Roman Catholicism and Protestant Christianity

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RomanCatholicism and Protestant Christianity

RomanCatholicism and Protestantism are the main denominations ofChristianity, just like Shia and Sunni in Islam. Initially, the RomanCatholics and Protestant Christians used to be one until the 16thcentury when Protestant Reformation took place, and numerous faithgroups defected from the Roman Catholic Church (Williamson48).The Protestant again disintegrated over the subsequent centuries andcurrently there are thousands of Christian churches in the world.Also, thousands of independent, unaffiliated congregations andministries have developed. However, in spite of so many mainline andliberal Protestant faith groups, the majority of them areconservative in nature. According to Nabhan-Warren (227) despite thefact that the traditional protestant originated from Roman Catholic,some of their beliefs and teachings oppose each other while some aresimilar. The paper mainly concentrates on the comparison betweenRoman Catholic and the Protestants. However, the two denominationsseem to differ more than they coincide with on different aspects.


Boththe Roman Catholic and the conservative Protestant have somesimilarities. They both believe that God is the mighty, lovingcreator of the world (Nabhan-Warren 230). They acknowledge that Godis one and that He appears as a Trinity. They also believe thatangels are the creation of God created from light, and areinvisible. They believe the angels obey commandments of God and areHis messengers. They also both believe that Jesus was born of theVirgin Mary, later died, and resurrected on the third day asbelievers’ savior (Williamson40).The statement of faith for the Protestant Christians is that “theBible is inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God”and “believe in one God” (National Association of Evangelicals).Alternatively, the statement of faith for the Roman Catholics is infour parts the creed, morality, sacraments, and prayer (RomanCatholic Archdiocese of Vancouver).

Additionally,about abortion access and homosexuality, Catholics and Protestantshave common grounds. Both groups view homosexual behavior as a majorsin that annoys God. They see the behavior as abnormal, unnatural,and changeable. Homosexuality is usually condemned by both the RomanCatholics and Protestant Christians with the strongest terms. Theleaders in both Roman Catholics and Protestant Christians do not inany way engage in homosexual activities or support the homosexualindividuals. Concerning the issue of accessing abortion, both groupsbelieve that human life begins at conception. Terminating the life ofsuch a creature is murder at every phase of development fromformation to birth and beyond (Maffly-Kipp, Laurie, Leigh, and Mark102). The Roman Catholics claim that terminating life at any stage isintolerable, except in rare circumstances where an operation to savethe life of the mother leads to an accidental death of the unbornchild. Any execution to Terminate pregnancy can never be allowed,even to save the life of a mother. Roman Catholics and theirhospitals hold a position that is more substantial than the officialstanding of the Church (Nabhan-Warren 84). On the other hand,Protestants vary in their attitude towards the issue of accessingabortion where some churches permit it in circumstances where rape orincest results in pregnancy. On the contrary, some Protestants standfirmly in that abortion is never acceptable, even to salvage the lifeof the mother. Indeed, in some Protestant Christians groups,followers that are found to have engaged in activities of terminatingpregnancy are restricted from associating themselves with the groups.This shows how terminating pregnancy is viewed as a sin. However,this varies with the belief system of the Protestants since this mayvary with some Protestants (Williamson 152).


Themost significant difference between Roman Catholic and the Protestantis about the adequacy and power of scripture. Protestants supposethat the only foundation of God’s unique revelation to humankind isthe Bible, and it teaches all that is required for salvation as wellas redemption from sin (Maffly-Kipp, Laurie, Leigh, and Mark 124).They also portray the Bible as the standard measure of Christianitybehavior. Among many sections in the Bible, which shows its powerand adequacy is 2 Timothy 3:16. Divergently, Catholics rejects thedoctrine of sola scriptura and states that Bible alone is notsufficient (Williamson 57). They believe both the Bible and sacredRoman Catholic customs are equally critical in abiding Christians.Protestants say that Catholic includes scriptures, lessons, andpractices that confront the gospel of God’s grace in Christ. On theother hand, Catholic holds that such practices and teachingsoriginate from the Bible and fit in God’s completeness ofrevelation. Protestant Christians believe in the doctrine of solascriptura. According to the doctrine of sola scriptura, the Bibleemerges as the supreme authority that guides all matters of doctrineas well as practice (Williamson59).

RomanCatholics and the Protestants also have issues concerning thesalvation of followers. Protestants argue that saving is by gracealone, which God gives to a believer God directly (Williamson 97).Roman Catholics also convey that salvation is by the grace of Godalone. However, critical to its principle of salvation are theseveral sacraments which include baptism, the Eucharist, ratificationconfession, anointing of the sick, holy commands, and matrimony.Protestants claim that God justifies Christ followers because Jesuspaid for all their transgressions on the cross and His righteousnesscredited to them. On their part, Catholics have faith in that theirbelievers receive Christ’s righteousness by elegance through faithalthough it is inadequate to validate salvation (Williamson98).Believers have an obligation to complement the uprightness of Jesusimparted to him with exceptional deeds and observance of thecommandments (Nabhan-Warren79).Though Protestants know that working is vital, they claim that it isthe fruit of salvation but in no way the means to it.

RomanCatholics raise Mary to a higher position above all saints where shecan hear the prayers of all people in the world instantaneously. Theyargue that to access Jesus, one must go through Mary. They portrayher as holy and work with Jesus in redemption of followers(Williamson 97). On the other hand, Protestants regards Mary as avery blessed woman who bore the Messiah through the virgin birth.However, they teach that she was a sinner like anyone else and had noother unique attributes (Williamson 97).

RomanCatholics have Pope, who they consider as Vicar of Christ followed bycardinals, archbishops, bishops, deacons, monks, and priests. Womenbecome nuns. Pope is an infallible stand in that he heads the churchall over the world. The Pope makes the fundamental decisions aboutthe church (Nabhan-Warren 231). On the other hand, Protestants haveno Pope and believe no human is infallible, and Jesus alone heads thechurch. Each church is independent led by pastors, elders, anddeacons (Maffly-Kippet al. 78).Further, Catholics have big fancy cathedrals while Protestants do nothave. They argue that humanity must ascertain its unity andredemption within the church while Protestant says that salvation ofall Christians is independent of church membership (Maffly-Kippet al. 79).

BothRoman Catholic and the Protestants acknowledge the Holy Communion.However, while Protestant deem that the body and blood of Christ areonly present symbolically, Catholics believe that the body of Christ, his blood, soul and holiness are physically present, and thebelievers consume them (Maffly-Kippet al. 96).However, in Roman Catholic, saints are the central part of thereligion while Saints have no significant role in worship inProtestant (Williamson 78).

Thedissimilarity between Catholics and Protestants also occurs on whathappens after death. Both agree that atheists will go to hell, butthere are crucial differences about what happens to believers. Fromthe church traditions and the dependence on non-canonical books, theCatholics have established the doctrine of purgatory. According tothe Catholic Encyclopedia, a purgatory is a place or condition oftime-based penalty for those who live without God’s grace and arenot free from venial mistakes, or have not completely paid thefulfillment owing to their transgressions (Maffly-Kipp, Laurie,Leigh, and Mark 119). On the other hand, Protestants suppose thatsince we are acceptable by faith in Christ only and that Hisuprightness is ascribed to us, when we die, we will directly go toheaven to be in the company of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6–10 andPhilippians 1:23).

RomanCatholics and Protestants additionally differ on the issue ofcelibacy. In Roman Catholic, celibacy is a paramount requirement.Fathers and nuns do not get married or involve themselves in sexualrelations. In Protestant, abstinence is not required (Maffly-Kippet al. 116).Catholics have several holy days of obligations among them beingcharismas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and saints feast day on whichthey conduct religious masses (Nabhan-Warren 237). For Protestant,they have no obligations and just go to church on Christmas andEaster as a routine. Roman Catholics confess their sins to Godthrough priests while Protestant do the same through Jesus Christ(Williamson 106).

Whilethe primary goal of the Roman Catholic is to ensure peace and loveprevail among people, and that they willingly submit to God, the mainpurpose of Protestant is to have a relationship with Jesus(Williamson 197). Indeed, on issues such as the abolition of deathsentence, poverty riddance, provision of universal health services,societal injustices that have emerged from unrestrained capitalismand undue wars, Roman Catholic is more liberal than traditionalProtestants.


Initially,the Roman Catholics and Protestant Christians used to be one untilthe 16th century when Protestant Reformation took place, and numerousfaith groups defected from the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestantagain disintegrated over the subsequent centuries and currentlythere are thousands of Christian churches in the world. It is evidentthat despite some similarities, there exist many differences betweenthe Roman Catholic and the conservative Protestant. For instance,Roman Catholics raise Mary to a higher position above other saintswhere she is capable of hearing all the prayers of people all overthe world directly. They argue that to access Jesus, one must gothrough Mary however, this is not the case for ProtestantChristians. The differences vary from beliefs, practices, andteachings. However, their differences should not serve the ground inwhich they accuse each other. Indeed, despite different faith thatthe believers confess, they should live in harmony and love with eachother. Therefore, it is important for Roman Catholics and ProtestantChristians to support one another and live harmoniously, despite thedifferences that their belief systems portray.


Maffly-Kipp,Laurie F., Leigh, Eric Schmidt, and Mark R. Valeri. PracticingProtestants: Histories of Christian Life in America, 1630-1965.Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2006. Print.

Nabhan-Warren,Kristy. &quotMaverick Yet Mainstream.&quot Catholics,Protestants, and Fourth-Day Spirituality, The Cursillo Movement inAmerica(2013): 226-44. Print.

NationalAssociation of Evangelicals (NAE). Statementof Faith. Retrieved from

RomanCatholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. Catechismof the Catholic Church,2006. Retrieved from

Williamson,Jack W. RomanCatholics: A Mission Field?2004. Print.