Skip to comments.Catholic vs. Protestant - why is there so much animosity?
Posted on 02/22/2010 10:21:17 AM PST by Between the Lines
Question: "Catholic vs. Protestant - why is there so much animosity?"
Answer: This is a simple question with a complicated answer, because there are varying degrees of, and reasons for, animosity between any two religious groups. This particular battle is rooted in history. Degrees of reaction have ranged from friendly disagreement (as reflected in the numerous ecumenical dialogues produced between the two groups), to outright persecution and murder of Protestants at the hands of Rome. Reformation teachings that identify the Pope as the Beast of Revelation and / or Roman Catholicism as Mystery Babylon are still common among Protestants. Clearly, anyone with this view is not going to “warm up” to Rome any time soon.
For the most part, today at least, most of the animosity comes from basic human nature when dealing with fundamental disagreement over eternal truths. Passions are sure to ignite in the more weighty matters of life, and one's faith is (or at least should be) at the top of the heap. Many Protestants think Roman Catholics teach a works-gospel that cannot save, while Roman Catholics think Protestants teach easy-believism that requires nothing more than an emotional outburst brought on by manipulative preaching. Protestants blame Catholics for worshipping Mary and Catholics think Protestants are apparently too dull to understand the distinctions Rome has made in this regard. These caricatures are often difficult to overcome.
Behind the particular disagreements over the role of faith and works, the sacraments, the canon of Scripture, the role of the priesthood, prayers to saints, and all the issues surrounding Mary and the Pope, etc., lies the biggest rift between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism: the issue of authority. How one answers the authority question will generally solve all the others. When it comes down to deciding a theological issue about defined Catholic dogma, there isn’t really much to discuss on the Catholic's side because once Rome speaks, it is settled. This is a problem when trying to debate a Roman Catholic - reason and Scripture are not the Catholic’s final authority, they can always retreat into the “safe zone” of Roman Catholic authority.
Thus, many of the arguments between a Protestant and a Catholic will revolve around one's “private interpretation” of Scripture as against the "official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church." Catholics claim to successfully avoid the legitimate problems of private interpretation by their reliance on their tradition. But this merely pushes the question back a step. The truth is that both Roman Catholics and Protestants must, in the end, rely upon their reasoning abilities (to choose their authority) and their interpretive skills (to understand what that authority teaches) in order to determine what they will believe. Protestants are simply more willing to admit that this is the case.
Both sides can also be fiercely loyal to their family's faith or the church they grew up in without much thought to doctrinal arguments. Obviously there are a lot of possible reasons, and while we should not divide over secondary issues, both sides agree that we must divide when it comes to primary issues. Beyond that, we can agree to disagree and worship where we find ourselves most in agreement. When it comes to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, the differences are just too great to ignore. However, that does not give license for caricatures or ignorant judgments - both sides need to be honest in their assessments and try not go beyond what God has revealed.
People need drama in their lives?
I’ve never experienced it much. Part of my family is Catholic.
Most Protestants don’t understand their history and how the Protestant and Episcopalian movements started.
As a Protestant, I have no problem with the Catholics. Heck, they are the progenitors of all other New Testament Religions and from that well spring, we should learn from them while also holding our value system for worship.
Animosity? Says who?
There is not much animosity anymore. Not given the last two Popes who have proclaimed loudly as Paul said, “I preach Christ crucified”. The last two Popes actually believe in scripture strongly and haven’t gotten caught up in the PC disaster that has doomed several protestant denominations.
The problem of course from the beginning is having a Pope to begin with. Having a human being between you and Christ. Protestants believe it is not necessary. There is the rub.
Like much on the internet, people will say things they'd never dare to say to someone in person.
I think most of us Protestants have a great deal of respect for the Pope. We listen to what he has to say and may or may not agree with him.
I’ve been a “protestant” my entire life and I have ZERO animosity toward Catholics as a group. Certain individuals of various religious stripes are a different matter.
Are you going to explain the differences or is this a thought provoking piece?
It would help others to explain the differences in particular areas such catecism, Apostles Creed and even the whole praying to Mary thing.
I myself have not put much thought into as I accept the Catholics as Christians and a unique franchise within the body of Christ.
Methinks that's the problem right there: enthusiasm to declare such answers, unbidden, unto judgement of others.
BTW: mea culpa.
I’ve been in ministry for 14 years, 6 as a Military chaplain. I don’t think Christians are spending a whole lot of time worrying about these things. I think most think of Catholics and Protestants as just different flavors of Christianity.
It would be of more help to explain the similarities.
That, the need to be right, and the convenient fact that no one’s faith can really be proven to be correct or not.
Our society itself is constantly attacking Catholicism. I’d wager if you haven’t noticed this you are not Catholic.
As a non-denominational Protestant most of my adult life, I was amazed when I and my family converted over a decade ago at the level of antagonism. I agree with Newman on this that such hostility simply indicates ignorance.
And attacks on Mary is just school kids insulting each other’s mom.
I’m Roman Catholic but Protestant on my dad’s side and I see no such animosity.
I blame the Zoroastrians...
I am from a Catholic family. I have a brother and sister who changed and became “Born Again Christians” They told my parents because they were Catholics they were not saved and they were going to Hell. My Parents never missed going to mass every Sunday and made all my siblings attend church. It was something that hurt my parents till they passed away. I am certain there are Freepers on this forum who believe the same.
Converts here too — What I notice is news media constantly attacking Catholicism, in many different ways.
There is a target on the Catholic Church as there is on Rush, on Sarah Palin, on Dr. Laura — the Prophets who speak the Truth. The Protestant denominations are not huge, therefore they are less of a threat; they do not make a huge target in the way the Catholic Church does.
Satan hates the Truth.
And as a Catholic, I admire (and desire) to have the same degree of biblical devotion that mainline Protestant denominations emphasize.
And I recognize that the real enemies are militant atheists, intrusion of modernism/liberalism into Christian practices, blatant attacks on Christianity, restictions on worship, and in some parts of the world - the advance of radical Islam.
Why d’ya think they call themselves ‘Protesters’?
“The problem of course from the beginning is having a Pope to begin with. Having a human being between you and Christ. Protestants believe it is not necessary. There is the rub.”
I think the rub is the prominence of Scripture. Protestants put Scripture above all else for matters of faith and practice. Roman Catholics place the Pope’s interpretation of Scripture above all else for matters of faith and practice.
All differences flow from that, as I see it. When we argue about this sacrament or that doctrine, the Protestant appeals to a verse from the Bible, or a group of verses. The Roman Catholic appeals to the Pope’s or the Holy See’s statements. Then we are at an impasse.
That’s why the big cry of the Reformation was, “Sola Scriptura.” (Scripture alone)
I say this without hatred, by the way.
You make a good point, but just because it is mostly done anonymously on the internet doesn't mean that animosity doesn't exist. It just means that people are less willing to be confrontational about it face to face.
I have a friend who became a born again Christian and her Catholic mother tells her constantly that she is going to Hell. It goes both ways.
I’m sorry your family had to endure that. I think people can get awfully insensitive when they experience growth in their faith, ironically. I came from a non-religious family, became a Christian, and harassed my parents for a long time. I’ve mellowed out over the years and have learned to accept people where they are without trying to change them. Maybe that’s why I like being a military chaplain—I don’t have to worry about expanding my little piece of the theological pie. As a side note, I’ve ministered to many Catholics, especially in Iraq or in the field, and I’ve noticed a tremendous openness to other Christians on their part. Of course they’d prefer a priest who can say Mass, but they still come to my services and even recieve communion from my hand. They believe in Jesus and that’s good enough for me.
There really shouldn’t be much, if any, debate between Protestants and Catholics about doctrine. If one claims that scripture is the final authority and the other claims that tradition holds the final authority then there’s really nothing to discuss. There’s no common authoritative source so trying to “prove” something is fruitless unless one grants tradition or the other grants scripture.
Can’t all us Christians just get along so we can bash the Muslims together?
You, sir, have hit the nail on the head.
Praying THROUGH Mary, not to.
Some people need Hell as a place in which they may take solace as the destination of their enemies.
Some of the FREEKIN SQUEEKIN FREEPER FREEKOUTS ON RELIGION are downright disedifyin', but I've finally learned to bow out before it gets to that point for the most part. I am mighty appreciative of people who competently explain their principles, and have the courtesy of listening to others who do the same.
Having most of the principal "flavors" of Christianity all in my immediate family (Catholic, Southern Baptist, Russian Orthodox, and more!) I find great peace in our shared and heartfelt conviction that "any friend of Jesus is a friend of mine."
Is one of them named Star Traveler?
As a Catholic I would disagree with you. Even here at FR I’ve been told that I was going to h*ll because I was Catholic and I’ll tell you there is nothing like being a 6 yo coming out of mass and being told that by adults that you pass on the sidewalk as they come out of their next door Prostestant church!
People always get emotional about things they care about. Sisters will fight over their dead mother’s mirror, and all because they each were jealous of the mother’s love way back when. Have a look at the fury of the religious wars begun by the Reformation. Greeks still hate Roman Catholicism for the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Christians still hate Jews, and vice versa because of Jesus.
"When it comes to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, the differences are just too great to ignore. However, that does not give license for caricatures or ignorant judgments - both sides need to be honest in their assessments and try not go beyond what God has revealed."
This exact topic was a subject that was part of yesterday's afternoon worship. The issue of discension amongst denominations occur when men with sin diseased minds and tougues effect the Body of Christ. My assembly has been taught that when you disparage another believer or denomination for any matter that is not Biblical truth then you are a "pharisee" and your faux criticism is offered merely to justify a self righteous love affair.
I clearly stated that my choice for a ally, would be one Jesus loving member of the Roman denomination with a rosary hanging around his neck and a Saint Michael prayer card in his pocket then 10,000 idiots following the authors of "your best bowel movement now" or "a purpose driven grocery list".
The devil does not concern himself with dividing the Church, because there in enough jerks on both sides of the camp doing His filthy work.
Soli Deo Gloria!
It has nothing to do with being Christian, and everything to do with power and control.
One side lost control in the Great Schism (you decide which), then Rome lost control over the Protestants.
Then the Protestants lost control over the Anabaptists. Any wonder why there is, in the Geneva Bible, a prayer against both the Papists and the Anabaptists?
Absolutely. That's why I quit reading on the Religion Forum - too few people who bothered to act like Christians on either side.
Now that's an enemy worth fighting.
The single funniest thing I've read all week -- and I agree wholeheartedly!
Yes, those other protestant religions did come from the Catholic Church.
So why do people bash Catholics?
Not that I am aware of
That is really lousy theology on the Catholic mom’s part. I HATE when the Gospel is used to control behavior and as a veil for anger and anxiety and all that.
Good for you, alpha!
We can agree to disagree about stuff, but we'd better learn to work together as allies if our grandchildren are going to have a country and a culture in which to raise our great-grandchildren.
Ben Franklin was a strange sort of Christian, but he said something that is apropos here: "We must all hang together, or we will surely all hang separately."
Amen to your Posts, my Brother, which are Excellent! Thank you for the Pings!