Debating with protestants who just won't listen


Just some background before I ask my questions:

I was raised an Orthodox Jew, and discovered traditional Catholicism via my Italian grandmother (my mother was a convert to Orthodox Judaism circa 1944). I’ve been a traditional Catholic ever since the age of 18.

After my conversion (which I studied for with a very traditional priest at my local parish, this was 1978), I became deeply emmeshed in Church history, apologetics, hermeneutics, moral theology, and canon law. I began debating protestants, and after a lapse of some years to raise my family, I’ve returned, this time online.

Maybe because I was never a protestant I don’t understand this, but WHY are they so close-minded and harbor such irrational and frankly ridiculous hatred for the true Church? Were they raised that way? The ex Catholics can be just as bad if not worse, and I find often turned against the Church for marriage reasons (divorced, wanted to remarry, Church wouldn’t let them, so they went to a protestant sect that would let them).

One question my son asked me, and I had to admit I did not know the answer: a heretic is a baptized Catholic who has chosen to deny certain central dogmas of the Faith (Luther having been a good example).

But what is someone who was raised in a protestant group, never baptized Catholic, and simply believes as they do because they don’t know any better? What category do they fall into? Heretic? Schismatic?

I remember learning that there are Infidels, Apostates, Schismatics, and Heretics: Infidels are the unbaptized; Apostates are baptized Catholics who ahve entirely given up the Faith; Schismatics are those who deny the Papacy, and Heretics are those who still claim to be Christian (Catholic), yet who0 deny certain key articles of the Faith.


You can’t make someone listen. All you can do is plant seeds and pray.


Christ called us to evangelize. Debate rarely works as an evangelization tool.


I just find them very irrational and entirely ignorant of Church history, esp. first century history. And no matter what information you give them, they just keep ranting. What motivates their irrationality and hatrred for the Church? Ironically their hatred cements in my mind that the Catholic Church is true, because only this Church conjures up such ignorant, irrational hatred. Must be the true one, why else would satan go all out to attack Her?


I agree. People can be stubborn and pig-headed. That is the nature of free will. All I know is that in the heat of argument, few people suddenly say: “gee, I have been wrong all my life”. It is a tough situation, I have friends who criticize Catholic teachings and won’t listen either.


Presuming the Protestant baptism was in the Name of Father Son and Holy Spirit, then they were baptized into the Catholic Faith, and are heretics.

I agree it is ridiculous how some of them are. But remember they are dear brothers of ours. We battle not against flesh and blood, but against pricipalities. See them as deceived by the devil in some way and things seem much clearer.

Orthodox, Old Catholics, Sedevacantists, etc would be schismatics.


You are right, of course. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that (re their baptism)!


In Christ’s time there were the unbelieving Jews and the believing Christians (made up of Jews and Gentiles). What is it that they believed? That Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah. The Jews had a different idea of what their Messiah would be and what He would do.

Catholics believe in Christ’s church here on earth. Protestants have a different idea of what Christ’s church is.

Take them back to the beginning. Ask a protestant how the Bible came together (it was a Catholic Council). It didn’t just fall out of the sky. Btw, Luther eviscerated the Bible, so the protestants are left lacking.


The OP was describing someone specifically as being "close-minded and harbor such irrational and frankly ridiculous hatred for the true Church."
Irrational hatred for the Truth is not from God, but from the enemy.


I apologize for jumping to conclusions. Please forgive me.


My wife says I am always jumping to conclusions and that is the only exercise I get.


I’m going to open with “because they are human”. Humans hold all sort of stupid contradictory beliefs. I never found an atheist that had sensible political beliefs, i’m sure they exist but i never met one. They consider themselves the height of rationality on religion but most are frothing-at-the-mouth marxists. Protestants are no different.


Becuase that’s what they are taught. No one wants to hear that they’ve been lied to about church history.
Just drop it.
They’re not listening, adn you’re not going to change them. If they wanted to, they would research on their own.


[quote=“AnnetteJoan, post:1, topic:464339, full:true”]
Just some background before I ask my questions:

One question my son asked me, and I had to admit I did not know the answer: a heretic is a baptized Catholic who has chosen to deny certain central dogmas of the Faith (Luther having been a good example).

But what is someone who was raised in a protestant group, never baptized Catholic, and simply believes as they do because they don’t know any better? What category do they fall into? Heretic? Schismatic?

As I understand it the CC now calls these people, myself included, “brothers and sisters in Christ.”

It is unfortunate that some non-Catholics are not very Christlike in their attitudes toward the CC, but you know, just look at the posts above to see that the attitude of some Catholics is not much better toward non-Catholics.

It seems the Church has a difficult time educating the laity.


No worries, God bless


Americans in general know little and care less about history and tradition. So that argument is lost with lots of people. People live in the here and now and can’t imagine why we want to cling to “old-fashioned ways.”

As more and more people lose faith all together and become more educated, the old hatreds for the Church as the abomination and the Pope as the anti-Christ (aka Chick comic types) are waning. But new hatreds among the secular-minded have arisen.


Because we come to faith by grace, it follows that there is such a thing as invincible ignorance: that is, ignorance of the truth that follows not from willful refusal to believe the truth but from an inability to see that it is true.

Look in the Catechism: Part III, Section 1, Chapter 1; it explains it better than I could. Here is an excerpt:


1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.

1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time "from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith."60

The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards of moral conduct.61


It wouldn’t hurt to pray. May the Holy Spirit assist and guide your Protestant brethren.


That’s incorrect. “Separated brethren” is what the CC now calls these people.

Absolutely. Since both sides contain actual people. It’s a human problem rather than a Catholic/Protestant problem.

It seems all of them do. When I was a young Baptist, we called other uneducated Baptists “bubble-gum Christians” because they were so seemingly vapid.

It’s the classic problem of “how do you educate someone not particularly motivated to learn?”.

It seems you really can’t.


The main issue I have encountered with Protestants is bible reading. While only a dozen of some full Protestant congregations attend a bible study, they prefer their leader to be quoting scripture upon answering their questions. Dogmatic priests are what many Catholics prefer and some request scripture citations.

To be among them peacefully, they expect a respect of the most important fact being “Jesud died and Rose from the dead for our sins.” But, then scripture arises and I try to remember bible stories which taught us valuable lessons to counter their proclamations of orthodoxy. Especially Joseph, the poor child who was treated so wrongly by his brothers and finally rewarded. As you can probably tell I am part Jewish myself and that resonates with me beyond belief. So, while many Protestants like to say, (and some Catholics are not less guilty by a mile) that a suffering person deserves or earned it, we should hold true to bible stories.

Christianity is not avoiding masturbation and putting money in a basket. Judaism and Christianity offer far more. It is a complex faith with a modest and humble center which fills your heart with feelings from all ages, beating with the love of Christ.

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