The Roman Catholic Church
I grew up Roman Catholic and in many ways was the "model" Catholic. I was baptized, had my first communion, went to CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) throughout my school years, was confirmed, and was even a leader in the Catholic church as a retreat leader at the young age of 15. I knew my priest and even visited him at the rectory to discuss the Bible, which he hardly knew. Thankfully I later became a Christian which is something different than being a Catholic, but I am very familiar with Roman Catholic doctrine.
If you are a Catholic, I ask that you simply read this article and try to understand the difference between a Catholic and a Christian. There is a huge difference and I hope and pray that you can see that and choose to be a Christian. I have supplied footnotes and references to the Catholic Catechism and other sources for your convenience.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is said to be the largest Christian church, with more than 1.2 billion members worldwide. It is among the oldest religious institutions in the world and has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilisation. The Catholic hierarchy is headed by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. The Church teaches that it is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the Pope is the sole successor to Saint Peter who has apostolic primacy.[note 1][note 2][note 3] The Church maintains that the doctrine on faith and morals that it presents as definitive is infallible.[note 4]. In addition, Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church that states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error.
Of course, this contradicts the Bible. To suggest that there is "one true Church" other than the body of Christ which consists of those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is blasphemy. To suggest that anyone other than Jesus Christ (God) is infallible is blasphemy. It amazes me that a rational human being would believe that any person or organization could be infallible when we know that we are all sinners and fail constantly.
Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg as the Roman Catholic Church has a whole litany of beliefs that clearly contradict the Bible. For example, you would think they could get it right on a person rarely mentioned in the Bible, Mary, the woman that gave birth to Jesus. The Bible is very clear on her but the Catholics fail miserably to follow the Bible. They teach that Mary, the mother of Jesus, never sinned. This completely contradicts the clear Bible teaching that "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23) which is taught throughout the Bible. Mary was a human and God simply used her to give birth to Jesus. It is complete blasphemy to say she never sinned. They also say that we can pray to her. Praying to the dead is strictly forbidden in the Bible. Deuteronomy 18:11 tells us that anyone who "consults with the dead" is "detestable to the Lord." The story of Saul consulting a medium to bring up the spirit of the dead Samuel resulted in his death "because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance" (1 Samuel 28:1-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14). Clearly, God has declared that such things are not to be done. The Catholics also teach that Mary was always a virgin (Perpetual virginity) but Jesus clearly had four brothers named James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55) and Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). Mary clearly had at least six more children after Jesus and more information on this can be found at http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-siblings.html. Some Catholics even go so far as to teach that Mary is a co-redeemer (Co-Redemptrix) with Jesus Christ which completely contradicts the Bible. The idolatry of Mary is blasphemous and there are many more beliefs in this church that contradict the Bible which we will address.
We could also go into great detail about the corruption and abuses of the Catholic church going back to it's beginning. For example, the Catholic church used to tell people that the church can get people out of purgatory (another lie not found in the Bible) and into heaven if they give the church money. These were called "indulgences." They used their power and influence to abuse people, even until this day. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest cult in the world and it is leading many people away from a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ by giving them man-made religion with many blaspemous beliefs.
There is admittedly some difference between Catholic churches and their followers, both here in the U.S. and particularly in other countries. However, their core beliefs are the same as dictated in the Vatican. In the U.S. it seems that most Catholics will go to Mass once a week on Sunday, but that is the extent of their religion. Catholics believe that the Catholic church is responsible for them going to heaven so they usually focus on religious exercises like going to Mass, baptism, communion, confession, praying the rosary, etc. rather than an actual relationship to Jesus Christ and learning the Bible, which the Catholic church even forbid.
The term "cafeteria Catholic" (also à la carte Catholic or CINO = "Catholic In Name Only") is a term "applied to those who assert their Catholic identity yet dissent from Catholic doctrinal or moral teaching or who are viewed as dissenting by those using the term. Examples include Catholics who are accused of dissenting from Church teachings on human sexuality (the so-called "pelvic issues")—abortion, birth control, divorce, premarital sex, masturbation, pornography, prostitution, or the moral status of homosexual acts."
Here are some links to questions which address this and explain clearly how the Roman Catholic Church has departed from Biblical Christianity and become a false religion:
I am a Catholic, why should I consider becoming a Christian?
What is Roman Catholicism?
Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?
What is sola scriptura?
Is Catholicism a false religion? Are Catholics saved?
Are Catholic beliefs and practices Biblical?
What is the origin of the Catholic Church?
What is the Catholic Bible?
What does the Bible say about the virgin Mary?
What is the Catholic sacrament of Holy Eucharist?
What is the immaculate conception?
Is prayer to saints / Mary Biblical?
Is worship of saints / Mary Biblical?
What are the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books?
What is transubstantiation?
Is apostolic succession Biblical?
Witnessing to Catholics—what is the key?
Is praying the rosary Scriptural?
Are the seven Catholic sacraments Biblical?
Should Catholic tradition have equal or greater authority than the Bible?
What does the Bible say about the pope / papacy?
What does the Bible say about confession of sin to a priest?
What does the Bible say about infant baptism?
What was the first / original church? Is the original / first church the true church?
What was the Protestant Reformation?
Is the pope, or the next pope, the antichrist?
What is the whore of Babylon / mystery Babylon?
What are Christian saints according to the Bible?
What is the Apostles' Creed?
What does the Bible say about purgatory?
What is moral theology?
What is the rock in Matthew 16:18?
Is the priesthood of all believers Biblical?
What is extreme unction?
Was Saint Peter the first Pope?
Is the perpetual virginity of Mary Biblical?
What is the Eastern Orthodox Church and what are the beliefs of Orthodox Christians?
What was the Great Schism?
What are indulgences and plenary indulgences and is the concept Biblical?
Is papal infallibility Biblical?
Catholic vs. Protestant - why is there so much animosity?
What is the difference between Catholics and Protestants?
What does the Bible say about liturgy? Should a Christian participate in liturgical worship?
Does the Bible teach mortal and venial sin?
Are apparitions of Mary, such as Lady Fatima, true messages from God?
Does the Bible support the Catholic practice of a marriage annulment?
Is the Catholic concept of a nun Biblical?
What were the Inquisitions?
What does the Bible say about holy water?
What is the Assumption of Mary?
Sign of the cross - what is the meaning? Should Christians perform the sign of the cross?
Is the Pope the Vicar of Christ?
What does the Bible say about Limbo?
What does the Bible say about being a God-parent?
Does the Bible teach the celibacy of priests?
What is sacerdotalism?
Which of the 30,000 Protestant denominations is the true church of God?
Who is the Queen of Heaven?
Is the observance of a first communion biblical?
What is the correct interpretation of John 20:23?
What is the cause of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?
What is the Holy See?
Who are the Jesuits, and what do they believe?
What is iconoclasm?
Do eucharistic miracles really happen?
Is it wrong for Catholics to refer to their priests as "father"?
What is the meaning/definition of the word Catholic?
What happened at the Council of Trent?
What is the Hail Mary that Catholics say so often?
What is the Vatican / Vatican City?
What is the Catholic catechism?
Is the Catholic concept of absolution biblical?
Why is the real presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper such a controversial issue?
What is beatification and canonization and are they biblical?
What is a novena?
Is penance mentioned in the Bible?
What was the Holy Roman Empire?
Do Catholics worship idols / practice idolatry?
What is a papal conclave?
Is Mary the mother of God?
Is Mary the co-redemptrix / mediatrix?
How are Catholics able to perform exorcisms if many of their beliefs are unbiblical?
Who are the Knights of Columbus?
What is the Catholic understanding of baptism?
Are baptism and communion means of grace?
Should a non-Catholic Christian participate in a Catholic Mass?
What is Mariology?
What is a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church?
Who is the Lady of Guadalupe? Were the apparitions of Mary at Guadalupe real?
Why can't Catholics eat meat on Fridays during Lent?
What are the Catholic Ten Commandments?
What is the difference between veneration and worship?
- 1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 77: "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."
- 2. [Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church "Dominus Iesus", 17: Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church. ... "The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection — divided, yet in some way one — of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach."
- 3. Responses to Some Questions regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church: It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.
- 4. Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 890: "The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:"
1. "Vatican statistics report church growth remains steady worldwide". National Catholic Reporter. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
2. O'Collins, Gerald; Farrugia, Maria (2003). Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-925995-3. pg. v (preface).
3. "Vatican congregation reaffirms truth, oneness of Catholic Church". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
4. "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church". Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 29 June 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
5. "The Apostolic Tradition". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
8. "The teaching office". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican. Retrieved 28 April 2011. "889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility."
9. "The teaching office". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
10. Second Vatican Council. "Chapter III, paragraph 25". Lumen Gentium. Vatican. Retrieved 24 July 2010. "by the light of the Holy Spirit ... ... vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock."
11. "Infallibility means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error," P. J. Toner, Infallibility, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910
12. Wikipedia, "Cafeteria Catholicism," accessed April 11, 2014
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