Questions About Catholicism

I’m new here, and know basically nothing about Catholicism, so I have a few questions. Okay, here we go…

Besides praying to saints and Mary, what sets the Catholic faith apart from the rest of Christianity?

Doesn’t the bible say to have no other gods besides god/Jesus? Knowing that, why do Catholics pray to saints and Mary?

Why does the Pope have authority? How is he elected?


We ask Saints to pray for us, just as we would ask our friends and family to pray for us.

The Catholic Church has many specific practises and beliefs that differ from our separated Brethren, including the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, the doctrine of Purgatory, 7 Sacraments, among others.

Mary and the Saint are holy people but they are not God. Mary is Jesus’ mother don’t you listen to your mother? Why do you think that Jesus wouldn’t listen to His?
The number one reason that sets us apart is the Eucharist. I would suggest that you take some time and search this site for some background info.
The Pope has authority because Jesus gave it to him. Presently he elected by the College of Cardinals this will give you more information

You might want to do some searches in the Apologetics forum. :slight_smile: Or post new questions if they don’t have the answers to those you’re looking for.

You’ve answered your own question. What sets Catholicism apart, more than the things that many anti-Catholics focus on such as the alleged “worship” of saints, is the notion of Christ’s authority being passed on to and exercised in the Church. Of course, the Orthodox churches also believe in the notion of Apostolic authority in general.

“Pray” means “ask”. In common usage, except “pray silence Ladies and Gentlemen” it means to ask of God or the dead. Catholics know this, non-Catholics are sometimes ignorant and confuse it with “worship”.

Why does the Pope have authority? How is he elected?

It was understood that Peter was appointed as the Vicar to look after the Church until Jesus’ return, and that the role passed to his successor. Most organisations have a leader, a lot, like Leeds University, have a titular leader - the Chancellor - and a day-to-day leader - the vice-Chancellor, so the Church isn’t unusual in this respect. However a majority of religions, interestingly, don’t have a leader.

The Pope is also the bishop of Rome. Originally he was acclaimed by the mob. When that got out of hand, the task fell to the parish priests of Rome. What has happened since is that important bishops have been made titular parish priests in Rome, or Cardinals. They then act, not entirely offically, as “Mr Catholic” in their home countries. When a Pope dies the Cardinals are summoned to a conclave - “with key” - a secret discussion. The new Pope is then elected by majority vote.

Sonic, first of all I’m glad that God has led you to this forum! I’m a Protestant convert and can intimately relate, as can many on here, to all the misconceptions about Catholicism. I have a feeling you’re going to get inundated with information in this thread, and it all may be a bit overwhelming. I’d strongly recommend you to start out by reading the excellent apologetics portion on the main page:

All the apologetics topics that you mentioned will be located on the left hand side of the screen under “library” and you can drill down to read about whatever topic or subtopic you happen to be interested in. I think that’s a good starting place for you and would give you a background framework to work with and help you better articulate any further questions you have within this forum. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions that may be bothering you as there are plenty of people on here that would love to help as you can see. God bless.

Hello, and welcome to the board!

Primarily the fact that we base our spiritual life on seven sacraments (ceremonies through which God gives us special grace): baptism, Eucharist, confession, confirmation, marriage, ordination, and anointing of the sick. Other Christians lack various of these sacraments.

Eucharist in particular is the summit of worship for us, because that is when we are most united with Jesus in a very personal and intimate manner.

Another major difference is that we consider apostolic Tradition (the teaching of the Apostles) to have equal authority with Scripture.

We worship only God. We do not, and cannot, worship saints or Mary. We do ask them to intercede with us with God, just like we ask each other here on earth to pray for us. In Mary’s case, we pay special attention to honoring her because she was Jesus’ mother.

Jesus conferred special authority on Peter, which passed on to Peter’s sucessor (Linus) and then to his sucessor, and so forth, through the ages. A pope is elected by a conference of cardinals (high-ranking bishops) from all over the world — usually the choice is made from among several prominent cardinals.

The Orthodox churches also maintain almost all of the doctrines espoused by the Catholic Church-- they reject the supremacy of the Pope. But, they do believe in the Communion of Saints.

One cannot list out differences in general, because each protestant church has its own set of beliefs, one of which may agree with the Catholic Church in an area and one which may not.

I would say the authority and supremacy of the Pope is the primary difference that all non-Catholics would hold in common, with all other differences stemming from there and varying from denomination to denomination.

Communion of Saints Proved from Scripture

1. All Christians are connected through the Body of Christ

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”** (1 Corinthians 12:26**)
“If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you” (2 Corinthians 2:5)

2. Every Christian is a member of the Body of Christ

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

2.5 We become members of the Body of Christ through baptism

“having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

“for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)

3. Physical death does not separate us from the Body of Christ

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

**4. There is only one Body of Christ, in Heaven and on Earth; **

“by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:15-16)

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-5)

**5. The Church is the Body of Christ; **

“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)

“And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy” (Colossians 1:18)

**6. Just as we can pray for one another, we can suffer for one another; **

“Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)

Hope this helps. :tiphat:

Sonic -


Here are some articles to get you started:

Also, I highly recommend calling Catholic Answers Live and asking some questions from the excellent apologists. You can also download MP3s of past shows which deal with many of your questions. You can download the shows or listen to the show live here:

Good luck!

Welcome! You have received some great answers to your questions, so I have nothing more to add, but…

One of my all-time favorite links: 150 Reasons I’m Catholic by Dave Armstrong

As to your question about the Communion of Saints (praying to saints), I will recommend a very good FREE MP3 by my friend John Martignoni at that link above.
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General works on Catholicism:

Pope Paul IV’s 1968 Credo of the People of God contains a fairly brief but good summary of Catholicism, beginning at paragraph 8: "We believe in one only God…"
The “successor of Peter” mentioned in the Credo refers to the pope.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, is an official book-length work on Catholicism.

I know of no Protestant denomination that has a problem asking other humans to pray with us and for us, since I hear their pastors making such intercessory prayer on the radio all the time.

The most fundamental difference between Catholic teaching and that of the Reformers, which is present to some degree in most non-Catholic Christian denominations today, is the nature of humanity itself and the attitude toward sin and forgiveness. The Catholic view is that man is created good and in spite of original sin is still inherently good, inherently capable of being redeemed and restored to the condition of grace mankind enjoyed before the Fall. When God forgives our sin He also absolves and allows the soul through a trial or purgation to be returned to her original pristine state of grace. The opposite view is stated differently by various faiths, but in extreme simplification, man is inherently evil and depraved, can never be restored fully to grace, and the most benefit the fallen human can expect is to have his sins covered through the redemptive, saving action of Jesus Christ. Because of these differing views, many reject the Catholic notion of the value of redemptive suffering, that is that by uniting our earthly sufferings with those of Christ Incarnate through an act of will we can participate in his salvific action and therefore bring meaning to human suffering.

That’s strange. I hold to the Catholic view and I’ve been raised Protestant.

Concerning what exactly? The Communion/Intercession of Saints? That’s a link to a FREE MP3 download Bible study on that. :slight_smile:

since Protestant is such an elastic term and not really accurate as a collective word to describe all non-Catholic non-Orthodox Christians, it is not very useful, but I believe my statement does characterize the writings of the first reformers, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, and the denoms that emerged from their theology, however its expression may have changed over the last 400 years.

what i quoted- on the nature of humans- was what i believed.

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