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


It was not meant to be a rebuke. Merely a concern for you.

Ah. That is good. So long as you are only using these posts as a source of entertainment.

I am glad to know that you have a Deacon to visit with about these matters and who would be able to give you answers informed by the Second Vatican Council and informed by the ecumenical movement.

We are singularly fortunate to live in this era, after Vatican II.


That is a great answer. I sometimes think that when people put down those they disagree with it is often an indication of the shallowness of their own conviction.


Anathema does not mean to be damned. It means to be abhorred, disgraced, or outraged. Trent essentially said that those who taught against various aspects of the faith should be held in abhorrence or disgraced. It did not condemn anyone to hell.


Many of us lay persons and others on this forum cannot speak authoritatively for the RCC.

Regarding the sensitive area of marriage validity, my understanding is that the Church does require a sacramental marriage in the Church for those who had ever once taken vows to be Catholic through the sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation. For previous Catholics who were married outside the Church, there is a process of “convalidation” for validating their marriage inside the Church.

For those who were never Catholic, my understanding is that the Church does recognize their marriage whether done as a “church wedding” or a civil ceremony (with a magistrate like a justice of the peace). An example would be the story of former Protestant Pastor and Seminary Professor Scott Hahn as told in his book, Rome Sweet Home.

Catholic canon law could potentially be cited by someone in order to become more precise about this.

For Catholics, the rules seem to work out to be something like “Once a Catholic (via vows in the sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation), always a Catholic.”


FYI, there are other “means of grace” that are regulated as sacraments (or near sacraments) in the RCC but are generally less regulated outside the RCC.

One is Holy Orders or the ordaining of episcopos (bishops), presbyteros (priests) and diaconos (deacons) to be officers in the Church.

A Second is the Annointing of the Sick (connected to James 5:14)

In addition, the practice of exorcism is not explicitly a sacrament but it is to be administered only by a priest with permission of a bishop.

In addition, “Holy water” is considered to be sacramental (something less than a sacrament but a means of grace communicated through a physical means much like the spit and mud that Jesus used as a means to heal blind eyes).- Holy water is blessed water, a sacramental whose sprinkling or use is a reminder of Baptism and a means of sanctification


The language of “separated brethren (brothers and sisters)” appeared in 1964 (Vatican II - Unitatis redintegratio ) and again in 1995 (Et Unum Sint). I believe that it can be found in additional sources both older and newer.

From Pope John Paul II Encyclical “Et Unum Sint” (1995):

36… Dialogue is also a natural instrument for comparing differing points of view and, above all, for examining those disagreements which hinder full communion between Christians. The Decree on Ecumenism dwells in the first place on a description of the attitudes under which doctrinal discussions should take place: “Catholic theologians engaged in ecumenical dialogue, while standing fast by the teaching of the Church and searching together with separated brothers and sisters into the divine mysteries, should act with love for truth, with charity, and with humility”.

Love for the truth is the deepest dimension of any authentic quest for full communion between Christians. Without this love it would be impossible to face the objective theological, cultural, psychological and social difficulties which appear when disagreements are examined. This dimension, which is interior and personal, must be inseparably accompanied by a spirit of charity and humility. There must be charity towards one’s partner in dialogue, and humility with regard to the truth which comes to light and which might require a review of assertions and attitudes.

John Paul II. (1995). Ut Unum Sint. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

47… Dialogue does not extend exclusively to matters of doctrine but engages the whole person; it is also a dialogue of love. The Council has stated: Catholics must joyfully acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments from our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brothers and sisters. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood.For God is always wonderful in his works and worthy of admiration”.

John Paul II. (1995). Ut Unum Sint. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

48…The Second Vatican Council made it clear that elements present among other Christians can contribute to the edification of Catholics: “Nor should we forget that whatever is wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brothers and sisters can contribute to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian never conflicts with the genuine interests of the faith; indeed, it can always result in a more ample realization of the very mystery of Christ and the Church”. Ecumenical dialogue, as a true dialogue of salvation, will certainly encourage this process, which has already begun well, to advance towards true and full communion.

John Paul II. (1995). Ut Unum Sint. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.


The phrase “separated brethren” appears multiple times in Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary of 1859.


In the KJV Adam and Eve wore Britches. I suppose this was not understood by some. :joy:


I’m no expert in this, but from what I get told at church, I’d say catholics (officially) consider protestants to be fundamentally misguided, but pray for them anyway. I think this came up in an RCIA meeting actually, and our priest said…he’d hope that God is merciful to people who live and die outside the catholic church.

He seemed to care and recognise that they are Christians, albeit not following his doctrine. He seemed pretty sure that God would extend the hand of reconciliation. He wouldn’t condemn them verbally to any particular afterlife so that says a lot.

There are fundamental differences between catholicism and protestantism, obviously, but there are also an awful lot of similarities, which explains why many people go from one faith to the other, and the catholic church accepts a lot of protestant clergy as converts too, so I think you can safely assume it’s separated brethren. At least among the open minded and genuinely loving christians.


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