12 Simple Differences Between Catholics and Protestants

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 10, 2013 | 79 comments

The rapid rise of the “Nones” — those unaffiliated with religious groups — was back in the news this week, when the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released its most recent study on American religiosity. Here’s what Pew had to say:

The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling… Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).

In addition, the group emphasized that, for the first time in history, there is no Protestant majority in the United States. That is, Protestants have dropped to 48 percent, whereas they comprised 53 percent of the public as recently as 2007 — a drop of 5 percent in five years. (Catholics, by comparison dropped 1 percent during the same time period — to 22 percent). As you all know, Protestants are Christians who broke off from the Catholic Church 500 years ago. Although there are more than 33,000 (!!) Protestant denominations, all of them still operate in ways that are separate and distinct from the Catholic Church. But what are the differences, really? I mean, all Christians Churches hold the same core value: Jesus Christ was the son of the God who died for our sins, arose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. Isn’t the rest just window-dressing?

Well, here, you decide.

Twelve Differences Between Catholics and Protestants:

1. The Pope. Catholics have a Pope, which they consider a vicar for Christ — an infallible stand-in, if you will — that heads the Church. Protestants believe no human is infallible and Jesus alone heads up the Church.

2.  Big, Fancy Cathedrals. Catholics have them; Protestants don’t. Why? Catholicism says that “humanity must discover its unity and salvation” within a church. Protestants say all Christians can be saved, regardless of church membership. (Ergo… shitty, abandoned storefront churches? All Protestant.)

3. Saints. Catholics pray to saints (holy dead people) in addition to God and Jesus. Protestants acknowledge saints, but don’t pray to them.

4.  Holy Water. Catholics only.

5. Celibacy and Nuns. Catholics only.

6. Purgatory: Catholics only.

7. Scripture: The be-all, end-all for Protestants is “the Word of God.” For Catholics, tradition is just important as scripture — maybe even more so.

8. Catechism: Protestant kids memorize the Bible. Catholic kids get catechism.

9. Authori-tay: In Catholicism, only the Roman Catholic Church has authority to interpret the Bible. Protestants hold that each individual has authority to interpret the Bible.

10. Sacraments: Catholic are the only ones to have the concept of the seven sacraments (baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony). Protestants teach that salvation is attained through faith alone.

11. Holidays: Catholics have 10 Holy Days of Obligation (which mean they must go to Mass). Protestants are more like, “Just come to church on Christmas, that’s all we ask.”

12. Communion: In Catholicism, the bread and wine “become” the body and blood of Jesus Christ, meaning that Jesus is truly present on the altar. In Protestantism, the bread and wine are symbolic.

This post originally appeared in October 2012.


79 comments

  1. Josh L says:

    There are 30,000 Protestant denominations. You cannot say “Protestants do…” or “Protestants believe…” There are also several rites within the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Orthodox Church, and several “high church” Protestants that fly in the face of all of these “facts.”

    If you actually want to know the difference, please try getting your information from primary sources. You are woefully unqualified to speak on this topic and you proved it with this article.

  2. Preeto says:

    Protestants win! Love ya.
    Also, last pope wasn’t accepting of homosexuality, current Pope is. So, what ‘interpretation’ are the Catholics going to go with? Haan? Dass?

  3. Floshaman says:

    Too bad you don’t have all your facts correct. You are using a very slanted definition of Protestant and forget that many ie Lutheran, Episcapal, Presbyterian etc are not only Bible based in teaching but do teach the 10 commandments which states “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy” in other words Sunday and worship, as in attend church! The Sacraments are Baptism and the Eucharist (the Elements when consecrated they contain the Body and Blood of Christ, in with and under but not changed is texture or appearance)
    The church body also has a governing body and constitutions, though unlike the teaching of the Roman Church’s Pope, are not considered infallible as we are All Human!

    • Mary says:

      There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah. And Jesus Christ is also a messenger of Allah.
      Find the truth yourself. Compare Bible with Quran and then decide. Thanks

      • Rich Wilson says:

        And Joseph Smith is also his messenger. You also need to read the Book of Mormon if you’re going to make an informed decision.

  4. ranga says:

    thanks for giving the details between protestant and catholic.
    what ever it is we all pray for god JESUS only.

  5. Erik says:

    Well,I dont see what all the fuzz is about.Cant people just decide for themselfs what their faith is.Like others before me have said,he did talk Badly about the protestant church and spoke of Catholism as better. But i dont really see Why Someone would try to convince People like this Guy does. Infact i have only experienced these arguments in the US and i think you should respect others beliefes even if they are not your own. I come from one of the most non religious and atheist nations on earth. But theres still religious people out there. We have muslims,catholics,protestants,ortodox,budism heck we even got asatro(which is when you pray to Tor,Oden,Balder etc….)
    And we all live in peace and dont fight about religion. instead we should just try acceptance.
    Btw im from Sweden so all My spelling and grammar probably isn’t correct.

  6. Crankypants says:

    I think what has to be remembered here is that Wendy Thomas Russell has no religion therefore she starts this web site knowing that it will stir up people.There will be those that agree with her “no religion” or those that oppose what she thinks like protestants, Catholics, Jewish etc.

    It takes a strong person to support and defend their religion. Can you do that or are you like the Wendy’s of this world who like to poke fun at religion?

  7. Maddy says:

    I actually was offended by quite a few things that were written on here, not only because of how they were said but because they weren’t true. For example, it’s not just that the Protestant Church sees it as symbolic, it’s also the fact that the Catholic church has closed-communion (which means that only members of the church may participate), while Protestants have an open-communion (whereas anyone and everyone can be included, it’s a preference). And when you say that Protestants have shitty, run-down churches, well that is just plain rude. I know that the church I go to is very nice. The best church in the city actually. Just because it may not be as big and as bold as the Roman Catholic church doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful. Besides, God wouldn’t care about the looks of the church you’re praising him in. He just cares that you do it. Another HUGE point is that Protestants don’t only go to church on Christmas. People that only go to church on Christmas are the people that say they’re Christians yet never practice the religion. I could count on one hand how many times I’ve missed church the past couple years. Don’t go around trying to tell people that just because I’m protestant it means that my religion is a joke and is to not be taken seriously by others because (supposedly) we ourselves don’t take it seriously. You really should learn your facts before you go and dig on other peoples religions and practices just because they’re not your own. There are still many other things in this article that are incorrect, but I believe I’ve made my point. Please stop knocking on my religion and any other religion for that matter. It’s offensive.

  8. Comon says:

    Ladies please. It is that hard to just be nice. Respect other peoples thoughts and their faiths. Its a comment section not a discussion. God damn. I just came here to learn.

    PS: do an article on Satanists please.

  9. Lucifer says:

    Can I just save you guys some trouble by telling you that this is all complete and utter bullshit. As an agnostic I DO NOT entirely agree or disagree with the fact that there may or may not be some sort of being, god or ball of eternal energy out there. So before you all jump on the heathen train know that I am not completely void a faith. I was once a member of the Catholic church, as I live in very Catholic country. This is simply because I, like many of my peers, was indoctrinated into a religion before I was old enough to even understand it. And after years of abuse from the church I feel perfectly entitled to denounce it here and pretty much anywhere else for that matter. The fact is that organised religion is and always will be corrupt and unjust. The last time I checked we didn’t place faith in organisations that abuse children nor do we condone them. Please, do yourself a favour and find faith on your own, without the regurgitation of words that were written thousands of years ago or the ramblings of a man pretending to know the intentions of a God. This is not the way to find spirituality. If anything it will only lead you further away.

    • Charlie says:

      Lucifer,
      I agree that organized religion is messed up and I say this from personal experience. But, let’s leave God out of the discussion for a moment and look at the Bible as a history book compared to all history books.

      Now, if you have read ancient history books and believe the described in them are true then, in my opinion, you have to believe that what is in the Bible is true because that is what the Bible is an ancient history book backed up by old manuscripts. Both were written by men describing events that happened in the past. One cannot go back and prove or disprove the content and that is where faith comes in.

      What I do is simply stick to the what is written in the Bible in its simplest form. God created the heavens and the earth, sent Jesus who died for my sins and all I have to do is believe that.

      • Rich Wilson says:

        Charlie, (sorry direct reply seems to be broken)

        Actually we do have ways to measure the probably accuracy of ancient texts. We can both find archaeological evidence for described locations and events, and we can corroborate independent texts. Different books of the bible vary in their historicity. Multiple lines of scientific evidence prove Genesis, for example, is a story. I think worldwide most Christians understand that. Those who don’t (Ken Ham) say God can do anything, so no evidence matters. God could make the world LOOK like anything he wants. Sure, but then God is a smart-ass and we’re essentially a brain in a jar.

        The book of Exodus also, has no archaeological evidence to back it up. No Jews in Egypt, no wandering the desert for 40 years.

        We know King Herod existed because of the multiple historical records of him, but that he had all male newborns killed ONLY shows up in the bible. Which makes the single biblical account highly suspect. Also no independent record of a day of darkness, or the earthquakes.

        So no, not all ancient texts are on par.

        And of course if it all comes down to faith, then the faith of the Hindu or the Muslim or the Mormon which leads them to believe other accounts in ancient (or not so ancient) texts is equally valid.

        • Charlie says:

          Rich, I am trying to prove or disprove God and the Bible in this post. What I do want to do is say that if one uses the words “probable” or “story” then there is doubt as to the actual happening (of anything). You cannot say that there was a King Herod or King Tut. You, nor I were not there to witness it so we rely on something else to say there were such people.

          Let me put it this way. The old experiment of telling one person a short story and then have them repeat it to someone else, leave the room and have the 2nd person repeat it to a 3rd person etc. and have lets say the 5th person repeat what the story said and compare it to the actual story will show a significant deviation of reporting the facts.

          That is true today as it was 20 years ago when I was involved in doing that experiment. So you tell me, can I believe ancient history as recorded by a human? I think not. So, what should I believe? Surely not on what you say because I would have to research where you got your information and then research where that source got their information ad infinitum.

          So we have to make choices. You choose not to believe in any god. I choose to believe God as depicted in the Bible because I know what He has done for my family and I and I thank Him everyday for this.

        • Thanks for weighing in, Rich!

  10. Charlie says:

    As far as sacraments go, if marriage is a sacrament then if you decided not to get married ever then you can’t fulfill that sacrament. So, how important are these sacraments.

    I believe the new testament teaches “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (faith) and be obedient to what God says. Nowhere do I see where it says I have to fulfill a certain number of sacraments.

  11. David says:

    You need to update your middle age knowledge about catholic church…

    • Brian Phillips says:

      Yes, I may be middle aged, and I do have a degree in European Middle Age history, but if you reseach what I say, you’ll find that I am correct on the reception of the seven sacraments.

    • lisa says:

      I wish that you did not distort information so much that it is actually turns into a lie. I hope this is not intentional. I hope you are just ignorant. The body of Christ is hurt when falsehoods are spewed.

      • Brian Phillips says:

        I’m not sure what you’re making referrence to with “spewing lies”, it may not even apply to me.

        I am merely stating facts, not my opinion, definitely not lies. I am a Catholic and a rather knowledgeable one. What I am saying is how one may receive all seven sacraments in the Catholic Church, plain and simple. I am not debating the sacraments, or trying to justifying the sacraments, or even trying to start an arguement. I am merely stating a fact, such as 2 + 2 = 4, is a fact. That is not open to interpertation, not open to debate and it doesn’t need validation or justificaton.

  12. brian phillips says:

    There was a comment recently on receiving all seven sacraments. The commentor stated that the only way someone could receive all seven sacraments is to be a man, and have been married and become a widower. He then becomes a priest. The commentor is right, this is a way to receive all seven sacraments, but is not common, nor is it the only way. The man could be ordained to the permanent diaconate and already be married, thus receiving all seven sacraments.

  13. DeeDee says:

    There is misinformation in this article. There are Protestant cathedrals, nuns, and Protestants conduct baptisms. In addition, the Catholic Church does not state the Pope is infallible absolutely, but is infallible in the teachings of the Church. Catholics don’t “pray to saints”, only to God, but ask saints for intercession and are used as examples of behavior, sacrifice, etc. Catholics can attend mass daily and partake of communion daily if they wish. Certain Protestant sects have communion but much less often.

    I’ve been surprised at those who insist they are “Catholic” but actually belong to a Protestant church (not mainstream), and use some pre-Vatican II traditions that younger Catholics have never experienced. A former coworker joined one, became a “nun” and married the “priest”. Their mass was in Latin, and her husband later became a bishop. She absolutely insisted they were Catholic.

  14. Gary says:

    33,000 Protestant denominations plus the RC for a total of 33,001 differing approaches does not cause anyone to be skeptical?

    • Charlie says:

      Maybe it is 33,0002. I just read where there is the Evangelical Catholic Church. The bishops in the Evangelical Catholic Church work for and support the priests and their parishes, not the other way around.”
      The Holy Communion Church priest will report to the parish and not to the diocese or to Rome.

      I think I will call this the Catholic Reformation period.

  15. Tatyana Salas says:

    Religion is the root of all evil. I truly feel sad for majority of the world today, for the darkness that lives inside them is opaque, they are enslaved and consumed in their own infiltration.

  16. goober says:

    as long as you believe in right and wrong thats what matters

    • Mindi says:

      WOW!!! If there is one thing I hate, it is religious arrogance. Coming from a former Catholic who now attends a Pentecostal Holiness Church I can tell you that I have witnessed very unchristian like behavior on both sides. I do not proclaim to be one religion or another. I am a Christian!! How you label yourself isn’t important. What is important is that you come to Christ! I no longer put my faith in a religion, as I was raised. I put my faith in God and Jesus. And in response to saying that there are 10 holy days in which Catholics must attend and that Protestants are okay to attend on Christmas, I couldn’t stop laughing. I hunger more for the word of God then I ever did as a Catholic. Before it was a routine. Now I WANT to attend not just on Sunday but Wednesdays. I want the word daily. I think there are different Christian religions because people are different and come to Christ in different ways. I grew up thinking all Protestants were prejudice against Catholics but now I see the same in my parents and other Catholics against Protestants.

  17. Crystal says:

    Just one quick point from a Roman Catholic. We do not pray to Saints in the same way that one would pray to God. We pray for Saint intercession. That is to say, we ask the Saints to pray for us to God. We do not beleive that Saints will answer prayers, rather that they can pray for us the same way that a minister or a friend can lay their hands on us and pray for us.

    • Charlie says:

      Crystal,

      What is the difference between asking and praying?
      To pray is to address a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship per Webster.
      Notice the words “address a solemn request”.

      God does not answer prayers based on who is praying. God answers prayers based on whether they are asked according to His will (1 John 5:14-15).

      Don’t get confused with the argument that asking the saints and Mary to intercede for us is the same thing as asking a friend to pray for us. The Bible nowhere describes anyone in heaven praying for anyone on earth. The Bible gives absolutely no indication that Mary or the saints can hear our prayers. Mary and the saints are not omniscient. Even glorified in heaven, they are still finite beings with limitations. How could they possibly hear the prayers of millions of people?

      • Ray says:

        Charlie, I believe in the book of Revelations, it is described that the Holy Ones are offering up prayers from people up to God. It seems to me that they are asking for God’s intercession on our behalf— yes,no?

        • Charlie says:

          Ray,
          Not sure what verses you are referring to that say Holy Ones. If it is Revelations 8:3 then that says that an angel was offering the prayers of the saints (believers in Jesus Christ and God) to God.

  18. Laura Taylor says:

    I am neither Catholic nor Protestant, but whoever wrote this article was scuewed toward the Catholic.

  19. TIJJANI says:

    Why some Christian fail to understand that Jesus was sent by God to delivered the good news and save the Jews from worshiping Idols and Man-god just like the way they confused people by bowing down to cross.

    To my own understand and according to my research, a found out that there is only One true God, non like him or resemblance. He is Alpha and Omega (i.e beginning and end).

    He is that one that sent all the prophets and messengers to preached to the world humanity and good behavior for our self. We should shy away all the differences and come together as one family.
    If you look at today, Christians have differences in belief like wise the Muslim too have difference. Why this?

  20. Lulu65 says:

    Thank you Wendy. You helped make clear something I could never understand .And I will never understand why, still in 2014, there is such a battle between Catholics and Protestants… Don’t they realize that, until one king decided he wanted to divorce, everyone believed in the same thing? I have my own beliefs, I was baptized and had first communion because it was the way things done were at the time but I was never raised with going to church or praying or anything else Catholic.I don’t believe in the Church. They are men wanting control and power. I do however believe in God. I think the Pope is a man like any other man and inclined to mistakes and sins like any other man. I don’t believe in salvation on faith alone. I think every one has to pay for their sins in one shape or another. Everyone should be respected whatever their beliefs are as long as they are decent people.

  21. tomas mcewen says:

    Thanks The picture your chose is the statue of christ on the charles bridge here in prague. it is on the karlov most (charles bridge) the letters in bronze are Holy Holy Holy, It is considered bad luck to steal the letters, the last person who did drowned in the valtava river below a couple of years ago.
    I am an ex-protestant and have been a catholic for years so thanks

  22. mark says:

    If you can find God and Jesus through any denomination…it’s sounds good to me.

  23. mark says:

    The argument continues and will forever be so….
    How sad so many lives have been lost due to religion for thousands of years. Just believe in God and Jesus and let us all just leave in Peace!

  24. Kim Werth says:

    Thank you Wendy for writing a simple to understand article. And for most of the comments. People get so passionate about religion it is easy for people to forget to simply be kind to one another. I learned a lot today and will continue to follow you.

  25. Themba says:

    It seems the Catholics and the papacy is the source of this whole religious problems, i find it strange that the Council of Bishops, presided the Roman Emperor, convene to compile the Bible, but at a later stage and along the line the Council of Trent(the same Bishops) convene again to say we forbid the use of the same Bible among themselves and whole world. The belief in Jesus Christ alone too raises a serious concern. If then, the Council of Bishops or the papacy disallow the use the book then, that means there is an error or errors that the public should not know or they have their own agenda. This in turn resulted in the breakaway or the reformation in 1537 AD. In that case there will always be differences between the protestant churches and further growth in denominations

  26. lol says:

    hey you cannot judge.
    even if there is a few things wrong we can just comment what is wrong and we all can improve on KNOWLEDGE.
    WHATEVER RELIGION YOU ARE!!!

    • Themba says:

      Hi Wendy

      ….any statement of judgement that i spoke earlier, i wish to extensively cite my apology and withdraw it thereof. I, furthermore, wish to thank you for correcting me.

      Themba

  27. Mike says:

    Hi Wendy,
    Sorry to say but I think the article needs a little more research:
    – How about St Paul’s in London and St John the Divine in New York: two example of the many Protestant cathedrals.
    – Catholics pray to God as the Creator and Father, the source of all good and grace, who alone can answer prayer; they pray to Saints only to ask them to add their prayers to ours, as did the early Christians.
    – there are several communities of Protestant nuns in the UK, and many young Christians (including non-Catholics) practice celibacy until marriage.
    – Catholics are not the only ones to have 7 sacraments: the Greek Orthodox (who split from the Catholic Church a thousand years ago) also share this sacramental heritage.

    However, you could add some other differences:
    – Catholics accept the Church’s authority on what the Bible means, since it was complied by a council of Catholic Bishops; Protestants argue and fall out constantly about what it means, leading to splits and schisms.
    – Catholic Bibles are translated by scholars and have to be approved by Church authority to guarantee they accurately translate the original Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew of the Scriptures; Protestant Bibles can and often are translated by people with no such scholarly skills and are often deliberately mistranslated or have parts changed to reflect the particular views of the denomination behind the new translation.
    – according to the World Council of Churches, Protestants have founded nearly 26,000 different denominations or sects since Martin Luther, each claiming to have the true sense of the Bible, which works out at approx. one new church every week for 500 years. Catholics have been members of the one same church founded by Jesus (according to the Bible) 2000 years ago.

    • Mike says:

      Hi Themba,
      Having been a Catholic all my life, I was deeply unsettled to learn that bishops at the Council of Trent had forbidden the use of the Bible: I have never heard of this! The Catholic school I went to must not have heard of it either, as we studied Scripture every day, and neither has my parish, since it has a Bible study group. So that I can spread the word, could you give me the reference to the document from the Council of Trent which forbids the use of the Bible throughout the world. Thanks! Mike

      • Themba says:

        Hi Mike

        Thanks, and as you have requested, the following made my reference to forbidding the use of the Bible by the masses in the world.

        1.”Canons and the Decrees of the Council of Trent”

        In this aforesaid document, the argument about the use of the Holly book by everyone is, i believe, no one could interpret it better than Catholic sect officials, Priests etc.

        Charles Chiniquy in his book “50 years in church of Rome” chapter 1, emphasized what is said in the above mentioned document too.

        I may be corrected if i misquoted whats in the document, that is more than welcome because i am in the learning process too

        Themba

    • Hi Mike, thanks for your additions! I’m afraid I take issue with your corrections, though.

      First, my point isn’t that all Protestant churches are storefront churches, but that all Catholic churches are elaborate in their architecture. That’s why you won’t see Catholics set up shop in storefronts.

      Second, I think it’s fair to say that Catholics don’t worship saints, but it’s a stretch to say they don’t pray to them. When you bow your head and “ask” a spiritual entity to help you — or to thank them for helping you — that absolutely fits the general description of prayer. Asking a saint to pray for you is saying a prayer for a prayer, that’s all.

      Third, lots of young people practice celibacy, not just Christians. I’m not sure the point you were trying to make there.

      And fourth, Greek Orthodox is not a Protestant denomination, which is why I didn’t get into their beliefs in this blog.

      Thanks again.

  28. Charlie says:

    What I have gleaned from reading most of the replies is that the “rituals” that one goes through whether Catholic or Protestant is important.

    Without quoting chapter and verse the Bible says something like this “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”

    Since the Bible does not say I need a rosary, pray through saints or Mary, go to holy days of obligation, confess my sins to a priest etc. I am not obligated to do so.

    As far as the Pope goes, he is a sinner just like you and me. He did not have a virgin birth. I have never heard that a Pope has been filled with the Holy Spirit to the point that he can speak in tongues or heal people. He has been chosen by his peers

  29. Arnold says:

    for me catholic said that saints will add pray for God NO in the Bible said that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man 1 Timothy 2:5 and the worst thing is the tradition of man 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

    9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

  30. Cat says:

    Ehhh, I think this is a little bit of an oversimplification of Catholicism. I’m not Catholic anymore, but I was raised *very* Catholic. Catholics don’t believe that the sacraments are the *only* way to get into heaven, just the Catholic way. That’s the whole idea behind Purgatory. Basically, everyone is imperfect, and our souls are purified in Purgatory, so everyone who did their best to live their lives according to their own religion gets in to Purgatory, and then goes to heaven. And you don’t only go to Mass on Holy Days of Obligation–You. Go. Every. Week. Unless. You. Are. Dying. The Holy Days of Obligation are additional days that you have to go to Mass. The Cathedrals are more of a tradition than anything else–Catholics don’t think that you have to belong to a church to go to heaven (as I’ve already explained, as has the current Pope, if you want to check that out). They believe that it shows dedication to God–sort of like cleaning up and making your home look nice for company. You don’t have to be in church to connect with God, but it helps. And Catholics do and don’t pray to saints. A Catholic asks Saints to pray to God on his or her behalf and to guide him or her to live his or her life in the way that the Saints did so that he or she may be closer to God, but no actual power comes from the Saints. And traditions are important to Catholics because they help you focus on God. Like the difference between going and listening to a lecture and actually, physically taking notes. That’s not really everything. Basically, you got close, but not quite.

  31. Joe says:

    I would like to clarify that we Catholics do not pray to the saints; neither do we pray to Mary. We ask the saints to add our prayers to our own. We venerate Mary, but we do not pray to her. When we pray to Jesus, we often will ask Our Lady to add her prayer to our own. Like our Protestant brothers and sisters, we pray to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that the Father is pleased when we look more and more like His Son with each passing day.

  32. Lee says:

    reading catholics and protestants argue over which interpretation of the bible and its connected imaginary friends is right is hilarious!!

  33. Rand says:

    Basically,
    If you’re a Christian and you believe that god is Allah
    and Jesus is one of god’s prophets and messengers,
    That’s the right thing to say,
    God is not Jesus, how could a human being be so powerful and create other humans? How could a human being re-live again?
    It’s impossible,
    just think about it, if Jesus had that kind of power we shall have that too, but we don’t. That states that Jesus is not god and Jesus is not the son of god
    I am a Muslim and I respect Jesus and Christians
    Because it’s also a religion, and Jesus is God’s messenger and my religion states that you follow the prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him, but also respect and love other Prophets
    but god says in the holy Quran; ‘He neither begets nor is born’ Surat Al-’Ikhlas.

  34. Wenemanyangdit says:

    The truth is : the only way to go to heaven is believing that jesus had paid for your death penalty and you must follow him and believe in him.

    • In the words of the great Mark Twain: “All right then, I’ll go to hell.”

      • Rachael says:

        Wendy, you said-
        In the words of the great Mark Twain: “All right then, I’ll go to hell.”

        And I thought you might like this-
        In life, there are only two things to worry about—
        Either you are well or you are sick.
        If you are well, there is nothing to worry about,
        But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about—
        Either you will get well or you will die.
        If you get well, there is nothing to worry about,
        But if you die, there are only two things to worry about—
        Either you will go to heaven or hell.
        If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.
        And if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends
        You won’t have time to worry!
        -Old Irish Philosophy

  35. Victor says:

    LOL this is SO BIAS!!! No neutrality AT ALL!

  36. David J. Couch says:

    Both the catholics and protestant claim we either go to heaven or hell upon death. I read in the KJV of the bible that in John 3:13 it says the following, and I quote. and no man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the son of man which is in heaven. Please clarify this for me. Thanks

  37. Cher says:

    I think this line is totally unnecessary I think you need to amend this line…(Ergo… shitty, abandoned storefront churches? All Protestant.) I guess you haven’t visited Protestant Churches of this age they are so advanced in use of technology etc.

  38. Rich Wilson says:

    Perhaps not big enough for your list, but there’s also the Lord’s Prayer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0thRUS1wUw

  39. Jake says:

    There seems to be some problems about what I as a catholic believe. First, we believe the Pope is ONLY infallible when he teaches a public doctrine. Second, we have large cathedrals not because we think we need gold and stuff to worship God. The fact is we have been around for 2,000 years (founded by Christ) so we have had a long time to build these magnificent cathedrals. When have all this fancy stuff to worship God because he deserves to be worshipped with the most costly of stuff. Third, we don’t pray to saints as if we worship them. We pray that they may pray to God for us, because they are with Him. Fourth, Our kids do not just study the Catechism and not the bible. The catechism would not have existed without the bible. So of course we read the bible. Fifth, We DO believe that at mass the bread and wine are transformed (not in appearance, smell, or taste) into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. I encourage anyone wishing to learn more about the Catholic faith for any reason to visit: http://www.catholicscomehome.org
    Thanks and God Bless!!!

    • Thanks, Jake. I didn’t see any contradictions here to what I wrote in my blog, but for the word “worship” being used in connection with saints. Not sure that’s inaccurate technically speaking, but I’ve changed it to “pray” just to be safe. Thanks for weighing in!

  40. Kelly says:

    Protestants do not think, “Just come to church on Christmas, that’s all we ask.” Protestants don’t have required days of attendance, but you’ll never catch a truly faithful protestant of any variety claiming that church on Christmas is a no-fail way to heaven. In fact, service, faith, and a deep relationship with Christ is much more accurate. Your interpretation of Protestants made me a little sad.

    • Thanks for writing; I meant no offense. While this post was intended to be taken on the lighter side, it’s also accurate — at least historically so. Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_fide for more information on the Protestant “by faith alone” doctrine. It’s central to the church and distinguishes it from Catholicism more than anything else. It’s unfair to say “truly faithful Protestants” attend church regularly. In fact, I think there are plenty of faithful Protestants who don’t attend church at all.

  41. mehs says:

    Hi – saw this blog linked on the Washington Post. Just wanted to point out that #10 is inaccurate. In most cases it is impossible for everyone to receive all 7 sacraments. Holy orders (being ordained a priest; for men only) and matrimony are mutually exclusive. The only one “required” for salvation is baptism. Also, one receives the sacraments, one does not perform them.

    The only way it would be possible for someone to receive all 7 would be if a man was married, then his wife died and he subsequently became a priest. Not a common scenario.

  42. Danny Ray says:

    Once heard Christianity described as-”The only firing squad that stands in a circle.”

    I refused to stand anymore in “The Holy Huddle” and argue over esoteric nonessentials as I observed the world going to hell.

    One shift in ER during my residency where saw 3 rape victims. Oldest was 10 years, the youngest 10 months….meanwhile deeply religious people argue over superficial items like which baptism is best or which communion is correct.

    As JC said-People will strain at passing a gnat while swallowing a camel.

  43. Derek says:

    I realize these are meant as a simple guide but they have some issues.
    The pope isn’t considered infallible, this is a common protestant misunderstanding. Only ex-cathedra pronouncements are considered infallible, and even these have been clarified or altered through history.
    Also there’s more than one pope. The orthodox church has a pope (the pope and patriarch of alexandria).
    There are non-catholic cathedrals. The anglican (episcopal) church has plenty.
    There are non-catholic nuns (anglicans again as well as orthodox).
    Other churches have catechism, though it’s more prominent in catholicism.
    You’re right though that I don’t know of any protestant denominations that believe in transubstantiation.

    • Hmmm. Well, the infallibility thing is a tough one. I understand there is some debate about whether doctrine or authority figures can be truly infallible, but it’s my understanding that the “infallibility” of the church is a basic and fundamental difference between Catholics and Protestants.

      As for Orthodox or Anglican churches, those are indeed Christian denominations, but they aren’t Protestant. Even Episcopalians seem borderline!

      Having said that, you are right about the cathedrals. It’s not technically true that Catholics are the only Cathedral-builders. But, for the record, Protestants are the only ones who operate storefronts. :-)

      • Derek says:

        Absolutely. Any infallibility is tricky, especially when you have 2k years of history in which to be fallible. I think there’s a difference between the pope being infallible and church doctrine being infallible.

        The anglican/episcopalian church is a tricky one. It’s not catholic but you’re right it did not come out of the protestant reformation though it certainly has protestant aspects. I think the anglican communion generally considers itself a middle way encompassing people of both protestant and catholic beliefs.

        The orthodox church mostly just gets ignored in the US as though it doesn’t exist. But the orthodox church is pretty big and has been around a long long time.

        Oh one other thing that’s quite catholic-specific is the view that there is no remission of sins without confession (I don’t recall how important this is in the orthodox church).

      • Donna says:

        Wrong again Wendy… There is a Catholic Church that ran out of a store front for two years before the parish and diocese raised enough money to build their church. I believe many protestant churches do the same thing. People believe what they want to believe and that includes fallacies. As far as Catholics studying the catechism and not the Bible, I wonder what I’ve been doing at all the BIBLE study classes I’ve been taking at my Catholic Church?

  44. Danny Ray says:

    Unsure if I’ve told these denominational jokes before-sorry if repeats.

    Jews don’t recognize Jesus. Protestants don’t recognize the Pope. Baptists don’t recognize each other in the liquor store….

    The drought has been so bad this summer; for baptism-the Baptists have started sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet-ones, and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water.

    Why don’t Baptists make love standing up? God forbid someone might see them and think they are dancing!

  45. Derek Cramer says:

    I feel like there would be a lot of variation in the different Protestant churches. Are there any who do things like Communion or the like?

    • Yes, Protestant churches do communion; they just see the bread/wine as symbolic. And how often they take communion varies from church to church, whereas in Catholicism it’s part of the Sunday Mass. There are, of course, variations within Protestantism — lots of them! But this list deals with over-arching differences, which should (unless I’ve screwed up something!) be true for all denominations.

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