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Anonymous Jack wrote:

Hi, guys —

My question pertains to who exactly my brothers and sisters in Christ are.

  • I know that all Catholics are, but what about Protestants?
  • Also, what about nonbelievers or people of other religions?
  • Are they my actual brothers and sisters, or are they just fellow humans?

I know that I should treat everyone else like a brother or sister and with charity, but I am interested in who my brothers and sisters in Christ actually are.

Thank you, and have a blessed day!


  { Who exactly are my real brothers and sisters in Christ?; Are Protestants, non-believers, or people of other religions? }

Eric replied:


The Second Vatican Council, which is authoritative for Catholicism, said:

"Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God, there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly condemned. 20 But in subsequent centuries, much more serious dissensions made their appearance, and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect."

(Unitatis Redintegratio #3, Catholic Church, "Decree on Ecumenism", in Vatican II Documents (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011))

So we do recognize Protestants who are born into those communities as brothers and sisters in Christ. Non-believers, however, are not brothers and sisters "in Christ", as they do not share our faith in Christ. They are in a certain limited sense, our brothers and sisters in that all of us are children of God. inasmuch as we are all children of Adam, who is the son of God (Luke 3:38).

You are correct that we should treat everyone in charity like our brother or sister.

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