Question to Protestants about interacting with Catholics

Question to fellow Protestants:
How much do the personalities of Catholics you know in real life, those with whom you interact on CAF, and those you may listen to on Catholic media influence your perception of Catholicism in general?

For example, is your perception of Catholicism solely based on Catholic doctrine or is it based to any extent on your experience in interacting with individual Catholics on CAF or elsewhere?

For example, I admire many Catholics on Catholic radio (EWTN), such as Fr John Riccardo, Fr Larry Richards, Fr Mitch, Fr Wayne Menezes, Jimmy Akins, Dr Ray, Al Kresta, etc. On CAF, I enjoy reading comments from and interacting with folks like @Lenten Ashes and a few others. Their approach to Catholicism is more invitational than confrontational, and they are more patient and respectful of Protestant Christianity. Their attitude makes me more open to the rest of what they have to say. If they represent the majority of Catholics, I could potentially see myself becoming one some day, provided I can work through a few doctrinal concerns I have. I used to have more issues, but they have been whittled down to just a few now.

On the other hand, I don’t know many Catholics in real life. When I see those on CAF who debate doctrine seem to be more of the “slash and burn” and “take no prisoners” radical traditionalist approach and seem to be out to humiliate and belittle Protestants, it makes me wonder which type of Catholic more accurately reflects Catholicism in America and the world.

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Responding as a Catholic here. The reason it appears that many take a “slash and burn” attitude is because some Protestants come on here to pick a fight, which should be expected. As should a Catholic expect such a fight if they go on a Protestant forum and start baiting folks with the perennial Catholic vs. Protestant arguments.


As a Catholic, the other Catholics I know are all pretty nice people. Some could be more informed or enthusiastic about their faith, but that’s just my opinion.

Question in exchange: what is the typical attitude among Protestants groups towards Catholics? I don’t really know many in real life, and the descriptions in some CA articles about vitriolic, closeminded, virulently anti-Catholic Protestants who put Jack Chick tracts on windshields makes me nervous at times- I want to argue reasonable with others, not get into a shouting match.

I agree that some of the attitudes are defensive, and we should be learning by now that this doesn’t work. And the Church’s own position now as reflected by Vat II documents, the catechism, as well as writings of our recent popes, etc, demonstrate an almost reversal of the isolationist and antagonist mentalities that developed with the Reformation and lasted well into the 20th century. A magnanimous and mature love opposes fear and pride-having no need for either. That’s the ideal anyway and I truly think the Church is getting better and better at achieving it. We’re in a battle of defending truth-not ourselves.

I think you make a category error. Catholic is not Catholicism. Anti-Catholicism (belief/practice), is not necessarily anti-Catholic (person), and that includes ‘Jack Chick’.

Can you please clarify?

About the difference between anti-Catholic and anti-Catholicism, I mean.

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2Ti_2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

2Ti_1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

I am interested in those concerns. What was the list you had previously, and what is that list now?

“ism” is belief/practice.

“ic” is person who believes an “ism”.

The two things are not the same.

So, a person can absolutely and rightly hate a doctrine/practice, and not necessarily hate the person.

Rev_2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Rev_2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Psa_119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Psa_119:128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

I’m not a Protestant, yet I’m hopeful most of them are reasonable and intelligent people. Therefore they’d figure that Catholics are like the rest of humanity!
We’ve got people that are kind, pushy, rude, welcoming, loving, nasty, those that know their faith and those that don’t. So I hope they form their opinions accordingly (and charitably!)

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Wow, big topic:

Quite a bit. In real life it can really run the gamut. My wife and a few people in her parish are OK with non-Catholics…but that can run to people who really don’t want them around, make comments, the priest can put them down, etc…much the same as the “slash and burn” “take no prisoners” users here. It makes me feel quite uneasy about going to church with my in-laws, wife and kids. Same thing with some of the “take no prisoner” users here. It makes me feel very uneasy and unwelcome at Mass.

Ditto. There are quite a few users here that I also respect and feel more comfortable conversing with. @TheLittleLady comes to mind. I thought Fr. Mike can have some good stuff, but his video on “mixed” marriages really turned us off. Jimmy Aikins can be pretty good as well. Patrick Madrid is one I won’t listen to anymore. Much like Fr. Mike after I heard his opinion on mixed marriage he lost me.

All I can say is, I think “it depends”. I think this can depend on location, overall Parish culture (which can be set by church leadership), and geographical location. We’ve been to some Parishes that has really turned my wife (and me) off to attending due to the overall culture towards non-Catholics. If she (we) had been someplace that was a bit more “separated brotheren”" where I would have been seen as more part of the community I’m sure I would have been more open to becoming Catholic myself. But, with the hoops we had to jump through to get married, some of the things we’ve heard, read, seen in her parish and what I’ve read here it makes the decision much tougher. That and 8 months of RCIA…:man_shrugging:

IMHO, of truly practicing Catholics I think they’re going to lean a little more towards the “take no prisoners” side and ones who don’t attend Mass that often, Cafeteria, CEOers they’ll lean more towards more invitational. IDK, I’m sure YMMV and there will be some on each side of the isle who will be outliers.

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I’m in a similar situation. To answer your question, however, I would say all of the above, as listed more or less in your own post. I have one Catholic brother who I see a few times each year. We always talk about church related things. I’ve read extensively on Catholic history and doctrine. I listen regularly to Catholic personalities on You Tube. I see a small number of people, and only occasionally, at work with whom I talk about the Church. If had to single out one thing, though, it would be the reading I’ve done. Through this I learned that everything, absolutely everything I had been told about the big, bad Catholic Church, was wrong.


I have lots of interactions on Catholic media and in real life. Some of the Catholics in my family are very humble, devout, loving people. Some are marginal Catholics, but are equally nice people and I enjoy their company. Interactions I have here are sometimes good, sometimes bad. It really depends on how the interaction starts and how it unfolds as we discuss issues. In general I tend to stick to threads that talk about scripture or general topics asking for a general opinion, or to topics that are specifically asking about Protestant beliefs. I will also frequently interject when someone makes a statement within a thread about Protestant belief that is either a misrepresentation or outright wrong. Sometimes these go well; however, frequently what you also see here is that someone asks a question, you answer their question, then you get attacked for that answer. Frequently these become ad hominem attacks against ourselves or prominent figures in our theological camp. If you defend your belief you get flagged for being “offensive” which is normally code for “I disagree with you.” But that is just part of the game, it is built into the terms of use, so it is what it is. There are some people who are careful to try not to twist our beliefs and what we say about ourselves, and I am grateful for their interaction. Others purposefully twist what we say about ourselves, our doctrine, or purposefully erect strawmen to evade our response. Online interactions tend to be a mixed bag. I do like to listen to a lot of Catholic opinions on secular issues as well, so for example, I frequently like to listen to Matt Walsh comment on politics. Frequently we are closely aligned on issues because we are cut from the same cloth. Sometimes we disagree, and that’s fine. It really just depends on the person. I am sure this goes both ways though. I know that I can be abrasive when someone goes out of their way to back me into a corner, and I know that some segments of Protestantism can be pretty nasty to Catholics. So I get it.


Hi Tommy

Southern Baptist with a Reformed theology here.

I personally know very few Catholics in real life and those that I do, I barely if ever interact with them. It’s not that I have anything against them, they are mostly mere acquaintances. In any case, although the behavior of how Catholics behave in interfaith dialogues could have some effect, to me it’s not the biggest determiner of how I perceive Roman Catholicism. I know that people come in all manner of temperaments, some kind, some hateful and degrees in between. This doesn’t affect me a whole lot although, there are some that just plain turn you off. For example, I’m familiar with an online Jehovah’s Witness apologist, who if you scratch beneath the surface reveals himself to be arrogant, condescending, rude, and a profane mocker to those who dare disagree with him. This type of attitude drives some would-be prospects away.

For me, it’s scriptural and doctrinal issues that matter most of all. The question to me is, how does a particular denomination treat the word of God? Do they try to find the interpretation that God intended when He inspired the text and to what degree to they allow faulty man-made traditions to color their perceptions of the Bible?

Since I believe that the Bible is God-breathed and authoritative on all that it clearly teaches, it’s essential to find the correct contextual and comprehensive witness of Scripture on all matters of faith, morals and everything else.

I have attended Mass on several occasions recently and this took me back to my RCC upbringing as a child. I very much enjoy the quiet atmosphere of reverence and respect towards God that are there. Conversely, I don’t much care for the modern music (i.e. Christian Contemporary) that I find to be noisy, often theologically shallow, and annoying. I’m somewhat nostalgic for the faith of my youth, but then, nostalgia only counts for so much. Finding as much of God’s truth as I can and living in accordance with it and it’s Divine Author is what matters most to me.

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That was definitely not my intent, but I get your point. My experience has been that most Protestants who come to CAF to pick a fight don’t last long because they get suspended after a short time (and rightly so if they are disrespectful of Catholicism) or they realize that Catholics on CAF “know their stuff” and know how to deal with typical Protestant misconceptions.

The Protestants who have been here a long time are more respectful and are usually able to engage in dialogue with Catholics in a more civil manner.

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This would be a topic for a different thread and would take a lot more time. I don’t want to divert this thread by answering that question here.

My experience has been that the vast majority of Protestants I know don’t speak of Catholics or Catholicism at all. Most P’s are too busy dealing with everyday issues like family, faith, friends, work, love lives, etc to worry about Catholicism or any other religions.

Those whom I know that speak of Catholicism usually have the usual misconceptions that are talked about often on different threads, but usually when they get to know reasonably-minded Catholics in real life, their perception changes. However, if they live in heavily segregated religious communities, they often deal with stereotypes of the “other guy’s faith” and don’t get to see their day-to-day struggles and how their faith helps them through it.

I’ve never met a “Jack Chick” tract proponent in my life, but I know they are out there (hopefully only in small numbers) and that they are hateful to Catholics. That is unfortunate and I wish they could see their behavior through God’s eyes and then they would change their ways and be more respectful of Catholicism.

Just as I haven’t ever met a “Jack Chick” type Protestant, it sounds like you haven’t run into some of the “slash and burn, take no prisoners” Catholics on CAF who frequent the Catholic-Protestant debate threads such as 'Sola Caritas' Trumps 'Sola fide'
I have a feeling, GraceJ, that you are a reasonable person. I appreciate your contribution to this thread.

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Nothing to worry about, as he’s suspended until late October.

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Agreed, Dacinom.

#presbyterianswhodunk :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing, TC3033. With your wife being Catholic, you have a more delicate situation to deal with. She must be quite a lady for you to have married her in spite of the faith differences. I wish you and your wife all the best and hope you have a long and happy marriage and that you help each other get to heaven.

My experience has been that Catholic converts from a Protestant faith tradition who basically were happy and respectful in their Protestant faith but felt God calling them to Catholicism as an “enhancement” to their Christian faith are the ones I can most relate to and want to hear from. I find their stories intriguing and compelling and I want to hear more, because their approach is more invitational and non-threatening than confrontational.

The ex-Protestant Catholic converts with an ax to grind (for whatever reason) as well as some (not all, by any means) cradle Catholics who see no good whatsoever in Protestant faith traditions – it’s the “Catholic way or the highway” approach who come across to me as modern day “inquisitors” fighting the battles of the 1500’s and 1600’s who are the ones that turn me off to anything else they have to say, Catholic or otherwise.

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