What is the Difference Between Protestantism & Catholicism?

3,849 Views Updated: 21 Dec 2017
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What is the Difference Between Protestantism & Catholicism?

Catholics and Protestants both believe in the same God, and yet, somehow there are several differences in their basic principles. And, more than five centuries and a reformation later, there still exists apparent animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants.

It is not the first time that there have been religious differences between two communities. In fact, there is a seeming difference between Hinduism and Buddhismhowever, none of those differences come close to the ones that exist between the two sects of Christianity.

So, if you’re looking for the basic differences between Catholics and Protestants, this article is for you. We discuss what exactly Protestantism vs. Catholicism is, and why the two sects of Christianity are still hateful of each other’s beliefs. Take a look:

Protestantism vs Catholicism

Before we go down further, and look at the key differences between Catholics and Protestants, let’s first make note of the core belief that led to the rise of Protestants. For Catholics, the authority and administration of the Church were hierarchical. It was passed down from Jesus to Peter, to the Apostles and later to the Popes. Protestants, on the other hand, believe that the essence of passing down the authority was lost somewhere, and the Church eventually became extremely corrupt. For Protestants, no one has the authority to lead the Church, but Jesus himself.

protestantism vs catholicism

(Image Courtesy: The Conciliar Anglican)

Now that we know the core difference in beliefs of Catholics and Protestants, let’s take a look at the other differences that stem from it.

#1. Protestantism vs. Catholicism: The Pope

Like we stated above, Catholics believe that the authority of the Church was eventually passed down to the Pope. They see the Pope as a vicar for Christ, and a dependable person to lead the Roman Catholic Church.

protestant vs catholic history

(Image Courtesy: Salon)

Protestants believe that the hierarchical structure of passing down authority and administration gave rise to immense corruption within the Church. They also believe that the Catholic Church no longer taught the pure Gospel. As a result, Protestants don’t believe in the Pope.

#2. Protestantism vs. Catholicism: Cathedrals

You must have seen some beautiful Cathedrals across the world, most notably, Cologne’s Cathedral. Catholics believe that humanity can save and rediscover itself only within a Church. They even believe that the Church is the only place where salvation can be achieved.


(Image Courtesy: Germany Travel)

However, the Protestants don’t believe in having big and fancy Cathedrals. For them, humanity and Christians can be saved only by their deeds. Christians don’t need to go to Churches to attain salvation.

#3. Protestantism vs. Catholicism: The Bible

Catholics don’t place their beliefs on The Bible alone. They are bound by the orders from the Roman Catholics Church along with the Holy Scripture. That means, what the Roman Catholic Church says, is always what the Catholics believe in.

roman catholics church

(Image Courtesy: YouTube)

Protestants beg to differ on this ideology of Catholics. They believe that The Bible is the “Sola Scriptura,” which means that they strictly adhere to everything that is written in The Bible. For them, The Bible is God’s only book which can be used to get in communion with Him.

#4. Protestantism vs. Catholicism: Authority

Both Catholics and Protestants believe that The Holy Bible and the verses that it contains are open to interpretation. However, this is where all similarity ends. Catholics believe that The Bible can only be interpreted by the Roman Catholic Church, i.e. what the Catholic Church says is the final word for them.


(Image Courtesy: Pinterest)

Protestants believe neither the Roman Catholic Church nor do they regard the Pope as an infallible stand-in for God. As a result, they never preach what the Roman Catholic says. Protestants believe that the Bible is open to interpretation and that any human being can do it.

#5. Protestantism vs. Catholicism: Sacraments

And finally, let’s end with a major belief that is not shared between Christianity’s two sects. The Catholics believe in the concept of the seven sacraments that includes baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony as the means to attain salvation.

difference between protestantism vs catholicism

(Image Courtesy: Newbridge Parish)

Protestants don’t believe in the concept of the seven sacraments as they perceive that their belief in God, in Jesus, and The Holy Bible is enough to attain salvation.

Do you have more to add to the Protestantism vs Catholicism debate? Let us know in the comments below.

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