Protestants and salvation?


In another post of mine entitled confession. I had a reply that raised an interesting question. Here is the quote:

Proletarian says: "*There may be instances in which a priest is not available to hear confession every week. For example, in my hometown (in rural Australia) one priest services a dozen or so communities; therefore reconciliation is only available every month or so. This does not mean that one can obtain forgiveness by subverting the Church and merely confessing “privately”. However if one was to die in a state of mortal sin but had steadfastly resolved to make a sincere confession as soon as possible, the Church believes that God will have pity on them, and they may indeed obtain salvation.

One cannot overestimate the abundance of Gods mercy.*"

Ok, so after reading about the The Sacrament of Penance from the Catholic Encyclopedia, I’m lead to believe that without one’s confessing their sins to a Priest, their salvation is in question.

So this is obviously pretty bad for all Protestants who don’t have the ability to confess their sins to an Ordained Priest.

So, because I’ve never confessed my sins outwardly and I’ve never been Baptized and am not taking communion in the Catholic Church, does this mean that I’m pretty much damned? :eek:

I was lead to believe that Jesus is our high priest now and that I can come to the throne of grace “privately” any time I want, that I don’t need anyone “interceding” for me anymore because His death ripped the vale between God and us. Heb 6:20 all of chapter 7 10:16-23 and 4:12-16

In His loving grace,


First off, let me ask you a question. Are you convinced that the Catholic Church is the one true faith founded by Christ himself? At this stage I’m guessing you don’t. If that is the case I don’t believe you are at serious risk God only condemns those who have sinned against him; there are three prerequisites for mortal sin

  1. The offence must be of grave matter
  2. The offence must be committed with full knowledge of the sinner
  3. The offence must be committed with deliberate consent of the sinner

All three conditions must be met for one to commit mortal sin. In your case, and in the case of most protestants, you have no idea that you are committing sin by not receiving confession. Therefore you don’t meet the 2nd qualification, and thus are not committing mortal sin. This article might help

I was lead to believe that Jesus is our high priest now and that I can come to the throne of grace “privately” any time I want, that I don’t need anyone “interceding” for me anymore because His death ripped the vale between God and us. Heb 6:20 all of chapter 7 10:16-23 and 4:12-16

But none of these verses deal with the confession and forgiveness of sins committed after baptism, do they? The idea that one can “privately” confess to God and receive forgiveness is found nowhere within the Bible. The Bible however does show us that those in authority within the Church have been given the role of forgiving sins

**John 20:22-23 **
And when he had said this, he breathed on them [his disciples], and saith unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

**Matthew 16:18-19 **
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

**Matthew 18:18 **
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

**2 Corinthians 5:18 **
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;



Get baptized. Baptism is a freeby and absolves you of your sins. If you fall again, go to a priest and confess (with sincere remorse of course.). Your soul is cleansed once more. Yup, even if protestant, but since your enjoying the Fruits of the one true and Apostolic Church, perhaps you would consider a change.? :wink:



How would a Protestant who by definition despises the Catholic faith find absolution from a priest? Why would he even go?



Clearly, a Protestant who “despises the Catholic faith” would have to repent of that in order to receive absolution.

This thread is clearly not a discussion with such a Protestant – it’s with a Protestant who is investigating the Catholic faith. With respect, your post is not helpful in this regard.



Hear, hear.


The Church also teaches that those who are raised outside of the visible Catholic Church are not to be blamed for this, unless they subsequently learn the Truth and then reject it. To whom much is given, much will be expected, to paraphrase Scripture.

With regard to the need for confession, it is one of the ways in which we receive grace from God – the sacraments. Any mortal sin (see the post above by Proletarian) must be absolved through the sacrament, because it is by nature a complete break in our relationship with the Lord. Through his mercy, the Lord provided us an “out” in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (“confession”), and the priest confers absolution on us so that we may continue to receive grace through the other Sacraments.

There is a clear difference in gravity among sins, and one must be reconciled to God before one can “ask God to forgive” venial (lesser) sins.



Thank you all,

For your serious, intellectual and heartfelt replies. This makes pretty good sense and it explains a lot of holes that have existed in my doctrinal understanding.

It’s frustrating when Protestants have their list of “proof versus” and they only focus on them to explain how “wrong” Catholics are. But everything that has been presented to me sounds pretty reasonable.

Here’s the thing, My wife is pretty dead set against becoming a Catholic.

But I’ve had a change of heart. I am now interested in at least approaching a priest at a local perish near where I live.

But I have a couple of questions first.

This might seem kind of strange but it’s situational.

Is there a way that I could become Catholic but still attend a Protestant Church service because my spouse is still a member of a Protestant Church and also because I still have a personal ministry to evangelize and witness to several people in said church?

In other words, I would belong to the Roman Catholic Church and attend Mass by myself lets say on Saturday and then continue to go with my wife to the Protestant church on Sunday, as a visitor?

Or would I be in sin if I did that?

This is a serious inquiry btw. I’ve been drawn to the Catholic faith for some time now and this isn’t coming from someone who is “fuzzy” about the Bible and Protestant doctrine. I know more theology then most Protestant ministers.

The main reason I am getting totally discourage by the Protestant Church is because of the lack of faith that exists in its rank and file. This and the fact that Protestant ministers or preachers don’t help people. Sure they will set up times for discussion but they are way too busy and non educated for serious help.

I’m sure there exists problems in the Catholic Church as well like this, but it just seems to me that at least Catholics actually believe in their faith. When they pray, they actually believe that God is real and actually answers it. In the Protestant church, there are only a few people, that I believe actually pray for me when they say they will.

O.K. sorry for the little rant. Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts to my predicament I would appreciate it.

Thanks. :smiley:


Absolutely! As long as that does not involve the reception of communion outside of the Catholic Church.

I’m assuming by “evangelizing” you mean in favour of the Catholic Church? If so I believe you have an obligation to attend such services if your intention is to share the truth with others, rather than reinforcing beliefs that conflict with those of the Church.


First of all, if the Holy Spirit is leading you to the Catholic Church, you have an obligation to investigate it (which you are, and I commend you for that). As far as your wife goes, remember that none of us can do anything, it is only through the grace of God that someone can be called to His Church. You will find that Catholics have a very different idea of “evangelization” than Protestants.

With that said, attending services of another denomination is not objectively sinful. There are only two things that need to be remembered. First, as Catholics we are obligated to attend Mass on Sunday. Saturday evening is acceptable in every diocese I know of and will fulfill the Sunday obligation, but you weekly obligation can not be fulfilled by simply attending a service of another denomination. In short, as long as you attend Mass, then you can attend another service free of culpability. The other thing (the quid pro quo here) is that you are not allowed as a Catholic to participate in any of the “oridnances” that may take place at the service (no communion, anointings, laying on of hands, altar calls, etc).

As long as those guidelines are adhered to, there is no sin in a Catholic attending a non-Catholic service.




No problem with you attending a non-Catholic Church as long as after you become Catholic you keep to the precepts of the Church and do not partake in any sort of communion service in the other church.

Having said that, I want to share someone else’s conversion story with you. I am on the RCIA team at our parish and a man in his 60s, “Joe”, attended the RCIA program two years ago now. He had actually been a preacher at a local Church of Christ which was very anti-Catholic. Once he joined the RCIA, he still attended the other church because the people had been like family to him. There were shockwaves that went through that other little church when they found about his upcoming conversion at first, but it died down after they saw that he was the same old “Joe”. He only preached occasionally when the regular minister was away or ill. “Joe” had a tough time breaking away from the other church for some time. He discussed this with our priest who was supportive during this transition. “Joe” found that when he was invited to preach, his sermons were more and more ‘Catholic’ in nature, though he did his best to not ruffle any feathers among the congregation. “Joe”, a life-long anti-Catholic attended that church less and less often as he found that though the fellowship was great, his heart and soul just weren’t getting fed at their worship services. Finally, after he entered the Church at the Easter Vigil, he no longer had interest in attending the other worship services, but preferred to engage in fellowship with his old friends outside of church. I understand your wife intends to attend the other church, but I give this example to show you that conversion is a long process and everything happens in God’s time. You can’t really predict what you will want to do on this journey in Faith. Your wife will always be important to you, but your ties to the old church may or may not become less and less.

Let me just say this: 1. Continue to attend your current church with your wife. 2. Try to attend at least an occasional Mass just to get a feel. You can do what everyone else there does except for receive communion and if you sit in the back, you’ll be able to watch others and see when they stand/sit/kneel. You won’t be out of place because there are always visitors who are not Catholic at Mass. Always. 3. Get signed up with a local parish’s RCIA program. Encourage your wife to attend with you just for support reasons and let her know you do not expect her to convert. Many people have attended our RCIA program in order to provide support to a loved one with no intention of converting. Especially for the first couple of months, you will be in the Inquiry Period where you have made no commitments one way or another toward conversion. RCIA is a no-pressure program. 4. Read what you can about the Catholic Faith and I suggest that you go to this website and order some free cds including the conversion story of Scott Hahn, the Mass Explained, Seven Secrets of the Eucharist, Marriage and the Eucharist, and Fr. Corapi’s story. You only need pay $1 per cd for shipping. 5. Most important, you must pray–pray like you’ve never prayed before. You are beginning to embark upon a glorious adventure, where the light will be more bright than you ever thought possible.

You’ve come to the right place as the name suggests: Catholic Answers! I look forward to hearing about your journey and you are not alone here. There are plenty here who used to be where you are now, lots of those who are going through the same thing right now and tons of people who are already Catholic and waiting to welcome you to the fold.

God bless and peace be with you!

Kelly (a.k.a. longwinded)


One of the reasons I became Catholic was because of the life of my great-uncle.

He and my aunt were married for around 70 years. He was Catholic, she was Lutheran.

For all those years, he attended early Mass, then drove home to pick her up and take her to the Lutheran service.

He was universally LOVED by everyone in our family (all Methodists, Reformed, and Baptists). He attended any church service in which any of the children performed, and he always talked about serving Jesus and loving others.

He survived his wife by several years, and spent his days visiting the forgotten people in nursing homes, people that had no other visitors. He took a tape player and tapes of hymns along, and he would ask if he could play a hymn. No preaching, just loving and chatting.

When he was 96, he drove to Arizona by himself for a vacation!

When he died, his funeral mass was filled with Catholics and Lutherans and lots of other people. He willed half his money to the Catholic church and half to the Lutheran church (he didn’t have a lot of money at all), and his house went to my father.

But that’s not all. When I was trying to decide whether I should become Catholic, I was agonizing over giving up all association with Protestantism. Somehow that just seemed too hard.

I was praying about this after Mass one day, and I looked up, and there was my great-uncle, sitting next to me. He looked at me, just like he always had, and said, “I did both all those years. You can too.”

Then he was gone.

His “visit” and word to me were one of the deciding factors. I wanted to be like him!

My sponsor has a Protestant husband, and she continues to attend his church along with Mass. In fact, the pastor of that Protestant church invited her to give a public testimony about her new faith and Church! (It’s a non-denominational Protestant church.)

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