Catholicism - Now I Get It!


Study Guide to CHAPTER 15: "Now We Are Divided"




Who were the key players in the Protestant Reformation?

Who were the key players in the Catholic Reformation?

Besides the Catholic Church, what other Church has all seven sacraments, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Real Presence of the Eucharist?

What percent of the world population is Christian? 

What percent of the Christian population is Catholic?

What did the Council of Trent (1545-63) do to show it was serious about eliminating abuses that had crept into the Church?

If a Jehovah Witness denied to you that Jesus was God, how would you answer the charge? (See Jn 10:30-33, Jn 1:1, Jn 10:38, Jn 14:8-12, Jn 12:45, , Col 2:9, Jn 20:28, Acts 20:28)

What common beliefs to Catholics and Protestants have?

What common beliefs do Christians and Muslims have?

On which Apostle did Christ build His Church? (see Mt 16:18)

What are some of the stride toward Christian unity that have been made in recent years/decades?

What efforts did Pope John Paul 11 and Pope Benedict XVI made towards unity?

With so many religions to choose from, why choose Christianity? How do we know that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of Christian teaching?

The Catholic Church is not only the only religion that was founded by God, but the only religion that even claims to be founded by God. The Church is 2,000 years old, and will still be here when Jesus comes again. Reflect on the awesomeness of this gift.


Suggestions for further reading:

The Catholic Controversy by St. Francis de Sales

Roman Catholics and Evangelicals by Norm Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie

Answering Islam by Norm Geisler

How the Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc 

Apologia Pro Vita Sua John Henry Newman's classic

There We Stood, Here We Stand: 11 Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots

Beginning Apologetics I: How to Explain & Defend the Catholic Faith (booklet by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham)  

The Early Church by Henry Chadwick

On Being Catholic by Thomas Howard

Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard

Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating

Rome Sweet Home by Scott & Kimberly Hahn

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: The Early Church was The Catholic Church by Kenneth D. Whitehead

Salvation Is from the Jews by Roy H. Schoeman

Beginning Apologetics 2: How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham

The Russian Church and the Papacy by Vladimir Soloviev


Helpful entries from the online Catholic Encyclopedia.

The Reformation 

The Counter Reformation 

Martin Luther

John Calvin 

Ulrich Zwingli 




Eastern Schism 

Eastern Churches 

Greek Church 





HELPFUL WEB SITES (Other Religions) (Apologetics Book Shelf) (Catholic Answers - differences between Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism)



Where does the Bible say the Church must be one?

John 10:16:   So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

John 17:17-23: As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.

Eph. 4:4-6:  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all

Also see: Rom 16:17, I Cor 1:10, Phil2:2, Rom 15:5,  1 Cor 12:13, Rom 12:5, Col 3:15.




In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

"However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

Toward unity

820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time."277 Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me."278 The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.279

821 Certain things are required in order to respond adequately to this call:

- a permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation; such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity;280

- conversion of heart as the faithful "try to live holier lives according to the Gospel";281 for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ's gift which causes divisions;

- prayer in common, because "change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name 'spiritual ecumenism;"'282

- fraternal knowledge of each other;283

- ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests;284

- dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and communities;285

- collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind.286 "Human service" is the idiomatic phrase.

822 Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike."287 But we must realize "that this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts." That is why we place all our hope "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit."288




St. Cyprian of Carthage:  "You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother. . . . God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one; one is the faith, and one is the people cemented together by harmony into the strong unity of a body. . . . If we are the heirs of Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are the sons of God, let us be lovers of peace" (The Unity of the Catholic Church, c. 250 A.D.).

St. Cyprian also wrote: "The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [c. 250 A.D.]).

St. Hillary: “In the Scriptures our people are shown to be made one; so that just as many grains collected into one and ground and mingled together, make one loaf, so in Christ, who is the heavenly Bread, we know there is one body, in which our whole company is joined and united." (Treatise 62, 13, 4th century)


Further Helps

Pray for Christian unity. Remember, Jesus, Himself said He wanted his flock to be One.

Next time you are at Mass in a different country, reflect on the fact that even though the Mass may be in a different language, it is the same Mass all over the world. Not only that, but is the same Jesus that Catholics receive at Communion no matter on which continent we worship. How does the Eucharist unite us to Jesus? and to the whole Body of Christ, i.e. the Church?

Catholics are thankful that evangelical Protestants have lent a generous hand to the pro-life movement. What else do we have to be thankful for in our Protestant brothers and sisters?

Billy Graham was one of the most renowned evangelical Protestant preachers in the world when he retired. What are some reasons many Catholics admire Billy Graham?

How are members of other Christian denominations incorporated, although perhaps not as fully as possible, into the Body of Christ by virtue of their Baptism? Remember, as long as a follower is baptized and believes that Jesus is God and died and rose for our sins, he or she is regarded as a Christian by the Catholic Church.

Restoring peace within our own families and circles can contribute to the unity of the whole Church. Are there gestures of kindness or  charity we can think of that could help break down barriers to peace in our own families or communities? Remember Jesus' commands us to pray for our enemies.



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