Has Protestantism influenced Catholicism? Many people claim that it has. If so, in what ways?

Has Protestantism influenced Catholicism?? Many people claim that it has. If so, in what ways? (Theologically, liturgically, ecclesiologically, sacramentally, in biblical scholarship and exegesis,etc.)

Please name some specific examples.

Were these influences beneficial to the Catholic Church or corruptive?

I don’t know if it is protestantism as much as secular society which has influenced the average Catholic Christian in the pew. For one thing, the divorce rate among Catholics is on par with the national average. Many protestant denominations accept divorce without problem, and many ex-Catholics have gone over to them because they don’t agree with Catholic teaching on this issue. Catholics have also become lax in reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation, and many I know have said - and using protestant terminology - that they can confess to God; they don’t have to go through a priest. Catholics have also given less and less importance to the Eucharist as the Real Presence. I think it’s over half who do not believe in the Real Presence anymore. More than half of Catholics practice artificial contraception which is against Church teaching - just as the protestants do. Many Catholics reflect the national norm saying that abortion is a personal decision for the woman and there shouldn’t be any laws or intervention to interfere with that decision. Most of these issues are accepted by the majority of protestant mainline denominations and are diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching, so, yes, I would say that protestantism has affected the Catholic Church and has made it more difficult to make sure its members understand the fullness of the Faith.

It has certainly influenced our church architecture. Thank goodness for the “JPII” priests I know who are bringing back stained glass windows, statues, etc. to the “renovated” Catholic Churches they are assigned to. I think Karl Keating wrote once that all new church construction and renovations should be put on hold until priests who went through the seminary in the 70’s have retired. I couldn’t agree more.

Both for good and for bad it has.

The good influences are that it led up to have the Council of Trent which sorted out abuses in the Church and it led us to allow liturgy in the vernacular, so people actually have a clue what’s going on.

The bad are primarily divisiveness and liberalism, aside from obviously leading loads of people into heresy and causing society to fall into postmodernism

One thing: Pews.

There were usually no seats in the Early Christian Churches; in fact, only a few Churches had pews before the Reformation (even today, many Eastern Churches do not have pews; only stands). Some of them were installed at the faithful’s expense (usually the rich ones) and oftentimes can be their personal property; no one else can sit on there. When Protestantism came with its emphasis on the Sermon as the central act of worship, the Pew became an indispensable element in Churches, even in Catholic ones.

Yes, in every way. The Church is influenced very much by its opponents. The rise of protestantism forced the west to take a stand against them. If there was no protestantism we probably wouldn’t have the last three councils. If there was no Arianism we would have never had the council of Nicea. If there was no Nestorianism(or atleast the perception of it) then would wouldn’t have had the council of Ephesus. And etc. Things would be much different.

Fundamentals who left leaflets on Karl Keating’s windshield lead to the Catholic Answers ministry.

In some ways, it’s the opposite. Catholicism has influenced Protestantism. Look at the Anglicans,Episcopalians,some Lutherans,some Methodists and some other Christian denominations. They have copied or retained some elements of our Mass,beliefs & practices. The vestments,Lord’s Prayer (Our Father),Nicean Creed,communion(not our belief in form),liturgical colors,liturgical seasons, processioal cross and processional, Prayers of the Faithful,incense,sprinkling with holy water, Marian days,altar servers,statutes,blessing of the animals,priests being called Father(Anglicans,Episcopalians),the Roman collar,the Confiteor,Lamb of God(Agnus Dei),Bishops, Deacons,Religious orders,Holy Holy Holy (Sanctus) and others I can not remember or are aware of. Maybe converts from other faith traditions can help with this list.
Also some look to the Pope on moral issues and other items,whether or not they agree or admit that they do look to the Pope.

Yes, it has influenced us.

A Lot of us want the Happy Clappy music. The LifeTeen movement is evidence of this.

It is impossible for any spearate groups with different religious, political, social structures and perspectives to live in the same culture without rubbing off on one another. Many Catholics think they decide for themselves what they personally believe about religious truth, a Protestant error. In much of Protestant Europe celbrating Christmas was illegal. When Protestants saw the tradtions in the U.S. they were drawn to them. How could Protestants and Catholics intermarry and not pass on both perspectives to children? The ways that they two groups influence one another are uncountable. Both are also influenced by secular anti-religion influences, ideas proposed in government schools, for example, and pop culture, movies and entertainment.

I think many in the Church have been affected by the Enlightenment project, which began about 300 years ago as an attempt to structure a society without God. It has three main premeses: 1) Secularism - which says God is dead, or He doesn’t care. 2) Relativism - which says we cannot know objective truth. and 3) Individualism - which says that the each individual is an island and his own final authority for truth. He has no intrinsic relation to anyone else, except as he consents. In other words, each individual is his own “god.” This Enligthenment project has been insidious as it has come to grow and infect our society. But, the good news is, we live in a great time! This Enlightenment project is bankrupt and will fall on its face sooner or later. And guess what? We have the ONLY game in town! We have the fullness of Christ’s truth! We will have to win back our country and our society, though. And the only way to do this is one soul at a time. Talk about a long row to hoe!


             I don't mean to side track this thread. Maybe it belongs on another thread. But I would like to know what do mean by your statement about Life Teen? My parish has LT since October 2001. I've been involved with it from the start. If you truly understood LT I don't think your infurence would be true. If, you saw the level of faith go up with the teens. Anyway I'm not going to go off topic.I just think you're not being fair. You are entitled to your own opinion.

Amen, from another grandfather. :thumbsup:

I see that term “happy clappy music” and realize that, ya, sure, some of it I do like. Some is good and some is pure dreck.

Also protestants influence Catholics a lot to the extent that 15%, of our cradle Catholics have been drawn away to join their ranks. That is 5% of the total population of the U.S. Want to make converts? Start in the pews of our Catholic Churches.

I hope that it is not being assumed that each and every Non Roman Church plays Happy Clappy music. The Music In My Lutheran Congregation is the same as in any Catholic Church.
Be Not Affriad , On Eagles wings.,Gifts of finest wheat, And others. My favorite goes like this “I the Lord of sea and Sky…” ( I am no musician) Music is Gospel or Christian and not Catholic or Protestant. I think if Catholics dared study the reformation period with an open mind and Went to a Lutheran Worship they would be amazed. with how much a like they are. In Fact once you look into it you will see that Catholics should thank Martin Luther for a number of things that were reformed. The ability of the lay people to partake in the Eucaharist for one. For years I judged Lutheran and believed what a priest said. Like so many things in life if you find out for yourself and do your Homework a lot things seem to make a lot more sense. Those people you attacked for years seem to know a lot more than you first thought.

That is what is meant by happy clappy. The two groups are equally guilty.

( I am no musician) Music is Gospel or Christian and not Catholic or Protestant. I think if Catholics dared study the reformation period with an open mind and Went to a Lutheran Worship they would be amazed. with how much a like they are. In Fact once you look into it you will see that Catholics should thank Martin Luther for a number of things that were reformed. The ability of the lay people to partake in the Eucaharist for one. For years I judged Lutheran and believed what a priest said. Like so many things in life if you find out for yourself and do your Homework a lot things seem to make a lot more sense. Those people you attacked for years seem to know a lot more than you first thought.


There are indeed similarities between heresy and orthodoxy.

Not sure about Catholicism as a whole, but Protestantism has influenced this Catholic.

God bless

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.


Some of what you list above were never given up. The following quote from the Augsburg Confession, the basic statement of Lutheran belief written in 1530, says:

Article XXIV: Of the Mass.

Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added to teach the people. For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned be taught [what they need to know of Christ]. And not only has Paul commanded to use in the church a language understood by the people 1 Cor. 14, 2. 9, but it has also been so ordained by man’s law. The people are accustomed to partake of the Sacrament together, if any be fit for it, and this also increases the reverence and devotion of public worship. For none are admitted except they be first examined. The people are also advised concerning the dignity and use of the Sacrament, how great consolation it brings anxious consciences, that they may learn to believe God, and to expect and ask of Him all that is good. [In this connection they are also instructed regarding other and false teachings on the Sacrament.] This worship pleases God; such use of the Sacrament nourishes true devotion toward God. It does not, therefore, appear that the Mass is more devoutly celebrated among our adversaries than among us.

There is no doubt that in 1530 there was a very strong adversarial relationship between the Lutherans and the Catholics, thus the use of the word “adversaries.” I would hope that in today’s world we can agree that we are not adversaries but, rather, brothers and sisters in Christ.

We Catholics were about 50 years behind protestants when It came to modern scholarly exegesis of the bible. We are now playing catch up. Thank God.


Ryan :slight_smile:

Some people (I’m not saying you) equate “modern scholarly exegesis of the bible” with the historical-critical method. This is a double-edged sword if not used correctly, however.

The historical-critical method, in its unbridled form, has destroyed the faith of countless Christians. Rudolf Bultmann (a Lutheran scholar), et. al., developed the historical-critical method specifically to demythologize the Bible.

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