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There is more in common between the Catholic Church and most Protestant churches than there is different, especially in the most important things, like our faith in God as Trinity, faith in Christ, the Resurrection, baptism, the importance of the Bible, etc.

There are many different Protestant churches and communities, each is different from the other, and so each is different from the Catholic Church in different ways.

What Protestants have in common is their origin in the various church reformations of the 14th-16th centuries in Europe, the result of which was a divided western Christianity on one hand, but also some much-needed reforms of the Church on the other.

Some common differences include the role and interpretation of Scripture and Tradition, the nature and mission of the Church, the importance of sacraments, the authority of the pope, etc.

In the centuries following the Reformations, both Catholics and Protestants developed exaggerated, polemical views about each other and then strengthened their own identity in response, in order to make clear that they were not "the other".

The last fifty years, since the Catholic Church entered the ecumenical movement, has seen great progress in understanding each other. First, erroneous understandings of each other began to be corrected. Then, dialogue began to bring churches closer to each other (for example, nearly all Christians profess a belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist/Lord's Supper, though there are disagreements about what exactly this means).

The view shared by the Catholic Church and most Protestant churches is that there is far more in common than what divides, but there remain important differences. Because the term "Protestant" covers an impossibly wide array of beliefs and churches, more detail is left to "the difference between Catholics and [a specific denomination]".


First of all, the word is spelled Protestant.

The word "Protest" is the root of the word PROTESTant.

500 years ago, in the 16th Century (1500s), protesters were called protestants.

"Protestants" were "protesting" against the Roman Catholic Church of the 16th Century (1500s) C.E.

The original Protestants were Germans who were "protesting" the power of Rome (the Vatican) and especially the power of the (usually Italian) Catholic Pope.

The original "Protestants" were followers of the German theologian Martin Luther.

Martin Luther was originally a German Catholic priest who by "protesting" hoped to "reform" the Roman Catholic Church. ("Reform" is the root word that of the word "Reformation"). Since the (almost always Italian) Pope and the Vatican refused to "reform" the Roman Catholic Church, the German Luther and his followers (the "protestants" or "protesters") started their own Protestant Church - the Lutheran Church - named after Martin Luther (not to be confused with Martin Luther King who lived 400 years later).

There are now many, many Protestant churches (Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Quakers, Shakers, Mennonites, etc., etc., etc.).

While NO Protestant denomination follows the mandates of the Catholic Pope, some Protestant sects are closer to Catholicism while other Protestant sects are farther from Catholicism. Example: some Protestant churches have "communion" while others do not. Also, while most Protestant sects do not acknowledge "saints" - some do (Episcopalians).

The word "Christian" comes from the root word "Christ" as in Jesus Christ.

While Catholics and Protestants are all Christians (followers of Jesus Christ) , Catholics are led by the Pope from the Vatican (Rome, Italy), whereas Protestants are NOT led by the Pope. Thus Papal decrees, such as:

- forbidding divorce + remarriage

- forbidding artificial birth-control

apply only to Catholics and NOT to Protestants.

Thus in many Catholic countries (such as Mexico) families are larger with many children. While in Protestant countries (such as the Scandinavian countries which are Lutheran) families are smaller with far fewer children thus resulting in a different standard of living.

There is more in common betwen the Catholic Church and most Protestant churches than there is different, especially in the most important things, like our faith in God as Trinity, faith in Christ, the Resurrection, baptism, the importance of the Bible, etc.

There are many different Protestant churches and communities, each is different from the other in minor practices, culture, structure and so on, and so each is different from the Catholic Church in different ways.

But these are mostly peripheral and unimportant customs. For example, the Baptist Church baptises only adults and by full immersion. Tha Catholic Church baptises infants as well, by sprinkling with water. The Catholic Church has seven sacraments; the Anglican, just 2, the Salvation Army has no sacraments at all. The Catholic Church has priests and bishops, while the Methodist Church and URC has ministers.

These differences are all very minor when you consider that the important doctrines (of the Trinity, Jesus Christ's virgin birth, his death, atonement, resurrection, ascension and return and many others) are all held in common by both Catholics and Protestants. There is more in common between these two branches of the Christian Church than, say, between the whole Christian Church (including Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox and so on) and pseudo-Christian cults like the Mormons (who have a totally different idea of God) and the Jehovah's Witnesses (who refuse to accept the divine nature of Christ).

In short:

They are essentially the same except a group of Catholics lead by Martin Luther some centuries ago, did not agree with the Vatican on the policy which required Catholics to follow rituals in order to get into heaven. Martin Luther protested against the Catholic church and started his own sect which is now the modern-day Protestent church

Catholics and Protestants carry a common bottom line/non-negotiatable belief:

That Jesus Christ is the son of God, He died on the cross for our sins, rose on the 3rd day, He will return for His church, and no one can be saved unless you accept Him as your personal Lord and Saviour

All other beliefs are highly disputed


Catholic AnswerThe differences can be reduced to one main difference: Catholics believe that God gave you free will with which to accept or reject Him. You have to make that decision every moment of your life throughout your life, your choices to do this or that reflect your belief in God or not. However, God, when He came to earth, established a Church and completely revealed His revelation to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. So if you are saying "yes" to God, the rest is a given, ie: He has told us HOW we are to say "yes" in living out our lives.


In protestantism, they believe this as well, but then they go further, rejected His Church and His Revelation, and relying on their own lights as to HOW they are going to say "yes" to God. Every protestant believes, in one way or another, that Jesus did not establish a Church but wrote a Bible and that each individual can discern how to say yes to Jesus just by reading the Bible. Of course, protestants can not explain how the first Christians were saved as there was no Bible yet, not who authorized the Bible as the Church wrote it and decided what was in it, but, regardless, that seems to be the difference.

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โˆ™ 2012-11-04 22:05:54
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Q: What are the differences between Catholicism and protestantism?
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