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Manuel wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was baptized as an infant in the Catholic Church but was not really raised as a Catholic.
I'm currently in my 20's but grew up mainly with Protestant beliefs.

I have been studying Catholicism by myself for about a year now and am very interested in it,
but their are still some things I have trouble understanding.

  • Am I considered a Catholic since I was baptized in a Catholic Church?
  • What does the Church say would happen to my soul, if I died before receiving my
    First Communion or before confessing to a priest?

Manual

  { If I was baptized in the Church, but raised with Protestant beliefs, am I considered a Catholic? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Manny —

Yes, you would be considered a Catholic, especially if you never formally joined a Protestant church.

No one, including you, can judge your soul, but you'd be judged on the basis of what you knew and how you responded to it. If you reject that which you know is true with regards to the faith, you would be in "deep sneakers". If, however, you've been seeking God and corresponding to God's grace, and repented of all of the sins you are aware of out of love for God, you could be saved.

Nevertheless, the fullness of salvation and grace is found in the Catholic Church, so I encourage you to continue exploring the faith. It's a lot easier to be saved as a faithful Catholic than as a non-Catholic.

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi, Manny —

Thanks for the question.

Yes, you are considered a Catholic. The parish where you were baptized should have your baptismal certificate on record. If you don't have it, it would be a good idea to ask the parish for a copy of yours, not only for your peace of mind, but as an addition proof that legally you are, who you say you are.

You may want to consider joining a RCIA program as well. It would serve three purposes:

  1. to share with others what you have learned
  2. to learn a few things from others you haven't learned in your personal study, and
  3. to meet new friends and discover new ministries within your local Catholic parish

You said:

  • What does the Church say would happen to my soul, if I died before receiving my First Communion or before confessing to a priest?

If you are beyond the Church's age of reason, age seven, and were never introduced to Catholic principles or teachings, your culpability would be based on:

  • the Christian principles you had learned, [and/or]
  • the natural law we all have on our souls at conception.

The natural is that thing inside you that tells you an action is obviously wrong or obviously right, without outside religious or secular education in moral principles. e.g. shooting a person.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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