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.
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