All scripture contained in this podcast is from the King James Bible (Authorized Version)
May 20, 2010

Roman Catholicism VS The Bible

Does the Roman Catholic church follow the Bible? What are the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church as compared to the Bible? Do they conflict with the Bible and if they do does it matter? Do you know where they conflict? Follow along with us as we compare the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church with the truths found in the Holy Bible.

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Bible Study

Roman Catholicism vs. the Bible


The Roman Catholic Church has for years maintained a strong influence throughout the world.  It has in recent times received two black eyes in the press as the suppressed abuse that has taken place in many Catholic circles has come to light.

This study will not be focused on those allegations, save for a brief comment under the first point, but we will rather take a look at the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church in the light of the Holy Scriptures.

This study is not an attack on Roman Catholics, but rather a simple comparison between Catholic doctrine and the Scriptures.  I grew up as a Roman Catholic.  I attended 8 years of R.C. grade school and became an altar boy when I was in 3rd grade.  I attended 2 years of R.C. high school, visited a R.C. high school seminary and also two R.C. college seminaries where I stayed overnight on campus.  I have counseled with R.C. priests as I was seeking for God; and I was making plans to become a R.C. priest.  So these doctrines are not something that I read in a book that somebody wrote against the Catholic Church.  These are the doctrines I was taught in church and school.

The purpose of this study is two-fold:

A. To provide an opportunity for any Roman Catholic to honestly compare the teachings of the R.C. church with that of the Bible.

B. To equip all who listen with a knowledge of these things so they might be better equipped to discuss them and be a help to others.

1.) The Celibacy of the Priests

A. I Tim. 3:1-2, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. {2} A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…” The bishops were to be married.  The word “bishop” means “overseer” (see Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, def. #1), and the office of a bishop is that of the office of a NT pastor.  The Bible says they were to be married.

It has long been a topic of debate among Roman Catholics themselves as to whether they should allow priests to marry.  If they would just, believe, read and follow the Bible, they could get the right answer.

If this practice had been followed, it would certainly have helped to avert the scandals of sexual abuse that has plagued the R.C. Church for centuries by allowing a priest to be fulfilled in the scripturally honorable institution of marriage.  Heb. 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Furthermore in I Tim. 4:1-3, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; {2} Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; {3} Forbidding to marry…”

2.) No Meat on Fridays

It is the practice of the R.C. Church to require that its members do not eat meet on Fridays during Lent.  The requirement used to be more stringent requiring that Catholics abstain from meat on every Friday all year round.  This was changed in 1966.

Let me read a little further in the quotation I began to read a moment ago.  I Tim. 4:2-3 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; {3} Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats…

It was enlightening to me when I first began to read the Bible and I read these things.  It was around then that I began to notice strongly that some of the things I had been taught religiously were contrary to the Bible.

3.) Calling Priests, “Father”

Matt. 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

That’s pretty cut and dried isn’t it?  If you doubt it has a bearing on religious leaders, you should note that religious leaders are the context!   Matt. 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. It’s very easy to see what Jesus was saying.  It’s just very hard for some people to accept it, if they are used to violating this instruction in the practice of their religion.  However, when your religion goes against the Bible, you need to adjust your religion to line up with the Bible.

4.) The Exaltation of the Pope

The Pope is not only called Father, he’s called the Holy Father.  One should note that this is a title reserved for God in the Scriptures.  The ONLY time the phrase is used in the Bible is in John 17:11.  Here Jesus is praying to God the Father and says “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

There is absolutely no Scriptural precedent for calling anyone Holy Father but the Lord God Almighty Himself.  Any hijacking of the title is no less than blasphemy.

Speaking of blasphemy, in the May 25, 1981 edition of Time Magazine in covering the shooting of Pope John Paul II, there was a headline that boldly proclaimed, “It’s Like Shooting God!” While any such assassination attempt is certainly not to be condoned, that does not justify elevating the Pope to a status of deity!  There are, and have been, and always will be, only three members of the trinity!

5.) Peter as the first Pope.

While we are on the subject of the Pope, it should also be noted that neither the title nor the office can be found anywhere in Scripture.

The common teaching of Peter as the first Pope presents some embarrassing questions for the R.C. Church to answer in light of their aforementioned doctrine of celibacy for Priests, Bishops, Cardinals & Popes.

Matt. 8:14-15 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. {15} And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

And while the common Catholic teaching is that Peter was the Rock on whom Jesus founded the church (See Matt. 16:18), Peter writes two epistles and NEVER refers to himself as the rock.  When he refers to someone as a rock, he refers to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.        (See I Pet. 2:2-8).

When the Apostle Paul makes reference to the Rock, he likewise refers to Christ.  I Cor. 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The Rock that the church was founded upon was Jesus Christ not Simon Peter or any succession of Popes.  Deut. 32:31,For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.”

6.) The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

This is the teaching that Mary continued as a virgin for the rest of her life after the virgin birth of Jesus.  I was once again enlightened by reading the Bible, to find out that Jesus had brothers and sisters.

Matt. 13:55-57 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? {56} And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? {57} And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

Paul also says in Gal. 1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

7.) One Mediator vs. Many Mediators

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that we have been mediators or “go betweens” that we can use to get to God.  The most notable being the priests in the practice of Confession.  The Catholics teaching is that you are to confess your sins to the priest and the priest acts as the mediator between you and God and secures your forgiveness.

The only person in the Bible I remember confessing to a priest was Judas Iscariot.  Here’s how it went.  Matt. 27:3-5, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, {4} Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. {5} And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

Other mediators of Roman Catholicism include Mary and the saints both to whom Catholics pray regularly.  What does the Bible have to say about it?

I Tim. 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

8.) Salvation by Grace vs. Salvation by Works

I was taught in the Roman Church that in order to go to heaven I must I must die in a state of grace.  This much is correct.  But I was taught that the means for this grace was the receiving of the sacraments.  This included taking communion, going to confession, baptism, etc.

Imagine my surprise when I saw Rom. 6:23 in the Bible, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Or how about Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

These are only a sampling of the many verses that talk about salvation as a gift to be received and not a reward to be earned.

9.) Purgatory vs. Heaven & Hell Only

Purgatory is the teaching of a place of fire where souls go that will eventually make it to heaven after a time of purification.  Basically, the teaching is when you are not bad enough to go to hell, but not good enough to go straight to heaven, you go to purgatory. Ask most Catholics and you will find many (if not most) think that this is where they will go.

The only problem is, once again, there is no such place in the Bible.

The further teaching is that one can receive “indulgences” to reduce his time in purgatory.  Look up Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and you will find that this was a main sticking point that Luther had with the Catholic Church as the practice was in those days to sell indulgences for money.

To see how indulgences are offered in more modern times, let me read you from the Saint Joseph New Catholic Edition of the Bible.

See p. 6-7

Suffice it to conclude, Jesus spoke of Heaven and Hell, but NOT purgatory.

10.) The 10 Commandments

In the teaching of the 10 commandments the R.C. church conveniently leaves out the 2nd commandment.

Here is a picture of the inside cover of my Catholic Bible.

They maintain 10 commandments by dividing the 10th into two commandments.  (Read) Thou shalt not covet a.) thy neighbor’s wife; b.) thy neighbor’s goods.

In actuality here is the 2nd commandment from Exodus 20:4-5:

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: {5} Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

You see why they leave it out don’t you.  It is the common practice to bow down and pray toward statues in the Catholic Church.  As a matter of fact this is the month of May and we were taught that May was the month of Mary and every May we would have a special Mass where a statue of Mary would be crowned.

11.) The Sacrifice of the Mass – Heb. 10:11

Speaking of the Mass, that is the name given to the R.C. Church services.  It is fully called The Sacrifice of the Mass.  What we were taught in R.C. religion class was that the Mass was the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary offered again.  Each Mass Jesus is supposedly sacrificed again.

Once again, to the Bible for some light.  Note the precedent set when the Jewish priests tried to offer sacrifices after the sacrifice of Calvary and you’d have to be blind not to see the application to the mass.

Hebrews 10:9-14 “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. {10} By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. {11} And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: {12} But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; {13} From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. {14} For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

12.) “The Bible says” vs. “The Church says.”

The main issue in setting doctrine is authority.  Bible Christianity differs from Catholicism because they have differing authorities.  As a Bible teacher and preacher, the phrase I probably use the most is, “The Bible says…”  Looking back on my Catholic instruction, I notice that where Bible Believing teachers and preachers say, “The Bible says,” the R.C. priests when instructing us in matters in which they wished to be authoritative would say, “The church says…”

While the Bible is a fixed Book with words and doctrines that do not change, the church is an entity that can change and has changed its doctrinal positions through the years.  Many Catholics themselves will tell you that the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II, 1962-1965) changed important doctrines and decrees in the R.C. church.

The Bible cites the Lord and the Scriptures themselves as being the authority.  You will read in the Bible phrases like, “It is written,” “Thus saith the LORD,” “The scripture saith,” etc. In praying to the Father, Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

The Scriptures are the truth and are “set in stone”.  The church is to be “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15) “holding forth the word of life” (Phil. 2:16) and is to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3)

The R.C. church on the other hand has been more like “shifting sand” and leaves itself the possibility of changing depending on how “the wind blows”.  (See Eph. 4:14-15.)

13.) The Bible vs. Tradition

The Roman Catholic Church also holds tradition as authoritative.  After I got saved in 1980, I went back to my R.C. priest with whom I had counseled to talk to him about what I had learned.  I was excited about the Bible.  I had only been saved a few weeks or so and I only had a New Testament, which I had read through and marked up.

During our conversation my priest said two amazing things.  When I would show him Scriptures that went against his position, he said, “Don’t you think tradition is important?”  I told him not where it goes against the Bible.

He also told me that I knew the Bible better than he did!  18 years old and in the Bible for only a few weeks, and I know it better than my R.C. priest and pastor who’s been through Seminary and in the ministry for many years?!?!  I’d been to confession many times but that was the first time I ever had a Roman Catholic priest make a confession to me!!!  Well, actually the 2nd time, the first time was when one of my priests told me there were some Bishops that he’d like to boot in the (and he used a word I can’t repeat).

Regarding tradition, here’s what the Lord Jesus Christ told the religious leaders of His day.  Mark 7:6-9, “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. {7} Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. {8} For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. {9} And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

14.) The Catholic Bible vs. the King James Bible

When the Catholic Church does use the Bible it is important to note that they use a different Bible than we do.

The King James Bible contains 66 books: 39 OT books & 27 NT books.

The Roman Catholic Bible contains 73 books (by adding 7 books to the OT canon).  These books are known by two collective names:

A. The Apocrypha (or Apocryphal Books)

B. Deuterocanonical Books

It is educational to note that the word “apocryphal” means by definition, “1. of doubtful authenticity. 2. not genuine; spurious.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary ©1967)

There are actually more than 7 apocryphal books, but the Catholic Church does not accept them all.  I have a R.C. Bible, which I received as a Confirmation gift as a child, is the St. Joseph New Catholic Edition, and it contains 7 apocryphal books interwoven in various places in the OT.  I also have a Jerusalem Bible which is an accepted R.C. edition and it likewise contains 7 apocryphal books.

Because the R.C. Church accepts these books as part of the canon of Scriptures, they are called Deuterocanonical Books which means literally “second canon”.

On April 8, 1546 during the fourth session of the Council of Trent, the R.C. church decreed that these books were part of the sacred books of the Bible and were to be part of the Old Testament.  All of

the decrees of the Council of Trent were formally confirmed by Pope Pius IV in 1564.

These apocryphal books are: Tobit (or Tobias), Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach) – and this is not to be confused with the proper Book of Ecclesiastes – Baruch & I & II Machabees.  They also include additions to the Book of Daniel adding two chapters to Daniel (for a total of 14) chapter 13 being Susanna’s Virtue and chapter 14, Bel and the Dragon.  My St. Joseph New Catholic Edition also includes additions to Esther adding 10 verses to Esther chapter 10 and 6 additional chapters for a total of 16.

Now before somebody objects and says the original King James Bible included the Apocrypha, if you’ll do your homework you can easily find that the original King James Bible did NOT include the Apocrypha as part of the OT canon of Scripture, but the Apocrypha was inserted between the Testaments, noting it was not included as part of the canon of Scripture.

In conclusion, let me point out 3 significant things regarding the Apocrypha.

A. No N.T. writer ever cites any quotation from any of the Apocryphal books.  If they were authentic, you’d figure to get at least one quote from one of the books, but their batting average is 0.

B. It is from within the Apocrypha that the Catholics get the idea of praying and offering sacrifices for the dead.

See II Machabees 12:42-46 (Read first from St. Joseph’s)

From online version stating the latest revision was Dec. 8, 2006.

42and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.

43He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

C. Leviticus 24:5-6 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. {6} And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD.  –> Two rows of six  –> 66

That’s the number of Books in the true Bread of life.

It was called “shewbread” because it was to show you something.

And it shows you the King James Bible has the right amount of Books without the Apocrypha.

There’s 14 areas where you’ll find important differences between R.C. dogma and the Holy Scriptures.  There are more but this is a strong sampling of what you’ll see as you compare the two.

Where’s your faith?  Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.