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Mikewlf337's avatar

Why are some Protestants anti Catholic?

Asked by Mikewlf337 (6262points) February 3rd, 2011

As you all know. I rarely ask relgious questions but this one is something I have been pondering for long long time. Some members of my family are catholic while most of my family on my father’s side are followers of the Greek Orthodox Church. All of my mother’s side are protestant and predominantly were raised Pentecostal. Alot of them are very much against the Catholic Church. They believe that all Catholics will go to hell. Why is this? Why are some protestants against the Catholic Church?

Atheists: I will respect your answers as long as you don’t insult religion. If you have an answer that may help me with my question then please do answer. :)

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17 Answers

6rant6's avatar

Protestant leaders have issues with the Pope claiming to be infallible. And he doesn’t have good things to say about where Protestants are going after services.

iamthemob's avatar

I think that in the U.S., the animus is more about racism/nationalism/ethnocentricity. There definitely is a historical anti-Catholic sentiment in the U.S., much of it having to do at least nominally with the idea that Catholic ideology is anti-Democratic.

But if you look at times when the “hate” is strongest, it’s often when there is an anti-immigration trend (most strong Catholic roots are found in immigrant minorities) or when there is, ironically, a push for some form of equal-rights legislation.

thorninmud's avatar

The fundamental beef that Protestants have always had with Catholicism is the claim that the clergy act as intermediaries between God and man. The thing that Luther (one of the founders of Protestantism) was especially angry about was the Catholic practice of selling indulgences, implying that the clergy could, for a price, arrange to have your sins forgiven by God. Luther asserted that forgiveness was strictly an affair between the individual and God. They see the Catholic clergy as taking on a role that doesn’t belong to man.

Most Protestants still have clergy, but see the relationship with God as being personal and unmediated.

Aster's avatar

I have wondered about this, too. My favorite friends have often been Catholic.
I know my dad didn’t like them because they didn’t use birth control. Or, he thought they didn’t and my sister married one, had three kids back to back, and my dad thought that was terrible.
They all turned out to be very successful and happy.
And as another poster said, he didn’t like the Pope’s attitude that he was God’s representative on earth or something. But Ive always loved Catholics and actually, wouldn’t mind being one!

DominicX's avatar

As far as I know, Catholicism regards Protestants as heretics and Protestantism as heresy. Seems like a pretty mutual dislike to me.

markferg's avatar

This reminds me of a Welsh joke.

A Welshman is rescued from a desert island. When the people from the passing ship pick him up, they ask him what he did on the island. He point behind him at two buildings that he built. What are they?, they ask. He replies, “Well, the one on the left is the chapel that I go to on Sunday”. Ok, they say, What about the other building? He says, “That’s the chapel I don’t go to on Sunday”.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Catholics’ supposed worship of Mary, calling her the mother of God and the doctrine of transubstantiation was considered highly offensive to people I knew as a child. In the fundy Pentecostal church I grew up in, we only heard about Mary at Christmas, and Communion was a symbolic partaking of the Last Supper, nothing actually became the body and blood of Christ, that was “sick”.

They considered the Hail, Mary an act of idolatry, because she isn’t supposed to intercede; you’re to talk to God directly, and if you aren’t, then, in my pastor’s mind, you’re praying to her, when the Bible clearly states that you are to have no other gods before God and pray to no one else. That’s how it was told to me, anyway. My guardian had a fit when I converted to Catholicism in my late teens (I’m now an atheist).

I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in a poor black neighborhood, but no one there said anything that was ethnocentric or racist regarding Catholics. In the white parts of Milwaukee, however, there was definitely a socio-economic hierarchy where the WASPs/German-descended Lutherans were on top running things and Catholics and Jews were 2nd place.

JLeslie's avatar

The Protestans see the Catholics as idol worshippers. What @aprilsimnel said about praying to Mary is a big deal for the Protestans, maybe they have trouble with praying to the saints also? Not sure. I always separate out the Catholics from the rest of Christians when I make generalizations, but at the same time I believe Catholics are Christian, and I find it offensive that non-Catholics don’t consider Catholics Christian. They accept Christ as their savior, why isn’t that enough?

I guess the Protestans were protesting the Catholic church, maybe someone can help with the history, so it seems logical that some of that tradition has held on through the years.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@JLeslie – Forgot about the saints. The entire idea of saints was blasphemous.

Ladymia69's avatar

Like aprilsimnel said, I grew up also in a Pentecostal Evangelical church, with my mom’s mother being Roman Catholic, and the big issue was the idolatry of Mary. Also I heard my parents constantly trying to convince her to “accept Jesus Christ as her personal lord and savior” which, Catholics don’t do as a rule. As far as they were concerned, Catholics were in contempt of John 3:16.

JLeslie's avatar

@aprilsimnel I like the saints. God has so much to do, makes sense that if he has people working for him that specialize in certain things that they might be able to handle those problems, freeing up God to focus on bigger things. Kind of like a well run corporation. The head of finance can deal with some of the financial questions, not everything has to go all the way to the CEO. I think the Protestants might even have a problem with the Pope?

JLeslie's avatar

Weren’t the Catholics the first Christians?

thorninmud's avatar

Protestantism is much more of a DIY approach to religion. Everyone is expected to read the Bible for themselves and not let anyone else interpret it for them. Salvation is a personal matter. No saints will intervene on their behalf. It’s all between them and God. The institutional aspect of religion is completely superfluous in their view.

It’s the very institutional nature of the Catholic church, with all its many layers of intercession, that they find distasteful. The whole Saint thing is a prime example of what they see as unnecessary religious “bureaucracy”.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – Not at all. Early Christians was really sectarian, and Catholicism was, in many ways, established in order to differentiate itself from other movements.

choreplay's avatar

I grew up Catholic and now consider myself non-denominational protestant. Some of the biggest issues have been mentioned with include praying to Mary and the saints as intercessors and relying on the priest as intercessors. The real big issue with Protestants is that the Catholics rely on works (good deeds or sacrifice) to attain salvation while the protestants see this as a fundelmental conflict with the pure message of salvation of Christ which is based purely on faith and not to do with anything of our own capablity or effort. It is completely free and given in pure love. So when the Catholics say you have to say the rosary so many times or fast for lent it taints the pure message of salvation.

tranquilsea's avatar

@iamthemob I thought Catholicism was more of a way to pull all of the differing factions together.

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