Once a Catholic, always a Catholic?


#1

I have a cousin who has lapsed from the church (he has not gone in 20 years to any church). Would he still be legally a Catholic according to Canon Law?
Thanks in advance for your answer and God bless for all you do.


#2

Everyone, including non-Catholics are bound by God’s divine law. Additionally, “merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, possess the efficient use of reason, and, unless the law expressly provides otherwise, have completed seven years of age” (Code of Canon Law, 11).

Once someone becomes a Catholic by baptism or reception, he or she is always a Catholic. However, there are instances when Catholics who have defected from the Church by a formal act are exempt from certain requirements of the ecclesiastical laws concerning marriage (see canons 1086.1, 1117, & 1124).


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