Are Catholics Christian?


Q. Are Catholics Christians?
A. Yes. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ.

“Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18

Q. Why is it called the Catholic Church?

A. “Catholic” comes from the Greek word kataholos meaning universal. The Christian Church has been called “The Catholic Church” at least since 110 AD. We know this from a letter written by St. Ignatius of Antioch:

“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there;
just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 Ignatius of Antioch; 110 A.D. ).

Q. Are Catholic Christians born again?

A. Certainly. In the Catholic faith tradition we believe that we are born again through the waters of baptism.

Jn 3:5 “Unless one is born again of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

I Peter 3:21 “…baptism now saves you..”.

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14 Responses to Are Catholics Christian?

  1. M54 says:

    The simple answer is some yes, some no. Just the same for protestants.

    Just because people SAY they are Catholic or SAY they are Christian does not mean anything.

    Christianity is not a “birth-right” it is (I believe) an ongoing relationship with the Savior.

  2. bfhu says:

    What you say is true regarding salvation. But a Christian is not Jewish or Buddhist. Some Protestants do not believe Catholics are Christian b/c they so misunderstand what the Catholic Faith is.

  3. M54 says:

    Regarding: John 3:5 Infant baptism. This has always confused me. Of course the infant is clueless as to what is going on. Jesus, Himself was fully aware of the decision He was making. How do you square the two?

    Additionally, the Bible doesn’t say that water baptism is the “only” thing NECESSARY to be born again. (ie. confess with your mouth, etc.) So I don’t think that water baptism alone fulfills the necessary “requirements”.

    bfhu: there is a whole litney of other religions, Hindu, Bahai and so on. Of course the bible does say that the Jewish are His chosen. Still haven’t figured out what that means.

  4. bfhu says:

    Baptism confers the grace of forgiveness of all sin both eternal and temporal. Jesus told Nicodemas (John 3:3-8)that he must be born again of water and the spirit. So through baptism we are born again unto eternal life. We have examples in Sacred Scripture of adults being baptized and whole households (presumably including children) receiving baptism.. There is nothing in Scripture ithat prohibits infant baptism or commands baptism only after the age of reason.

    Catholics believe that baptism actually confers the grace of initial salvation. Therefore we give our children this advantage. Many Protestants deny this and for them baptism is only a public witness of their faith in obedience to Christ. So they see no need to baptize infants. But, Presbyterians and Anglicans for example do baptize infants.

    I Pet. 3:21
    “…baptism now saves you”

    this corresponds to infant circumcision for the Jews.

    You are right baptism is not the only requirement for salvation once one reaches the age of reason and begins to be culpable for sin. Then we have contrition, repentance and confession
    as a remedy for sin and Eucharist in order to obtain eternal life.

    Jn 6:53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.

  5. Fr. J. says:

    Yes, baptism is a direct parallel to circumcision as it is the entrance into the New Covenant. But the initiation into the covenant is three sacraments (or actually two, depending on how you count.)

    In the Eastern Churches the sacraments of initiation are all received at Baptism as an infant: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. This is closer to the early church practice when baptism and Confirmation were essentially one sacrament. But, the two became separate as a priest may baptize but not Confirm. Bishops Confirm. So Catholic Confirmation has taken the character of a personal ratification of ones baptism.

    So, to compare Catholic baptism to that of Baptists and their theology, you really have to include Confirmation. So, as M54 says above, “confessing with ones mouth” is also part of Confirmation (though this is anticipated by first communion and the Sacrament of Confession).

    I am not sure what other requirements M54 has in mind. The Baptists require full immersion, maybe this is part of his point?

    bfhu, I like what you have said about the forgiveness of sins and the requirement of the Eucharist for salvation. And that Eucharist is not just a symbolic grape juice and wonderbread in a dixie cup. The same passage where Christ says we must eat his body and drink his blood, John 6, to have eternal life, he repeats to the disbelieving crowd: Amen, Amen or Truly, truly, I say to you adding emphasis and using the word to gnaw for eating his body and blood. He uses the word for gnaw which is quite graphic to make perfectly clear that he is talking about eating real body and taking real blood–though he did not reveal how he meant this until the Last Supper.

    So, to attain salvation we need baptism and eucharist, and if adults, also confirmation and in the case of sinful human beings, confession, too.

  6. Fr. J. says:

    Well, I have had 3 Pentecost masses and a baptism this morning. You all have helped me wind down a bit with a touch of apologetics and now for the traditional Sunday afternoon clerical nap!

    Happy Mothers Day and Blessed Pentecost!

  7. bfhu says:

    Hope you had a resful nap Father. I know that baptism, communion and confirmation are the sacraments of initiation. Someone taught me that confirmation is not required. Is it required as the normal way to attain salvation? Don’t know why one wouldn’t want it but I would like clarification.

  8. M54 says:

    One thing that no one has been able to explain to me. The thief on the cross that would see Jesus in “paradise” that day. Do you suppose he was baptised some time earlier in his life then strayed or never baptised but still went to “paradise”?

  9. diane says:

    M54: The “thief on the cross” had what we call “baptism of desire.” Like catechumens who die before they can be baptized, the thief earnestly desired the Divine Grace that comes to us through baptism. God, Who can and does work outside of His normal channels, rewarded the Thief’s desire with salvation.

    God normally works through His Sacraments, but He is not bound to them.

    Father J, please correct anything I have stated incorrectly here. Thanks!!

    Diane

  10. diane says:

    BTW, M54: MY second-grade teacher, Sister Dismas, took her religious name from the Good Thief on the cross. :-)

  11. M54 says:

    diane; I’m not sure about Sister Dismas’ name but I do know that she could throw an eraser, piece and wield a mean yard stick!

  12. Amy says:

    I hope you will find the truth in that statement about the Catholics being Christians we are truly the same as Jew, Greek, Gentile or any Christian in the world. Just as Christ said to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Makes them all disciples and helps the truth, the way and the life and light of God to be proclaimed throughout the world to the end of the age.

    AMEN!

  13. Fr. J. says:

    About Dismas’ salvation, I think Jesus promise of salvation after his confession was more than adequate.

  14. Fr. J. says:

    Jesus give us the normal means by which he choses to save his people. That in no way renders him incapable of mercy to those outside those bounds. As Catholics we believe that it is through the sacraments and Christ’s mercy that he saves us. Exactly how or if he saves others, we do not know, but we are certain that by his mercy and justice he is able to do so.

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