The more I thought about this question the more I realized that it cannot really be answered in the way the poster probably thought it would be,
Protestantism. What exactly is it? It isn’t some monolith that stands in much the same way that the Catholic Church does. No, it consists of thousands of communities all believing basically what they want to and worshiping in whatever manner they see fit. Even amongst the groups that are affiliated with each other there are wide philosophical and theological issues which divide them.
I wouldn’t say that Protestantism itself has affected the Catholic Church as much as theological liberalism has. Theological liberalism arose in the mid to late 1800’s and by the mid 1930’s pretty much dominated the Protestant clergy and seminaries. What theological liberalism basically said that yes there was a God, yes there is historical truth of the man Jesus, love is important, the death of Christ was not salvific in nature it was mere martyrdom, sin is societal in nature and salvation comes from the uplifting of society in order to create the kingdom of God on earth. It rejected such arcane ideas as the Virgin Birth, the Holy Trinity, the inerrancy of the Bible, the bodily resurection of Christ anything supernatural at all contained in scripture as well as anything else in the Bible that could not be rationally explained. It was primarily a Germanic way of looking at things and it was ugly. In fact, it grew to be so big that many feel it comprised an entire new branch of Christianity. Don’t think for a second that these beliefs have died out either.
This belief so permeated Protestant theologians of the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s that it led directly to the fissioning of the Protestant groups into what we have today. The fundamentalists and conservatives pulled out to get away from the ideas that were being forced upon them by pastors who had studied these ideas in Germany. More than a few protetant theologians feel that the entire charismatic movement within the protestant communities began as a direct response to traditional religious ideas and beliefs being dumped on and ridiculed by the liberals. The moderates pulled out because they couldn’t accept the radicalness of the liberals. Hundreds of new denominations started springing up nation and world wide as a response to this.
Seminaries such as Princeton and Wharton once bastions of orthodox thought and ideology became little more than liberal cesspools, sorry for that strong a word, but Princeton rejected the Virgin Birth!! :eek: Other seminaries rejected the inerrancy of the bible. hard to believe but it is true
As many conservative protestant pastors have so truly said
**“The bad guys won” **
These ideas eventually declined somewhat in protestant circles but not before the Catholic Church got infected as well, .
particularly after Vatican II , although from association with protestant pastors the rot had set in years before that. While never reaching the extremes of protestant liberalism, the Catholic Church did become dangerously humanistic and man ceneterd in many areas, Not so much in dogma, but in practical application. For instance, many Catholics will argue that Sin is primarily societal and not personal in nature, and that people far from being prone to sin are really just kind of dumb and easily led. Many Catholics see the true mission of the Church as not being the salvation of souls and the worship of God, but rather the ethical uplifting of society. The betterment of Man.
So I would say that liberalism has affected the Church much more than the protestants have.