Luther started the Reformation in the 16th century. But many of the aspects that were reformed by Luther created division between the Catholic and the Protestant Churches and still continues to create division among the Protestant Churches. Here are the main aspects of differences:
Understanding of the Bible:
The Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations (Churches) have different views on the meaning and the authority of the Bible. The Protestants, as initiated by Luther, accept the principle of “sola Skritura” (Scripture only). Accordingly, they believe that God has revealed Himself to the people only through the Bible.
But the Catholics hold the belief that God has revealed Himself and His Plan of Salvation not only from what is written in the Bible but also through the oral tradition. Catholics strongly believe that what remains written in the Bible was selected and chosen by the human authors depending on their scope and the direct recipients, to whom they wrote. Hence, Bible and Tradition, for the Catholics, are the two pillars of faith, which contain the entire revelation.
Understanding of the Church:
The Protestant Churches, which are also called “Evangelical” (which means, based on the Gospels), do not have one united Church. There are thousands of different denominations, which do not agree with one another. The main reason for such divisions among them is the individual interpretation of the Bible, as comprehended by the founder of each Church.
Whereas the Catholics have one apostolic Church under the leadership of the Pope. The word “Catholic” means universal or all-embracing and it is the only true Church because it maintains the apostolic Tradition. Jesus appointed Peter as the first head of the Church and Starting from Peter till today, there is the continuation of the apostolic tradition preserved only in the Catholic Church.
I will continue sharing other aspects of difference in the next weeks to come.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.