Can you help me find this anti-Catholic argument?


One time I came across an anti-Catholic website where someone wrote something akin to:

“When I was in Rome, I saw some children being led by the tomb of Pope John XXIII. They were encouraged to pray for his soul. Apparently even popes aren’t good enough to go straight to Heaven.”

The argument was against purgatory. But the irony is that it is as if they think that some people such as popes SHOULD go straight to Heaven by virtue of being popes. Yet they’ll turn around and claim that Catholicism is a “works” salvation. Whereas the Catholic =Biblical] teaching is that no one can go to Heaven by himself, and that there are probably many popes in Hell.

Has anyone else come across this in their apologetic work? I’d like to know what website it’s at, if it is still online at all.


I haven’t faced this specific one before, but it sounds like they are trying to impugn the holiness of life that we Catholics strive for. I think the implication is that we Catholics lack “assurance of salvation”, something that many n-Cs make a big hairy deal out of.

One thing that I have learned is that there is only one person that I can have any real effect in helping to avoid hell…that’s me. :slight_smile:


Most Protestants don’t believe that you have to be “sinless” or “perfect” to go to heaven.

They believe that JESUS’s perfection will become a believer’s perfection. They believe that when you die, it doesn’t matter what sins you have done. Jesus has not only forgiven them all, but covered them all. God sees JESUS, not you, and so you go to heaven.

(This belief is sometimes called the “snow-covered dunghill,” based on one of Martin Luther’s illustrations).

Catholics don’t believe this, of course. We believe that sin cannot enter heaven, and so we must become more and more like Christ until we are no longer sinful before we can enter heaven.

We believe that if this "becoming like Christ) doesn’t happen on earth, it will happen in purgatory, where our sins will be “burned away” and we will be made perfect, like Christ.

Yu can see why Protestants thinks that Catholics believe in “salvation by works.” They think that we are striving in our own strength and humanity to be “perfect” and “sinless.”

They don’t think that perfection is a requirement to enter heaven (even though the Bible says so).

Of course, Catholics don’t believe that we are capable of being perfect in our own human strength. We believe that ALL our goodness comes through the grace of God. We can do NOTHING apart from Him.

Catholics believe that human beings can grow in Christ to the point where we no longer sin and are like Christ. The Bible tells us this.

But Protestants don’t believe this. They believe that we can never be perfect or sin-free here on this earth, even though the Bible says that we can and should be perfect.

This is an example of where Protestants don’t really take the Bible literally, even though they say they do.

The Protestant who made the joke about the Pope was criticizing the “doctrine of works” that they think Catholics believe in. The joke is that if the Pope can’t “achieve” good works, then regular Catholics have no chance.

They are trying to convince you and others to abandon the “works” salvation and instead, embrace the “free gift of salvation” in which you aren’t expected to become perfect or sinless. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and let HIS good works cover up your sins and get you into heaven. (Catholics believe that this is a “selective” reading of the Bible, leaving out all the many verses about “working out your salvation” and “justified by works, not faith alone,” and “be perfect,” etc.)


I think it was a Catholic Saint, I can’t remember which, that said that Protestants spend an enourmosly long time in Purgatory because they have no one to pray for their souls when they die. This stems from their very misguided and man interpreted beliefs against Purgatory.

We Catholics know the importance of praying for the dead so they will have a speedier entry into Heaven.
When you show mercy for one, mercy will be shown to you.

Their teaching of salvation through just covering up sins with the merits of Jesus Christ is given by Luther who taught the world to invent new doctrines as well as divide christian unity.

Our loving Saviour Jesus Christ reminds us with these stern words, “Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:13.


Unfortunately, I’m sure Catholics today are having just a hard of time getting through purgatory. The practices of indulgences has been all but forgotten.

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