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Are those who follow their priest in leaving the Church in mortal sin?

Question:

A local priest left the Catholic Church to form his own church. If someone from the parish joined that church, would he be in mortal sin for leaving the Catholic Church? What about the priest?

Answer:

Only God knows the hearts and minds of the priest and those who followed him, but they may be in very serious danger. The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium states: “Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved” (14).

 

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