Criticisms of the Catholic Church

There is and never has been a lack of criticism of the

Catholic Church. Most criticisms are for things that happened hundreds of years ago. Following are ten criticisms (which are really myths) from more recent times. These are taken from a June 5, 2017 posting by Brittany on the “Equipping Godly Women” web site[1]

Myth #1: Catholics Aren’t Christians

      Actually, Catholics consider themselves to be the original Christians, who are doing their best to hold to the same beliefs and traditions that the church held to in the first century.

      According to Catholics, Catholics and Protestants are all Christians. The Protestant denominations are simply off-shoots of Catholicism (or of other denominations) that branched off over various disagreements to what the Catholic Church was teaching.

      Whether Catholics have held fast to the right teachings throughout the ages or whether they veered off and the Protestant denominations got us back on track–that’s something I’m still trying to discover.

Myth #2: The Catholic Church Abandoned the Bible for Man-Made Traditions

      While the Catholic Church does have many traditions that aren’t explicitly found in the Bible, so does every church (and so do you, in your home). Traditions themselves aren’t bad. It’s only when we prioritize them over God himself or when they take us farther away from God instead of drawing us near.

      One reason that the Catholic Church has so many traditions is that the first century apostles didn’t write down absolutely every single thing they taught. In fact, John 21:25 tells us

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

      Catholics do their best to value and uphold both the written and oral teachings that were passed down from the apostles. Protestants look to the written teachings (the Bible) only.

      The Catholic Church still highly prioritizes Scripture. It just isn’t their only source of information (and nowhere in the Scriptures does it tell us it should be).

Myth #3: Catholics Worship Mary / Saints / Statues

      It’s easy to see how some Catholic myths (like this one) got started, but again, it really is just another of many misconceptions about the Catholic Church. Catholics do not worship Mary or statues; they worship God alone. Instead, they “venerate” Mary, which, according to Google, is just a fancy word for “regard with great respect.” Similar to how we would show great honor or respect to a King or Queen, without actually worshiping them. Catholics hold them in high esteem as good examples of how to live a faithful life.

      Yes, to Protestants, the practices definitely look like worship, but since worship is an attitude of the heart, I don’t think you can “accidentally” worship someone and not know it. If Catholics’ hearts are in the right place – and they only want to show honor – then it’s not worship.

      And it’s the same with statues as well. Catholics don’t worship statues. Instead, they are used as decorations to help Catholics remember people who have gone before, similar to how you might put pictures of your friends and family on your wall or even a baseball card collection you may have had as a kid. You look at them, you remember them, but you don’t worship them.

Myth #4: Catholics Believe People are Saved by Works

      The Catholic Church does NOT teach that people are saved by their works. In fact, the catechism of the Catholic Church actually specifically forbids this notion. Rather, the Catholic Churches basically teaches that “If you call yourself a Christian, but you don’t act like it, maybe you’re not really a Christian after all.” Or “Yes, God saves you through faith, but it’s alivingfaith that naturally produces good works.”

      This Catholic belief is actually 100% Biblical(there areplenty of Bible verses that support it), and is even taught by some highly respected Protestant/non-denominational pastors, including the most Godly man I’ve ever heard speak, Francis Chan.

Myth #5: The Catholic Church Added Books to the Bible

      The books that are currently in the Catholic Bible are the same books that the church has recognized as being in the Bible for centuries. It wasn’t until the 16th century that Martin Luther and the Reformers moved them to the appendix before they were ultimately taken out.

(For the record, Martin Luther wanted to remove James, Hebrew, Jude and Revelations as well, but was unsuccessful.)

      Whether or not the additional books should have been left in or taken out – I don’t know. Guess you have to ask yourself if the early church could have been wrong for 1700 years and the Reformers knew better than the earlier Christians did.

Myth #6: Catholic Priests Can’t Be Married

      (Some) Priests are married! Some even have children and grandchildren. (This happens when a man is already married and a priest in a different denomination and then converts to Catholicism later.) And of those who become priests the usual way and aren’t allowed to get married–not all of them even want to. Priests know what they’re signing up for. No one is making them be a priest. They have a choice between God and a wife, and it is their choice to make. No one is forcing them to choose one or the other. Remember that priests are devoted 100% to God.

Myth #7: Catholics Re-crucify Jesus at Mass

      I haven’t heard this Catholic myth in real life, but apparently it’s popular. Catholics do not re-crucify Jesus at Mass.Instead, they believe that Jesus and the crucifixion occur outside the limits of time (because God can do cool stuff like that), and so when they celebrate Mass, they are only making the sacrifice (which has already occurred) “present” on the altar.

Myth #8: Catholics Believe Only Catholics Can Go to Heaven

      While Catholics do believe their religion is the one true religion and the ordinary (most common) means of bringing people to salvation, they recognize that God can use any means He wants to, to bring people to Himself, including those other than the Catholic church, especially if the person has never had the opportunity or knowledge to join the church.

      They believe that Protestants who have no reason to suspect their beliefs are incorrect can go to Heaven as well as well as Protestants who were planning to convert but hadn’t done so yet. Furthermore, Catholics do not believe you can say with 100% certainty (though you can have a good idea) who will go to Heaven simply because God is judge and we are not, and who are we to presume to know His thoughts?

 Myth #9: Catholic Priests are Child Molesters

        Yes, the Catholic church had a huge and horrible scandal in which some priests were molesting children. This was absolutely awful and shameful, and they will have to stand before Jesus for what they did. That part is not one of the Catholic myths. But if you look at the statistics, however, only a very small minority of priests were involved, and it isn’t really fair to blame the entire Church or dismiss the Church’s core teachings for what a few did.Scandals like this happen in EVERY church and in every city. That doesn’t make everyone guilty of the crimes of a few, and it does NOT mean that Catholic priests deserve negative treatment today because of it. 

Myth #10: The Catholic Church is Anti-Women

        The church isn’t anti-anyone. They do believe birth control is morally wrongthe same thing every denomination believed until 1930. But when pretty much every other denomination began to change its mind, the Catholic church held its ground, and they continue to do so today.

        The Catholic church also doesn’t allow women to be priests, which has upset many. But if you look at their rate of women in non-priest leadership positions, it is WAY higher than average. The Catholic church may not do things the “feminist” way, but they do hold women in very high esteem, even referring to them as the “crown of creation.” That’s pretty special if you ask me. “

                However, after extensive research we have been unable to find any evidence of any type of connection of above criticisms with the relatively current Catholic Problem discussed here, except possibly with criticism on Sexual abuse controversy in Myth #9 above (see discussion of current developments in Preface). And, of course, there were the great schisms creating the orthodox churches and Martin Luther’s 95 theses published in 1517 which created all the other great Christian religions.  Thus, even though maybe some of the criticisms have at least partial validity. The Catholic Church has survived and even prospered in the 2000 years of its existence. Thanks in large part to its non-negotiable and very comprehensive mission to “Follow in Jesus’ footsteps”.