Is Protestantism just a negation of Catholicism?

Protestant*ism*? Yes. But Protestants? No. Not usually. Protestant*ism* insofar as it is protesting is, indeed, a negation of some aspect(s) of Catholic Faith. Drop that negation and there’s no reason not to be Catholic. But, of course, Protestantism also borrows a great deal from Catholic faith and, insofar as it does so, is Catholic, not Protestant.

But most Protestants I know (in real life, I mean, not in cyberspace) aren’t protesting anything anymore. Indeed, many of them are quite excited by Catholic ideas if you present them using something besides Catholic jargon. My sister in law was quite thrilled to tell me about her small Bible Church’s recent exploration into the lives of great Christians *who lived after the time of the Bible*. As long as I didn’t use the phrase “cult of the saints”, I knew we could have a terrific conversation.

Nope. Most Protestants are too busy following Jesus to be protesting much these days. (Admittedly, in cyberspace it’s a different story. There you meet the self-selecting minority of vociferous people whose whole life is wrapped up in keeping the fires of the 16th Century burning. But it’s not that way in the Real World for most American Protestants. They are trying to learn and be open to the Spirit (much more open than many a Catholic it often seems). The smartest thing Catholics can do is feed their hunger for the truth, not waste a lot of time jawing about old grievances.


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