How does the Roman Catholic Church View Baptized Protestants? Heretics? or Separated Brethren?


Thanks for sharing this… Very helpful in understanding an answer to my question.


Once again, very helpful. Thank you!


These responses regarding the number of Protestants being such a small minority are just silly and completely unrelated to the OP.

There are roughly 900 million people in the world who identify as Protestant. That is 900 million of the 2.4 billion Christians. If you think 900 million is “such a small amount” so be it… I have been in Protestant churches for about 40 years and I have never heard any angst expressed about the number of Protestants in the world compared to Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christians. The Protestant doctrine of the visible and invisible Church would be indicative that the Protestant focus is not on outward numbers. Now there is a focus in evangelical Protestant churches to reach the unreached with the gospel for evangelistic purposes… But again… all of this is entirely unrelated to the original question.

Honestly, I, as a Protestant, asked a legitimate question… From my perspective, the initial response quoted above, comes across as childish, it does not seek to answer the question, but instead tells Protestants to “just give up and get real.” Classy.


Thanks! This is helpful. Your response and some of the other responses have been helpful in providing understanding to Trent and Vatican II.


From my time here I have come to believe this is the official stance of the RCC. However, it is obvious there are many Catholics even here, that do not want to hear and accept this. There is a lot of talk about how it is desirous that we should all be one but for many that means every person in Christendom must be a Roman Catholic or they are in danger of hellfire. Yet the Heirarchy teaches that while they may not have the fullness of truth, other Churches separate from the CC, also have the enabling of the Holy Spirit to provide salvation to mankind. If I am wrong in my understanding please let me know.


Although, this 900 million people is divided among many very different beliefs and denominations that aren’t compatible together: otherwise there wouldn’t be so much division among them. Jesus talked about this.
All claim to serve Christ the way he wanted. Divide 900 millions into 10,000~ denominations to get the idea.
Of course, some churches will only count 1000+, some others will count around 50 millions, etc, still…
(that isn’t including the tenth of thousands micro-denominations)

This all seems like many minorities to the impartial eye, don’t you think?
This is probably what Spyridon meant.


From a logical standpoint, if we are all going to be “one” then that means either the non-Catholics all become Catholics, or all the Catholics become something else that everyone else is already becoming.

Staunch Catholics are not going to change because we believe that the Catholic Church is God’s one true Church. Since we are unlikely to change our mind on this, then it is necessary for the Protestants to come back and re-join us if we are all going to end up as “one”.

We are ALL “in danger of hellfire”, Catholic or not, but according to the official teachings of the Church, a person knowingly rejecting the Catholic Church increases the risk of hellfire happening to that person. Please note, it is a risk, not a certainty. The possibility of salvation is still open to persons who knowingly reject the Catholic Church - they could, for example, repent at the last second. We also accept that some Protestants may not be knowingly rejecting the Catholic Church (for example, if they are raised in a Protestant home and have no knowledge of or exposure to the Catholic Church) or may have some kind of partial communion with it via certain sacraments (for example, by being baptized in the manner recognized by the Catholic Church as CajunJoy said above, or by having a marriage that is recognized by the Catholic Church).

So, being a Protestant doesn’t necessarily send you to Hell, it just increases the risk of you going there by some percentage. A Catholic who lapsed and rejected the Church would also incur the same risk, perhaps an even bigger risk because as a former Catholic he would have greater knowledge of the Church he was rejecting.

Protestants like Luther and others who started schisms are regarded as the worst kind of Protestants because they not only rejected the Church in a big major way, they led a lot of other people away when they left.


PO wants to know how I feel about heretics. What part don’t you understand?


Thank you for your reply. Question for you: if a Catholic, a Baptist and a Lutheran all agree with the fundementals presented in the Apostolic Creed, are they not one in Christ?


Not entirely false, but there is one thing:

Catholic Priests/Bishops/Cardinals are ordained through the official apostolic succession.
That means we (the Church) consider the sacraments they practice on others as valid.

For instance; if a random nobody (ex, Jo the plumber) living in California decides to start his own church and marry people together, then those he married aren’t technically “married”. This means these people are now living in a state of adultery without even knowing.

Wether the same thing applies to baptism… I wouldn’t know for sure. You’d have to check with our Catechism for a confirmation. (although it will probably be the case, same for communion, confirmation, other sacraments)


I don’t understand why you think anyone asked how you feel about Protestants. The OP asked whether the CC views Protestants as heretics or separated brethren. Your personal feelings do not answer the question.


I thought from this wording that the Catholic, the Baptist and the Lutheran were all going to walk into a bar, which would probably be more fun and do a lot for ecumenism.

Seriously, if they all agreed with the Apostles’ Creed, then the Baptist and Lutheran should go join RCIA and officially become Catholics because they believe everything a Catholic is required to believe, including that line about believing in “the holy Catholic Church”. I can’t really imagine the Baptist saying that, as Baptists tend to see individual churches as independent. Edited because I guess the Lutherans do think of themselves as part of a “holy catholic Church”, however if they truly feel that way in the sense of being part of ONE church, they are the ones who left the “one church”, the “one church” didn’t leave them, so they need to come back.


Look the grass is always greener on the other site. This 8000 member denomination wants to banter. They are a broken pot from a broken pot from a broken pot.


You are right.

To have a better idea on salvation, I read a bit on Jesus’s revelations to Saint Faustina: (recognized by Rome)
Jesus explained to her the process of salvation, in a very simple and precise way.

  • He will offer his Mercy
    (He will show the truth to you, so you know what have lead you astray during your life. This won’t be a surprise to Catholics already living by those rules and doctrines, but a protestant may be surprised at that moment. If one’s pride is too big to accept this truth, he will be juged by God’s Justice

  • He will then apply his Justice
    (The person will be judged based on his faith and especially deeds on earth)

PS: It have been a while since I read it, but I suggest you read what Saint Faustina wrote yourself.
It was a very entertaining (and a good source of hope and relief for the world)

Jesus’s mercy is huge, one would be dumb to refuse it.


In my faith the Protestants and Catholics feel the same about heretics lol. I may only go on my personal faith as I’m a lay person. God Bless. I’m not going to waste the rest of my prompts today on a post that only wants the answers they already have in mind. Go out into the world and spread the Gospel is the Commandment.


You are hitting on a point that I wanted to ask about… According to what I have read on here, and I believe PJP2 expressed and I believe came out of Vat2…

The RCC does accept Trinitarian water baptisms as valid. I know this to be true as I know a few people who swam across the Tiber to the Roman side and did not have to be baptized. Their Protestant baptism was considered valid… and not dependent on ordination through official “apostolic succession.” I’m not sure how some “sacraments” are considered valid through apostolic succession and others are valid in non-Catholic environments because of the Holy Spirit and/or the teaching of Scripture.

With regards to marriage, you stated, “This means these people are now living in a state of adultery without even knowing.”

I have never heard that the RCC believes that all non-Catholics are in a state of adultery because their marriages are not valid… Is that the teaching of the RCC?


That is what the Church teaches.

AND, all of the following are brothers and sisters of ours as well, due to being baptized

point being, we have an opportunity on this side of eternity, to bring brothers and sisters who are in error and in danger, to the truth.


Thank you very much for your reply. I don’t want to go off on a rabbit trail but if you are right about the marriage part then you have answered a question I asked on another thread about Catholic Anullments and never got an answer for. I had asked if a Catholic received an Anullment it obviously has been determined that the marriage was not valid and so then the individuals had been living in adultery. That would mean that the Catholic partner had been receiving the Eucharist all the while living in a state of mortal sin? No one wanted to answer that. :confused:


Sorry, your thoughts are so beyond my level of intelligence that I cannot grasp your meanng. Maybe someone more intelligent than I can help.


Just fyi… You might find it interesting that at my reformed Southern Baptist church, we normally take time in our liturgy each week to recite historic creeds… The Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed are two of the creeds we recite the most. However, there is an asterisk inserted by “catholic” in the creed indicating that this means universal.

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