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


it’s not just for Catholics. Did you miss the part

“Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”

What part of “whosoever” means only Catholics?

And If one really believes in Him they’ll do as HE says and what His Church says…


That may be true but “a lot” is not enough. Do we not all want the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19) and not just some shrunken, truncated, reduced set of “core essentials”?

John 3:16 and 11:35 are not enough for me.

The fullness of the Christian Life is dependent upon the power of supernatural grace and not just human pondering of “biblical principles”. For growth in holiness and in supernatural and sanctifying grace, I recommend the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.


The Vatican II document on ecumenism even acknowledges sin(s) and asks for pardon (forgiveness) from the Separated Brethren.

There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble. gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them. St. Paul says: “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”.29 This exhortation is directed especially to those raised to sacred Orders precisely that the work of Christ may be continued. He came among us “not to be served but to serve”.
The words of St. John hold good about sins against unity: “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”. SO WE HUMBLY BEG PARDON OF GOD AND OF OUR SEPARATED BRETHREN, just as we forgive them that trespass against us.

Catholic Church. Decree on Ecumenism: Unitatis Redintegratio (1964). In Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.


I would just like to point out that the Council of Trent also had many “softer” things to say about protestants. The Council of Trent called Protestant groups “the faithful of Christ…by whatsoever name designated” (Session 15 and Session 18) and noted that “[we] all acknowledge the same God and Redeemer.” (Session 13)

It gave Protestants who attended the Council the right “to confer in charity…with those who have been selected by the Council” (Session 15 and Session 18) and promised “to receive them kindly, and to listen to them favourably.” (Session 15)

It called for “all opprobrious, railing, and contumelious language [to be] utterly discarded” on the part of Protestants (Session 15 and Session 18) and said the Protestant delegates could dispute “without any abuse or contumely” with the Catholics. (Session 13)

It further declared “that they shall not be punished under pretence of religion” (Session 15 and Session 18) and called them “sons of [the Church’s] womb,” “our common mother.” (Session 18)

Furthermore, it made this solemn invitation: “[The Synod] invites and exhorts, by the bowels of the mercy of our same God and Lord, all who hold not communion with us, unto concord and reconciliation, and to come unto this holy Synod; to embrace charity, which is the bond of perfection, and to show forth the peace of Christ rejoicing in their hearts, whereunto they are called, in one body.” (Session 18)

The language of “separated brethren” is derived from the idea that they are, with us, “sons of [the Church’s] womb,” “our common mother.” (Session 18)



And posts in this forum fail…and fail miserably…in articulating the Catholic need to beg forgiveness for the failures of Catholics in the past and in the present to maintain or restore unity. Pope Benedict expressed this reality very well when he wrote:

Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today


Indeed this is precisely the teaching of the College of Bishops today. The past now must be interpreted in and through Vatican II. Unitatis Redintegratio is clear

  • it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body
  • [They] have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church
  • [E]ven very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church
  • [B]rethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace
  • These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation [which means, theologically that one attains Heaven precisely by these liturgical actions occurring outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church]
  • It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such /…/ have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation
  • The Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation

In fact, as Unitatis Redintegratio reminds each and every individual Catholic, they are to confess to every non-Catholic the utter failures of Catholicism:

For although the Catholic Church has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace, yet its members fail to live by them with all the fervor that they should, so that the radiance of the Church’s image is less clear in the eyes of our separated brethren and of the world at large, and the growth of God’s kingdom is delayed.

That last phrase is crucial.


@Wannano: as I have said in posts before, these are not questions to submit to lay people on a forum who clearly are not in accord with the post-conciliar Church’s mind…they belong with those who are ecumenists in the office of the diocesan bishops. It is they who have the mandate and the knowledge to articulate the mind of the Church as the Directory on Ecumenism makes clear.

The Bishops, individually for their own dioceses, and collegially for the whole Church, are, under the authority of the Holy See, responsible for ecumenical policy and practice


  1. In the dioceses, the Bishop should appoint a competent person as diocesan officer for ecumenical questions. He/she will serve as the animator of the diocesan ecumenical Commission and coordinate the Commission’s activities as indicated below in n. 44 (or carry them out if such a Commission does not exist). As a close collaborator of the Bishop and with suitable assistance, this person will encourage various initiatives in the diocese for prayer for Christian unity, will work to see that ecumenical attitudes influence the activities of the diocese, identify special needs and keep the diocese informed about these. This officer is also responsible for representing the Catholic community in its relations with the other Churches and ecclesial Communities and their leaders and will facilitate contacts between the latter and the local Bishop, clergy and laity on various levels. He/she will serve as counselor on ecumenical issues for the Bishop and other offices of the diocese and will facilitate the sharing of ecumenical experiences and initiatives with pastors and diocesan organizations. This officer will see to the maintenance of contacts with officers or commissions of other dioceses. Even in areas where Catholics are in majority, or in those dioceses with limited personnel or resources, it is recommended that such a diocesan officer be appointed to carry out the activities mentioned above in so far as these are possible or appropriate.

Thus the laity on this forum MUST confess that their thoughts are in complete harmony with the ecumenical officer of their own diocese and with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which is the dicastery of the Holy See with universal competence and jurisdiction. If they do not/cannot state this, one should prefer those who can attest that.


While this is true, the College of Bishops has recognised the divine imperative that is the ecumenical movement and today we are moved far beyond is herein articulated – by the grace of God.


Yes, thank you for the gentle rebuke. I am afraid I have yielded too often to the temptation of using this forum as a source of entertainment. I am a personal friend of a Deacon in the local Catholic Church I will ask him for reference.


Ok, let’s do that, you too steveb. Read post 150 below and take the lead and be an example to a weaker brother like myself. Peace.


Correction. Spelling adjustment :smiley:



Father Ruggero, I feel like steveb’s question in post 143 deserves an answer. The question being “if that is true, why then be Catholic?” Indeed it is a question I also would honestly have to ask if I am going to pursue further authentic Catholic understanding.

It is a question I do not feel qualified to answer. Am I being too bold to ask how you would answer?


As you bring up in post 158, How does the Roman Catholic Church View Baptized Protestants? Heretics? or Separated Brethren? Ruggero didn’t answer the question. He in fact just eliminated the need to be Catholic. He’s saying, If you’re fine where you are, then stay there and be a good Protestant.

That said, why not throw away the bible and 2000 years of Tradition while you’re at it. After all, if one can pick and choose what they believe in and who they give allegiance to, with no consequences, then what the heck, it’s also okay not to worship anywhere. That’s your choice. And freedom is what it is all about!

Do you buy that?


[quote=“steve-b, post:159, topic:459732, full:true”]

[quote=“Wannano, post:156, topic:459732, full:true”]

No, and neither do I believe that is what is meant. The Bible is Gods Word, a Lamp for our feet, a light for our pathway. Given to us by the early church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit it contains all that is needed for our salvation. The Tradition of men will not save you.

Freedom in Christ is what it is all about. Our allegiance is to Him. He manifests Himself to us with the Holy Spirit and will give us much as we individually allow. As a consequence we are free to worship anywhere, anytime. Our greatest act of worship is a life of obedience.


This is the real problem nowadays–a version of Catholicism eliminating any need to be Catholic is often preached–and not even that, but we heap praise upon praise on non-Catholic religions while scoffing at our own once-valued traditions and beliefs, and then we wonder why we have empty churches, empty seminaries, and empty convents and monasteries…


It sure looked like that is what was meant.

For clarification,

Yes there are traditions of men and there are sacred traditions. Paul says to hold onto the sacred traditions whether oral or written.

Those would be the traditions from the only Church that is there, the Catholic Church. The pillar and foundation of truth

And Freedom in Christ ≠ license to do anything opposed to what He wants

If one won’t worship as He instructed, and I gave scriptural links, all properly referenced, showing that

  1. then one is following a tradition of men.
  2. one is NOT obedient to, but is being disobedient to, the one they are supposed to have allegiance to


My title is DON Ruggero. Only family and close friends have the privilege of addressing me by my name only…and that number most assuredly does not include you.


All I know as a 100% devout practicing Roman Catholic is that GOD is in charge NOT me. He created each one of us and He wants each one of us in Heaven with Him for eternity. Yes the Catholic Church is the One True Church but our Christian brothers and sisters have the same opportunity for Heaven. They may take a different “route” but they can and will be there with us. It’s not a “closed club”. While they may not believe as we believe or practice as we practice I leave the Heaven admission up to God’s discretion. Only He knows the heart and Only He can admit or refuse admittance.


Well said, and there is an OT bit of advice I take as timeless

(All emphasis mine)
Ez 3:
17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you will have saved your life. 20 Again, if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and you will have saved your life.”


I am happy to answer this question for you, Wannano.

The answer lies in that we believe, as Catholics, that in the Catholic Church is to be found everything which Christ intended His Church to have and that Church has the fullness of what Christ endowed His Church with.

As Catholics, for example, we readily confess today – thanks to the enlightenment by the Holy Spirit of the world’s Catholic bishops gathered in ecumenical council at Vatican II – a much more comprehensive ecclesiology.

We would say, for instance, that the Eucharist that is celebrated by the Orthodox without question builds up the whole Church. Catholics could, as articulated in Canon 844, receive the sacraments from the Orthodox That said, there are still deficiencies – a lacking – in their ecclesiastical reality.

One who is Orthodox, of course, would not subscribe that there is anything lacking for them.

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