Are Protestants taught to be Anti-Catholic?


My niece is staying with us and she is a Seventh Day Adventist. We were discussing religon and I found her to have a litany of problems with the church. She is 18 and I wondered when she had time to study The Church and come up with these problems, so I asked her. She stated that she was taught in her church what was wrong with the Catholic Chrurch. I found this remarkable. I have never been taught about other sects either in Catholic School or during mass.

So back to my question? Is this true of all protestants? Are they taught to believe certain things are wrong with the Church? Do they do the same with other sects or just The Church?

And the last question… WHY? Why is it so important to teach about what you believe is wrong with the Church? In fact I find it sort of “telling” that they spend so much time trying to preach against the Chruch.


Their teachings on the Roman Catholic Church are pretty important to the Adventist view. Most Protestants would not accept them even though we believe that the Church has made errors. Catholics say that Protestants do not have the full truth and tell us what they find wrong. It is no different when we tell you what we feel is wrong in the Catholic Church. Each side wants to bring the other to the truth.


To some degree nearly all protestants and Orthodox teach some anti-Catholic material. They generally feel a need to justify the splits.


The SDAs have a reputation for being particularly Anti-Catholic. That being said, most mainline Protestant groups are generally not hostile toward the Catholic faith.

Most Evangelical churches look with the Catholic faith with suspicion, but acknowledge that many Catholics love our Lord. Many Fundamentalist, like the SDAs have a very negative attitude about the Church.

Overall, Protestant views toward Catholicism vary just as much as their doctrinal beliefs. They don’t agree with one another on countless issues, but nearly all of them agree that the Catholic Church is not the pure version of Christianity in the NT.

I would say that most churches do not formally teach negative things about the Catholic Church, but there is a culture where many of them informally teach negative things.

It’s hard to swallow, but yes, they love the Lord too. They are just ignorant and hard-hearted individuals concerning the Church’s true teachings. I pray the Lord has mercy on them, because I believe their intentions are sincere, but they terribly misguided.

God Bless,


The difference between the SDA teachings against the Church and the Catholic teachings on non-Catholics is that in the case of the OP’s niece, she was taught this growing up. As a cradle Catholic, and as the OP said, we were never taught a list of errors against of our separated brethren.

I agree with the OP - the methods some non-Catholic denominations have to try and retain their flock are very telling of their natures!


“Difficulties with the Catholic Church” are inherent to Protestantism. The very term “Protestant” means “one who protests”. Protests what? The Catholic Church, of course, or one or more of its teachings. The term “Protestant” contains no additional information in itself other than the implied information that “the one who protests” is a Christian in the sense that he/she has some belief in the salvific mission of Jesus Christ. From there, the “one who protests” is obliged to explain, or the listener knows nothing further about his or her religion. If the “one who protests” then explains, certain of his/her beliefs will almost certainly square with those of the Catholic Church. Some will not.

But if you add all Protestant beliefs together, and discard those that directly contradict Catholic teaching, you will come up with a pretty good summation of what the Catholic Church teaches, except the teaching authority of the Pope, and even some Protestant groups come very close to acknowledging that. Even many Protestant beliefs that seem to directly contradict Catholic teaching are more a matter of emphasis than they are direct contradiction.

Very few Protestant denominations have a really detailed, defined set of beliefs. That, too, is inherent to most, though not all, Protestant groups. Because Protestantism is a “departure” from Catholicism, it tends to affirm (some more so than others) the primacy of “what I personally believe about that”. This necessarily limits the scope of “core” beliefs of any one group to irreducible minimums. Interestingly, though, many Protestants believe much of what the Catholic Church teaches out of a sort of “cultural legacy” that is not directly taught by their own churches. If you hand a “Catechism of the Catholic Church” to most Protestants, they won’t disagree with very much of it. I have done that on a number of occasions, and I know it to be true. But their own churches do not have a similar compendium of beliefs and teachings. There really isn’t anything truly comprehensive against which to define oneself other than the Catholic Church.

Protestants, then, have a “definitional” problem, and this tends to force them to what Catholics view as “Anti-Catholicism”.


This thread interests me very much…

I was raised “Protestant”, but did not know the history of the church, and therefore the word had no meaning to me as particularly “anti-” or “protesting” against Catholicism.

My father was Pentecostal and my mother was Anglican, and neither of them taught be to hate Catholics, or abhor the church.

HOWEVER, when I attended what I deem now to have been a Christian Cult, I was very much informed about the deficiencies of the Catholics (and not surprisingly, every other branch of Christianity except the one I was in)…I’ve been free of their clutches for 7 years now, and worship in a very conservative Episcopalian church (practically Anglican), with visits to a traditionally conservative Methodist church when I’m out of state seeing family.

My problems with historical Catholicism stem very much from my perception of it’s deviations from N.T. theology. I am still reading and re-reading Scripture (which I take as the authoritative word of God, though others are free to disagree), to determine what I believe about God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and The Church.

However, clinging to the verse, “no man can call [Jesus] Lord without the Holy Spirit”, I believe that we are all a lot more alike than we’d readily admit, and I think there will be some surprises for all denominations in heavan, when they see who their “brethren” have been all along.

I’m glad to have found such an articulate (and passionate) web forum. God bless you all!

–D <><

P.S. My “problems” with the Catholic church tend to be very few, but unfortunately disturbing to some of my Catholic friends who I definitely consider my brothers and sisters in Christ.


Well the Council of Trent certainly made a list. As well there are the recent commens by the Pope that non-Catholics do not have the full truth. In other words they are in error. He believes it, but then so do Protestants that who say the Catholic Church has erred.

However, leaving that aside, once a church starts teaching doctrine it is saying that those who do not share that view are wrong. That is inherent in any teaching and is difficult to avoid.


So is the pope wrong to say it? And/or are protestants wrong for teaching that the pope is not the leader of the Church?

quizzical expression

–D <><


I was raised in the Baptist church, and yes I was taught what is wrong with the Catholic faith, as well as the Methodist faith, Lutheran faith, Mormon faith, etc., etc. Basically the Baptist claim that they are the only faith that follows the Bible the “closest”.

Before I go on allow me to clarify that I am NOT a Baptist; I am a Christian.

Now, the argument used declaring that the Baptist follows the Bible the closest is not only used by the Baptist denomination; it is used by all the other denominations including the Catholics; remember the Catholic church is the “ONLY” true church. That is no different than the Baptist church saying they follow the Bible the closest.

I’ve always had a problem with the “bashing” that went on, and then I read the Bible, and I now know why the bashing goes on…

1Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

…the protestant church is not joined together in the same mind, nor in the same judgment. The various denominations are divided from one another by differences in interpretation of Scripture. According to the Bible, this shouldn’t be happening, so are they really in the church? How could they be? Can a fountain give both sweet water and bitter?

In the name of Jesus,



Perhaps you’ll find it interesting to view the post I made back in May on the very subject.

Were you taught negative information about another faith?

Peace be with you!



I believe Protestants are taught to be anti-Catholic, It either comes from their churches or parents or their enviroment, I even discovered that even the ones who deny being anti catholic and portray themselves as godly people are at the same time closet anti-catholics.

The Seventh Day Adventist are a good example of anti-catholocism, they base their Doctrine on it hence the importance of anticatholocism in their religion. most of what they teach is very innaccurate or misrepresented.


Since Protestants have split off from the One True Church founded by Christ… alot of them feel compelled to define their doctrine in terms of what they see as “wrong” with the Holy Catholic Church. Which of course leads to the whole reason for being called PROTESTant… they are protesting something or some understanding of the Catholic (Universal) Church.


Well, from what I see in online comboxes, heck yeah! :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, though. I was raised Episcopalian, and for the most part, the subject never came up. Of course, being Anglicans, we considered ourselves part of the Catholic Church, much like the Lutherans do. The running gag was that being Episcopalian was like being “Catholic Lite! All the ceremony, half the guilt!”

Now that I think about it, that’s kinda true in a sense :rolleyes:

I do know that some of the more “Reformed” or “evangelical” minded Anglicans can be rather anti-Catholic, and don’t get into a debate on ecclesiology with a hardcore Anglo-Catholic, or else you’ll end up running around in circles with them for hours. :smiley:


No, it’s not true of all protestants. I have attended several protestant churches over my life and I have never been told much of anything (good or bad) about Catholics at church. Maybe it’s because I’ve gone to mostly non or inter denominational Churches. They don’t like to be offensive to or endorse other groups.


Yes, but these lists are not presented at Mass during the homily, and nor do we find them in any of the various children’s Catechisms that are out there as the main teaching of the Church. Nobody ever says to a Catholic child, "You have to be Catholic because Protestants are wrong about this and this and this and this … " No. Protestantism is never even brought up in class. Rather, children are taught, “We have to be Catholic because the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ, and He established the Papacy with St. Peter, whose successor Pope Benedict XVI is now the leader of Christ’s Church, which is the Catholic Church.” And they say, “Yes, Teacher - this makes perfect sense.” And then they ask you some kind of completely off-the-wall question, and you end up giving a lecture that wasn’t on the lesson plan … Never mind, though, because you can go (as I have) for six years of Catechism classes and never once say the word Protestant, or mention their existence.

In fact, the majority of Catholics never encounter the word “Protestant” until they actually meet a Protestant, and that’s when they start to become curious, and then they begin to be taught about the relationship between Protestantism and Catholicism. But for the most part, Catholics have never even heard of Protestantism.

It’s probably more difficult the other way, because as a Protestant, when explaining where your Church came from, you have to give a date that has no relationship with when Jesus lived, and then you have to explain that the church founded by Christ, the Catholic Church, did something bad, etc., and then all the good people had to leave and become whatever you guys are, in whatever year you did that. :wink:

However, leaving that aside, once a church starts teaching doctrine it is saying that those who do not share that view are wrong. That is inherent in any teaching and is difficult to avoid.

That’s true. The bottom line is, who do we take as our authority?


Yes, that’s true. It’s rare that these churches will speak badly about anyone from the pulpit, though many of the believers will have suspicions and strong disagreements with the Catholic Church on certain issues.

Fortunately, formal demonization is reserved for the nuttiest of the Protestant sects. Most respect the Catholic Church on some level.


I grew up Roman Catholic and felt I was taught that everyone else was wrong. I remember very frankly stating to a friend of mine who was methodist that he was not going to heaven because he wasn’t Roman Catholic.

After leaving the Church for various reasons I started attending Worship services at a non-denominational church. Their doctrines are written pretty clearly. They hold that the Bible is the revelation God and our ultimate infallible authority. After reading the NT about 4 times I realize how arrogant my comments were to my methodist friend. Jesus tells us that salvation is through him. It’s not through any church. When we confess our acceptance of Jesus as our personal saviour we are saved and automatically become a member of His church. The Pope has no authority to tell anyone that salvation is through the Catholic church. Salvation is through Jesus and Jesus alone. I find the whole Dominus Iesus document to be judgemental which Jesus tells us not to do.

Our church has never spoken out against Catholics. 75% of the membership IS Roman Cathotholic and 8 out of every 10 new members comes from the Roman Catholic church. I suspect this is similar in alot of Protestant churches. I personally just didn’t feel that I was being fulfilled by the Catholic church services. But I know many people who are fulfilled by the Catholic church which is the most important thing. The beliefs that are different between Catholics and Protestants have no impact on salvation. You either believe with your heart in Jesus or you don’t.

I wish the bickering would stop because I feel that other non-Christian religions are laughing at us, saying that we Christians can’t even get along with one another. All Christians, Catholic/Protestant/Non-denom/whatever need to focus on the great commission in Matthew and focus on spreading the Gospel of Jesus to the lost. There are many people who need to be saved and Christian in-fighting doesn’t set a good example.

Peace and God Bless all of you:)


One of them, produced by CUF, does in fact point out the various heresies and schisms in upper elementary grades. It was in the grade 6 text I was using as a catechist two years ago. It doesn’t condem the churches by name, but does show how they rejected the church.


Really? I wasn’t aware of it.

We do have a section on identifying heresies, but we don’t get into anything about which churches follow which heresies - we just list the characteristics of each heresy and get the kids to be able to recognize them by name, so that if a Baptist, or anybody for that matter, including a badly catechized Catholic, comes up to them and tells them that Mary is only an incubator of Christ, they can say, “Ah! The Nestorian heresy!”

But we don’t say, “Baptists are Nestorian heretics,” because (as we see here on the Forum) not all Baptists believe the same things - people in general tend to have a kind of mix-and-match theological system, and usually they aren’t aware that what they themselves believe has very little in common with what the religion they identify themselves with actually teaches - and there are plenty of people out there calling themselves Baptists who have a very orthodox idea of the motherhood of Mary - so it is of very little use to paint any Protestant denomination with any particular label.

It’s actually more effective to teach them how to identify the heresies themselves, rather than telling them that this group or that group is heretical.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit