When does one considered a Catholic?


#1

Is it when they believe everything the Church teaches? Is it when they realized it’s the True Church? Taking the Eucharist and knowing it’s the TRUE, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus? When they understand about Mary? Saints? Understanding why the Church teaches what it does? Etc.???

I mean, could, let’s say a Methodist or Baptist understand all the above and still not be Catholic? When?


#2

Paris,

You’re a sweetheart, and you add so much to this forum with your enthusiasm. May God bless you abundantly.

Maybe some people will have different answers, but I think it’s when one realizes that our beloved Lord did, in fact, found a Church, and no matter what the warts are, that that Church is the Catholic Church founded on Peter.

I say this because I came back to the Church after leaving it. After I had to face the evidence that Jesus founded a Church (not a publishing company), I had to listen to what she said. Initially, I had a lot of problems (being a married person, one of the biggies was contraception), but I found that in every instance that I looked carefully into the Church’s position and listened to what she actually said (versus the often stupid reasons that others gave for her positions), I was left with the inescapable fact that she was right. Chesterton said something to the effect that the Church does act, in a very unique way, as an institution that has a message that she is preserving. It doesn’t matter what the world says, she is going to preserve that message.

But in answer to your question: why would a Methodist or Baptist not join the Church if they realized what I’ve just said? Why wouldn’t they want to join the Church that Jesus founded? I understand that there are difficulties, but then Jesus did say that those who would not give up mother or father, etc., to follow Him were not worthy of Him.

I don’t know if you saw my response to another post of yours regarding your angst in not being able to receive the Eucharist. In case you didn’t, I’ll repeat it: offer up that angst for the souls of those who reject Jesus and His Church. One of the wonderful things about Catholicism is that we can unite our sufferings with Jesus for others.


#3

What follows are my musings on your question and the thought processes that I used.

I would say (IMHO) that one becomes a Catholic (if they are baptized in another Christian faith tradition) when they make their profession of faith. At that time, they are recognized by the Church. We recognize that they are Christian and seperated brothers or sisters before that. My parish priest tells our RCIA (both candiates (those already baptized) and the catechumens) that they refrain from receiving the Eucharist, not only because the church says so but for these reasons as well: 1] We respect their beliefs and faith traditions. If and when they freely choose to accept the teachings and beliefs of the Church, we will welcome them to the table. 2] The Catholic Church has some very specific teachings and beliefs about the Eucharist. In order to come freely to that Eucharistic table, they need to understand them and 3] Once you partake of the Eucharist, you cease to be other than Catholic so why would you present yourself while maintaining that you are …Baptist, Methodist or …

Christ claims all of mankind and determines who is saved and who is not. The Church does not judge the ultimate salvation. The Church has been given an evangelistic mission to bring all nations to Christ and therefore has a duty to confer rites of membership and the recognition that comes with it. This membership is bestowed on those who freely choose Jesus and the Church. Others are left to the mercy of our loving God who is the Just Judge.

The Church has an obligation to teach what has been entrusted to her, i.e. that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, faithfully. That baptism is regenerative. A Eucharistic example would be that Jesus is present in the Eucharist, “Body and Blood”, "physically and spiritually, body and soul. The Church cannot say if Jesus is present or not present in a Protestant communion. God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) is Omnipotent and Omnipresent. The Spirit moves When, Where and How it wills. Without limits placed by man or Church. However, the Church can and has the obligation to teach on the Real Presence with an assurance that comes from Scriptures (Hebrew Texts and New Testament), the testimony of the Early Church Father’s, other first century writings and 2000 years of practice, tradition and teachings. Just one example…

Pax Christe


#4

An unbaptized person becomes a Catholic when he becomes a catechumen at the Rite of Acceptance. I would presume that a baptized person becomes a Catholic at the parallel Rite of Welcome.


#5

I could be wrong, but when I was converting…and what I believe now is that once you fully accept and live by all the teachings of The Catholic Church, then you are in fact Catholic…through belief, practices, and heart…maybe not in name. However, I find it greater to be those things in belief, practices, and heart, rather in name, because their are so many Catholics (CINO’S), such as John Kerry, that are not living the faith as you are…so you are truly blessed. Therefore I say to you Paris, you are Catholic…however you must abstain from the Eucharist until your appointed time…until you have made your solemn profession of faith are in fact officially Catholic…I know where you have been…honestly knowing the teachings of the Church and accepting them all, yet not being able to receive the Eucharist…but by not receiving the Eucharist, look how much you respect our faith and how you are truly living the Catholic Faith…think of it as a discipline, such as a priest taking the vow of celibacy as a discipline. Your time will come soon…I know it is hard and frustrating at times, but I tell you now, Saturday Vigil Mass on Easter will be the greatest experience of your life…I know it was for me.

[quote=Paris Blues]Is it when they believe everything the Church teaches? Is it when they realized it’s the True Church? Taking the Eucharist and knowing it’s the TRUE, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus? When they understand about Mary? Saints? Understanding why the Church teaches what it does? Etc.???

I mean, could, let’s say a Methodist or Baptist understand all the above and still not be Catholic? When?
[/quote]


#6

All of the above has to be true, but also you must be recieved into the Church with the Sacraments of Penance, Communion and Confirmation.


#7

[quote=dumspirospero]Therefore I say to you Paris, you are Catholic…however you must abstain from the Eucharist until your appointed time…
[/quote]

.

Actually, Paris could recieve the Eucharist by a special permission since she has professed belief in the Real Presence.

Maybe Paris should approach her pastor with the spiritual funk she’s in and explain her yearning to recieve the eucharist. Perhaps she can inquire about being recieved into the Church before Easter. It does seem a bit harsh to make her wait ANOTHER year.

Paris, you mentioned some questions you still had since you were entering RCIA late. Have those been resolved? If you believe everything the Church teaches, then it is just formality of you actually recieving the sacraments.

I think any good pastor would take all of this in consideration, and considering the spiritual battle that is going on, give her the sacraments.


#8

I mean, could, let’s say a Methodist or Baptist understand all the above and still not be Catholic? When?

If they don’t believe in the Sacred Tradition and they still stick to the belief that the scripture contains all the teachings of jesus Christ.


#9

This is a good question, and there is an interesting aspect of it (and this is kinda funny)…

Baptism is the ordinary means of becoming a member of the Church. There is only one Baptism and only one Church, so, technically, anyone who is Baptized is, at that moment, a Catholic (there’s no such thing as protestant Baptism as distinct from a Catholic Baptism - all Baptisms are Catholic).

Most protestants are not aware of this, of course, and do not desire to remain part of the Church that they don’t even realize they just became a part of (because they wish to be part of some other faith community), so, by act of free will, they quickly separate themselves from the Church. But for one brief, shining moment…


#10

So I guess I would have to be considered a pre-Catholic? :wink:


#11

What a wonderful thread to read first thing in the morning! You have been given answers that follow the teachings of the Church as well as the wonderful experience, strength and hope of those who have personal testimony that lead them ‘home’ the Holy Mother Church.

I think once one has been received into the Church they can be considered a Catholic - but it is pretty obvious to me that one would not be received into the Church unless they were in a state like you - Paris Blue - a ‘pre-Catholic’:wink: .


#12

your RCIA director, catechist and sponsor are dying for you to bring these questions to them, you are supposed to be doing more than just sitting in a class listening. If you are not sharing these questions, and if they are not answering you, you are not participating in a huge, important part of the RCIA process. If the RCIA team can’t or won’t answer you, demand an appointment with the pastor. You are missing out on a lot if these discussions are not part of your journey. Chances are others in the class have the same or similar questions and are just waiting for somebody else to speak up.

[quote=Paris Blues]Is it when they believe everything the Church teaches? Is it when they realized it’s the True Church? Taking the Eucharist and knowing it’s the TRUE, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus? When they understand about Mary? Saints? Understanding why the Church teaches what it does? Etc.???

I mean, could, let’s say a Methodist or Baptist understand all the above and still not be Catholic? When?
[/quote]


#13

[quote=puzzleannie]your RCIA director, catechist and sponsor are dying for you to bring these questions to them, you are supposed to be doing more than just sitting in a class listening. If you are not sharing these questions, and if they are not answering you, you are not participating in a huge, important part of the RCIA process. If the RCIA team can’t or won’t answer you, demand an appointment with the pastor. You are missing out on a lot if these discussions are not part of your journey. Chances are others in the class have the same or similar questions and are just waiting for somebody else to speak up.
[/quote]

See, these questions don’t come up during RCIA and besides, the director is talking about the structure of the Church, Mary, Sin, Jesus, etc. so we can get a better idea about the Faith. It’s very interesting to sit there and listen that youkinda forget about the questions! Yes, we do ask a lot of questions but I keep forgetting them!


#14

[quote=Paris Blues]Is it when they believe everything the Church teaches? Is it when they realized it’s the True Church? Taking the Eucharist and knowing it’s the TRUE, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus? When they understand about Mary? Saints? Understanding why the Church teaches what it does? Etc.???

I mean, could, let’s say a Methodist or Baptist understand all the above and still not be Catholic? When?
[/quote]

One is a Catholic when they make a public profession of Faith to the best of their ability in Christ and which includes all that the Catholic Church teaches and professes and that profession is accepted by the Church. When one receives Baptism either before or after making that profession of faith. Union is completed when all three Sacraments of Initiation are received. Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist.


#15

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