When it comes to Catholicism, I feel it is my obligation at the outset to disclose that I was nominally raised in the Roman Catholic Church as a youth and have many friends and family who have or still adhere to the Catholic religion and her teachings.
In this article, we seek to educate and inspire the Biblical Christian in Witnessing to Catholics as we discuss some of the immense differences between the teachings of Scripture and Catholic Dogma.
Embedded within this article are many links to Catholic resources regarding the many topics presented herein. Because of this, we have a warning concerning these links.
1. If the reader is firmly and foundationally acquainted with the Scriptures, we advise them to read these resources with their spiritual eyes wide open, understanding that these Catholic adherents have misinterpreted and misrepresented the Scriptures to fit their preconceived notions of Catholic doctrine and dogma.
2. If the reader is not well-versed in the Scriptures or is a new believer, we highly advise that they do not access the embedded links as they may very well be susceptible to being deceived by the content due to their lack of Biblical knowledge. To these individuals, we earnestly implore and urge them to study the Scriptures for themselves – Genesis through Revelation – diligently and daily.
All Catholic quotes in this article are italicized. Underlined Scripture passages are my own emphasis.
Doctrines and Dogma of the Roman Catholic Church
Since the Roman Catholic Church did not even exist until approximately 300 years after the death of Peter, this claim is obviously without merit.
The Catholic Church bases this assertion on the following passage when Christ asked His Disciples who they thought He was:
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:16-18
The Catholic Church contends that Jesus said He would build His church on the Apostle Peter, but this is not what Messiah revealed. Yeshua said that He would build His church upon Peter’s confession that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Thus, when someone comes to Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” fully trusting in Him for salvation, they become a member of His church, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Other than the Triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, only the Scriptures are infallible.
Paul said of Timothy and his upbringing in the Scriptures:
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3:15-17
The Scriptures are even personified in the person of Messiah, that the Son, as Creator, is the Word incarnate!
“In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ, the Son of God], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [literally, “and God was the Word”]. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” – John 1:1-3
No church is ever said to be infallible, for the church is made up of fallible, sinful men and women – saved by grace through faith in Christ – including those in leadership positions, as no man, other than Jesus Christ Himself, is ever said to be infallible.
Only God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and the Holy Scriptures in their original autographs are infallible!
The Eucharist – the communion elements in the Catholic Mass– according to “the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Catholic Encyclopedia, and The Council of Trent, we find the following: The Eucharist is referred to in several ways.” [Only a few samples are provided below.]
As a divine sacrifice: “For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that “the work of our redemption is accomplished,” (CCC 1068).
It is propitiatory (removes the wrath of God): “…this sacrifice is truly propitiatory” (CCC 1367).
To all who deny its propitiatory nature, Trent pronounces anathema: “If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or, that it profits him only who receives; and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities; let him be anathema.” (Trent: On the Sacrifice of the Mass: Canon 3).
It is capable of making reparation of sins: “As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead” (CCC 1414).
Transubstantiation is the teaching that during the Mass, at the consecration in the Lord’s Supper (Communion), the elements of the Eucharist bread and wine, are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus and that they are no longer bread and wine but only retain their appearance of bread and wine.
The term “Real Presence,” when used by Roman Catholics, refers to Christ’s physical presence in the form of the bread and the wine that has been transubstantiated into His literal body and blood.
Paragraph 1376 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states,
The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation (CCC, 1376).
Because they are the presence of Christ himself, Catholics worship and adore the elements.
Catholics misinterpret the following passage:
“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:54
Jesus, metaphorically, equated partaking of Him and His Word entirely as Lord and Savior of one’s life to the “eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood,” bringing to remembrance the following passage in the Tanakh (Old Testament):
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” – Psalm 34:8
Biblical communion, on the other hand, is a symbolic act for the believer, as is baptism, and is meant to be taken in remembrance, somberness, humility, and utmost thankfulness for all that our Lord has done for us as Savior of our souls.
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
After you have confessed your sins, your priest can offer forgiveness by saying a prayer that asks God to provide you with peace and absolution. God will only grant absolution if you sincerely confess all your sins, promise to be a better person and abstain from these negative behaviors.
Only God can “offer forgiveness” through Christ’s atoning work on the cross, and confession is to be made to Him and Him alone.
The only time a person is commanded to confess their sins to another human being is when that person has transgressed against another brother, and that confession is only regarding that transgression.
We can ask for prayer from our brothers and sisters when we struggle with any particular sin, if we so desire, but we only confess our sins to God.
The Last Rites are a collection of prayers and sacraments that are administered to a person who is in grave danger of dying… The Last Rite can be used to help provide Catholics with the spiritual strength needed for both physical and spiritual recovery, at times when we may be at the brink of death.
The Sacrament of Confession is an essential part of the Last Rites. By taking confession on their death bed, a dying person can be absolved of their sins by the Priest. In doing so, the confessor will receive the sacramental grace of Confession.
When a faithful Catholic faces imminent risk of dying or is on the verge of death, the Last Rites can be administered to offer them a final chance to be absolved of their sins in preparation for entering heaven, to denounce their sinful ways, and face their individual judgment to avoid hell.
Nowhere in Scripture are we told that any mortal man must pray any prayer over a dying person “in preparation for entering heaven.”
The Christian privilege of going to heaven at death has been eternally obtained through personal salvation through Christ and Christ alone.
“Every personal sin must be excluded from the Blessed Virgin Mary for the sake of the honor of God” – St. Augustine, 390 AD
“Mary, a virgin not only undefiled but a virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free from every stain.” – St. Ambrose of Milan, 340-370 AD
“You, and your Mother are alone in this. You are wholly beautiful in every respect. There is in you, Lord, no stain, nor any spot in your Mother.” – St. Ephraem, 350 AD
In fact, there are literally dozens of cases where early Church fathers have mentioned Mary as being without sin, using such words as “All-Holy One,” “All-Sinless One,” and “immaculate.” It proves that the idea of Mary’s sinlessness was not uncommon in the first few centuries of the Church.
In Mary’s Magnificat, Mary, when rejoicing in being selected the bearer of the Son of God and Savior of the world, proclaimed:
“My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” – Luke 1:46-47
Mary was quite aware of her innate and inherent sinfulness and her desperate need of God as her Savior.
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” – Luke 1:35
Mary had many children with Joseph after receiving the unique creation of Christ within her through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and birthing the Savior.
“And when he [Jesus Christ] was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?” – Matthew 13:54-55 (Mark 6:3, Matthew 12:46, Matthew 13:55, John 2:12, John 7:3-5, 10, Acts 1:14, 1 Corinthians 9:5, Galatians 1:19)
Though Catholic teaching suggests that this Greek word translated “brethren” should be thought of as “nephews” or “family members,” the truth is Mary had other children through Joseph and was not, nor has ever been, a perpetual virgin after giving birth to the Savior of the world.
Notice the double-speak regarding Mary’s position as Co-redemptrix at the hyperlinked Catholic resource quoting Deacon Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., Professor of Theology and Mariology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio:
“The title, “Co-redemptix,” refers to Mary’s unique participation with and under her Divine Son Jesus Christ, in the historic Redemption of humanity. The prefix, “Co,” comes from the Latin “cum,” which means “with.” The title of Coredemptrix applied to the Mother of Jesus never places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, the divine Lord of all, in the saving process of humanity’s Redemption. Rather, it denotes Mary’s singular and unique sharing with her Son in the saving work of Redemption for the human family. The Mother of Jesus participates in the redemptive work of her Savior Son, who alone could reconcile humanity with the Father in his glorious divinity and humanity.”
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
And when it comes to Mary as Mediatrix, according to Father Neubert:
“This foundation established, the faithful attribute a certain function of mediation to Mary, at the side of Jesus. Mother of God and Mother of men, it seems clear that she too is to serve as a bond between Him and them. But her meditation, far from diminishing that of Christ, results from it and seems to complete it: it is carried out under Christ and in union with Christ from whom it receives all its efficacy.”
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” – 1 Timothy 2:3-5
In Biblical Christianity, whoever puts their faith and trust in the finished work of Messiah on the cross, being reborn in the Spirit, and commits to Jesus being Lord of their life, is a Saint.
“Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition” (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]). – Cyril of Jerusalem
“You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us so that we may love him” (Commentary on Mark [A.D. 370]).
“Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day” (The Fear at the End of Life [A.D. 370]). – Ephraim the Syrian
Biblical Christians pray only to the Father, in the Son’s Name, with the indwelling Holy Spirit leading and guiding them and their lives. They also offer prayers of communication to the Son in fellowship with the One who purchased them with His perfect sacrifice on the cross for their salvation.
Jesus gave us an example we should seek to emulate in His model prayer:
“After this manner therefore pray ye:
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:9-13
Only Jesus intercedes for the believer:
Most are unaware, but there are dead “Saints” whose bodies or body parts are under alters in Roman Catholic Churches around the world.
This is extremely dark and occultic in nature.
From the Church’s beginnings, prayers to Virgin Mary have held a place of honor for Catholics… These prayers to Virgin Mary take varied forms. Most of them combine:
- Prayers to God, modeled after the faith of Mary.
- Meditations on the Incarnation, Mary’s unique role in salvation history, or her perfect examples of virtues like faith, humility, and charity.
- Prayers to Mary, asking for her help and protection.
Like all prayers to Saints, our prayers to Virgin Mary rely on the Saints’ special power to intercede for us before Christ and the Father. But since Mary has a unique role in salvation, and a unique relationship to the Trinity, our prayers to the Blessed Virgin also rely on her special power of intercession.
As just one example of offering prayers to, and worship of, Mary, consider the following headline:
Jesus said of His disciples’ petitions through prayer:
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:13-14
And note Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians:
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-20
Prayers are only to be offered to the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Catholic Church is permeated with idols, icons, and images of angels, dead “Saints,” Jesus on the cross, Mary, and a young Jesus in the arms of or alongside Mary.
Here are just two examples, with pictures, showing the current Pope worshiping images of Mary and asking for her “divine” intervention:
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” – Exodus 20:4-6
“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” – 1 Corinthians 10:19-20
The occultic nature of Catholicism is stunning.
Marian apparitions, which have occurred throughout the world, speak to the “faithful” with messages that are often inconsistent with the Word of God, but will also contain Biblical truth. This should not be a surprise, as Satan and his minions have always mixed truth with error.
Here is a link to a free pdf book, Queen of Rome, Queen of Islam, Queen of All: The Marian apparitions’ plan to unite all religions under the Roman Catholic Church by Jim Tetlow, Roger Oakland, and Brad Meyers, that documents many of these deceptive and occultic Marian apparitions:
Here is a short quote from the book:
“A disturbing practice occurs at most apparition sites. The apparition of Mary actually encourages her followers to worship her. Many visionaries and seers even claim that they are forced to their knees when the apparition appears. Other visionaries state that the apparition tells them to kneel.”
Obviously, as the book lays out very well, these are demonic occultic apparitions designed to deceive.
Catholic doctrine taught that a child who died early in life (before the so-called Age of Accountability) would go to await judgment in a place called Limbo.
Interestingly, the linked resource above states that Limbo is no longer an emphatic Catholic Church doctrine. Catholics are now free to either believe in Limbo or reject it outright. This seems kind of strange for a “Church” that proclaims divine infallibility!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC 1030).
When we die, we undergo what is called the particular, or individual, judgment.
The notion of Purgatory is entirely of man’s imagination – an intentional misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – and has no Biblical support whatsoever.
This, unfortunately, is just one of many devices the Church of Rome has concocted to fill their coffers through “indulgences” to keep their laity in bondage to the Mother Church.
An indulgence is the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due, in God’s justice, to sin that has been forgiven, which remission is granted by the Church in the exercise of the power of the keys, through the application of the superabundant merits of Christ and of the saints, and for some just and reasonable motive.
Indulgences, often made through the gifting of money (or alms) to the Roman Catholic Church, is an effort to get deceased family members and other loved ones out of Purgatory earlier than what is supposedly required or to alleviate the power of committed sin in person’s life and a host of other promises.
Money, it seems, cures many an ill in the Catholic Church!
Here is another quote from the same article regarding Purgatory:
“To say that an indulgence of so many days or years is granted means that it cancels an amount of purgatorial punishment equivalent to that which would have been remitted, in the sight of God, by the performance of so many days or years of the ancient canonical penance.”
The entire notion of indulgences is necessarily predicated on the idea that Christ’s sacrifice for sins was insufficient, in and of itself, and requires the assistance of the Catholic Church to reach salvific finality.
Catholic doctrine and dogma unequivocally conditions that there are additional works that are essential for salvation.
Baptism: “The Catholic Church teaches that baptism is “necessary for salvation” (CCC 1257).”
Please see my article, Mark 16:16 – Salvation and Baptism, for more on this subject.
Mass: “The third purpose [of Mass]: to make up for our sins.”
When a Biblical church comes together for fellowship and service – whether in a church building or a family home – there is no attempt “to make up for our sins” as Christ has already, once for all (Hebrews 10:10), procured our salvation by His sacrifice for sins on the cross. All our sins, past, present, and future have been paid in full by our loving Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
Penance/Confession: “Penance and Reconciliation, also called Confession, is the repentance of your sins. A practicing Roman Catholic gives penance — says confession — to the priest, detailing her sins. The priest then determines the act that must be performed by the person in order to repair the damage caused by the sin committed.”
“If we confess our sins [to God, not mortal man], he [God through Christ] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
Believers are only to confess their sins to God.
“I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” – Psalm 32:5
Communion of the Eucharist: “The Eucharist is one of four sacraments that imparts the forgiveness of sins.”
Scripturally, only Christ “imparts the forgiveness of sins” when we come to Him in faith, accepting His free gift of salvation procured for us on the cross, being born again through the Holy Spirit, and making Him King and Lord of our lives.
These are just a few of the requirements of works the Roman Catholic Church insists upon when it comes to justification and salvation.
Unlike Biblical Christianity, the Catholic has no assurance whatsoever that they will be saved when they die.
For Catholics, eternal salvation isn’t assured until we actually get to heaven. No matter how holy we are in this life, it is always possible for us to fall away and cut ourselves off from Christ.
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” – John 10:9, 27-30
Canon 12. “If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.”
Canon 24. “If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.”
Canon 30. “If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
The Catholic Church outright rejects the clear teaching of Scripture that we are saved “by grace through faith” in the finished work of Christ on the cross for our sins to those who believe.
What I have learned in putting this study together – and it should not have been surprising to me – is that the Catholic Church has been very good at twisting and misinterpreting the Scriptures, attempting to substantiate their many heretical doctrines and dogmas — hence our warnings to the reader in the introduction.
For her approximately 1,700-year history, the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City/Rome (along with her predecessor, the Roman Empire) is responsible for persecuting and killing more Bible-believing Christians and Israelis than any other entity on Earth.
[For more information on this historical truth and prophecies concerning the Roman Catholic Church and her ultimate demise, please see Isaiah 47: The Daughter of Babylon and A Combined Interpretive Scenario of Revelation 17 & 18.]
Once we have shared with our Catholic family and friends the truths found in Scripture (that are absolutely opposed to Catholic doctrine and dogma), urged them to read the Word of God for themselves, and they have rejected our witness, what are we to do regarding our relationships with them moving forward?
Everyone should be persuaded in their own minds, but I personally cannot get past the following passage concerning this.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Thankfully, when it comes to the laity within the Catholic Church, God does have His remnant who, when they hear the truth, will come out of Catholicism.
“… Come out of her, my people…” – Revelation 18:4
How are they to come out if God’s people are not Witnessing to Catholics, lovingly desiring to free them from the oppressive bondage of Catholic Dogma?
To help in this endeavor, please feel free to use this article in any way that seems best to you. You can share it as is, or copy, paste, and edit the content while adding your own commentary and personalizing the text to the person you are attempting to reach.
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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