Once a Catholic, always a Catholic?


I was always told that once someone becomes a Catholic, they are always a Catholic, and there really isn’t any way of taking it back in neither God’s nor the Catholic church’s eyes. I just read this other post that I would have replied to but it is closed.


Someone asked the question of whether or not people who leave the Catholic church are screwed in terms of the afterlife. Most people answered that no one knows and the forum moderator seemed to agree and leave it at that and closed it.

From what I was told that once a Catholic, always a Catholic, I got the understanding that once you are taught and understand and agree with the Catholic beliefs, you are to be set to the same standards as a Catholic even if you leave. I was taught this by my parents, in school, during confermation, and likely from a priest as well.

As to those who have said that we don’t know and cannot know. How do we know about the destinctions between mortal sin and venial sin, and that if you die in a state of mortal sin, you’re not getting into heaven?


We don’t baptise people twice. So a former Catholic who decides to return is treated differently to a new candidate for baptism.

As for those who leave and don’t return, maybe they can claim to be really members. Everyone who leaves has a slightly different reason. Sometimes it can even be a positive thing. A mortal sin is one that separates the soul from God, so a non-Catholic cannot commit one, just as a single person cannot divorce. We know what actions are seriously sinful, but we don’t know or claim to know the internal state of any soul. The mass murderer might in reality be suffering from a mental illness, or he might be fully resposible for his actions, or he might be in an area in between.


If you leave the Ctholic Church, you are refusing God. That is a mortal sin. If you are in a state of mortal sin, you are probably going to hell.


A non-Catholic most certainly can commit mortal sin and thus reject God.

For example, any Christian, and most non-Christians, would from their own understanding of God’s natural law be well aware that to murder an innocent person in cold blood is seriously contrary to God’s law.

And that if unrepented and unatoned will lead to damnation or whatever the equivalent is in other faiths. This means they can well have an equivalent of our concept of grave matter.

So if they then proceed to with full knowledge and consent of the will to murder someone in cold blood they’ve met our three requirements for mortal sin.

They can also, however, fulfil our requirements for perfect contrition as well. So possibly, though not necessarily, they will avoid damnation, just as a Catholic who can’t confess but makes an act of perfect contrition.


Once Baptized always Baptized, yes. You cannot undo your Baptism. However you can formally leave the Catholic faith. The Church does recognize this departure, and Catholic canon law no longer applies to you.


Yes one can formally leave the Catholic Church, however there is a catch. If one leaves knowing that the Catholic Church is the true Church they are in as bad a shape as the non-Catholic who realizing that the Catholic Church is the true Church, refuses to join.


If you are in the state of mortal sin at death- you WILL go to Hell. Not probably.

But the question is- is the person leaving the Church in a state of mortal sin? As with all sin, it depends on the person’s full knowledge and consent. So ultimately only God knows for sure.

Here’s a tip- just don’t leave the Church or sin at all. Pretty easy to do right???:tiphat:


Reminds me of an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond"
Debra asks Ray if he still considers himself Catholic, because he hasn’t been attending Mass with the family.
Ray says, “Of course. Being Catholic is like being Italian. I can’t not be either.”

closed #9

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