A summary of the Catholic faith ...

What the Catholic Church teaches, practices, and believes.

Many Catholics (including some priests and bishops) don't believe or practice the Catholic faith. Critics use this to prove the Catholic Church is "false." But that's like claiming Protestantism is "false" because some Protestants don't believe in hell.

References are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Index ...

   

God's Plan

Doctrinal Development

The Creed

Revelation

The Bible

Apparitions

3 Legs of the Faith

Mary

Soul vs Spirit

Original Sin

Images / Symbols

Ordination

Eschatology

The Papacy (Pope)

Baptism

Salvation

Eucharist (Communion)

Mass

Confession

Divorce

Protestantism

Other Religions

Sacramentals

   

The Church

Saints

Teaching Magisterium

Purgatory

Contraception

Sexual Sins

Superstition

Homosexuality

Indulgences

Liturgical Life

Grace

Calvinism

Moral Theology

Prayer

Tradition

Abortion

Faith

The Trinity

Angels

Sin

Judgment

Sacraments



God's Plan


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

God. . . in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. (1)

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. (27) Although man can forget God or reject him. . . . (30)


Doctrinal Development


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries(66)

Protestants typically claim that the Christian faith was all laid out in scripture by the end of the apostolic era. Catholics, on the other hand, believe that the Holy Spirit continues to direct the church as she comes ever closer to a full understanding of the truth.


The Creed


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

The Church's faith is confessed in the Apostles Creed. (26)

The phrase Communion of Saints in the Apostles Creed refers to believers in heaven and on earth.


Revelation


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more. (106)

Many Protestants don't seem to be aware that Catholics believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of scripture.

Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his [God's] works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. . . . God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. (50)

Most Protestants think that man is totally depraved and is therefore unable to know anything for certain about God using his own reason unless God chooses to reveal the information in a manner which is irresistible. Both Catholics and Protestants believe that there is such a thing as knowledge which can only be acquired by divine revelation

Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments," which allow us to attain certainty about the truth(31)

Protestants usually don't consider man's role and journey in achieving salvation. And even though Protestants believe in trying to present sound arguments for the truth-claims of the Protestant Christian faith they typically completely attribute success to the behind the scenes working of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, the Catholic Church is willing to give man's reason a more important role in salvation (without denying or de-emphasizing God's role).

The human person: With his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. (33)

The Catholic Church is willing to give man credit for the gifts and powers he has because he was created that way by God. God's creative work in man is still able to "shine through" even after the effects of original sin.

Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. The proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason. (35)

Catholics are willing to give God the glory because He allows the creatures which God creates to achieve the goal for which He designed them. Thus, since God created man with reason and conscience, Catholics believe that man can use these to properly discern truth. Protestants, on the other hand, have a tendency to magnify the fall and the effects of original sin so that man is now completely incapacitated in spiritual matters.

In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone. . . . The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. (37)

In the Catholic view man is hampered, but is not completely hopeless and helpless. He can resist and fight the difficulties.

Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason. Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created in the image of God. (36)

  1. Protestants typically don't consider the Church as anything other than an abstract construct. They see the Church as merely the set of all believers. But Catholics regard the Church to be a divinely-created institution (just as marriage is).
  2. Most Protestant systems of theology consider that man is so totally depraved that he is incapable of knowing anything pertaining to God via human reason. But Catholics believe that man is still in possession of his divinely-created attributes which are merely weakened by original sin.

By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his [God's] works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation(50)

Protestants (especially Calvinists) typically don't believe that man can know of God except through divine revelation.


The Bible


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. (129)

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. (133)

Many Protestants are unaware that Catholics have such a high regard for scripture. A typical claim by Protestant anti-Catholicsis that the Catholic Church forbids people to read the Bible.

Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

The Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence. (82)

There are a few significant differences between the Protestant and the Catholic views:

The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome(85)

There are some important differences between the Protestant and the Catholic views of Biblical interpretation:


Faith


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. (143)

Faith is . . . a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. (150)

Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him [by God]. Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth. (153)

Many Protestants are unaware that the Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by God's grace.

Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed are contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. (154)

In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace: Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace. (155)

What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. So that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit. (156)

To be human, man's response to God by faith must be free, and . . . therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act. (160)

Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. . . . Nor will anyone obtain eternal life but he who endures to the end(161)

Many Protestants are unaware that the Catholic Church teaches that we must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved.

Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church. (424)

Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. (159)


The Trinity


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. . . . It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith. (234)


Angels


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. (336)

Notice that Catholics believe in guardian angels.


Sin


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God's plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons. (387)

The transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed"—a state and not an act. (404)

Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

This [divine] revelation [from God] was not broken off by our first parents' sin. (55)

In other words, since Adam and Eve's fall, humans can still know about God. Protestants (especially Calvinists) typically de-emphasize man's free will responsibility to respond favorably to God's ever-present call to holiness.

Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell." (1033)

Protestants typically don't consider mortal sins to be particularly serious since they don't affect a person's salvation. Martin Luther said that God winks at our "small" sins (venial sins?) and that even after committing a "deadly sin" (mortal sin?), our mere faith that it is gone removes it.

Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture, became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience. (1854)

This paragraph refers to the passage in 1 John 5:16,17 concerning a "sin UNTO death" and a "sin NOT unto death."


Judgment


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. (1021)

Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven—through a purification or immediately,—or immediate and everlasting damnation. (1022)


Calvinism


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. (1037)


Moral Theology


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

Man is obliged to follow the moral law, which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil" . This law makes itself heard in his conscience. (1713)


Prayer


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father; it can also be directed toward Jesus. (2680)

It is called "the Lord's Prayer" because it comes to us from the Lord Jesus, the master and model of our prayer. (2775)


Tradition


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism 

This treasure [the Good News], received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. (3)

Many Protestants claim that the Catholic Church has not guarded the faith at all but has distorted and corrupted it.

The Gospel was handed on in two ways:

  1. orally — by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established . . .
  2. in writing — by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing. (76)

Protestants, for the most part, deny the oral transmission of the gospel. They, rather, claim that it is only through scripture that the gospel is revealed to us today.

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. (77)

There are several points which Protestants typically reject:

This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, the Church, in her doctrine, life, and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes(78)

There are several points which Protestants typically reject:


Apparitions


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations." (67)

Examples of these "private" revelations which have been approved of by the teaching magisterium of the Church:.


3 Legs of the Faith


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls. (95)


Mary


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

The Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith. (149)

Many Protestants are taught that Catholics worship Mary, but this is incorrect. (link)

This refers to Marian devotion.

The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin." (499)

This is the dogma of Mary's "perpetual virginity."

Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus," are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary." They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression. (500)

This is in support of the dogma of Mary's "perpetual virginity."

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. (491)

This is the dogma of the immaculate conception.

Notice that this special grace given to Mary by God derives from Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium [Genesis 3:15] as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve." Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life. (411)

This is the dogma of the immaculate conception.

Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus," Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord." In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos). (495)

This is the dogma of Mary as the "Mother of God."

To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role." The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace." In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace. (490)

Protestants typically don't consider much the implications of Mary conceiving the Christ, carrying Him in her womb, and bonding with Him from infancy as she raised Him to adulthood. Even psychology teaches the extreme significance of the parents influence on the character formation and socialization of the child.


Soul vs Spirit


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people "wholly," with "spirit and soul and body" kept sound and blameless at the Lord's coming. The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul. "Spirit" signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God. (367)

Some Protestants explicitly teach that man's "soul" and "spirit" are two different things.


Original Sin


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it; subject to ignorance, suffering, and the dominion of death; and inclined to sin — an inclination to evil that is called "concupiscence." Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back toward God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle. (405)

Some Protestants have a similar view of original sin but others (particularly Calvinists) diverge significantly. (link)


Images / Symbols


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see. The individual characteristics of Christ's body express the divine person of God's Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted(477)

Protestant anti-Catholicsoften accuse Catholics of worshipping idols but they misrepresent what Catholics are really doing (and they can't seem to get it through their thick skulls no matter how many times you explain it to them). Catholics are actually worshipping God. In the case of images and icons of persons other than Jesus (such as Mary and the Saints), they are venerating them. (This is not to say that all Catholics properly understand the teachings of the church).

Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ's body was finite. Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate(476)

Even Protestants allow images of Jesus. Many Protestants have painting of Jesus in their homes and in their churches. The difference is that Catholics venerate these images as a symbolic way of expressing their worship of Christ. For some reason Protestants are willing to express their love for their spouses by the giving of objects such as flowers (for example), but will not allow the expression of love for God with physical objects. This is very odd.

The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ's sacrifice as "the source of eternal salvation" and teaches that "his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us." And the Church venerates his cross as it sings: "Hail, O Cross, our only hope." (616)


Eschatology (End Times)


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. (675)

In pondering the meaning of these words, I have come to the conclusion that these statements have been true for any and every period of human history since the birth of the church.

Protestants have such an amazing diversity of views about the end times. This is not surprising since they typically hold to the foundational doctrine of Sola Scriptura.


The Papacy (Pope)


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve; Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Our Lord then declared to him: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." Christ, the "living stone," thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakeable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it(552)

Protestants, of course, have no pope since that was one of the things the Protestant Reformers rejected in the early 1500's. But in spite of this, many denominations have their own "pope-like" authority, their "pseudo-pope," if you will, who has infallible authority. For example, Martin Luther expected Lutheran ministers to believe and teach only his interpretations of the Bible. Ditto with John Calvin.

Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. [Matthew 16:19]" The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep." The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom. (553)

Many Protestants believe that the Papacy is not in the Bible, but that is simply not so.


Baptism


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude. (1257)

Some Protestant denominations agree that Baptism is necessary for salvation. Some of these denominations believe that you have to be baptized into their denomination. But the Catholic Church allows for the validity of baptism by Protestants as well as by Catholics (more on this later).

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. (1263)

But after baptism, people who commit mortal sins will lose their salvation.

Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth. (1250)

Some Protestant denominations also practice infant baptism.

The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon. In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize, by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. (1256)

Since baptism can only be performed once, new members to the Catholic Church are sometimes "conditionally" baptized in cases where it is uncertain whether their baptism outside the Catholic Church was valid and proper.

I find it interesting that almost all Protestant denominations have preserved the baptismal formula that is required by the Catholic Church: Even though they believe (1) that they are saved by faith in Jesus, and (2) that baptism is merely symbolic anyway; they insist on using the Trinitarian formula when baptizing. This is very odd, but it is very fortunate since by using the proper formula the baptism is valid.

Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence . . . ; since concupiscence is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ. (1264)

Even after baptism we must struggle against concupiscence, which is the inclination to sin.


Salvation


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Through his [Jesus'] parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough; deeds are required(546)

This is the basic problem with Protestant theology regarding salvation and justification. It separates faith from works and claims that a person is saved merely by their belief. As a consequence of this doctrine, some Protestants will be horrified to discover upon their death and judgment that their lax morals and sinful behavior has rendered them unfit for the kingdom of God.

Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who—by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion—are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved(837)

Not all Catholics are saved.


The Eucharist (Communion)


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice. Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it. By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant. (611)

The Catholic Church considers the thanksgiving (Eucharist) communion which Jesus offered to His disciples at the last supper as extremely significant. After all, it was the last event in the ministry of Jesus before He offered Himself up as the sacrificial "Lamb of God," and Jesus had introduced them to the topic in the gospel of John, chapter 6. Most Protestants consider it as a nice little symbolic gesture from which we can derive some good sermons.


Mass


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration. (1345)

Justin Martyr wrote over 1,800 years ago. The mass in connection with the Eucharist appears very early in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. Apparently they learned it from the apostles.


Confession


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church. . . . This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn. (980)

This sacrament has several names:

After a Christian has been baptized they "lose their salvation" by committing a mortal sin. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation their mortal sin is forgiven by God. I shudder to think what will become of all those Protestants who feel safe because they are "saved by their faith" and as a consequence have lower moral standards which results in them committing mortal sins.

Among the penitent's acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again(1451)

The sacrament of Reconciliation is not merely a mechanical, magical, or superstitious ceremony but requires a genuine internal sense of contrition.


Divorce


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. . . . The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. . . . Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence(1650)

Divorce is simply not allowed. Remarriage after a divorce is a mortal sin.


Protestantism


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders. It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory. (400)

Catholics consider that the Protestants split off from the true expression of Christianity, which is the Catholic Church. As a consequence, their unity with Christ's church is imperfect and they are missing some important things, such as valid ordination, the sacraments, the teaching magisterium, etc. Protestants, of course, see it differently.


Other Religions


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter. Those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist. (838)

Catholics consider the Orthodox communities to be close brothers. Protestants typically consider them as bad as Catholics.

The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day(841)

Catholics are more charitable to Muslims than are most Protestants, who would consider Islam a false religion and that, therefore, Muslims are not saved. The Catholic Church does not teach that all Muslims are saved, but that they have some things correct and that there are some Muslims who are saved.

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation(847)

This is an outrageous idea to many Protestants who assume that only Christians can go to heaven. But secretly, some Protestants suspect that the Catholic view is the correct one, but they must keep quiet about it because it is not what they are supposed to believe and it doesn't fit their theology.


Sacramentals


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy. (1667)

Among sacramentals blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father "with every spiritual blessing." This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ. (1671)

Certain blessings have a lasting importance because they consecrate persons to God, or reserve objects and places for liturgical use. Among those blessings which are intended for persons—not to be confused with sacramental ordination—are the blessing of the abbot or abbess of a monastery, the consecration of virgins and widows, the rite of religious profession and the blessing of certain ministries of the Church (readers, acolytes, catechists, etc.). The dedication or blessing of a church or an altar, the blessing of holy oils, vessels, and vestments, bells, etc., can be mentioned as examples of blessings that concern objects. (1672)


The Church


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who—by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion—are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. (837)

Catholics believe that the church is a divinely established and divinely maintained institution (in addition to being the "body of Christ," the set of all believers).

That being said, not all members of the church live up to their high calling. Throughout history we see that even high church leaders, such as priests, bishops, and even the pope, have not always lived the life of holiness that they should have. But in Catholic teaching this does not disqualify the institution of the church (the Catholic Church) from being that institution which God established and which God continues to empower to perform His mission of salvation in the world.


Saints


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors(828)

Although Protestants have role models of holy and committed fellow believers, they have nothing like the concept of Catholic Saints. This is because they believe that once believers die there is no longer any interaction between those in heaven and those on earth.


Teaching Magisterium


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

The Church's Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these. (88)

Although Protestants claim to not have a teaching magisterium, they actually do. Each denomination has its own theologians and scholars whose teachings are considered authoritative and which is binding on the members of that denomination.


Purgatory


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (1030)

I suspect that very few Protestants believe in purgatory.


Contraception


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception). (2399)

Many Protestants as well as many Catholics don't see contraception as a problem. But the Catholic Church is strongly against it.


Sexual Sins


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

Pornography . . . is a grave offense. . . . It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. (2354)

Most Protestants would agree that it is a serious moral problem.

Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. (2380)

Most Protestants would agree.

Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action. The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose. (2352)

Some Protestants don't think it is such a important moral issue.


Superstition


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition(2111)

The Catholic Church is often accused by Protestant anti-Catholicsas having many superstitions, but such is not the case. It is true that Catholics who are not adequately instructed may carry over superstitious beliefs from the culture in which they live.


Homosexuality


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (2357)

The differences between the Catholic viewpoint and various Protestant viewpoints are:

Read more: Gay Marriage | Homosexuality


Indulgences


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance. What is an indulgence? An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead(1471)

Of course, the abuse of indulgences by a few Catholic Church leaders was one of the things which prompted Martin Luther to nail his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg.


Liturgical Life


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. (1113)

This is very different from many Protestant denominations.


Grace


Teachings in common with Protestantism 

Note: Not all Protestants agree.

Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. (1996)

Many Protestants are unaware that Catholics believe in salvation by God's grace.


Abortion


Teachings that differ somewhat from Protestantism ...

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. (2270)

Most Protestant denominations are anti-abortion, but not all.


Sacraments


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Through the Church's sacraments, Christ communicates his Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the members of his Body. (739)

Christ ministers to the members of the church through the sacraments. He pours out His grace in the actions of the sacraments.

The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. (1113)

Most Protestant denominations have gotten rid of most of the sacraments. It is common for these Protestants to retain baptism and communion, but their sacramental nature is usually removed.


Ordination


Teachings that differ drastically from Protestantism ...

Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate. (1536)

Of course, many Protestant denomination have ordinations, but it is not "apostolic" ordination via succession. Rather, the founder of each denomination practiced "self-ordination."