Protestants: Separated Brethren or Heretics?


#1

How can I respond to the claim of some traditionalist Catholic friends of mine who claim Protestants aren’t Christians at all simply because they don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist? Also, how can I explain to them why the Church now considers Protestants to be separated brethren rather than heretics?


#2

[quote=DavidJoseph]How can I respond to the claim of some traditionalist Catholic friends of mine who claim Protestants aren’t Christians at all simply because they don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist? Also, how can I explain to them why the Church now considers Protestants to be separated brethren rather than heretics?
[/quote]

Tell them that “Christian” simply implies a belief that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead to redeem the world. That’s all you need to do in order to be Christian.


#3

Well, first off, the correct thinking is that the Church still considers Protestamtism to be under heresy. That is the Church’s stance. However, after Vatican II the emphasis of the Church is more on what unites us rather than our differences–hence, we highlight more the aspect of them being our separated brethren rather than simply as heretics. This shift shows us that we are brothers and sisters united in Christ, yet as well shows us that this unity is not perfect, and that we acknowledge the division that exists iwthout being uncharitable. Calling them heretics highlights the differences and would be uncharitable, though the Church has never formally dropped it; she only highlighted more the aspect of a family, if you will, under Christ.


#4

Fidei I would dispute that definition. Mormons might believe that, even JW’s might i’m not sure, but they’re not Christians. There has to be at least a BASIC belief that Jesus IS in fact both God and man, not just a man or not just God or whatever else. Or not just one god among many gods. I still have trouble calling some types of Protestants even, Christian, especially those who aren’t baptized etc. But I think Protestants who do believe in a correct Jesus, the true Jesus, as much as they can without the Church, are Christians in a certain sense. Not in a full sense though. I would say that about certain types of liberal ‘Catholics’ even. At times in my life I would have said that about myself certainly. Again, I’m saying this generally, not about individuals. But to get to the original question to your Traditional Catholic friends, you need to tell them first of all that the most Traditional thing a Catholic can do is obey the Church. And the Church has said this in Vatican II about 'seperated bretheren. Maybe they could have doubts, or struggles about it, but that’s why we need a Church to tell us these things, and this is why obediance is one of the key virtues, because we don’t know everything, we can’t. And we cannot rely on ourselves to make up doctrines or beliefs or whatever else. That’s why we had to have revelation from God about Himself, because just about EVERYONE on Earth had it wrong. That’s what I would say anyways.


#5

Protestants: Separated Brethren or Heretics?

Can’t it be…both? You are a seperated brother because you have fallen into heresy


#6

[quote=Oren]Fidei I would dispute that definition. Mormons might believe that, even JW’s might i’m not sure, but they’re not Christians. There has to be at least a BASIC belief that Jesus IS in fact both God and man, not just a man or not just God or whatever else…

…But I think Protestants who do believe in a correct Jesus, the true Jesus, as much as they can without the Church, are Christians in a certain sense.
[/quote]

Who defines a correct Jesus? All the denominations who believe in Christ have their own definition of a “correct Jesus” basd on their interpretations. Strictly speaking, if two different people who have different understandings of Jesus but share the same basic belief that Jesus is the Messiah of God, neither should be denied the title of “Christian” by virtue of their belief in Christ.


#7

[quote=DavidJoseph]How can I respond to the claim of some traditionalist Catholic friends of mine who claim Protestants aren’t Christians at all simply because they don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist? Also, how can I explain to them why the Church now considers Protestants to be separated brethren rather than heretics?
[/quote]

Remember that most Protestants were brought up that way, and therefore aren’t guilty of heresy (unless they really know better). You should assume that they are doing the best they can with what they know.

**"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same…"

-Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This implies that you started as Catholic, which doesn’t apply to most Protestants today.


#8

They’re both. Most protestants are material heretics, but not formal heretics. Most believe heresy through no fault of their own.


#9

[quote=DavidJoseph]How can I respond to the claim of some traditionalist Catholic friends of mine who claim Protestants aren’t Christians at all simply because they don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist? Also, how can I explain to them why the Church now considers Protestants to be separated brethren rather than heretics?
[/quote]

Ask them if they believe that scripture is inspired by God. If they say yes take them to Romans 2:14-16

Anyone who has a problem with it has a problem our own Apostle Paul and with sacred scripture. Vatican II got it right. I feel this passage applies not only to those who don’t know Christ or the law, to our Protestatent friends who are trying their best to walk in the light God has shown them agree or disagree?


#10

[quote=DavidJoseph]How can I respond to the claim of some traditionalist Catholic friends of mine who claim Protestants aren’t Christians at all simply because they don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist? Also, how can I explain to them why the Church now considers Protestants to be separated brethren rather than heretics?
[/quote]

Hi DavidJoseph,
Surely their being Roman Catholic is all that is needed. They dont need to understand, just obey the teaching of the Roman Catholic church.They are sinning by not following the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. Just tell them to stop sinning and to go and confess their sins.
Otherwise their faith is one of convenience.
walk in love
edwinG


#11

Fidei, the Church defines what is a correct Jesus, that’s who.


#12

[quote=Fidei Defensor]Tell them that “Christian” simply implies a belief that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead to redeem the world. That’s all you need to do in order to be Christian.
[/quote]

Yes we are a “chunk of poop covered in some snow” to paraphrase Martin Luther. Fast food faith served up hot with fries on the side!


#13

Genesis had a good answer. They are seperated brethren and material heretics. Very few are formal heretics although I have to pray for the souls of those who write things like the Chick Tracts as they have been exposed to the Catholic Faith and intentionally work to subvert the Faith. I leave the determination to God, but I believe they are flirting with a fine line. I do have a question, is someone who has never been exposed to the Faith a material heretic??? Example, the Native Americans before the Europeans came over. Thanks and Bless.


#14

DeFide and Genesis are right on the money. Prots today are bretheren. That is what should be emphasized (w/o surrendering the teachings of the Church).

Jim


#15

The second Vatican council calls them seperated brethern and they are Christians because their baptism is valid. Protestanism is still a heresy–whether or not each individual Protestant should be called a heretic is another matter–but to be honest with you who cares?? The bottom line is is that they cannot be saved (unless they are invincibly ignorant or they are ignorant to the point where it makes their sin of not entering the Church venialand even then they cna still go to hell for another mortal sin) Protestanism–they must be converted ----Protestants run a great risk of eternal damnation----that to m is the bottom line not a label–YOUR ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION!!!


#16

Lets call a spade a spade, Protestantism is heretical. If you personally feel comfortable calling protestants heretics it is up to you. You wouldn’t be wrong either. As marine pointed out they do risk eternal damnation if they know the Truth and don’t accept it.


#17

As Christians, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. As human beings, we are all brothers and sisters in humanity.

The “family tie” doesn’t change.

The additional labels. . .whether they relate to gender, race, occupation, “class”, and especially religion. . .do not CHANGE the family tie.

We must always strive to remember that we are family first, and “other labels” second.

That’s what I think Vatican II emphasized. . .that we are to consider ourselves as family, SOME of whom by their actions have separated themselves from the faith, but NOT from the family of God.

( I just realized this dang political correctness has me “brother and sister-ing” all over the place, and I apologize for the awkward phraseology!)


#18

The original question is best answered by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in sections 817-819 and again in 836-838.


#19

Thanks, guys. Btw, I do know that Protestants are material heretics. But these guys I’m referring to claim that we shouldn’t call Protestants separated brethren period. They insist on calling Protestants heretics because they believe they’re formal heretics (they don’t believe anyone is truly invincible ignorant).


#20

Yea I’m leaning on the heratic postion as well


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