ok so i’m a college student from a Hindu background going through RCIA, and i keep hearing things from Protestants saying that Catholics are doing it wrong, and Catholics saying that Protestants are doing it wrong. my question is, does it really matter? like i know somewhere in the Bible, Jesus tells a guy that you’ll get in heaven if you love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. so as long as you’re doing that, does following a different denomination make what you’re doing incorrect?
The Catholic vs Protestant debate has been going on since the 1500’s with Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses on the church door on Oct 30th, 1522.
Some people from both sides will point the finger and claim that the other side is wrong and their side is right. In both cases they are wrong because with the exception of several christian cults and some of the nondenominational Protestant church, I think the truth lives somewhere in the middle.
As far as I’m concerned both the Protestant and Catholic churches teach the words of Jesus Christ in similar and yet very different ways. How to decipher this right and wrong is too complicated to get into however, coming from someone who has a strong background in both traditions, I don’t think it matters. As long as a person is following a God following christian church such as the baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Anglicain etc who really cares. In the end it is theology that divides people and it is Christ’s love that connects everyone together.
I grew up non-Catholic, and to a degree anti-Catholic. I am now Catholic, having gone through RCIA like you are doing now.
I am Catholic because it is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
The Catholic Church has all of the Sacraments. It is practiced today as it was nearly 2,000 years ago. It has a continuous, and unbroken lineage with the Church that Jesus Christ founded.
More than anything else, it has the Body and Blood or our Lord present at every Mass.
It does matter, there are significant differences in beliefs such as how one is saved- many Protestant denominations believe salvation van never be lost once one professes faith in Christ. As Catholics we belief salvation is on going and that if one turns away from God and dies in a state of unrepented mortal sin salvation can be lost. Protestants generally believe the doctrine of Solace Scriptura meaning that only the bible is the word of God, as Catholics we believe in sacred Tradition. Other aspects such as the priesthood and the Eucharist have been rejected by many Protestant traditions.
There are many good Protestants and I’m sure many saints who were Protestant, but the fullness of truth is in the Church Jesus himself founded- the Catholic Church.
For some posters it is very important to exclude other Christians by citing dogma and arguing positions that are out of date and not reflective of current ecumenism. There are Lutheran posters who claim other Lutherans are not really Christian. And Catholic posters who dismiss others as not fully Christian.
Thankfully those engaged in healing holy Church focus on salvation in Christ.
It can matter, but it shouldn’t. By demonizing people who don’t agree with our beliefs, we’re no worse than the people who persecuted Christ in his time for being what He was in history, a schismatic Jew.
Our Lord founded a Church and the Holy Spirit invigorated it at Pentecost, this was done by the will of and for the glory of the Father. The Holy Trinity is one God and there is one Lord Jesus Christ, so too is there one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Scriptures teach that Jesus gave a special primacy to Peter by virtue of his faith but to all of the Apostles He entrusted the care of His Church, the shepherding of the faithful and the administering of the sacred rites. This office did not die with the Apostles but was passed on to those faithful, chosen by the Apostles by the imposition of hands. The authority and the jurisdiction of the Apostles is universal and is safeguarded by the power and promise of the risen and glorified Christ.
To be brief, we must conclude that: where the Apostles are, namely Peter, there is the Church. So, logically, we must find the line of unbroken Apostolic succession and see where this power and witness lies. This is the Catholic Church. Within Protestantism (of which I am a former adherent) there lies no such succession. Furthermore we must find where the Sacraments, the “powers that forth from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving” (CCC 1116), exist in fullness of truth and viability; chiefest of these the Holy Eucharist, in which we eat the Flesh of Our Lord and drink His Blood, as He commanded.
Finally, the Catholic Church is not simply one denomination among many and not all of these denominational churches teach the fullness of truth or the fullness of the Gospel concerning the Holy Trinity, the Eucharist, Baptism, Apostolic Succession, the Virgin Mary etc… In the end, if we follow the “you’re ok, I’m ok.”, brand of Christianity we must only end in chaos and our God is not the author of confusion. This type of thinking has given rise to the “I love Jesus but hate the Church” irreligion of many modern believers in Christ. If we love the Lord, who is the Bridegroom then we must love the Bride and ensure that she remains as Our Lord intended when He prayed: “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”
(Jn. 17:21). May God bless you on your journey of faith.
Before Christ left the earth, he established his church and passed its mission on to his apostles.
His apostles passed the mission on to their successors through the sacrament of holy orders.
Jesus said to his apostles “whoever hears you hears me.” He said to Peter “Thou art Peter (rock) and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth you will loose in heaven.”
The apostles and their successors have the authority to teach infallibly, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, on matters of faith and morals. Not everyone has this charism. The apostles and their successors also have passed onto us the fullness of the faith as it was delivered to us by Christ, in the scriptures and in sacred tradition.
The bishops of the Catholic Church are the successors of the apostles. The pope is the successor of Saint Peter. The church has the guarantee of infallibility: when we are obedient to the pope and to the bishops, we can be sure that we are on the right track. When we heed the teachings of the Catholic Church, we can be sure we are heeding the teachings of Christ. Because Christ himself promised this.
Not only that, but the Church provides us with the sacraments, which were also given to us by Christ, to bring us spiritual life.
Protestants, on the other hand, reject the teachings of the Church and only use the scripture, and have interpreted it in hundreds of different ways. Thus they trust their own judgment over that of the church, but because they do not have the charism of infallibility, they fall into error. And since they have broken from the Church which Jesus founded, they do not have the gift of holy orders and as such do not have valid sacraments.
So yes, it really does matter whether you are Catholic or Protestant.
You’ve had some great, solid answers which explain the authenticity and completeness of the Catholic Church. I’ve spent 38 years as a Protestant, for which I thank God; but very recently He led me home to the Catholic Church, for which I’m thanking Him even more! You are on a journey of faith which God is shepherding you along. Enjoy the RCIA. Concentrate on what you are gradually learning, what lies at hand on your path, and don’t get distracted with debates which lie off your track at the moment. All truth will gradually be unfolded to you!
Protestantism is distinctly European in its genesis, its culture, its motives and its history. If you are European, I can see you considering it. But, if you are not European, what is so special about the political/economic/religious upheaval there and the bold new German theology that sprang up in Europe less than 500 years ago? Christ’s Church is not geo-oriented - it is headquartered in Rome, but is universal in nature and has a presence of some type in every nation on earth - in seeking to fulfill Matthew 28:20.
The proper position for Catholics to hold is that all who are validly baptized are in a certain communion with the Catholic Church, but an imperfect communion. All bible-based communities do not and cannot possess all of God’s revealed truth, because God did not commit all of His revelation to writing. Bible-based Christianity is defined, by both the 2,000 year old Catholic and 2,000 year old Eastern Orthodox as being incomplete. Their bibles are incomplete and their theology is incomplete. We call each and every one of our brothers and sisters to a complete communion and Christian unity. Do we often fail at this? Yes, we do.
If you love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself your justice is complete. IMO the Catholic Church-her teachings and practices-provide the best and surest means to get there.
XD1993. You asked,
. . . . my question is, does it really matter?
There are many differences. I’ll relate one.
A Protestant Service
Protestants have no ministerial Priesthood and have no Holy Eucharist.
Most Protestants teach that what they have at their services are mere bread and wine (or grape juice).
We agree with them on this point that what they have at their services are mere bread and wine (or grape juice).
Catholics teach that not only is Jesus present body, blood, soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist but there is no bread or wine that remains after the consecration (just the appearances or “accidents” remain).
The vast majority of Protestants don’t believe this and the one’s that do, are often coming into the Catholic Church.
I worship Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. I affirm Jesus as GOD almighty in the Eucharist.
The Protestants that I alluded to refuse to.
Only one position can be correct.
If I am wrong, this would be idolatry and is a very serious sin.
Considering this, do YOU really think it matters?
Coming from an atheist background, I see what you are saying. Some religions are so far from Christianity that the Catholic/Protestant difference seem very minor.
I knew nothing of Christian denominations, and for a short time went to an Episcopalian church, while also going to Catholic mass. I couldn’t discern any difference in teachings. When I became curious about the beginnings of the Episcopalian church, and found it was a church coming from “some guy”, even if that guy was a King, I was done going to the Episcopalian service. I don’t have the psychological tolerance for churches that are started by a singular POV of one man.
Yours is a a good question, that a Catholic friend answered as, I am Christian because of a Christ, I am Catholic because of the Sacraments, and the Communion of Saints is a bonus gift.
Over time, I’ve come to better understand the nuances in the Catholic/Protestant differences, but they still seem minor to me. Probably always will, because of my non-Christian background. In the end, I could not deny where God led me. Participation in RCIA being a huge indicator for me, as I never imagined in my life to find myself that interested in religion.
God bless you in your discernment.
It matters if you consider the Popes, the Sacraments (especially Baptism, Penance, Eucharist and Holy Orders), and the role of Mary and the saints in the Catholic Church.
I’ll take a different approach here and say no, it doesn’t matter.
Most doctrinal differences are tiny except for the Eucharist perhaps.
Are you kidding?? Have you read some of the previous posts? The differences are pretty big.
I did, which ones?
I said the Eucharist. To Catholics, Baptism, Succession and the Saints are important. To Protestants we do not argue with such things even though we disagree.
Loving God with all your heart means doing what He says.
Belonging to the One, True Church, the Catholic Church that He founded and all that that entails (Sacraments) is a part of that. So if the Truth matters to you then I think that is the answer to your question.
I would ask It matter for what? for salvation? for a better World? for obey what Jesus command?
I hear a phrase yesterday on my Pray group, that I like a lot,
They a have a Black and White Television, We have a High Definition TV
also let me share something with you, the other day I was driving Home with my daughter and she told me, Look Daddy a Christian Church, and then we pass another block and she saw another one I think that was a Seventh day Church, And we saw a Presbyterian Church, and I am not lying to you next to that church was a christian fellowship church , two blocks more that was a a Huge Baptist Church, then almost getting close to Home we saw on a shooping center a little church call “ardiendo en fuego Church” I think the translation is Burning In Fire church, So my point is you think it matters, Off course you see now, we have a thousands of churches everywhere, which they own authority, they own Beliefs and rules, which is one is the only protestant church?
Interesting. I feel inspired when I drive by Church after Church.
I only wish the same was possible in the middle east where Churches are bare.