Here are five common misconceptions about the Catholic church. There are much more, and I could fill dozens of articles with them, but for now, we’re going to focus on the more typical misunderstandings.
1. The Catholic Church does not believe in Evolution and modern science.
A lot of scientific advances have been made through Catholic scholarship. Catholic schools worldwide, including the U.S, teach the theory of scientific evolution as one of the main parts of their science curriculum.
2. Catholics Worship Mary
A lot of people assume that, because we pray to Mary, we are worshipping her, and therefore committing idolatry. This is not true, and it has a straightforward explanation. We aren’t worshipping her, but honoring her. Mary was very holy and was born without sin, as the Bible teaches us. As Jesus’ mother, holy, pure, and immaculate, we are simply honoring her and asking for her intercession in our lives. We ask Mary to intercede for us, not only in our own personal prayers but more so in the Hail Mary. In fact, some of the words for the Hail Mary are taken right out of the Bible. To conclude, we revere her holiness, not only because she was born without original sin, but because she is the Mother of God, and so we ask for her intercession.
3. Confession is Unnecessary
This misconception is popular because no other denomination of Christianity has something like confession that is buried in its roots. In Catholicism, the act of confession is when we evaluate our lives and recent actions and confess anything that is unsavory to a Priest so that we can be absolved of our sins, and obtain a state of grace. John 20:21-23 says this; “…If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” In this passage, Jesus gave his disciples the power to forgive sins, and that tradition has been passed down through the centuries, and made its way into the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
4. Catholics follow the Pope, and not God
We do follow the Pope, in a sense. Before Jesus left, he handed down his power to Peter, as he was the ‘rock of the church’ and because he was also the first disciple of Jesus. To read more on the the papacy, visit this article on EWTN.
5. The Eucharist is purely symbolic and is nonessential to the Mass
The Eucharist is the most important part of the Mass and is the center of the consecration. To help understand the meaning of the Eucharist, we refer to both the New Testament. During the last supper, Jesus tells his disciples to eat and drink of his blood and body; his blood is the wine, and his body being the unleavened bread. “Take this cup, and drink of it; for this is my blood, which shall be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20) Also, in the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites to spread the blood of a lamb over their doorways to protect their firstborns from death. He also explicitly tells Moses to eat the lamb afterward, as not to waste it. (Exodus 12:12) The correlation is this; Jesus is regularly referred to as the ‘Lamb of God’ and he is the lamb. There are many places in scripture, both in the Old and New Testament, that help to promote the Eucharist. Jesus also says that any who eat of his body and drink of his blood will be saved, and this is the main reasoning behind the use of ‘bread and wine’ in the consecration. Catholicism, being the oldest and most sophisticated form of Christianity, has its fair share of misconceptions and tidbits that are confusing to anyone who is trying to learn more about the Faith. A lot of traditions that we as Catholics follow stem directly from the Bible, so anything that can be questioned in the Catholic Doctrine can be found easily in the Bible. Of course, there are many other misconceptions, but these few that I wrote about are the most controversial ones. I hoped to have cleared up any confusion that you may have had.