Protestants: What ONE Protestant alternative to Catholicism is essential?


When I left out “Protestants: …” in the the thread title, multiple Catholic responders misunderstood me and said things like 'There is no alternative to Catholicism" and “only Catholicism is true.”

I can’t please everyone. :sweat_smile:


Are not most people situated where they believe is most appropriate?

Well, as one non-Catholic has already said, they suppose that multiple groups like some Lutherans and Anglicans are ultimately the same since they are in communion with each other.

And there are still other Protestants who consider Protestant denominations to be flavors of the same “mere Christianity” of sorts.


Such a statement contradicts what the Catechism states. Do you reject the current Catechism of the Catholic Church as valid?

What an interesting comment. I have met many Protestants who live their faith more authentically than many Catholics.

[quote=“catholic1seeks, post:6, topic:489433”]

Here you are likely to get Catholic defenses for the Catholic faith.

Is that because you don’t “go” now?


Here you are likely to get Catholic defenses for the Catholic faith.

It won’t let me move the thread this late in the game.

Earlier I did link it from my Anglican thread in non-Catholic. So maybe it will get some traffic from there.


May I move it?


If you can.


Well, yes, of course they were.
How this branch of the historical CC, the Protestant branch, is organised is another matter. I’m not so sure that it needs to be one colossus, I think different focus and flavours of worship is just fine. Compare the various orders religious within the EO and RCC, it’s a parallell.


Yes I agree in general as well.

I think we just have the ask the all-important question of how do we know where those boundaries are? E.g., Ignatius of Antioch in the early 2nd century said allegiance to the local bishop was necessary. Cyprian and Irenaeus a few decades later say that all churches need to be in communion with Rome, which was the “chair” of the church, founded in Peter.

Etc., etc.,

So yes, diversity is good.

But are two different, diametrically opposed views on Christ good diversity? Is a purely symbolic view of the Eucharist and a wholly realistic Eucharist both valid perspectives?

And so the Catholic would say:
Diversity is good, and indeed, part of what “Catholic” means, in the first place. But the Church is also “one” and “apostolic,” and because the church is visible, all these aspects are attached to real flesh-and-blood realities, like Eucharistic communion and apostolic succession.


Also, just another point to that post of yours I just replied to:

Many Protestants would indeed gladly say that they are the continuity of the original Catholic Church. Some would even be so friendly as to say that (Roman) Catholicism is just as valid (even if messed up in the 16th century).

And yet, many Protestants would also fiercly reject the idea of belonging to the “Catholic Church.” Some would say that the title “Catholic Church” has always been associated with the same institutions that in fact are corruptions* of the original church. Some point to Constantine, or the Popes, or the Dark Ages, and so on. But all in all, we have to admit that many Protestant groups simply don’t have this continuity in mind. Pre-Protestant church history is just too “Catholic” for them.


As has been discussed at length in the non-Catholic forum, the dividing line between Real Presence and a symbolic Eucharist runs within the Protestant branch, it’s not the dividing line between Catholics and Protestants (though there is different terminology used).
There’s material on this up on the Vatican site, I’ll see if I can find the link.

And no, the RCC and the Real Presence Protestants are NOT in Eucharistic communion, bc we disagree about other things.


Just as important about the Eucharist is its sacrificial reality, though.

That’s a major sticking point, because it’s also associated with the ideas of ministerial priesthood and Apostolic Succession.

Like, my Protestant friend who is non-denomination will gladly say she accepts real-presence. But her church is very different from Catholicism in almost every other respect. The belief in real presence is not enough for oneness of the Church.


Protestants vary. A great deal.
It’s not really productive to bunch them all together, except for the fact that they branched off from the medieval CC in various steps.



Yes I would never want to group people together like that.

But I think the diversity in Protestantism is the basis of this thread’s question, actually.

What diversity is too much diversity? What is essential?

I think you have provided good answers from a Protestant perspective. I think we both agree on basic points but disagree on how they are applied.

We both see the “Catholic Church” as encompassing legitimate diversity. But what is the extent of this diversity, and how do we know? That is where we differ. We both agree that JWs and Mormons on not part of the historic, apostolic Catholic Church. So there are boundaries, even amonst fellow Christ-followers.


I’d say the priesthood of all believers is a crucial concept, verging on non-negotiable. And apostolic succession, some denominations don’t care, others do but interpret it differently from RCC. Again, if you talk about all Protestant YMMW.


Catholicism also professes a universal priesthood, but not in exclusion to a ministerial one.

I think what helps on this point is putting 2 and 2 together (or whatever the phrase is):

All Christians are priests.
Christ clearly commissioned some Christians to be set apart with ministerial/leadership functions.
Therefore, there are priests who minister to the rest of the faithful. I.e., ministerial priests.

But see, I know most Protestants exclude the Catholic understanding of priesthood. And yet, according to you, the Catholic Church (centered in Rome) is still a part of the one Catholic Church (as you define it)? Right? So I think the idea that multiple doctrines that are quite opposing seem, to me, to betray the theory of “One Church” uniting multiple Christian groups.


I sort of see three main Protestant clusters - the liturgical Protestants (Lutherans/Anglicans/Episcopalians/Methodists/OldCatholics etc), the reformed/Calvinists (presbyterians etc) and the descendants of the anabaptists, the more charistmatic groups (baptists, pentecoastals etc) - with soft borders and overlaps. It’s not an exact science, just an indication.

JW and Mormons - it may be debated if they are trinitarian christians at all. Not my call to make. We might posit a fourth cluster of misc non-RCC protestants.


As I am sure you are aware, Catholics would regard most of the groups you listed as fellow Christians, and therefore part of the Body of Christ.

But because of the nature of the Church, it’s not as if simply being a Christian means one is fully participating in the life of the Church.

So individual Protestants are certainly part of the Church, but they are estranged from the Catholic Church, in a sense. That’s what the whole deal is with the “ecclesial community.” I know that sounds very offensive, and it’s not the best idea, simply because the word “church” has it’s own connotations that aren’t technical. But the point is that groups of Protestants are groups of Christians, but their visible institutions aren’t Catholic, because they are setting up their “chairs” outside the visible communion of the church, to use Cyprian of Carthage’s language.

I’m sure there is something analogous in your beliefs. I’m assuming you would agree that there are some Protestant groups that are closer to the truth than others, right? Some Protestants get Eucharist wrong, some get it right.

Our difference is how we know where this boundary is — how we know where the fullness of the Church is. And did Christ want us to know? Did he want to provide us this fullness? Catholics, of course, say that his shepherds that act in his stead on Earth, the bishops united in Peter, are visible signs of the communion of the Church. For it is around them that the Eucharist is celebrated, and it is around them that the Tradition of the Faith is passed on, guarded, and interpreted.

I wish we had Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, etc. Rites, Orders, liturgies, even theological traditions. I think it’s possible to have. It’s just the visible unity Christ willed for is currently lacking in his Body. There is a way for all to be united, and I think Christ has provided the means already: His Holy Spirit, the Eucharist, Apostolic Succession, the office of the Bishop of Rome, and so on…


Well, as the resident Catholic heretic on this forum (at least that’s what I’ve been called by a few posters) I’d like to ask a question.
In the incident of the young rich man coming to Jesus with a question, he asks, “what must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus answers simply, “Obey the Commandments.” As a boy I thought that was simple, everyone knew the Ten Commandments. That was until I learned there were 613 commandments in the Torah. So, in answer, Jesus says, obey the commandments. PERIOD. (And Jesus only enumerates the social commandments) Yes there was a continued dialogue, but I have to ask, if the young man had simply said thank you to Jesus and turned to walk away, would Jesus had run after him saying something like “hey wait a minute, I have more to say, and I have this great zinger about a camel and an eye and a needle…” No, Christ’s simple answer to the question of what is necessary for eternal life was simply obey the Ten Commandments. And if you notice He didn’t enumerate the first three (four if you use the Protestant version), They were a given to a faithful Orthodox or even Ultra Orthodox Jew of Christ’s time.
So, as a Catholic “fly in the ointment” on this thread, wouldn’t the ONE thing a protestant would have to have as an alternative to Catholicism, is the very thing all Catholics must have for eternal life; to obey God’s Law given to Moses on Sinai.
My $.02



You may have been a Catholic heritic and I have been “not very Christian” or "why are you even Christian " and worse but that reply deserves a 1000 likes.

(And Catholics on here actually wonder why Protestants exist?)


So we must follow the Old Testament laws?

I’m confused.

Love is the summation of the Law.

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