What do Protestant really believe about the Catholic Church?


Protestants what do believe about Catholic Church like Doctrine, history, and why not become part the Church?


“Protestants” is a very broad category, and so you’ll not find one answer that covers all of them. There’s a wide spectrum of beliefs and types of beliefs among Protestants, and even within one denomination, one finds a wide variance of opinion. We might even find variance on who should be considered a Protestant or not; while the term seems used as a catch-all for any western Christian group that is not Catholic, it really should only properly include those denominations which were a result of the Reformation itself, or offshoots thereof. More recent fundamentalist and Evangelical movements might not be considered “Protestant” theologically or historically speaking, but a different class of denomination unto themselves.

All that being said, the answer to your question is “mileage may vary.” Some have a lot of beliefs about the Catholic Church, some hardly think of it at all. Some are friendly toward the Catholic Church, while others seem to have a theology that is based only on being as non-Catholic as possible. So there really isn’t one answer to this, because “Protestant” isn’t a descriptor of a monolithic body.



Those Protestants I know think very little about the Catholic church. Most of us seek to serve our communities with very little thoughts to what Catholics are doing.
As a spiritual body it is simply one of many to choose from of the many organizations that seek to follow Jesus of Nazareth.
As to become.ing a Catholic, it’s teachings and rituals simply do not “speak to my condition.”


You might as well ask what does a Mauritanian believe about the United States and why don’t they want to move here. There are SO many answers to that one and, honestly it has been asked SO many times. So I’m not sure what the real thrust of your question is.


I believe they are genuine Christians with the sacraments rightly administered.(I am a Lutheran, evangelical catholic.) I have been studying both the RCC and the EO.
I remain Protestant for now until I decide which one of those.
The reason I don’t join right now is I don’t quite agree with their view of justification/sanctification.
Martin Luther didn’t want to leave the Church he wanted to reform it.


The vibe I get from my non Catholic friends is that they don’t so much disagree with the Catholic church but see a lot of it as superfluous.


My former beliefs on the Catholic Church were all based on misinformation, what I heard, and what I heard my parents say.


I’m Scandinavian (high & apostolic) Lutheran and the RCC didn’t even figure on my mental horizon until a few years ago. Given that my fiance is Catholic, I had to look into the differences, theological and practical.
Now, Catholics are close to non-existant where I live, 1-2% of the population, so I don’t mean my stance as an insult, more as an explaination of the RCC’s total irrelevancy.

I think the original reformation was intended to right the late medieval wrongs in the shared church. Then it went all haywire during the 1500s, where Trent should have been VII. However, that’s water beneath the bridges, it is what it is 500 years later.

Having said that, the word adiaphora comes unbidden to mind. A lot of wordly and theological superstructures on top of the actual scriptures, and post-scriptural revelations leading to theological positions that are not something I would ascribe to.


I’ll give my very brief take:
I disagree with some aspects of Roman Catholic theology. I think we agree on all the major points. I do think that Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics are all part of the body of believers under Christ.


Primarily because we disagree with some of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church with particular emphasis on the doctrine of justification, and on ecclesiastical viewpoints primarily regarding how the Church fits in relation to Christ’s authority. I would echo GodSpawned’s comment on the fact that we are all part of the body of Christ.


I grew up Southern Baptist.
In our town of 200 not 2000, I don’t think there were any Catholics.
They all lived, I think, in the county seat 10 miles up the road, where the
Catholic church was *there is still only the one CC in town. If there were
Catholics in our tiny town, nothing was ever said to me about that.

So I didn’t think much one way or the other. My family didn’t discuss it
in any way. We went to our church and they went to theirs, I guess. I knew
from movies and tv that Catholics are Christians, pray to Mary and other saints,
and that your worship is greatly different in many ways than ours.

Only when I grew up and began wondering about the differences and wanted to
better understand why you do what you do and looked online, did I begin to see things

more clearly. So I never had a negative view of the CC really, just felt that you were

‘same, but different’. Hope that helps. :slight_smile:


I’d second this. I’m far more concerned with the ecclesiology than I am soteriology.



Growing up where I did in Indiana, for every 10 Protestants you’d likely get 20 opinions about Catholics - and in every 100-200 people, you might find an (singular) actual living, breathing Catholic.

So unfortunately, as others have stated, your question can’t be answered without refinement.


The opinions are as varied as anything else in Protestantism. Some view it as a Satanic religion ruled by the Antichrist. Some view it as a false religion, or even a cult, masquerading as Christianity. Some view it as a misguided version of Christianity. Some see it as no different than any of the thousands of Protestant denominations, just a bit weirder.

As for Catholic, some believe we’re devil worshippers. Some believe we worship Mary and the Pope over God. Some believe we cannot be saved, and others think that any saved are saved in spite of being Catholic. Others believe we’re no different than any Protestant, just a bit weirder.

Now if we’re going to get down into what they believe the Church teaches, that might be a bit more uniform. Generally, it can be summed up under “don’t know much” or “know only enough to know less than the ignorant”.

Edit: To add to my last point, some Protestants are a bit more knowledgeable and actually understand some Catholic apologetics, but most go off the rails sooner or later in offering a fair presentation.


My husband and I were Evangelical Protestant for the first 47 years of our lives.

I was fortunate to grow up in a church where Catholics were considered Christians, but they had “added things” to the basic Christian doctrine of “justification by faith with the evidence of good works.” So all in all, we were very positive in our viewpoint of Catholics and Catholicism.

I think that because of the great amount of pro-life work that Catholics have done since Roe v. Wade made abortion just another method of birth control, most Evangelical Protestant denominations (and there are many of them) have come to admire Catholics and their faithfulness, and have come to see them as “real Christians.” I think that doing pro-life work and spending a lot of time with devout Catholics is one of the major ways that Protestants begin studying Catholicism and converting. So many of the mainline Protestant denominations have very wishy-washy teachings on the scourge of abortion.

However, I think that this could be de-railed by American politics during this time in history, as many Catholics simply can’t get past Pres. Trump’s personality and oppose him on many of his very conservative viewpoints. I’ve even heard many Catholics belittle Pres. Trump’s pro-life accomplishments and even claim that the Democrat party is more compassionate when it comes to social issues. This has the potential to once again divide Catholics and Protestants in the U.S., as most Evangelicals are solidly behind Pres. Trump and his various programs for the U.S., including his plans to stop illegal immigration.

Just sayin’. You don’t have to like it. :expressionless:


Nigel7, thank you so much for posting that homily. I thought it was really helpful.


This about sums it up for me. What we knew was based on misinformation (I and a couple other kids went to a Catholic school, so we knew a little better). The Catholic Church was generally seen as a superfluous church that was “Christian,” but had some odd beliefs (Mary, saints, pope, “idols”) that weren’t quite right.

In other words, there was exactly nothing to draw anyone over to the Catholic Church. There was no reason to switch.

People switch from Protestant because they get curious or meet Catholics that change their lives.

That last part is super important. You want Protestants back? Get out there and meet them, but when you go, make sure that you have your spiritual life in order and “shine bright” as folks says.


And here I return to my basic response:
Regarding practice and doctrine, use of the term “Protestant “ is folly.
It is not now, and never has been, a single communion.

This is often true, and applies to many Catholics when they speak of specific communions that are generally categorized as Protestant


Most Episcopalians I’ve known in real life have a fondness for the Catholic Church and for Catholics , but they think we go too far by praying to Mary.
They know we don’t actually worship her, but still…

My Evangelical friends worry about my salvation.

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