Is he a catholic?


My cousin doesn’t attend Mass, Confession or believe in the Church’s teachings yet believes he is a Catholic because he says he was baptized Catholic. I said if he didn’t practice the Faith, he is not a Catholic. Who is right?


If he’s going around denying the faith, he’s an apostate.

What I don’t understand is why he’d claim membership in a faith that he doesn’t have any personal belief in.


[quote="srlucado, post:2, topic:191345"]
If he's going around denying the faith, he's an apostate.

What I don't understand is why he'd claim membership in a faith that he doesn't have any personal belief in.


I'm not real sure. Some of his family still practices. He's older and I think he wants to be able to have a Catholic burial someday.


Standardized vs Flexilble - take the poll


he is, baptism leaves a permanent character on the soul and cannot ever be eradicated. He is and will always be Catholic. He may voluntarily excommunicate himself by rejecting the other sacraments, he may put his immortal soul in peril by deliberately flouting the moral teaching of the Church, he may sin agains the 1st commandment by putting his own will above the revealed will of God, but he is still Catholic.


I have a friend like this. She says she is Catholic, but she does not believe in the Sacraments as necessary. Her mother is Atheist and her father does not practice the faith. She has not been confirmed and says she has no desire to receive Communion.

We must pray that God will reconcile our fallen away brothers and sisters that the Holy Spirit would come upon them and set them afire with a love for God and his Church.


So, in that case, if he is legitimately baptized (using the prescribed formula for Baptism) into the Baptist faith, he has an indelible mark on his soul for that faith and “is and will always be” Baptist? or a Lutheran? or a Presbyterian? or etc. :confused:


He would be recognised canonically as a Catholic, because of having received baptism is a Catholic Church. However, his communion is impaired because he doesn’t practise the faith. However, all he would need to do to return to full communion is make a proper confession.

Baptised Lutherans, Baptists or other protestants are all in partial communion with the Catholic Church through baptism (assuming it is a valid baptism) - but their situation is further removed, as evidenced by the fact that they would need to go through a formal reception into the Church AND make a proper confession, in order to come into full communion.

It should be noted, that while your cousin may be formally a Catholic, if he is not living in a state of grace, being Catholic will have no benefit to him in the next life - if anything the situation is worse, because his degree of knowledge was greater.

Just an afterthough on being in Communion

“A person foreknown to damnation is never part of the holy church, even if he is in a state of grace according to present justice; a person predestined to salvation always remains a member of the church, even though he may fall away for a time from adventitious grace, for he keeps the grace of predestination.” (Council of Constance, Session 15 - 6th July 1415, Condemned Articles of J. Hus, [5])

I take this to mean that while we can know whether we are formally part of the Church, but only in the next life will be find out who lived and died in deeper spiritual communion with the Church.


He’s a non-practicing Catholic, but he is still Catholic.

If he wants to return to the practice of his faith all he needs to do is go to confession.

I think it’s important to keep this in mind. Many people walk away from the Church, but the Church is always ready to welcome them back. Programs like Catholics Come Home or Landings are based on reaching out to these people and welcoming them back home.


He’s right. But he’s a non-practicing catholic. The Church considers one Catholic when they are baptised in the Catholic Church, saying that the baptism leaves an indelable mark on the person’s soul. Even if he were to convert to another religion, the Catholic Church will claim “ownership” of him as Catholic. But some would say he has “separated himself from the Church”, which in this case is true, of his own volition.

But in order to be not claimed by the Church as a Catholic, one would have to petition to leave the Church to their pastor, who would give the petition to the Bishop and the Bishop would either approve or deny it.

I think that until he converts to another religion or petitions the Bishop to leave the Church, there is a bit of him that wants to return to the Church. And someday he will. Hopefully someone will be around at that time to support that return. In the meantime, why not nonchalantly try to get him back yourself? Invite him to mass? discuss a reading with him? Don’t push it with him if he doesn’t want to discuss something…just put that bug in his ear :wink:


Well lets cut to the chase here and consolodate some answers.

He is catholic so long as he was validly baptized. That means baptized using the trinitarian formula.

If he is non practicing, he is still practicing.

If he is denying the beliefs of the church then he is at least “apostate” and may even be in a state of “self” excommunication. (I forget the actual latin term used for this)
One incurs such an excommunciation for holding an, “obstinate postbaptismal denial of an essential belief…” Again I’m not sure of the exact wording on this, Perhaps someone else can clarify.



[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:8, topic:191345"]
He's a non-practicing Catholic, but he is still Catholic. If he wants to return to the practice of his faith all he needs to do is go to confession. I think it's important to keep this in mind. Many people walk away from the Church, but the Church is always ready to welcome them back. Programs like Catholics Come Home or Landings are based on reaching out to these people and welcoming them back home.


It think it goes deeper than having open receptive arms welcoming him back home to the Catholic Church. (and of course I am going to keep praying for him as I know that someone will offer that suggestion).

He was in CCD growing up. He knows what Confession is but apparently doesn't think it's necessary (it's between him and God only). He is an assuming type of person so he may be assuming God will understand (that he has a good 'heart').

I can't understand how a person can call themselves a Catholic if they don't practice the Faith.

You can't get your baby baptized Catholic if you don't intend to raise him in the Catholic faith. I have also been told by a priest that a Catholic who doesn't practice the faith, can't have a church funeral"- ("unless they can find a priest to do it.")

I think I side with the person who said someone who no longer practices their faith is an apostate, except he is not denying the faith as they said, as he thinks he is a Catholic (as he was baptized one) but doesn't think it requires him to do the things others who practice their faith do and believe.

Do you know if you are Catholic or not because t*hat is what you consider yourself to be*?? or because you *adhere to Catholic belief *?? I am the gender I am because that is how I was born but I am not a Catholic because that is the way I was born. To continue my membership in the Catholic Church is a choice which I can reject but if I am a member I need to follow the rules or?

IMO, my cousin has a right to call himself Christian (follower of Christ) if he wants but not Catholic. To be a non practicing Catholic seems (to me) like an oxymoron.

Also Catholics are required/commanded to adhere to and believe all Dogmas and Doctrines of the Church.They recite the Creed of belief at Sunday Mass and renew their baptismal vows at Easter. How can someone not practicing the Catholic faith do that? Apostacy = 1. renunciation of a religious faith 2 : abandonment of a previous loyalty which = divorce from the faith.


[quote="donanobis, post:1, topic:191345"]
My cousin doesn't attend Mass, Confession or believe in the Church's teachings yet believes he is a Catholic because he says he was baptized Catholic. I said if he didn't practice the Faith, he is not a Catholic. Who is right?


Well technically if his Baptism is recorded in a Catholic Baptismal register somewhere he is Catholic, not practicing, but still Catholic technically.


if he is not practicing, he is not practicing,

He is objectively in a state of mortal sin until he returns to the sacraments, and has excommunicated himself, that is, removed himself from union with the Church and from the grace of the sacraments. no formal action has been taken against him. He is a non-practicing or “fallen away” Catholic. He is not a Catholic in good standing. He is not a candidate for any sacrament except Reconciliation, and anointing of the sick if in danger of death, with sacramental confession if he is able. He is not privileged to serve as a godparent or sponsor.


If he calls himself Catholic then there must be at least some connection with the Church. I see that as a positive thing and a sign of hope that he may return to the practice of his faith.

It sounds like you’re unhappy that he might be considered a Catholic, but I think it’s good that there’s something there. Sort of like the prodigal son. You’re the older brother who has been there all along, but he’s the one who would get the party if he returned. It’s something to pray for.


hmmmmm - What the heck did I mean to type - I know it wasn’t that. :blush::shrug:

My apologies.



I must say that early on when I stopped practicing, I still refered to myself as catholic, but then would say that I was not practicing. Later I felt hypocritical calling myself catholic and so began refering to myself as “raised Catholic” and now independent Christian.

The thing is though - through all of those years I found myself defending the Church and her teachings, or at least her right to teach them, more than I could defend my own beliefs or those of noncatholic Christians.

It irked me, like it does the OP, to hear people call themselves catholics and then trash the Church and her teachings. If your going to call yourself Catholic then BE Catholic. If not then have the decency to say so.

Just my opinion.



He is a Catholic by virtue of the indelible mark given to him at Baptism. He is not practicing so some of his rights have been revoked until he unifies himself with the church again and he of course is not fulfilling his responsibilities toward the church.


No. Anyone who is validly baptised is baptised into the Body of Christ. However, the Body of Christ corresponds fully with the Catholic Church, and not exactly with the Baptist or Lutheran or Presbyterian Churches.

So the Catholic Church is the one-and-only Body of Christ which every baptised person is (albeit without knowing it) baptised into.


[quote="JRKH, post:15, topic:191345"]
hmmmmm - What the heck did I mean to type - I know it wasn't that. :blush::shrug:

My apologies.



we all need to stop typing late at night sometimes I amaze myself. I should probably quit now. I thought it was Monday morning and am planning my day when DH goes out, where are you going? church! what day is this?

my segue into todays Gospel, and all Luke's Lenten gospels on forgiveness. The door is always open with Him. Our job is to jam sticks in the door for that friend or relative or coworker so they never let the door close completely. For ourselves, we need to read again those gospels like the workers in the vineyard, or the wedding banquet with the guests pulled in off the streets, or the encounters Christ has with the gentiles, to understand what is going on here. This is one big Church, kind of like a solar system, with a lot of solid planets in a secure orbit around the Son, but a lot of far flung bits, pieces floating aimlessly in space, who feel only the slightest tug of gravity, and asteroid belt that is just out there, comets that come and go. But the planets in their fixed orbits provide the gravity that will eventually bring the rest of the scattered particles back to the center.


If all remains the same in his life and if he dies, can he have the Catholic funeral with the Mass that he so desires ? If yes, is there something in canon law that back this up?

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