Catholic doctrine and Protestant doctrine

I find it a little bit irritating when Catholic doctrine is deliberately misrepresented by Protestants or the media by pointing to what an individual Catholic says and raising that to the level of Catholic doctrine. There is a firm difference between the making of Catholic doctrine and the contents of Catholic doctrine and what Protestants perceive to be Catholic doctrine. I’m certain that Protestants would find it irritating after a while if Catholics constantly said that their lack of praying the rosary was because they hated the Mother of God. Yet many Protestants do hold an animosity toward Catholic beliefs concerning the Mother of God. Many, not all. However, within Catholicism, there operates more than just what an individual Catholic believes. What an individual Catholic believes (similar to what an individual Protestant believes!) does not make Catholic doctrine Catholic doctrine.

Many times, I have wanted to engage with a Protestant in a discussion on Catholic doctrine that has regretfully digressed into a “such-and-such Catholic believes this so ha!” Of course, I could say that “such-and-such Protestant believes this so you must believe this!” Most Protestants find it to be equivalent to anti-Protestantism for a Catholic to respond in such a way to them or to mischaracterize their beliefs like that. But nevertheless, has not the Protestant done the same to them by negating the ecclesiological doctrine of the Catholic Church? There is a firm difference between a Catholic’s doctrinal beliefs (especially one who actually submits fully to Catholic teaching) and a Protestant’s doctrinal beliefs. For a Protestant, they could really believe anything depending on their own church (and even then it is difficult to identify what they believe). But for a Catholic who chooses to submit fully to Catholic teaching (which is what being a Catholic is about), there exists official doctrine from the creeds, Papal encyclicals, etc., which are binding doctrine on him which may differ from what many Catholics are saying is their own belief.

I would urge both Catholic and Protestant to pay more attention to ecclesiology when discussing each other’s beliefs before throwing stones at one another. Otherwise, they should just avoid these discussions.

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About newenglandsun

A student. Male. Passionate. Easily offended. Child-like wonderer. Growing in faith, messing up daily.
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One Response to Catholic doctrine and Protestant doctrine

  1. jrj1701 says:

    In my rambling around I have found individuals that believe things that are not doctrinally correct, even at the level of clergy, and these individual beliefs spread across the spectrum, yet as you correctly noted individual beliefs are not the same as doctrine.

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