusiasm relight our tired selves.

I remember a lady who was Lutheran who remained kneeling while everyone else went up for communion and the tears she had while she waited to come into the Church. Reminded me of the privilege we enjoy that we can go to confession and be washed in the Blood of the Lamb and go up for the Bread of Life. I hope many brothers and sisters who are separated from us come home! Also too, those who were raised Catholic and left, married, raised their families without the Church. Too many. May God rain down graces!


One is always either moving toward God or moving away from Him; and even with belief that the Church is what we hold that she is, it’s hard enough to translate certainty into growth in hope and charity, or to see that knowledge blossoms into wisdom.
There are far too many gaps and dead ends in the protestant theologies to make it safe for anyone to trust that God’s going to get them through. There is far touch guesswork, speculation, insufficient safeguards against presumption and cheap grace, and no sufficient guard against the deformation of the few truths that have only tenuous connections to the full truth to begin with.

Those are the words of Pope Francis.


This may be the second most ridiculous thing I’ve read on this forum.

Personally, I think we have enough fallen away or inactive Catholics to keep us busy evangelizing the rest of our lives!

Thank you.

The “few” protestants who are saved? REALLY??? :eek:
They lack access to indugences? No one prays for the souls of deceased protestants? :eek:
Sorry, but of the protestants I know who are practicing their faith, I know of none who would make such arrogant statements as that.

Sorry that you are not better acquainted with non-catholics who are nonetheless devoted to Jesus and trying (in some cases better than many catholics) to lead Christ-driven lives.

Nicely put. I agree that Timothy’s comment was more about HOW we go about it than whether. And I agree with him (and Pope Francis) that it isn’t done in bible-bashing fashion. As the Pope has also said.

My own view of the question is that YES, I would like for everyone to have the fullness of Catholicism, and once it’s understood, other Christian traditions seem lacking…less full. Indeed it is a pearl of great price, and I would wish it for others. That’s why I’ve been active in RCIA for all the years since my own journey through it.

That said, I know many Christians in protestant denominations who lead Godly lives, and I would be the last one on earth to dissuade them in any way unless they reached a wanting-more point.
To borrow and paraphrase Mother Teresa: Better a good protestant (Buddhist or Hindu) than a bad catholic.

IMHO: the best way to evangelize is first to be a happy catholic. Meaning, be loving and kind.
The worst way is to start spouting about lack of salvation outside the Church. That was one that kept me away for decades…happily the documents of Vatican II cleared it up, but that doesn’t stop some catholics from blathering it still.
I’m glad I didn’t read some of these threads before I converted.

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