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Is the Catholic Church just as divided as the Protestant denominations?

Full Question

How are you Catholics any more doctrinally united or harmonious than we Protestants? You have your radical feminists, hyperconservatives, New Agers, and everything else, just like we do. And among born-again, Bible-believing Evangelicals there is unity, just as there is among traditional Catholics.


It is true that one may find people who believe anything—or nothing—and who call themselves “Catholic” or “Protestant.” These labels do not, by themselves, establish unity. Nevertheless, the Catholic rule of faith confers doctrinal unity in a way that the Protestant rule of faith does not.

The Catholic rule of faith is “the Word of God in Scripture and Tradition as understood by the Church”; the Protestant rule of faith is “Scripture alone.” Although there are those on both sides (radical feminists, New Agers, etc.) who have no regard for either rule of faith, who heed neither Scripture nor the Church, the difference is among those who do.

While the mere claim to be “Catholic” doesn’t necessarily tell us much about a person’s belief, the claim to follow the Catholic rule of faith, to believe the teachings of Scripture and Tradition as defined by the living Catholic magisterium, does. But the claim to follow the Protestant rule of faith, to believe the teachings of Scripture alone, hardly tells us more than the claim to be “Protestant.” One could be Baptist or pedobaptist, Calvinist or Arminian, Anglo-Catholic or low-church Anglican or anything in between.


  1. Michael Reply

    I think that response misses the point. Within an evangelical sect, fundamentalist Baptists and congregational churches, for example, the unity of belief among *practicing* members in their interpretation of scripture, and their application of scripture to both personal and societal morals and ethics (the latter often expressed in their political positions), is in fact quite strong and arguably as strong as that of practicing Catholics. Similarly, most or all of the leaders of these fundamentalist sects take very similar positions on these questions just as the majority of Catholic bishops do. Now, this doesn’t mean the fundamentalists are always right; only that “sola scriptura” has not prevented them from having a strong unity of belief.

  2. Christian Azuero Reply

    Dear Michael.
    I have to said that our doctrines for Catholics are the same. We have not change nothing because of a congregation. We have someone that regulate the truth and he is one authority, the pope. So the Catholics can have one truth to follow and not like the Protestants with the sola scripture that can have a lot of truth, it is relativism, there is not absolute truth. Yes there are some leader that can have similar answer to Catholics but there is no control.

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