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


So your final answer is…no? :neutral_face:



First of all, you are correct that the Catholic Church recognizes Trinitarian water baptism as valid.

Second, with respect to marriages, the Church generally recognizes the marriages of two non-Catholic people outside the Catholic church as a valid marriage. The Church may also recognize it as a sacramental marriage if both of the non-Catholics have been baptized in the recognized way.

So no, the RCC does not teach that all non-Catholics who are married outside the Church are in a state of adultery.

The adultery part usually comes in where there was a valid marriage followed by a divorce and a remarriage,

EWTN source:


You are playing with words.

Jesus wants us to have one Church. The Catholic Church is the original Church that goes back to the time of Jesus. Protestants weren’t even invented until a mere 500 years ago.

Protestants need to come back and rejoin if they want to be “one” with us. We can sit here all day and make fuzzy ecumenical statements about “we are all one in the Body of Christ”, etc. The fact is, if you’re a Protestant you don’t have the Real Presence. Jesus may be hovering around your service in a “where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, I’m there” way, but he’s not physically present in your bread and wine. Your priests (to the extent you even have anything akin to a priest) can’t absolve sins either.

Maybe Protestants think this stuff isn’t important. They are only hurting themselves by missing out on it.


Reformed Protestant says it’s an honest questions. I don’t understand why that preface is necessary.


I am sorry you feel I am playing with words. I was asking an honest question! (I see below honest questions throw people off, lol.)

I can only refer you to the info in posts 10 and 12 from Don Ruggero. Does the Church mean this or is it all gobbledygook?


Yeah… Lets reel this in a bit…

Folks that are married outside the Church can have what we call “natural marriages” and are not, to the best of my knowledge, committing adultery.

The Catholic Telegraph - Natural v Sacramental Marriage




Given the conversation about this particular post I’m seeing, would you care to be more specific about what it is you mean by “One in Christ”?


I have the greatest respect for Father and he has a very ecumenical bent. I hope and pray that all the good efforts he discusses towards that end succeed.

I am just a rather stupid bear. Not a trained priest or a theologian. I try to be a nice bear to my brother bears of other faiths and of no faith. I have also been married to a Protestant for 23 years as of last week and we were a couple more or less for 10 years before we got married. He is Presbyterian (not Reformed) and he and his family were always very nice to me and did not have any problem with me being a Catholic and our kids if we had had any would have been Catholic as well. However, Presbyterians are still not Catholics. It’s like all these Protestant churches have half a cookie but not the whole thing. I can’t imagine why you would not want the whole cookie.


Sure. If we all agree with the statements about Christ in the creed then it seems to me we are of one unified mind and brothers in the faith equally accepted by God and joint heirs with Christ. Thus is the catholic Church.


Thank you for the clarification.

As it pertains to that Creed, I think the best conclusion you can draw is that “we may agree”. It might even depend on if you’re reading an ecumenical translation of the creed or the Catholic translation of the creed. :grin:

But then most of us (hopefully all of us) would agree that there are a few more pertinent issues to being a Christian (like, for example, can I divorce and remarry???). And there needs to be a visible Church that can authoritatively answer these issues for Christendom.

This is something the Catholic Church has provided for Christians for 2000 years in an (again) authoritative, visible way that more modern interpretations of the faith cannot.

As a last thought, you might retort “The body of Christ needn’t concern itself with that stuff!”, to which one could reasonably reply, “By what authority do you decide that? Christ talked about marriage, but since it isn’t in the Apostles Creed, it’s unimportant?” :thinking:


This is exactly what I meant.

And my 600m worldwide Protestants was a lowball estimate, the current estimate is actually 900,000,000.

But the fact still remains, 900 million Protestants split amongst at least 10,000 different contradictory sects versus 1.5 billion Catholics divided amongst a mere 4 Apostolic Churches.

Which figure seems more likely: the 40% minority of Christians who are split amongst 10,000+ divided, contradictory sects - or the 60% majority of Christians who exist among a mere 4 Apostolic Churches.

If God has a Church on earth, which statistic seems to point in the direction of that Church?

I would argue the 60% majority and one of the 4 Apostolic Churches. One single one of those Churches makes up 1.2 billion of the 1.5 billion total.

That Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic orthodox Christian Church, centered around the Holy See of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome.

That Church, from a statistical-demographic perspective, is clearly Gods Church on Earth. That Church is the Body amongst which all other Christians on earth gravitate toward and revolve around. That Church is the very Body of Christ, whence all salvation flows from, through, and to. That Church is the Holy Roman Church, the Glorious Catholic Church, the One Orthodox Church, that Church is the Catholic Church.


No, marriages outside the Church “can” be considered valid,
but there are some crucial things to consider in order to avoid adultery:

My example shows an unordained man marrying people his way.
He ignores the Sacramental aspect of marriage and perform marriages regardless of the married people’s past. If these people were already married with others in the past, but didn’t get an legit annulment, they will now enter a state of adultery, therefore mortal sin in the eyes of God and the Church.

Civil unions may have some differences, but marriage is marriage, and adultery is adultery.
Some churches overlook these things depending on their views, therefore marry people into invalid unions.
I hope this clears things up.


You are not a stupid bear but quite a nice bear. Not all bears are nice. A long time ago my ancestor bear found maggots in a portion of his cookie so he cut them out. The Order of Bears informed him he was not allowed to cut out a portion of his cookie so they forced him to reattach the broken piece or they would kick him out of the Order of Bears. He did not like the maggots and he knew they would surely soon infest the whole cookie so he left it unmended. That greatly angered the Order of Bears because other bears were also finding maggots in their cookies. Now the Order of Bears had values that did not permit their conscience to kill the bears with maggoted cookies so they kicked them out of the Order of Bears and used their influence and wealth to stir up the wily Foxes who had no problem confiscating the wealth and property of the Maggot Bears as well as torturing and killing many of them who were made known to them by the Order of Bears. Some Maggot Bears escaped and hid in caves and rugged mountain tops however they survived with a portion of their cookie intact. The cookie had sustained them all through the years and as the Maggot Bears died they passed the broken cookie on to their descendants for centuries. Now the descendants of the Maggot Bears live in peace and the broken cookie sustains and nourishes the life it was initially designed for even in a state of brokenness.


Protestants baptism is the same as Catholic and Orthodox baptisms. Thus they are valid.
It is not the fault of people raised and taught 500 years later the heresy which the original reformers such as Luther and Calvin taught. They are heretics.
People who grew up Protestant and thus were indoctrinated with Protestant thought are not at fault for this.


Keeping with the theme, when the descendants of your ancestor bear found maggots in their cookies (as all these special cookies inherently generate maggots), they just deny that the maggots were ever actually part of their cookie in the first place.

In doing so, they didn’t solve the unsolvable problem of maggots randomly showing up in the cookie. They just broke the cookie, to the dismay of the divine baker that baked it in the first place and proclaimed it to always remain whole. :cry:

(I’m going to keep this going)

But miraculously, after your ancestors broke their fragments away from the cookie, the original cookie somehow remained mysteriously whole. Per the divine baker’s decree, the cookie simply cannot perish. No bear can prevail against it.


Generally today “heretic” is given the more precise definition that includes culpability. In past times, it was used in a more broader sense to include anyone who publicly professed a heresy or was a member of a heretical community, whether in good faith or not–that approach was merely concerned with what was external, without trying to read hearts.

Nowadays, there is a general presumption that those born into such separated communities are not guilty of the sin of separation (heresy or schism). Of course, it is merely a charitable presumption and no doubt varies from Protestant to Protestant. If someone remains a Protestant due to disregard for the truth, they would be guilty of the sin of separation. If they are making a good faith effort to learn the truth and observe all Jesus taught, then they are not.

The definitions of Trent use “let us be anathema” like St. Paul does in Galatians 1:8 to say the preceding clause (“if anyone says X”) is a different Gospel. It does not intend to levy a definitive judgment on particular souls who say those things (some are guilty of heresy some are not, as discussed above).

Of course, Protestants are not completely separated from the Church–the Baptismal bond always remains. Here’s how Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma explained it (this was before Vatican II–that Council said nothing new in this regard):

Although public apostates and heretics, schismatics and excommunicati vitandi are outside the legal organisation of the Church, still their relationship to the Church is essentially different from that of the unbaptised. As the baptismal character which effects incorporation in the Church is indestructible, the baptised person, in spite of his ceasing to be a member of the Church, cannot cut himself off so completely from the Church, that every bond with the Church is dissolved.

(note, this is using “heretics” in the older, broader sense and “member” in the sense strictly defined to mean dogmatic unity/full unity in faith and hierarchical unity–what we might now refer to as “full incorporation”).

Of course, Jesus did not tell us to judge hearts, but to teach everyone to observe all He taught–and since Protestants by definition do not observe it all, they are included in the Great Commission just like everyone else. “Ecumenism” is just the term used to describe efforts at corporate reunion as distinct, but complementary effort to reconciling individuals.


At least we kept the part of the cookie that had all the chocolate chips in it.


With regard to baptism itself, the back in the 3rd and 4th centuries there was an ongoing debate as to whether or not people who had been baptized by heretics should be rebaptized when they came into the Catholic Church. The Church decided that a baptism done with proper form and with proper matter was a valid baptism, even if it had been done by a heretic. That decision still holds today; anyone can baptize, even an atheist, provided that the baptizer uses proper matter and form and intends to do what the Church intends by baptism.



This is beginning to sound like a Monty Python sketch.

We have a new Order of Bears now. And maggoty cookies were outlawed a couple hundred years ago. Come back.

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