Catholicism is the largest and most influential trend in Christianity. That is why there are many myths about the Catholic Church that we will try to debunk.
The Church forbids reading the Bible. The first Christian Bible was created by the Catholic Church. The material for this book was collected by scientists in the II and III centuries, then it was approved by the Supreme Catholic Councils of Hippo and Carthage. And the very first printed Bible was created by the Catholic Church, represented by the Catholic inventor Gutenberg. The very first Bible, with chapters and numbered verses, was created by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury. And during each Mass, the priest reads aloud excerpts from the Bible. Usually these are quotes from the main body of the text and two parts from the Gospel. In the modern Catholic Mass, two parts of the common Bible and only one part of the Gospel are read. Today, the holy book is in every home of believers, it is studied in Catholic schools. And this myth itself appeared because Bibles were often locked up in churches. But they did this not to prohibit people from reading the book, but to protect it from theft. Usually we are talking about old handwritten Bibles, very rare and therefore valuable. People think the Bible is banned because of its inclusion in the Prohibited Book Index. However, in this case we are talking about Protestant versions, markedly edited or poorly translated. The most famous such edition is the King James Version; Catholics have already refused to use it.
Lay Catholics cannot read the Bible on their own. There was once such a ban, but it was formal. At first, there was a ban on reading the Bible in popular languages. The translations had to be approved by the church. The same Cyril and Methodius had previously received permission to work with the Slavic language. But this made it possible to avoid mistakes and heresy. There were few who could read the Bible in Latin; many did not always know their native language. In the church, the priest told and interpreted episodes from the book, which were then retold to relatives and children. So the congregation, even without reading the Bible, generally knew it. And the ban made it possible to avoid heresy due to the ignorance of ordinary people. Now, not only is there no ban, but the priests also urge to read as often as possible and think about the texts. But in fairness it should be noted that Catholics are far from Protestants in terms of Bible reading.
Catholics practice idolatry. It is believed that the fact of worshiping the Virgin Mary means nothing more than idolatry. In fact, there are three types of denominations in Catholic theology. Latria provides for the worship of one God, a departure from this norm is considered a mortal sin. Hyperdulia is the veneration of the Virgin Mary, but this is precisely veneration, not idolatry. A special type of worship is the worship of angels and saints. This division was approved by the Second Council of Nicaea as early as 787 AD. This council was specially gathered in order to condemn those who considered the attitude towards icons and statuettes of saints to be idolatrous. If a Catholic kneels in front of a statue during prayer, then he does not pray and does not worship, but a Protestant with a Bible in his hands, kneeling, is worshiping. Those images of saints that Catholics have just remind of the holiness of this character.
Catholics are not real Christians. It is Catholics who are the first Christians. A study of the early Christian texts shows that doctrines and teachings are exactly the same as what the Catholic Church preaches today. We are talking about bishops, virgin nuns, confession, priests, baptism, the Roman Bishop as the head of the entire religion. The statements of the early church fathers, who were apostles, are very reminiscent of modern Catholic doctrines. Most historians admit that it is the Catholic Church that is the first Christian, this is not difficult to prove with the help of ancient texts.
The Pope is completely infallible. According to Catholics, their head can be sinless only under certain conditions. He must make his statements according to the canons of faith and morality, his decrees must concern the entire church and unite it, and he must speak not personally on his own behalf, but on behalf of the entire Papacy. Consequently, the Pope's conversation about scientific issues makes his mistakes. But in matters of religion, subject to the above points, he speaks on behalf of God. This is why Catholics must trust the Pope. At the end of his infallible statement, the phrase “let it be anathema” sounds.
The Catholic Church is against science and does not believe in evolution. It should be borne in mind that many major scientific discoveries have appeared thanks to education in the Catholic world. For example, the Belgian priest Georges Lemaitre became the first person to put forward the Big Bang Theory. When she got to Einstein, he rejected it, claiming the correctness of mathematics, but disgusting physics. Ultimately, the master accepted the priest's theory. And the Catholic Church does not deny the theory of evolution, as do many American Protestant or Evangelical churches. Since the emergence of this theory, the Catholic Church has not officially expressed itself on this matter. Pope Pius XII made any public statement on this topic for the first time. He said that the church does not prohibit the teaching of evolution. It examines how human bodies were created, and faith tells us that souls were created by God. In 2004, a special theological commission made statements about the consistency of the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution. There are only discrepancies in the rates and mechanisms of the development of life on the planet. Currently, Catholic schools around the world, including in the States, teach precisely the scientific approach to the emergence of life, this is an integral part of the curriculum.
With the help of indulgence, you can pay off your sins with money. First you need to understand what indulgence is all about. The Catholic Church teaches believers that they receive two kinds of punishment for their sins. Eternal, provides for hell after death, and temporary is punishment during life or in purgatory after death. To avoid hell, a person needs to repent, then he will be forgiven. But the temporary punishment will not disappear anywhere. Indulgence is such a special blessing that allows the abolition of temporary punishment. To do this, you need to do some good deeds or read certain prayers. In the Middle Ages, cunning bishops really sold counterfeit indulgences for money, directing funds to the needs of the church. Official Rome fought such abuses for a long time, it took almost three hundred years to eradicate such a business. And real indulgences existed from the very beginning, the church still issues them today. But this has nothing to do with making money.
The Catholic Church was founded by Emperor Constantine in 325. In 313, this emperor announced the tolerance of the authorities towards Christianity. This was reinforced by the Edict of Milan, which meant the abolition of fines for this religion. And at the age of 40, Constantine himself was baptized, and then convened the First Council of Nicaea. Because of the importance of this event, it is believed that the emperor created the church. But before this meeting there were others, though not so large-scale and famous. And the structure of the church has already been formed. At that council, Constantine was a simple observer, and decisions were made by bishops and representatives of the Pope. Before the Council of Nicea, celibacy among priests and infant baptism were already the norm, and the structure of bishops and priests had existed for 300 years.
Catholic priests are not allowed to marry. Before debunking the myth of the existence of celibacy, it is worth understanding the very nature of Catholicism. The Pope has two ecclesiastical sections under the jurisdiction of the Pope - Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic. They all follow common canons. The differences lie in the style of worship and external rules. So, in the Eastern Church, priests are allowed to marry, but in this status he can no longer become a Pope. It happens that pastors convert to Catholicism from other religions already married, for example, from the Church of England. They are still ordained, so married priests are not uncommon in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church has added several books to the Bible. There are 7 more books in the Catholic version of the Old Testament than in the Protestant one. This difference gave rise to the myth that Rome added some information to the Bible. In fact, these books were considered official in Christianity even before the appearance of Protestantism. And already Martin Luther removed the unnecessary parts of the Bible in his opinion. Some of them confirm the doctrines that the reformer abandoned. The Catholic Church uses the "Greek edition" that the apostles used in their sermons. But Luther chose the Jewish Masoretic canon, dating from 700-1000 AD. The Protestants rejected the Book of Judith, the two Maccabean books, the Book of the Wisdom of Jesus, the Book of Tobit, the Book of the Prophet Baruch and the son of Sirach. But Luther kept the Catholic New Testament completely. Interestingly, the Hanukkah holiday, often mentioned in the Maccabean books, did not get into either the Jewish or the Protestant New Testament.
The papacy was invented already in the Middle Ages. The Pope was the Bishop of Rome, from the very beginning Christians considered him the head of the church. This is evidenced by ancient documents, and the Bible itself. The Gospel says that the first Bishop of the Roman Church was Peter himself, who remained in this post until his death in 64. Saint Irenaeus of Lyons became the second Pope. Then Cletes was in this post, the fourth was Clement, who created a diocese against heresy. And Pope Lin introduced the rule that women should cover their heads in church. It still works.
The Catholic Church has introduced many new dogmas. The dogmas were not invented at all, but derived according to the law of the corresponding development. The church had believed in some of the postulates before, they just were not dogmas. And new dogmas do not appear out of nowhere, but on the basis of Holy Scripture. It took time to clarify and clarify them so that the believers had clarity in their heads. At one time, the doctrine of the Trinity was considered new, it was derived on the basis of Christian teaching. The church already believed in this, but over time it consolidated this postulate. In Catholicism, until the information is fully verified, the dogmas will not be introduced.
Virgin Mary in Catholicism is worshiped more than God. If you study the Chin Mass, then everything becomes clear. The Virgin Mary is mentioned there in passing, but the name of Christ sounds constantly. Catholics love the Mother of God very much, as children love their mother, seeing her as a patron and comforter. The Catholic Church will never venerate Mary as Jesus honored her with glory, as God the Father rewarded her by making her the mother of his son, and as the Holy Spirit by choosing her for conception.
Catholics pray to the living Pope. The Pope is the visible head of the church, he is obeyed and respected. And prayers to the Pope are offered up not to the currently living, but to one of the dead and recognized as saints or blessed.
Catholics believe that the Mother of God was conceived similarly to Christ. Indeed, there is a dogma about the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, in this case, it does not mean that the case did not go without a man. The Mother of God was not touched by original sin, which is why conception can be considered immaculate. She did not have the sinful nature of an ordinary person, she received the same nature that she had before the Fall. And the personal righteousness of the Virgin Mary is the result of her free choice. For the sake of the future sacrifice of Christ, God gave her mercy and did not touch her with original sin, so that Mary would become the abode for the Divine Child.
Catholics changed the Creed. At one time, the Filioque problem arose about changing the creed. But it is not theological, but philological, based on different translations. Catholics do not regard the Son as a separate source of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is a kind of flower. The Father is the root, everything grows on him. The stem is a son, he is a kind of mediator between people and the father. The Holy Spirit is a flower that comes from both the Father and the Son, from the root through the stem. So the Filioque did not change the creed, but simply clarified it.
Catholics don't need to confess before Communion. The church does not admit a single person to communion without confession, because he may have a mortal sin in his soul. But if this is not the case, then confession before each Communion is not required. The fact is that everyday sins that remain in touch with God can be forgiven during the common confession and the same Communion. The Orthodox Church practices this in the same way.
Catholics do not fast before Communion. Catholics have a Eucharistic fast before communion, which is one hour before communion. But it is recommended to fast an hour before mass. This is done so that people can receive communion more often. Once, Mass was served only early in the morning, and fasting was either in the morning, or since midnight. Then Mass was allowed to be served in the evening, and such a prolonged refusal of food lost its meaning. The fast was reduced first to three hours, and then to an hour. And food in the stomach cannot desecrate the Communion, besides, for the first time it happened at all during a hearty supper. Fasting is a disciplinary measure that can be easily changed. The Church believes that people should receive communion as often as possible, this is not a reward for spirituality, but medicine.
Catholics do not give communion to young children. It is worth clarifying here. In the Latin rite, Catholics do not admit children until the age of recognition. A child should be able to distinguish ordinary bread from the Eucharist, understand the difference between good and evil, and be able to confess. Someone already at 5 years old meets these standards, and someone at 16 is not ready to approach the sacrament responsibly. It is believed that before the first confession, children should attend Sunday school for a year or two. The child needs to know the basic symbols of faith, the essence of the sacraments and basic prayers. But in the Byzantine rite, babies receive communion from the very moment of baptism and chrismation. It is logical that the Communion still took place at a conscious age. But other practice has the right to life: surrounded by loved ones, although children do not understand the whole point, they feel that it is important and good. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Catholics use only unleavened bread. This statement is true only for the Latin rite. There is unleavened bread - a tribute to the memory of the Jewish tradition of using unleavened bread at Passover. During the Last Supper, Christ performed the same ancient Jewish rites, but with different words, giving them a new meaning. By the time of the Jewish Passover, everything leavened was destroyed, so the choice of unleavened bread was not accidental. And in Eastern traditions, yeast bread is used, which is a symbol of the resurrection of Christ. It's beautiful, but the tradition is different.In fact, these are all details - during the war, priests served masses and liturgy with sawdust bread, and Armenians use undiluted wine. The essence of the Eucharist is not at all what kind of wine or bread is used.
Catholics are sitting throughout the service. This myth can be debunked by attending a service at least once. The benches here are not for beauty, but they are not used for the entire service. The procession of priests meets standing, believers sit down while reading passages of the Old Testament. But when reading the Gospel, everyone stands. People also spend the Eucharistic Liturgy on their feet, kneeling down at the most important moments. It is also recommended to pray on your knees after the sacrament. In total, you can sit for a maximum of a third of the time. But the Liturgy of the Hours can be listened to while sitting, but it is also recommended to get up there during prayers and hymns. The benches are there so that people can listen better. On big holidays, not everyone succeeds in sitting down; on Easter they even stand in the central aisle. But this does not bother anyone - they do not come here for gatherings.
Catholic services are conducted in Latin. In the Western rites of the Catholic Church, Latin is indeed the primary language. But if necessary, it is allowed to serve in national languages. In reality, it is they that sound most often, people simply do not understand Latin anymore. At the request of the priest, only a few selected main masses are served in this language. Armenian Catholics use Old Armenian, Greek Catholics use Church Slavonic, Ukrainian, Russian, and so on, depending on the country. And other rituals are served in their native language. The Church wants the divine service to be understandable for uneducated parishioners, so this step was taken.
During Mass, Catholics play musical instruments. This is not always the case. If there are no musicians, the service will take place anyway. And there are quiet masses, where extraneous sounds, in principle, are not provided. And this has its own charm.
Catholic ordinances are invalid. Catholics and Orthodox Christians mutually recognize all seven sacraments. The point is not that the sacraments are invalid, but that there is no Eucharistic communion, that is, the joint administration of the liturgy by the priests.
Catholics have a different calendar. Many Catholics follow the Gregorian calendar, but there are those who have chosen the Julian calendar. And we are talking not only about Catholics of the Eastern rite in the CIS countries, but also about some believers according to the Latin rite. So, in the Holy Land, it was decided to switch to the Julian calendar, so that there was unity with the Orthodox living there. But as far as this is a question of principle, is the truth hidden in which calendar is used?
For Catholics, Christmas is more important than Easter. No Christian church can think so. If it were not for Good Friday and Easter, then Christmas would have lost its meaning. Christmas is a favorite and expected holiday, but Easter is the real highlight of the Liturgical year. Preparing for it is the most important thing of the year. And the myth could have appeared due to the fact that in the West, before Christmas, people are seized by a real hysteria regarding gifts. This holiday is a favorite family holiday even among atheists. People already do not really remember what they are celebrating. But these are the problems of the society, which took over the church holiday. And in Catholicism the importance and primacy of Easter is not questioned.
Catholics have no posts. If in the Orthodox tradition it is customary to fast on Wednesday and Friday and there are four more days of fasting, then Catholics with the Latin rite do not have a couple of summer fasts at all. There is a pre-Easter Lent and a pre-Christmas Advent, which can hardly be called fast. Rather, it is a cursed period. But until recently, the Catholics' fasts were very harsh, just the church realized that such a practice is harmful to both the physical and spiritual health of people. Abstinence led to gluttony, which is actually both sinful and dangerous to health. Is this what God wants? At present, strict fasting exists for all believers aged 18-60. This is Ash Wednesday, with which Great Lent and Good Friday begin. Some Catholics keep other days from old memory, but this is already a personal initiative. The church usually sets the obligatory minimum for believers - two days must be spent in strict fasting without meat, with prayers in the mornings and evenings, Mass on Sunday, confession and Communion once a year during Easter time. But the Catholics of the Byzantine rite, Greek Catholics or Uniates, fast, like the Orthodox. The church allowed to preserve traditions.
In the Catholic Church, gay people are ordained and married. The Church prohibits same-sex marriage, condemning such relationships themselves. By itself, a homosexual will not be excommunicated, but he must live in chastity. If he does not give in to his desires, then this is not a sin in itself. An open homosexual priest cannot be ordained, he is considered unhealthy and cannot serve in the church. A distinction should be made between orientation and behavior. Homosexuality can be casual and transient, which is noted at the age of formation of sexual identity. You can go through this. The other extreme is ingrained and habitual behavior. Orientation itself requires caution in choosing a path, but it is not a barrier to faith. The church does not turn its back on its parishioners, trying to help them in the fight against sin, especially the adolescents who are going through this trial. But the Catholic Church will not encourage sin either.
Catholics are allowed to have godparents both Orthodox and other Christians. This is not true, only Catholics can be godparents. Other believers can be admitted to the ceremony as witnesses.
Catholics even baptize animals. This does not exist in nature. And the myth itself appeared thanks to the tradition existing in some countries to bring pets to the temple on the day of St. Francis of Assisi for blessing. The fact is that this Catholic saint was very fond of animals. At the request of this patron, the creatures are sprinkled with water, blessing. But the move is akin to sprinkling a home or vehicle.
A person must accept the appropriate faith if he wants to marry a Catholic. This is not necessary at all. The bishop can issue permission for a mixed marriage, and after 2-3 months of preparation for the sacrament of marriage, the wedding can be performed. When filling out the marriage protocol, it is found out if there are any obstacles to marriage. The Catholic side undertakes to keep the faith and do everything possible so that posterity is baptized and raised in it. The other side makes a promise that the spouse will not be hindered by his faith, and also that it is known about the promise to raise children in the Catholic faith.
The Catholic Church bans contraception. The church prohibits the use of artificial contraception and reproductive technologies. The act of marriage is considered sacred, and nothing should violate its integrity and focus on the appearance of children. However, it is allowed to plan your family by studying your body and the laws of the reproductive system. In many parishes, young people are taught this before the wedding. Such methods require discipline, but following them precisely allows you to achieve the desired result.
Divorce is prohibited for Catholics. But this statement is not a myth. There is no such thing as divorce in the Catholic Church. The second time to get married will not work, but if you live with someone else without a wedding, then this sin may entail excommunication from Communion. It happens that the spouses, for some serious reason, cannot continue their life together. These can be facts of violence, drugs, alcohol, treason. Then the church makes it possible for people to live separately, while none of the parties can enter into a new marriage. A marriage may be declared invalid, but this is not a divorce either. The church simply claims that there was no marriage as such, since its essence was originally violated. For example, one of the spouses hid the truth about his health, someone was not free to choose, forced to him, someone had a connection on the side, unwillingness to accept children sent by God. But this procedure is rather lengthy and complicated. To count on such a form of "divorce" it will be necessary to prove that such conditions have developed.
Catholics believe that only they can be saved. The Catholic Church believes that there are grains of truth in other religions as well, treating them with respect. No one is denied salvation if a person fulfilled God's will within the framework of his worldview and upbringing. You just need to accept willingly the Lord and the fact that it is the Catholic Church that possesses all the fullness of truth and the means to salvation. Those who did not know and did not understand this do not bear any guilt. But those who knew about the depth of the Catholic Church and the truth of its faith, but for some reason left it, will not be able to be saved. The closer the denomination is in its teaching to the Catholic Church, the more means there are for salvation. Only the most principled heretics are denied church commemoration and burial, but not as punishment, but because they themselves made their choice, refusing to cooperate with the church. However, no one claims that these people will certainly go to hell.
As a result of the Brest Union, Catholics of the Eastern rite appeared. The Eastern Catholic rite actually has more than 20 different rites. And this is by no means only Slavic-Byzantine, there is also Armenian, Coptic. In addition, there are Eastern Catholic churches that have never split with Rome at all. This is, for example, the Italian-Albanian Catholic Church of the Byzantine rite. Unified doctrine and church administration in the Catholic Church has always been practiced, even taking into account different liturgical rites and traditions.
What the Orthodox call the church, the Catholics call it the church. The very word "church" in Polish means "church". At one time, Polonism took root well in Russia. There were times when only foreigners or their descendants could profess Catholicism here, this niche was filled by the Poles. Currently, Russian Catholics are mostly Russian, whose foreign roots can no longer be found. They calmly use the words "temple", "cathedral", "church" that are familiar to us. And in Western countries, Catholic churches are not called churches.
Catholics deceive believers, enticing them into their faith. This myth is easy to debunk if you know how difficult it is to keep this faith. New converts have to undergo catechesis for several months and up to three years. All this time, people must study in detail the teachings of the Catholic Church, learn to look for the will of God in their lives, reflect and make decisions about their spiritual life, and take responsibility for them. And this is tiring, because it is much easier when they tell you exactly what to do. Those who want to accept Catholicism need a strong motivation, otherwise the test may not be able to withstand. New converts are not allowed to participate in the sacraments, but there are no restrictions on everything else. It is allowed to attend all divine services, participate in events, communicate with monks and priests. This makes it possible to touch the inner life of the church, to try on the future image of a parishioner. And if a person suddenly changes his mind about making such a choice, no one will hold him back. If a believer becomes a Catholic, then there is no time for democracy - you have to accept the entire faith in its entirety.
Catholic crosses are different from Orthodox ones. So reasoning is not entirely true. There is a Latin tradition of depicting a cross. It is depicted as four-pointed, with three nails and no lower bar. In Byzantine or Orthodox, it looks different. Catholics don't really care what kind of cross to wear: Orthodox, Celtic, Armenian, or even Franciscan in the form of the letter "T". Some people choose a medallion or amulet instead, there can be as many symbols as you like.