Converting to Catholicism? (Jewish Question)

Three separate questions:

  1. If a Jewish person converts to Catholicism, are they still considered Jewish by other Jewish people? (That is, “misguided”, but still Jewish?)

  2. If they convert and then change their minds a few years down the road, do they have to “re-convert” back to Judaism? Or, will it be “all is forgiven, come on back”?

  3. Would they have to formally renounce their Catholicism if they did want to go back to Judaism?

Thank you for any information, or links to answers.

  1. Yes.

2 and 3 I dunno, but my guess would be that no un-conversion is necessary, since Jews don’t recognize conversions to other religions in the first place.

Nothing about what people think is universal, and I can assure you that some Jewish people will think of a convert to Catholicism as a Catholic.

I dunno, but the Catholics will probably consider you “fallen,” which would put you in some pretty good company. polishing my fingernails on my shirt :smiley:

If it’s any comfort :eek: , Hitler would consider you Jewish.

Now that THAT’S out of my system, and despite how I’m currently a Lutheran, there are worse choices than Catholicism. That said, Lutheranism has most of the good parts of Catholicism without the crazier parts, like its misogyny. That’s why I chose to raise my daughters Evangelical Lutheran. I still miss other crazier parts, like BINGO and Marianism, but I’m happy my daughters don’t have to feel like second-class members. (I’m also looking at YOU, Missouri Synod! It’s no fun being compared with the papists, is it? :mad: )


They do not need any formal re-conversion ceremony.

Not as such, although if the person is a particularly outspoken apostate, he might find people not counting him for a minyan (quorum of ten men required for certain public prayers) unless he was equally public about his return to faithful observance.

To expand upon cmkeller’s comment a little, see Can you be an atheist and still be Jewish? Jewish theology and practice basically doesn’t believe that conversion eliminates Jewishness, for two basic reasons:

(1) Being Jewish is about birth/tribal membership/ethnicity rather than simply about beliefs. In much the same way that an Italian who becomes an American citizen is still viewed as being “Italian” (even if hyphenated.)

(2) After centuries of forced conversions, Judaism did not want to put any obstacles in the way of those who wanted to return, especially when their conversion was the alternative to being burned to death.

Thank you for all the replies. A close family member has decided to convert, and it’s causing very hard feelings (a topic for another forum, perhaps).

I know it’ll make other family members happy to know that technically this person would still be considered Jewish.

Another question, though - if this person had another child, would that child still be considered Jewish, although his/her mother considers herself Catholic?

Thanks once again!

(ETA: these questions mean no disrespect to Catholics, and their religion. This just pertains to my particular family, and their beliefs)

Yes. The child of a Jewish mother (Jewish by religious definition, not by self-definition) is a Jew.

Nonetheless, I have the distinct impression that in Orthodox practice it is forbidden to mourn the yotze’im bish’eila. Am I crazy on this point? I also have the distinct impression that a Jew who publicly and voluntarily converted to another religion might well have his Orthodox family sit shiva for him at that time and consider him dead. I may be drawing an inaccurate conclusion because I don’t recall a scholarly resource on this; it was from Sholom Aleichem’s “Tevye and His Daughters.”

So what about someone who converted to Judaism (not originally part of the tribe through ancestry?) and then converts to another religion?

Once you convert you are Jewish, just as if you were born Jewish. No going backsies.

Not even if you had your fingers crossed?

For an extremely interesting example of just this situation, I highly recommend the memoir, Turbulent Souls by Stephen Dubner (co-author of Freakonomics).

His Jewish parents (independently) converted to Catholicism as young adults, and he ended up gravitating back to Judaism as an adult, much to the chagrin of his mother.

There’s also a lot of fascinating family history, as his mother was related to Ethel Rosenberg.


Thanks for the recommendation, Rick. I just ordered a used copy from Amazon!


A slight deviation off topic here ,alright a big one then if Jews,Muslims and Christians are all "people of the book"as Muslims put it then strictly speaking then Satanists are aswell having the same basic Universe construct but seen from a different viewpoint.
Its alright I ll shut up now.