15 Difference Between Protestant And Catholic

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Who Are Protestants?

A Protestant is an adherent of any of those Christian bodies that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation over disputes about faith and justification. The reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice.

Martin Luther was a seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation who in his Ninety-Five Theses that strongly criticize many of the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. Luther began by criticizing the selling of indulgences, insisting that the pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of merits of the saints had no foundation in the gospel.

Essentially, Protestantism is characterized by emphasis on the Bible as the sole source of infallible truth and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. In addition, Protestants have traditionally encouraged private interpretation of the scriptures by individuals rather than relying on the interpretation of the church. 

Protestant Christians gather for traditional worship services on Sunday. There is a great variety in worship expression within the Protestant church, but central to most services is the proclamation of the Bible, a sermon, hymn singing, prayer and regular summon. The protestant church is further divided into denominations, including (but not limited to) Presbyterian, Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist and Wesleyan.

What You Need To Know About Protestant

  1. Protestants believe in imputed righteousness (a person is declared righteous by faith).
  2. Protestants believe any church can be a true visible manifestation of the body of Christ on earth.
  3. The protestant faith is made up of many churches who generally believe that Humans are not infallible and that Jesus Christ is the leader of Protestant Churches. 
  4. There is no concept of celibacy for protestant churches. Celibacy is viewed as an obstruction to true faith.
  5. The protestant church bible has 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
  6. Easter and Christmas are the only holy days celebrated by Protestants.
  7. For Protestants each church is completely independent. The clergy may comprise of Archbishop, Bishops, Pastors, Evangelists, Deacons, Elders etc.
  8. Many protestant churches limit the use of Statues and pictures of Jesus Christ, Mary and other Saints. Some Protestants completely forbid the use of statues and pictures. However, in many cases symbol of cross is used.
  9. Protestants that faith and prayer are the only mechanisms of being in direct relation with God. They don’t conduct pilgrimages and worship of saints.
  10. Many protestant denominations especially those within the reformed tradition identify with two main sacraments that they believe were instituted by Jesus Christ himself, the sacraments include: Eucharist (lords super) and Baptism. 
  11. According to Protestants, salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ.
  12. Mary is considered favored among women and was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus through a virgin birth, but is otherwise simply a human with no other special attributes.
  13. The Protestants are predominantly found in North America, Africa, some parts of Europe and Latin America.
  14. Protestants believe in the concept of eternal hell and damnation of unbelievers and sinners.
  15. Women are treated with respect and decorum. In some protestant denominations, women are not allowed to be part of the clergy, but are allowed to teach or work in other areas. In other protestant denominations, women are allowed to be priests and pastors.

Who Are Catholics?

A Catholic is a Christian who subscribes to the teachings of the Catholic Church and regularly participates in the sacraments of the same Church. The Catholic Church, sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is commonly associated with the whole of the church led by the Roman Pontiff, referred to as the Pope. Along with Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism, it is one of the three major branches of Christianity.

The chief teachings of the Catholic church are: God’s objective existence; God’s interest in individual human beings, who can enter into relations with God (through prayer); the Trinity; the divinity of Jesus; the immortality of the soul of each human being, each one being accountable at death for his or her actions in life, with the award of heaven or hell; the resurrection of the dead; the historicity of the Gospels and the divine commission of the church.

Roman Catholics believe the infallible touchstone of truth is the church itself. The church not only infallibly determines the proper interpretation of Scripture, but also supplements Scripture with additional traditions and teaching.  That combination of church tradition plus the Church’s interpretation of Scripture is what constitutes the binding rule of faith and practice for Catholics. The fact is, the Church sets itself above Holy Scripture in rank of authority.   

What You Need To Know About Catholic

  1. Catholics believe grace is ‘’infused’’ by keeping the sacraments over time.
  2. The Roman Catholic Church believes they are the only true visible manifestation of the body of Christ on earth.
  3. The Catholics have a pope who is considered as infallible Vicar of Christ and the leader of the Catholic Church. He also doubles as the head of state of Vatican City.
  4. Celibacy (vow of abstaining from marriage or sexual relationships) is obligatory for all priests and is seen as symbol of the undivided succession of Christ.
  5. The catholic bible has 73 books, 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The additional books are referred to as deuterocanonicals or Apocrypha. They include: Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch.
  6. Pentecost, Christmas, Easter, Saints’ Feast, lent are celebrated by Catholics as holy days.
  7. In Catholic Church the clergy include Pope, Cardinals, Archbishop, Bishop, Priest, Monk and deacons. They are also women as nuns. 
  8. Use of Statues and pictures. Catholics allow depiction of Jesus, Mary and other saints in the form of Statues and different picture designs such as graphics and pencil sketches. Also the images can be worn as jewelry and can be displayed on walls of church and homes.
  9. Catholics have seven Sacraments. They include: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing the sick, marriage and holy orders.
  10. Catholics conduct pilgrimages, worship of Saints and use of relics as a way of being in direct relation with God.
  11. According to Catholics, salvation is through baptism and good works done by us in righteousness.
  12. Mary is considered favored among women and was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus through a virgin birth. Thus, she is considered holy and may be prayed to as an intercessor to God.
  13. The Catholics are predominantly found in France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, USA and some parts of Europe.
  14. Catholics believe that sinners and unbelievers will spend eternity in hell. However, from their church traditions and reliance on non-canonical books, Catholics have also developed the doctrine of purgatory. Purgatory according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, is a ‘’place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.’’ In other words, a place of cleansing and preparation for heaven.
  15. Women are treated with respect and decorum; they are not allowed to be priests. However, they can be nuns.

Difference Between Protestant And Catholic In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON   PROTESTANTS CATHOLICS
Grace/Righteousness Protestants believe in imputed righteousness (a person is declared righteous by faith).   Catholics believe grace is ‘’infused’’ by keeping the sacraments over time.  
Church As Manifestation Of Christ Protestants believe any church can be a true visible manifestation of the body of Christ on earth.   The Roman Catholic Church believes they are the only true visible manifestation of the body of Christ on earth.  
Leadership The protestant faith is made up of many churches who generally believe that Humans are not infallible and that Jesus Christ is the leader of Protestant Churches.    The Catholics have a pope who is considered as infallible Vicar of Christ and the leader of the Catholic Church. He also doubles as the head of state of Vatican City.  
Celibacy There is no concept of celibacy for protestant churches. Celibacy is viewed as an obstruction to true faith.   Celibacy is obligatory for all priests and is seen as symbol of emulation of life of Jesus Christ.  
Bible Books The protestant church bible has 66 books, 39 in the Old testament and 27 in the New testament.   The catholic bible has 73 books, 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New testament.  
Holy Days Easter and Christmas are the only holy days celebrated by Protestants.   Pentecost, Christmas, Easter, Saints’ Feast, lent are celebrated by Catholics as holy days.    
Clergy The clergy may comprise of Archbishop, Bishops, Pastors, Evangelists, Deacons, Elders etc.   The clergy include Pope, Cardinals, Archbishop, Bishop, Priest, Monk and deacons.
Depiction Of Jesus Christ, Mary & Other Saints Many protestant churches limit the use of Statues and pictures of Jesus Christ, Mary and other Saints. Catholics allow depiction of Jesus, Mary and other saints in the form of Statues and different picture designs such as graphics and pencil sketches.
Sacraments Many protestant denominations identify with two main sacraments, Eucharist and Baptism. Catholics have seven Sacraments. Baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing the sick, marriage and holy orders.  
Direct Relation With God Protestants that faith and prayer are the only mechanisms of being in direct relation with God. They don’t conduct pilgrimages and worship of saints.   Catholics conduct pilgrimages, worship of Saints and use of relics as a way of being in direct relation with God.  
Salvation According to Protestants, salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ.   According to Catholics, salvation is through baptism and good works done by us in righteousness.  
Mary The Mother Of Jesus According to protestants, Mary is simply a human with no other special attributes. Mary is considered holy and may be prayed to as an intercessor to God.  
Dominance The Protestants are predominantly found in North America, Africa, some parts of Europe and Latin America.   The Catholics are predominantly found in France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, USA and some parts of Europe.  
Purgatory The doctrine of purgatory was does not exist in Protestant denominations. The Catholic believes in the doctrine of purgatory i.e a place of cleansing and preparation for heaven.
Women In some protestant denominations, women are not allowed to be part of the clergy, but are allowed to teach or work in other areas. In other protestant denominations, women are allowed to be priests and pastors.   Women are treated with respect and decorum; they are not allowed to be priests. However, they can be nuns.