What makes one a Catholic?


What exactly is it that makes a person “Catholic”? Is a person a Catholic because they believe and accept all that the church teaches? Or is a person a Catholic because they were baptized in a Catholic church as an infant, at which time consent and belief are not possible?


bump–good question:thumbsup: Im anxiously anticipating the answers.:smiley:


Valid Baptism :thumbsup:

Of course, you have to remain Catholic …


I would think that one who accepts the teachings of the Church. As an infant, your parents make you Catholic, if they accept the teachings.

However, just last week I spoke to a Father from Nigeria. Met him at the Shrine…anyway, I was talking to him and I kept saying…“I’m not Catholic yet” (as in, I haven’t been through the whole process) and he kept correcting me by saying “No, do not say that, you are Catholic in your heart.”

So, I guess there are two ways to look at being Catholic.


All Christians are Catholic in the sense that there is only one True Church, even if they deny it.The Church instituted by Christ that can show apostolic Succession from the time of Christ’s walking on this earth till now is the only “Church” that exists.

It is no different than an angry child telling his parents that they are no longer his parents. No matter how much he may deny it, they gave birth to him and they are his Father and Mother.

One is not a Christian without the Sacrament of Baptism. Baptism brings one into the adopted family of God. An infant can be adopted into God’s faimily just as an infant can be adopted into any family. It does not take understanding or reason: only love on the part of the ones doing the adopting.

Later, the child must make the descision to be “in full Communion” with the Holy See; the Magesterium. This is where he makes the statement that he accepts and believes all that the Church teaches.

I pray that our Catholic family; those in full Communion with the Bishop of Rome, and those who are separated, will all reconcile and come together to receive God’s most wonderful gift of Himself at the Altar of infinite Love in the Most Blessed Eucharist. Amen.

Peace to all.


So what if one is baptized as an infant (through no decision of their own), but does not remain Catholic because they do not believe and accept all that the Catholic church teaches?


I thought that if you are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that you have had a valid baptism according to the catholic church… I am not considered catholic but I have had a valid baptism.


Non-Catholic Christians are not like “an angry child”, nor are they any less “Christian” because they are not Catholic.


They have fallen away from the Church. The same thing could be said of any Christian denomination. Now, which “denomination” has the Truth? I believe the Pillar and Foundation of Truth is the Catholic Church.

If they did not receive adequate instruction, the parents are culpable. I will hold myself to this standard when I have children.


I believe you are a member of the Catholic Church, since you have received valid Baptism. Only, if a Baptized person has committed mortal sin (I am not saying that you have, by the way), then he/she needs to confess as Christ instructed to a successor of the apostles (again, as He instructed). Once confessed, that person has been cleaned, and can then receive Christ from the Eucharist.

If, a person believes in heresy, that is mortal sin, by the way.


Just a side note … the term Non-Catholic Christian is a new term. It has only been since the protestant reformation that this term could be used; with exception of some heresies that were put down by the True Church.

Those heretical people that called themselves Christians would probably be looked at as non-Christians by most Christians of today.


If a person believes in heresy (for instance, Jesus was not True God and True Man), are they any less of a Christian?


It is what one believes about Christ that makes one a Christian.


So, essentially, it is what one believes about the Catholic church that makes one a Catholic.


Bingo :smiley:


That is a overly simple answer. I say this, because many people have proposed other christs throughout the centuries. The Church put these heresies down. Some heresies would teach you (misinterpreting Sacred Scripture) that Christ was not God as well as man. This kind of thinking causes me to shudder when I hear it. Praise God - He left us His Church to keep His Teachings, and the Truth.

The Church has the fullness of Truth, therefore, only She can infallibly define who Christ was. She does this through Her Traditions, and through Sacred Scripture.

Christ saw fit to put men in charge of His Church while he was not present physically on Earth - to settle disputes, to further our knowledge of Him, and to keep us on the right path.

Staying in the Church means following the Teachings of His Church. Being admitted into His Church means being Baptized.

I pray that all those who wish to know about God will get their interpretations from His Church, rather than their own flawed interpretation - or the flawed interpretations of men who do not speak infallibly.


Not really.

You are a Catholic if you are baptized in the Catholic Church.
You are part of the Catholic Church even if not baptized in the Catholic Church so long as you have received a valid Trinitarian baptism.
You are part of the Catholic Church even if not baptized, even if not believing, in that it is only through “the name of Jesus” that any person can be saved, and that He instituted His Church–the Catholic Church–as the instrument through which His teachings would be spread to all.

Now, that ‘makes’ you a Catholic.

But. . . you can be a ‘baptized Catholic’ and not follow the teachings of the church, or ‘pick and choose’. You’re a Catholic, but you are not living up to the potential that Christ calls on you for --to ‘be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’. I hesitate to use labels like ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but certainly I think that one would agree that a person who claims to be ‘something’ but doesn’t support that ‘something’ fully is not ‘equal to’ somebody who claims to be ‘something’ and DOES support it fully.

What you believe is important. . .but it doesn’t ‘make’ you Catholic. It makes you a ‘supporting’ Catholic or a ‘non supporting’ Catholic, if you will.

Wheat. . .or chaff.

The seed that fell on rocks. . . weeds. . .was eaten. . .or grew in good soil and yielded 100 fold.

ALL the seed was SEED. . .but not all of it was ‘good’, or ‘productive’ seed.


:confused: I’m not sure what you are saying:o


I cared for a man who had written a letter to his priest formally cutting himself off from the CC. Before he died he had to ask to be received back into the Church because it is a serious step to have taken.

If a person who was baptized as a Catholic has formally renounced his Catholic faith by joining another Church or by some other public declaration, technically they are no longer a Catholic.


Having been Baptized in the CC makes one a technical Catholic.

A Practical Catholic is one who accepts the Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed (with or without the Filioque), the Authority of the Pope, the dogmas of the Holy Catholic Church, and does not teach against the Doctrines of their particular Catholic Church, whether that be Roman, Ruthenian, Melkite, Maronite, or any of the other Eastern Catholic Churches.

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