Why Does the Catholic Church Use Language that Misleads Protestants?

Phillip: I just wish the Fathers at the Council of Trent did not use such misleading language. It all is very misleading to Protestant eyes.

BFHU: My husband has the same complaint but Catholic language was chosen and used for centuries before the Protestants came along. The vocabulary and language used by our theologians is very precise in meaning and very beautifully expressed. And the Church should not change the words used for people who are hell-bent to criticize the Catholic Church for anything and everything they can find.

It is actually a very curious thing that even after 500 years Protestants still accuse us of worshiping Mary even though we have been telling them for 500 years that we do not worship Mary. The same can be said for most other areas of disagreement. Why? Why is that?

For some reason they really don’t care what we say about our beliefs; They believe that they are able to determine that the Catholic Church is at fault no matter what the Church says or how the Church tries to explain the misunderstanding. Really it is a subtle kind of arrogance that they are totally unaware of in themselves. They would be appalled at the thought of being arrogant. I know they do not want to be or mean to be arrogant. But Protestantism, by its very nature breeds arrogance and is constitutionally incapable of breeding true, deep humility. This is b/c each one is encouraged and taught that they alone, all on their own, with no help from anyone else can know exactly what scriptures, written 2000 years ago, in a very different culture, mean b/c the Holy Spirit will lead them. And despite the abundant evidence that this theory has been disproven by all the factions and denominations and diametrically opposed “leadings of the Holy Spirit”, they will still insist in their heart of hearts that THEY ARE LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Humility doesn’t have a chance. And the weird thing is they truly DO want to be holy and humble. But this foundation of Scripture-Alone-Interpreted By-Me-Alone is sand upon which sturdy humility cannot and will not be built.

34 Responses

  1. I would think that most protestants dont use scripture alone but have also been taught by pastors and commentaries on the scriptures – there are also study bibles . There are plenty of good protestant teachers as well. But everyone should go to the scriptures first to see if the teaching or commentary lines up with scripture. How would a catholic know how to recognise false teaching if not by the Bible. The Bereans were commended by paul – an apostle – for checking what he said to the bible.

    • Dear Charles,
      True…but the scriptures as understood by the Catholic Church. The Catechism is the best resource in order to understand how the Church reads and interprets scripture.

      • From what I have read of the CC it is good commentary especially on sensitive areas the problem is that most catholics do not seem to study it or the bible apart from the three readings a week – there does not seem to be enthusiastic bible study or discussion about doctrine with the average catholic – except maybe on sites like this.

      • My question to Phillip is: “Why do Protestants use language that is misleading to Protestants?” Having been one for 48 years I can ask that question in all honesty. Though I agree with Charles that there are many good Protestant teachers, they never had the answers that I needed to my questions. That is one of the reasons I converted as Protestants are not truly Sola Scriptura.

        Sola Scriptura: Myself: “Why do I believe that?” “Where is that in the Bible?” “Who taught me that?” “Where did this teaching come from?” “Who taught it?” I realised this was a “Protestant tradition” and so my claim to Sola Scriptura was actually false in it’s very nature.

        Baptism: “An outward sign of an inward faith?” “Where was that in the Bible?” “Who said that?” “Where did this teaching come from?” Again, my claim to Sola Scriptura made my belief false in it’s very nature.

        Accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour means I am born again: “Where is that in the Bible?” “Who taught that?” “Where did this teaching come from?”

        When I begin to see within myself my “claim” to Sola Scriptura was totally a false claim with many more examples, I knew I had to dig deeper as my spiritual walk required it of me. I had to find the answers to these questions, and what I found was, they were all false claims handed on by the “teachings and tradition” of anyone who felt like teaching it.

        The reason the Council of Trent is so misunderstood by so many Protestants is because they do not have the 1500 years of teachings/traditions before the last 500. Without these teachings it is hard to piece it all together. At best, it takes a lot of digging and studying to find them. God Bless, SR

      • Catechism is a super tool to read along side the bible. Also, Scott Hahn.

  2. It’s Dead Language some of you who claim to be professing Christians you don’t even understand it

  3. Maybe you haven’t read Romans 10:9

    The Catholic Council of
    Trent quickly discounted the
    reformers’ teaching and reaffirmed unBiblical doctrines that had been disputed by Reformers
    you know what makes Luther protest, So my question how long are you going to criticize many protestants rather than taking care of your Church traditions? Or maybe as you claims you in the church jesus founded why don’t you follows on Christ footsteps for loving your enemies?
    So i’m going to asking you was selling indulegences biblical?

    • Dear tiva,
      You are correct. The Council of Trent rejected and refuted Reformation Doctrine that was heretical or incorrect. I find it amusing that you criticize Catholics for criticizing Protestants. 🙂 I am not here to criticize Protestants but to point out errors Protestants believe about the Catholic Faith. We do not consider Protestant enemies but brothers in the Body of Christ. As a convert to the Catholic Church from a zealous Protestantism I love Protestants! Several of my children and my parents are Protestant. Many of my oldest friends are Protestant. But I love to explain what the Catholic Church actually believes as opposed to Protestant traditions about the Catholic Church that have been wrong for 500 years.

      Selling indulgences was wrong and something done on personal initiative in Germany. It was not universally done and it was not condoned, taught or encouraged by the Vatican. Luther was correct to protest this practice.

  4. tiva82, I don’t know if you are on this blog often, I suggest Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn. He was a protestant minister who made it his life’s goal to take people away from the Catholic Church. Sometimes explanation is not the way to go, but hearing someone else’s personal story is more life changing. We all need to love our enemies and I bet the criticizing claim goes both ways. Good luck and God Bless.

    • Anyone have a choice there’s no one who is perfect and I don’t think I can tell people like here im the right denominations God know his children we are His people all of us and we do have differences that’s why there is so many churches

      • True, Tiva, but Jesus expressly desired that we all be ONE even as He and the Father are ONE.

        • One way for Satan to split the churches is to introduce a false doctrine – a little leaven – not bible based but with scripture twisted a little but not so much as the sheeple will know. When this false doctrine is recognised by some and not others the church splits. There is plenty of false doctrine in some of the protestant churches – especially on the TV channels. However the catholic church has insisted on making compulsory some things which cannot be accepted easily by bible believers instead of letting them be a matter of conscience.
          Kissing a statue always seemed wrong to me since it is only plaster or plastic .

          • The problem is bad catechist and the failure to cultivate a virtue of temperance by succumbing to concupiscence in the sin of pride and ingratitude for God’s providence of a teaching Church.

            When is “kissing a statue” ever compulsory for Catholics? Weren’t they simply “followers of the Way” or “Christians” instead of being obstinate anti-authority BIBLE believers? When is it ever a “matter of (personal) conscience”? Abortion (killing life), artificial contraception (objectification of sex and frustration of natural law and God’s command to multiply), divorce and remarriage (adultery), homosexuality (abormination), female priesthood (envy and covetousness), sola scriptura/fide + private interpretation (man’s traditions). When are Christian “things” to be made conformed to the world so they can be “easily accepted”?

            Indeed, sin can darken the conscience and extinguish God’s grace in the heart of a person given over only to satisfying their passions (Eph 4:18) esp. if we persist to reject the Church and become “strangers and sojourners” with the holy ones and members of the household of God (Eph 2:19).

            • Surkiko
              I cant understand how you always seem to turn every argument round to the fact that sin and rebellion seem to come from a Bible believers mentality – your catholic church demands that the Bible is sacred scripture and true at all points and must be believed . If a person sins it is the fault of that person not the fault of the Bible. To even suggest that reading the bible could be bad for the soul goes against the whole teaching of the OT and The NT.

              As far as I am aware the CC teaches that statues should be venerated

              • There’s proper reading of the bible and then there’re those who worship a book (called bibliolatry).

                • As the psalmist turns to the temple to worship he writes in Ps. 138:2: “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” God’s Word is His communication, His promise, the revelation of Himself to His people. It is to be a lamp to our feet in a dark and fallen world, without it we would have no way to know God or how to do God’s will.

                  So God has put His Word (the Bible )before his name

                  • Rather, we adored the living Word of God (Christ) Himself instead of a book which someone had usurped from Catholics. You might as well put a KJV on an altar with a golden calf and worship them together. Don’t forget that the Devil also quoted scripture very handily.

                    • Surely the way to adore Jesus is to read His Word – without the Word we would not know of Jesus – God has magnified His Word above his name.

                    • @ Charles: You have made no distinction between the person Jesus Christ and a book. The latter can be just a playground for “the ignorant and unstable who twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.” The living Logos (Word) transcends the bible and infinitely more. He is God, not just a book (albeit a very special book).

                    • God puts his WORD above his name – is this not amazing ?
                      Surkiko – Jesus is the WORD (the bible) made flesh – without constant Bible study like David did we cannot know Jesus or follow him properly.

                      You seem to want to put people off reading the scriptures because Peter said some people will twist the scriptures – this is absurd reasoning – it is like saying lets get rid of all safety manuals because a few people misread them. You have something against the King James Bible – there is not much difference in the mainly accepted bibles – many former catholics have left their denomination through reading the catholic bible. King James argument is a false flag.

                    • @ Charles: Christ is God, Logos is the mouthpiece of God. Christ is infinitely more than just a book made flesh. You’ve got to get away from that strict sola scriptura. Don’t put God in a box and restrict Him to only the written tradition of our faith. If you still can’t make the distinction, pray about it more.

                      I’m certainly not against bible reading. We only differ here because you have set yourself up as judge and jury while I’m very prepared to assent to the authority of the Church and present myself to be corrected as warranted. I think that it has always been the man who thinks that he’s got it all figured out when the seed of a heresy germinates. Bible Alone = Logos is a fallacious argument. It’s this type of fanaticism and sectarianism that I opposed.

                      Well, Charles (if I remember correctly), you were a Presbyterian and sat in the pew of a Catholic Church for 15 years before joining. As we grow spiritually, we have to “put away childish things” (1 Cor 13:13). You need to remove the blinder of sola scriptura from your Protestant days. I know that you’ve misgiving about some Catholics who just do the churchy things. Study Proverbs 19 to tamper some of your enthusiasm so you can also grow in the virtue of temperance. God bless.

          • Hey Charles,

            I would like to try and explain something regarding the “kissing of statues.” I am a grandmother. If you have a wife she will understand this. I have pictures of my grandbabies in my home, which I dust. I cannot dust those pictures without kissing those babies faces. It is just glass and paper, but I kiss them because I love them. I could just squeeze those little cheeks.

            I also have a Crucifix in my home which almost daily gets picked up and kissed. Now I know Jesus is not there, it is wood and metal, but I love Him Charles, and it is the love that makes me pick it up and kiss it.

            We as Catholics also love the Saints and most of us have studied many years the course of their lives. Most all Catholics kiss the statues because we love these people and honor what they did. The same way I kiss those pictures and honor who those babies are to me. There was not a prophet of God, that He did not honor in some sort of way. He called Abraham the father of many nations, there would never be another prophet like Moses, David was man after His own heart, and Job was His good and faithful servant.

            God deserves honor and glory, but that does not mean man deserves none. As we see even God honored man. In the United States we have days set aside for men and women who fought and died for this country. I have seen people walk up to the wall with the names of our soldiers, and kiss their names. We have statues of our Presidents and think of Mount Rushmore.

            Now when they become an idol to us that is different. My grandbabies are no idol, but how I love them. I hope this helps you to understand a little better, without writing a book. God Bless, SR

          • Exactly Surkiko and SR. We are not bound under the pain of sin to kiss statues. I am sure I have told this story before…..

            But on Good Friday, the day before I was to be received into the Catholic Church they brought out a large crucifix and people began to process forward to kiss Jesus.
            Although, outwardly I appeared calm I was thinking,

            “AhHa! Here it is! Right before my own eyes!!

            IDOL WORSHIP!!

            I need to get out of here!”

            But I was trapped in the middle of the pew. Then the voice of REASON intruded into the voice of FEAR and I thought,

            “Wait a minute. I have been confronted, time and time again, with Catholic teaching and practices. At first, I immediately thought, at those times, that there ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT BE A GOOD EXPLANATION FOR THAT!

            But, then, each and every time, as I looked into the whys and wherefores of why the Catholic Church taught and did THAT, I discovered an explanation that was absolutely SUBLIME! The answer was better and more intellectually satisfying than anything I could have ever thought of or asked for.”

            Therefore, I decided to just trust the Church. I dutifully processed forward with my pew-mates and kissed the feet of Jesus. Now, I KNEW that statue on that crucifix was NOT really Jesus; it just represented Jesus. And so in my heart and soul, when I kissed the feet of the statue, I showed HIM that I desired to truely kiss HIS feet, the feet of my Beloved! … of my Savior! … of my GOD!

            I could hardly wait to do it again next year!

            • Ha-Ha! I had the same reaction on my first one!!!!! I am LOL!!! Then I remembered how many other things I kissed that were not human, even to my dogs, and went ahead.

              You know one needs to truly think about what they see people kiss on T.V. or even in everyday life, and truly never think anything about it. After I posted my reply I thought, Protestants honor the lives of the dead also. I have seen them take flowers to a grave, and kiss the headstone before they leave. I will probably do the same when my parents pass on, or surely if I had a child that died. God commands us to “honor” our father and mother. So to say “man” is due no honor at all is not even in the Bible. It does not mean there is a “worship” there, but it does mean there is love. When people die we do not stop loving them.

              It amazes me though how these type of things are never wrote about or spoken of as “idol worship” but let a Catholic do it and it be on Catholic soil and the whole world goes nuts! Of course I was the same way, once.

              I think people need to calm down over these kind of things, and think about what they truly accept in their own lives as “okay.” They will begin to understand they accept more of these types of things then they think they do. It cannot be of the mindset that it is okay for a parent to kiss the headstone of a child, but it is not okay to kiss a Crucifix or a statue of a saint, or a plague with their name on it. It is done out of love and respect on both sides, and Jesus has not struck me dead for kissing the Crucifix.

              Good post! God Bless, SR

              • paul said give honour to whom honour is due – I agree. However although I am sure peter and paul would honour stephen the martyr I don’t think they would have made a statue to him.

                • Hey Charles,

                  I do so understand what you are saying and trust me no one understands where you are coming from more than bfhu or me. So lets look at it from another angle.

                  Go to Solomon’s Temple. The very Ark of the Covenant had statues of Angels on it. There was a lot of “bling” going on in that temple. Where do we stop with this is wrong and that is wrong?

                  The Bible says not to make any graven image of anything under the sea or of the earth. Okay, I have dolphin what-nots. I also have mice what-nots etc…. I am sure you can look around your home and find the same.

                  My brother has a stuffed hog head hanging on his wall as well as deer heads, and fish. I am sure you can look around your own home and find pictures etc… which could be taken as a “graven image” according to Scripture. So comes into the play the statues.

                  There are great artist on this earth, (I am an artist myself) they through their God given talents, have given to us many statues. Do you object to the statue of the 16th President of the United States? I know of women who have had dolls made which looked like their grandkids and were given to them as gifts, etc…

                  My point is this. If one is going to take this stand regarding statues or any other art for that matter, then you are going to have to take it all the way around to be true to your beliefs and faith. It cannot be okay over here and not okay over there. To take this stand even the Angels on the Ark of the Covenant were wrong. I have a Protestant friend who has hundreds of statues of Angels in her home. When I pointed this out to her, she really had to think about this graven image belief of hers, as did I. I came to the conclusion for myself, if this is how I truly felt then I had to get a trash can and everything in my home had to go. Abraham and many in the Bible bowed to other then God. They bowed to David and Angels.

                  So for me, I had to come to the understanding that there was a big difference in honoring the lives of the dead, no matter how it is done, through art, a kiss on a headstone or statue, and bowing down to something as a god. I did not do it to suit my own conscience, but when I went into Solomon’s Temple there were a lot of things in there, which in my thoughts would have been graven images, but in truth they were not. God Bless, SR

                • Dear Charles,
                  If you have not seen my post please take a look at it.—>Another Protestant Tradition: Catholics worship Idols.

                  SR how funny that you had the same reaction on Good Friday.

                  • Oh Girl, it was a hoot let me tell ya! I laughed so hard when I read that. I was sitting here with tears rolling down my face. God Bless, SR

  5. Dear Charles,

    This is a very false premise:

    “…without constant Bible study like David did we cannot know Jesus or follow him properly.”

    20% of the world today cannot read. In the year 100-400 the NT, as officially canonized and attested to be the infallible Word of God, did not exist. And for centuries a lot more than 20% could not read. Are all of these people relegated to improper knowledge of God and Jesus? Where is this premise in Scripture?

    According to Sola Scriptura, “If it is not found in scripture then it is false.” So, on what grounds do you accept it? The traditions of Martin Luther?

    Do you really think that God did not leave His people a way to know Him properly, both Jews and Christians until the invention of the printing press and the invention of Sola Scriptura?

    Where is THAT in scripture?

    And how did Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Moses know God? What was improper about their knowledge of God?

    • In the so-called Shepherd of Hermas written at Rome in the early 2nd century, we read:
      (2) The elderly woman came and asked if I had already given the book to the presbyters. I said that I had not. ‘You have done well’, she said. ‘for I have some words to add. Then, when I complete all the words, they will be made known through you to all those who are chosen. (3) And so, you will write two little books, sending one to Clement and the other to Grapte. Clement will send his to the foreign cities, for that is his commission. But Grapte will admonish the widows and orphans. And you will read yours in this city, with the presbyters who lead the church.[1]
      If this short note reflects a typical praxis, then books were published and handed out by the author, once they had been read by a few insiders and amendments had been made even by those first readers. But the publishing remained the author’s responsibility, also the first copying and sending out of the book. The first copies, then went to specifically commissioned people, as in this case to Clement who was the agent for foreign cities. These agents made further copies (as otherwise Clement could not have sent the book to a number of foreign ‘cities’), while others, as here Grapte, used their copy for instruction. The reading out the book to the leading people in the community, the presbyters, without handing it out, lay with the author. Books, therefore, did not simply made their way into the public. As today, there existed proper structures and procedures for the writing, correcting, proof-reading, revising, publishing, copying and distribution process that lead to a diverse readership with regards to location, purpose and intent. And, clearly, codices were becoming the form of this early ‘mass’ production phenomenon, clearly meant and directed as part of a sales chain of a formal book trade.

      Posted by Professor Markus Vinzent at 08:14

  6. I visited the museum at Hadrians wall and saw letters written by roman soldiers to their families – they were in he remains of a bonfire around 300 – 400 ad. There was a christian chapel on the site.

  7. Charles, I have tried to stay out of this conversation, but something is bothering me. BFHU asked you, “How did Abraham, Isaac, Moses know God?” This is the problem I have with Sola Scriptura believers. They never answer these questions, they are mostly ignored. The answer is: “God revealed Himself to them in a different way then soley Scripture.” Since God never changes He can still do the same today. In fact if we think about it, Jesus never commanded the Apostles to write one single word, did He? Only John truly claims to be “inspired.” Yet, many came to know and believe in Christ without the “written Word of God.”

    I want to leave you with this thought. As I stated I am an artist, but I love nature. I love animals, and I love being outside. When I am in this setting I “know God” better then anywhere in my life. I see one of His attributes is one of being an artist Himself. A God of color and design. A God of shape and form. A God of changing of the seasons. A God that loves many different kinds of plants and animals. I see how all of these things give to God glory. None of this did I get out of the Bible. The Bible does not tell me, “God is an artist.” His creation does. God reveals Himself to me through all of His many creations.

    The Word of God is the most precious Book in the world. He reveals many things about Himself in there. To limit knowing God, to only the Bible, is doing ourselves a great injustice. God is in everything. He dwells in all of creation, not just man, not just the Bible. You can see and know Him everywhere, if one looks with the heart. If we see what we are truly looking at, we can see God, even if it is only a bird.

    It takes it all, the Bible, tradition, and all of creation. When we graft all of these things together in our lives, there will lie His fullness. God Bless, SR

    • God talked to Abraham who passed his knowledge to Isaac. God talked to Jacob and even wrestled with him. Some apocryphal books
      say that Abraham was taught by Noah who was still alive and avoided the idolatry in Ur because of Noah’s instruction. Some say Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Moses talked with God and spent time with Him – and was given the commandments and wrote the books of Moses. Jesus did not need to tell the apostles to write about Him – He foreknew all the NT and knew that his Word would be written – Jesus said his words will never pass away.

  8. Charles,

    Very true, God spoke to all of these people and thank you for answering. I want you to think about this, then I will give you last word if you so desire. God revealed Himself to Moses through the “blaze of the burning bush.” He revealed Himself to Pharaoh through the plaques. It was through the plaques that Pharaoh finally called Him, “Lord.” He revealed to the earth that He was not a God who would tolerate sin, through the flood. Jesus revealed that God was a God of miracles, as He performed many.

    Charles, I do not “disagree” with what you say about the Bible. It is the written word of God. God also gave to us, ears that hear and eyes that see, and a heart that knows. All I am saying is, to limit God to only what we read, for me anyways, is to limit my own growth in my spiritual life.

    I have heard of people who did not believe in God and read the Bible, yet they still questioned His existence. So they said, “If You are real then show me.” Then God would perform some miracle or do something for them, to show them He was real.

    The gift of faith for some is automatic. They read the Word and know from that moment on, there is a God. Then there are some as Pharaoh, who must see something. Who wants to go a step beyond, the Word. We have a way of “lumping” the gift of faith to everyone according to our own experiences. According to what “we believe.”

    Like with you, it is the Word and that is wonderful. With me it is the Word, nature, and tradition. The thing of it is none of these are wrong. To me it is better when we open ourselves up to include them all.

    A lot of times Israel would have never of turned back to God, if God had not of “done” something. He spoke to that nation all the time, but at times it required “actions” as well as His spoken Word. God Bless, SR

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