What You Need to Know About Roman Catholicism

Excerpt from James McCarthy’s ‘What You Need to Know About Roman Catholicism’

James McCarthy was educated in a Catholic school. When he came to Christ in 1975, he looked for literature to understand the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, based solely on the Bible. Disappointed at what was available at that time, he did his own research.

In 1981, he produced a video documentary. “Catholicism: Crisis of Faith.” He published “The Gospel According to Rome” in 1995 and wrote other books after. He referred to Roman Catholicism as a “counterfeit Christianity.”

Ex-priest Father Anthony Pezzotta.


Catechism:The Bible:
Initial justification is through baptism. (1262-1274)Justification is by faith alone. (Romans 3:28)
Adults must prepare for justification through faith and good works. (1247-1249)God justifies ungodly sinners who believe. Good works are the result of salvation, not the cause. (Romans 4-5, Ephesians 2:8-10)
Justification is a transformation of the soul in which original sin is removed and sanctifying grace infused. (1987-1995)Justification is an act of God where he declares a sinner to be righteous In His sight, having forgiven his sin and imputed in him God’s righteousness. (Romans 3:21-4-8)
Adults must prepare for justification through faith and good works. (1247-1249)God justifies ungodly sinners who believe. Good works are the result of salvation, not the cause. (Romans 4-5, Ephesians 2:8-10)
Salvation is attained by cooperating with grace through faith, good works, and participation in the sacraments. (183, 1129, 1815, and 2002)Salvation is attained by grace through faith apart from works. Good works are the result, not the cause of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2:10)
Good works merit grace. (2010, 2027)Grace is a gift. (Romans 11:6)
Eternal life is a merited reward. (1821, 2010)Eternal life is a gift of God. (Romans 6:23)
The Roman Catholic Church is necessary for salvation. (846)There is salvation in no one but the Lord Jesus Christ, “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Sola fide

Of the world’s dominant religions, the Catholic, Muslim, and Hinduism believe that a person can attain heaven, peace, or paradise by doing good works. Faith alone saves. (John 3:16)

Good works are essential; a result of one’s relationship with Christ. However, penitence or indulgence has nothing to do with God’s gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). To insist on adding something to what Jesus did makes it “cheap grace.” Jesus said it is finished. (John 19:28-30)

A faithful follower of Christ will not choose to continue living in sin but daily repentance. A true Christian will “bear fruit” by abiding in Christ. (John 15:5)

Should infants be baptized?

Catholics believe that if a person or infant is not baptized by water, they will go to hell. Fortunately, there is abundant testimony in the New Testament that says faith in the Lord Jesus Christ precedes baptism. It is a declaration and symbolism of faith. (Read more: 35 Reasons why we do not baptize infants)


Catechism:The Bible:
Venial sins do not incur eternal punishment. (1855, 1863)All sin is punishable by eternal death. (Romans 6:23)
The priest forgives sin as a judge. (1442,1461)No one can forgive sin, but God alone. (Mark 2:7)
Indulgence dispensed by the Church for acts of piety release sinners from temporal punishment. (1471, 1473)Jesus releases believers from their sins by His blood. (Rev. 1-5)
Purgatory is necessary to atone for sin and cleanse the soul. (1030 – 31)Purgatory does not exist. Jesus made purification for sins on the cross. (Hebrews 1:3)
Poor souls suffering in purgatory can be helped by those alive on earth, offering up prayers, good works, and the sacrifice of the Mass. (1032, 1371, and 1479)Those who sleep in Christ need no help. To be absent from the body is to be home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Venial and mortal sin, and the confession box

There is no venial or mortal sin in the Bible. “Sin is sin” in the eyes of a Holy God. Scripture is also clear that man cannot dispense forgiveness; only Jesus can forgive sins.

Catholics often quote and misconstrue John 20:23 to justify the confessional box. A careful analysis of the verse meant the disciples have the authority to pronounce that our sins “have been forgiven.”

Jesus never delegated the apostles to forgive sin

As, and you will be forgiven (1 John 1:9). Penance (like reciting rosary) takes away the finished work of Christ on the cross. A deception of Satan that takes away our focus on Jesus’ saving grace. [Read more:]

Indulgence Certificate

During the middle ages, priests dispensing forgiveness was a powerful political tool to control people into submission. This issue was one of the reasons Martin Luther wrote to the pope in protest.

The faithful bought “certificate of indulgence” for the salvation and forgiveness of sins of those who died. Historical record points to this practice during the middle ages.

In the apostolic constitution of Pope Paul VI, Indulgentiarum Doctrina 1967, responding to suggestions made at the Second Vatican Council, substantially revised the traditional doctrine’s practical application.


Purgatory, like many other Catholic dogmas, is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ’s sacrifice. Catholics fail to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice was absolutely sufficient (Hebrews 7:27). During the middle ages, purgatory was used to justify indulgence.


Catechism:The Bible:
Peter was the head of the Apostles. (552, 765, 880)Christ is the head of the apostles. (John 13:13)
The Bishops are the successors of the apostles (861-62, 938)The apostles had no “apostolic succession.” To succeed them means to have witnessed Christ’s resurrection. (Acts 1:21, 22)
The Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, is the successor of Peter. (882, 936)Peter has no record of an apostolic successor, according to the Bible. (Acts 1:21, 22)
The bishops, with the Pope as their head, rule the universal Church. (883, 894 – 896)Christ is the head of the body and rules the universal Church. (Colossians 1:18)
The Magisterium is the authoritative teacher of the Church. (85-87)The Holy Spirit is the authoritative teacher of the Church. God grants Him freely to those who belong to Jesus. (John 14:26, 16:13; 1 John 2:27)
The Pope is the INFALLIBLE interpreter of Scripture. (891)God alone is infallible. (Numbers 23:10)
Scripture and Tradition together are the Word of God. (81, 85, 97, 182)Scripture is the word of God. Tradition is the words of men. (Mark 7:1-13, 2 Timothy 3:16)

Papal infallibility is man-made Catholic dogma

According to the Catechism, by the alleged promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error. Hence, it justifies the Pope takes the role of Jesus as a shepherd, teacher, and vicar of Christ.

Catholic doctrine by the pope misinterprets the favor Jesus gave Peter in Matthew 16:15; Matthew 16:18 to justify false teaching and elevate the church.


Catechism:The Bible:
Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin from the first instant of her conception (Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception)Mary, a descendant of Adam was born of sin. (Psalm 51:5, Romans 5:12)
Mary, ‘the All-Holy: lived a perfectly sinless life. (411, 493)Mary was a sinner; God alone is holy. (Matthew 12:47, Luke 18-19, Romans 3:23, Revelation 15:4)
Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ. (496 – 511)Mary was a virgin until the birth of Christ. Later she had other children (Matthew 1:25, Matthew 12:47; 13:55-56, Psalm 69:8).

Papal assumption, Mary the mother of God

Catechism:The Bible:
Mary is the Mother of God. (963, 971, 2677)Mary was the earthly mother of Jesus. (John 2:1-5)
Mary is the Mother of the Church. (963, 975)Mary is a member of the Church. (Acts 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13, 27)
Mary is the co-redeemer, for she participated with Christ in the painful act of redemption. (618, 964, 968, 970)Christ alone is the Redeemer, for He alone suffered and died for sin. (1 Peter 1:18, 19)
Mary is the co-mediator to whom we can entrust all our cares and petitions. (968-970, 2677)Christ Jesus is the one mediator to whom we can entrust all our cares and petitions. (1 Timothy 2:5, John 14:13, 14, 1 Peter 5:7)
We should entrust ourselves to Mary, surrendering “the hour of our death” wholly to her care. (2677)We should entrust ourselves to the Lord Jesus, surrendering the hour of our death wholly to His care. (Romans 10:13, Acts 4:12)
God has exalted Mary in heavenly glory as QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH; She is praised with special devotion.The Lord’s name is to be praised, for he alone is exalted above heaven & earth. God commands, “You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

Mary was earthly mother of Jesus

The Pope’s supreme apostolic authority allows him to define church doctrine without a Biblical basis. For example, to say “Mary the mother of God” who ascended to heaven—body and soul is an assumption by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

→ The “Catholic Mary” is not the mother of Jesus.

Papal doctrine of ascension

Catechism: (966, 974)The Bible (Genesis 3:19)
At the end of her life, Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven.Mary’s body returned to dust when she died.

Mary as God’s mother suggests a divine progenitor

The Marian tradition of honoring her is has led to the “worship of Mary.” Although Catholics deny worshipping her, the catechism is enough proof. God desires us to honor him, not with repetitive prayers, such as the rosary. We are to worship Christ alone. (Mark 7)

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13)

James McCarthy’s desire is to enlighten Catholics into truly worshipping Jesus alone. If you are a Catholic struggling with her teachings, religion does not save anyone. Open your Bible! Christ alone has the power to redeem us.

If we seek the truth with all our hearts, we shall find it in Jesus.

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