What is the boundary of The Catholic Church?


#1

I was wondering today, where is the boundary of the Catholic Church? When does someone cease to be Catholic? Would an SSPX person be considered Catholic? They teach all that the Catholic Church teaches, but they are in schism. Since the Orthodox are not part of The Catholic Church, how can SSPX be part of The Catholic Church? They are both in schism. They both deny councils. Where is the boundary?


#2

[quote=jimmy] When does someone cease to be Catholic?
[/quote]

A baptized professed Catholic never loses the charism and permanent seal of baptism, but ceases to belong the the Catholic Church when they leave voluntarily by rejecting the foundational Catholic doctrines and disciplines, either rejecting Christian belief altogether, or professing membership in another denomination or religion, including a schismatic sect which rejects papal authority. Or when they are excommunicated either automatically by their own freely chosen grave action (procuring abortion for example) or are formally excommunicated for grave cause. An individual whether baptized or not who never belonged to the Catholic Church in the first place does not cease to be Catholic, he just never was Catholic, although he may be a baptized Christian who is very sincere in his beliefs.


#3

Thankyou puzzleannie, so you would say that SSPX are not part of The Catholic Church(even though they maintain there baptism of course)?


#4

you don’t ever cease to be catholic, unless you make a formal declaration (signed) to that effect…

you may be a bad catholic, but your still catholic…


#5

So if someone is Catholic and leaves and joins a Non-denominational church and gets baptized in that church, are they still Catholic?


#6

The boundary of the Catholic Church is the universe. The Church was not named after a people, a continent or even just the world. Everyone has one Pope and one Magisterium. The difference is whether they give up their pride and submit to it’s authority or not.


#7

When asking this question, one must distinguish between the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church and the invisible boundaries of the Catholic Church. Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, and visible elements too. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ.

The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation.

Decree On Ecumenism – Unitatis Redintegratio (3)As regards the invisible boundaries, first and most important, is the fact that every person in Heaven is a member of the Catholic Church – no one is in Heaven that is not a member of the Church Triumphant. There are no Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. in Heaven. A person may have died in invincible ignorance as a sincere and well meaning Protestant, Buddhist or Hindu, but they cannot into Heaven in a state of confusion. Those that are saved that were not visible members of the Church Militant will become enlightened to the truth before they enter Heaven, and they will be there as ex-Protestants, ex-Buddhists, ex-Hindus, and full members of the Catholic Church that participate in the worship of the true church.

In regards to people alive on earth, a person on earth that is in invincible ignorance may be a member of the Catholic Church through the baptism of implicit desire. Such a person isn’t necessarily within the visible boundaries of the Church.

We have a calling to evangelize the world and to bring all people on earth to within the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church, and that can be done without presuming to judge the state of a man’s soul before God. Let us stick to our mission on earth, and let God do the judging of whether a man is in a state of mortal sin.

Objectively, we can know with certainty that God does not want anyone to be a member of a schismatic sect, whether that sect is the SSPX Society, the Eastern Orthodox, the Polish National Church, or a Protestant sect.


#8

[quote=ElizaE]So if someone is Catholic and leaves and joins a Non-denominational church and gets baptized in that church, are they still Catholic?
[/quote]

Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.

Latin Rite Catholics who defect from the Church by a formal act (e.g., being “rebaptized” in another church) are no longer bound by the Catholic canon law in regard to a few specific rules relating to the form of marriage recognized by the Church, but they are still bound by the rest of canon law.

Eastern Rite canon law doesn’t even recognize the concept of defecting from the Church by a formal act.


#9

[quote=Maranatha]The boundary of the Catholic Church is the universe. The Church was not named after a people, a continent or even just the world. Everyone has one Pope and one Magisterium. The difference is whether they give up their pride and submit to it’s authority or not.
[/quote]

I think your missing the point of the question. The question is, when does someone cease to be a member of The Catholic Church? Are SSPX members of The Catholic Church?


#10

[quote=Catholic2003]Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.

Latin Rite Catholics who defect from the Church by a formal act (e.g., being “rebaptized” in another church) are no longer bound by the Catholic canon law in regard to a few specific rules relating to the form of marriage recognized by the Church, but they are still bound by the rest of canon law.

Eastern Rite canon law doesn’t even recognize the concept of defecting from the Church by a formal act.
[/quote]

There are two different senses of being a member of the Church though. In one sense all who are baptized correctly are Catholic since it is baptism that makes us members of the Church. In the other sense there is communion of belief. In this second sense it would only include those who are formal members of the Catholic Church. I am refering specifically to the second sense. Is an SSPX still a former member of The Church? How about an extreme liberal, even though he may go to mass every Sunday, he rejects major tenets of the faith. Is he still a formal member of The Church?


#11

[quote=ElizaE]So if someone is Catholic and leaves and joins a Non-denominational church and gets baptized in that church, are they still Catholic?
[/quote]

Yes, actually, because all they have to do to receive the Eucharist is to make a good confession (assuming nothing stands in the ways such as an illicit marriage), which reconciles them to God and the Church. Even someone in an illicit marriage can be reconciled to the Church through confession even if they cannot receive the Eucharist. I believe the Lone Ranger is correct. You can sever ties with the Church formally through a written declaration.


#12

It is a Catholic “urban legend” that a Catholic must “make a formal declaration (signed)” to lose his or her membership in the Church.

In fact, all a Catholic needs to do to lose their membership in the Church is to obstinately refuse to accept even one infallible teaching of the Church. Such a Catholic is a heretic, and heresy carries the penalty of loss of membership in the Catholic Church through automatic excommunication.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

2089**… "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 …

Can. 1364 §1 An apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication …


Excommunication can take two different forms. A ferendae sententiae excommunication comes after a formal canonical trial, and is often a matter of public record. A latae sententiae excommunication is incurred automatically, under the terms of the Code of Canon Law, as the punishment for certain offenses. In the case of a latae sententiae excommunication, there is no requirement for formal trial or announcement; in fact, the individual brings the punishment upon himself.

Excommunication latae sententiae is the canonical punishment for offenses such as heresy, violation of the seal of confession, or procuring an abortion. **Catholics guilty of these offenses are excommunicated automatically, even in cases when Church authorities are unaware of their offense. **

cwnews.com/news/biosgloss/definition.cfm?glossID=91]Catholic World News


**Do sinners continue to belong to the Church? **

Unless one cuts himself of by heresy, apostasy, or excommunication, a Catholic sinner continues to be a member of the Church. Those in mortal sin remain united by faith and hope, but not charity.

Most Reverend Lois Laravoire Morrow, S.T.D., Bishop of Kishnagar; My Catholic Faith, A Manual of Religion, page 135, 1963, My Mission House, Kenosha, Wisconsin


Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.

Mystici Corporis Christi, par. 22


#13

[quote=Matt16_18]It is a Catholic “urban legend” that a Catholic must “make a formal declaration (signed)” to lose his or her membership in the Church.
[/quote]

Thanks for the clarification Matt16_18. I see that my previous post was somewhat in error. In the case of a heretic or schismatic, however, it is my understanding that they can be reconciled to the Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliaton, which restores them to full communion with the Church. Thus, although they are not formal members of the Church while in heresy or schism, they are connected in a different way than one who has never received the Sacraments and who must go through RCIA in order to become a formal member.


#14

It all depends on whether the member of the SSPX sect or the liberal espousing heresy is in a state of invincible ignorance or not. It is remotely possible that one could be in a state of invincible ignorance as an SSPX member or cafeteria Catholic and still not be culpable before God for the sin of heresy. Since only God knows for sure who is invincibly ignorant and who isn’t, no human can answer this question with certainty.

It would be a mortal sin for you, or for anyone else, to presume to judge whether a particular person is not invincibly ignorant and thus culpable for the mortal sin of heresy.

We can, however, know with certainty that both the beliefs of the SSPX member and the liberal heretic are in error, since we have a Church that teaches objective truth, and neither of these people embrace the objective truths that are taught by the Catholic Church. Perhaps someone is brain damaged and they simply cannot comprehend the truth, and therefore, God does not hold them culpable for rejecting truths that they are incapable of understanding.


#15

:thumbsup:

You understand correctly. An excommunicated Catholic cannot receive baptism and confirmation a second time, but they can be reconciled to the church throught the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. If a Catholic knows that their sin brings automatic excommunication, (such as the sin of having an abortion or helping to procure an abortion), he (or she) must have his bishop hear their confession to be reconciled to the church, (or he must receive confession from a priest that is authorized by his bishop to hear confessions of those who have been excommunicated).

I believe that if a Catholic did not know that the church teaches that abortion brings about automatic excommunication, he would not be obliged go to confession with a bishop to be reconciled to the Church.Reconciliation

The penalty of excommunication carries with it the prohibition of receiving the sacraments, while not excusing from obligations such as Sunday and Holy Day Mass, Easter Duty etc… To be reconciled to the Church a person who has been excommunicated, even if that fact is known to the person alone, must first have the excommunication lifted. With the exception of certain crimes reserved to the Holy See, each bishop has the authority to remit the penalty of excommunication. However, he generally delegates this faculty to his priests, or at least to certain confessors (usually at the Cathedral).

Thus, by going to confession one can usually have the penalty lifted. If recourse to higher authority is needed the confessor will say so and invite the person to return the following week or at another time. He will then obtain the remission of the penalty from the bishop (protecting the person’s anonymity, of course.) and communicate it to the penitent. The person is then free to make a good confession and be fully reconciled with Christ and the Church.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL


#16

Thankyou Matt16_18, that was very well put. It makes it very clear.


#17

You understand correctly. An excommunicated Catholic cannot receive baptism and confirmation a second time, but they can be reconciled to the church throught the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. If a Catholic knows that their sin brings automatic excommunication, (such as the sin of having an abortion or helping to procure an abortion), he (or she) must have his bishop hear their confession to be reconciled to the church, (or he must receive confession from a priest that is authorized by his bishop to hear confessions of those who have been excommunicated).

I believe that if a Catholic did not know that the church teaches that abortion brings about automatic excommunication, he would not be obliged go to confession with a bishop to be reconciled to the Church.Reconciliation

The penalty of excommunication carries with it the prohibition of receiving the sacraments, while not excusing from obligations such as Sunday and Holy Day Mass, Easter Duty etc… To be reconciled to the Church a person who has been excommunicated, even if that fact is known to the person alone, must first have the excommunication lifted. With the exception of certain crimes reserved to the Holy See, each bishop has the authority to remit the penalty of excommunication. However, he generally delegates this faculty to his priests, or at least to certain confessors (usually at the Cathedral).

Thus, by going to confession one can usually have the penalty lifted. If recourse to higher authority is needed the confessor will say so and invite the person to return the following week or at another time. He will then obtain the remission of the penalty from the bishop (protecting the person’s anonymity, of course.) and communicate it to the penitent. The person is then free to make a good confession and be fully reconciled with Christ and the Church.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

[/quote]

In Catholicism For Dummies, Fr. Trigilio pointed out that many Dioceses delegate the authority to remove the penalty of excommunication, for abortion only, to Priests. This is not of course the universal norm for the Church, but I do think it is quite a good pastoral thing.

Formal proclamation of heresy still requires recanting to the Ordinary. Then there are the excommunications reserved to the Apostolic See, namely an attack on the Holy Father’s life, the violation of the seal of the confessional, and desecration of the Sacred Species. Only the Pope can bring these people back into the fold.


closed #18

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