Growing up, I was provided with innumerable misunderstandings of Catholicism. Whether they were outright fabricated, misconceptions, or something in between, I’m not totally sure, but here I’ll address a few of the things I’ve heard over the years.

#1. Catholics believe you must have faith and works to attain salvation.

TRUE, but there’s a reason for this: the Holy Scriptures support it.

James 2:14-26

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe; and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

The point is, it’s strange how the Sola Scriptura-ists are so adamant about believing the Bible, knowing what the Bible says, and then slamming Catholics as being oh-so-unbiblical, and then someone such as myself can pull out said verses and point out that the Catholic Tradition is actually more rooted in the Bible in this case.

So basically, the Catholics don’t say anything more than the fact that one’s Faith should be reflected in one’s Works to help people; it’s a pretty simple concept.

Could be worse…the Gnostics say that it is by direct experience of God and not by faith OR works that we experience salvation. Personally, I think all three are important, but that’s for another blog.


#2. Catholics “pray to Mary.”

This is a statement that never made a lot of sense to me. I was told Catholics prayed to Mary, and that you were only supposed to pray to God. But the concept of what they meant by “pray to Mary” seemed to be ill-defined; when people said this, they meant it almost in the context of, “Catholics pray to Mary and exclusively to Mary because they feel unworthy to pray to God.”

That would be FALSE.

But what IS true are that prayers for intercession are offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as to the Saints, and sometimes even Angels. However, the majority of prayers, and by majority, I mean VAST majority, are directed to God.

#3 Catholics are all hell-fire and brimstone, stodgy, and fuddy-duddy.

This was my own misperception that happened early on, but in my experience, largely FALSE; every Catholic I’ve personally known has been rather amicable, and they’ve also been the people who were vegetarians, eco-friendly, in bands, funny, and not afraid of alcohol.

Even many of the Catholics I’ve talked to online have been great; the only scary Catholics I’ve seen are in certain forums online, and even then most of them are open to having a dialogue or educating people. The frightening, condemning ones are definitely in the minority, at least within the English-speaking world, or I haven’t run into them very often.

Okay, well, that’s enough for now.