Are Protestants Catholics?
By Very Rev. R. O. Kennedy
And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring; and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be made one fold and one shepherd. – St. John. x, 16.
Are Protestants Catholics? Do we and can we pray for them while living; can we and do we pray for them while dead? To answer these three questions - and I purpose to do so as simply and as untechnically as I can, - it will be necessary to consider: I. What the kingdom of Jesus Christ is. II. What gives admission to it. III. What cuts off connection with it. IV. What about prayers for dead Protestants? It will be pardoned me if I say that my one and sole object is to obtain prayers for persons, nominally or otherwise, outside the Church.
Of all the things on this earth, nothing, assuredly, can be compared to the kingdom of’ Jesus Christ. An angel ought to know it, and his declaration was: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” And from this we have the word Gospel, - that is, good spell, or joy. It is, too, but what might be expected; for if Jesus Christ be the Divine Son of God, and be omnipotent, then He could do what He liked for His kingdom, and enrich it with whatsoever natural or supernatural graces He wished. It could be, I think, well imagined that a pagan or a person outside the Church, who knew nothing of the divine riches of it, might exclaim: "Man’s eye never saw and man’s ear never heard and man’s heart never conceived such things."
The kingdom of Jesus Christ is full of spiritual goods, just as the ocean is full of water. Wherever a person belonging to it puts his hand, there he finds riches. And as the Old Testament was but a type of the New, so it might be said that wonderful and even beyond conception as are the riches of this temporal or militant kingdom of Jesus Christ, they are, in a sense, but little more than types of the wonderful kingdom, the triumphant one, that He has in store for us beyond the skies.
But we shall not belong to Him hereafter if we do not belong to Him here. We shall not enter into that heavenly kingdom of His unless we belong to the earthly one first. He has put us on earth before putting us in heaven; and the virgins that slept and did not accompany the bridegroom before he entered his palace, knocked at the door when he had entered, but heard from within: “Amen, I say to you, I know you not.”
Read the complete file Are Protestants Catholics?