I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I do not†believe that your answer to the question "What is wrong with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?" is fair nor factually accurate.
First off, you started with the statement, "Catholicism has its roots in Christianity, but it has long departed from its origins." This is not true; it is an accepted historical fact that Catholicism was the first Christian religion, started by the apostle St. Peter in 33 A.D. Since then, other Christian denominations, such as the Lutheran Church and the Baptist Church, have branched off from the Catholic Church. This is the complete opposite of your statement, which implies that the Catholics branched off from Christianity. Until fairly recently, Catholicism and Christianity meant exactly the same thing.
You bring up a good point in your next argument, noting the changes that the Catholic Church has undergone over the years. And yes, it is true that the Catholic Church has changed over the years, and authorities sometimes make decisions that do not necessarily come directly from Scriptures. Over the years, we have encountered issues that were not necessarily directly addressed in the Scriptures. So the Catholic officials have tried to interpret the Scriptures the best they can to answer them. For example, Catholics believe in transubstantiation because of Christ's words "This is my Body, which has been given up for you." Catholics believe that, by breaking the bread at Mass, they are actually recreating - not just remembering†- the last supper. True, it is hard to argue the validity of this for sure. But, Protestants have made the decision not to believe this, and their decision is not backed up by Scripture either. We have both interpreted the Bible to the best of our ability. Who is right? We can't say for sure. But it isn't fair to attack one while practicing the other. After all, that's the beauty of faith. You never can be completely sure.
You also mentioned the celibacy of priests. Yes, this is not directly addressed in the Bible. But again, it never says anything either way. So†neither side can rely solely on the literal message in Scriptures. The Catholic decision of celibacy does actually come from the Bible. It looks to the apostles, who literally dropped everything to follow Christ, including their wives and families. They wanted to be able to lay down their lives and personal needs in order to discover Christ and, eventually, serve their Church. So the Catholics did not just come up with this idea on their own. It did come from the Bible.
Additionally, I found it interesting that you mentioned that the Catholics came up with Lent and Easter. Yes, this is true, and it is not directly mentioned, as far as I know, in the Bible. However, the majority of non-Catholic Christians celebrate Easter, and some even observe Lent. While this does seem to support your "interpretive over literal" argument, it does not back up your claim that Catholics are†not Christian. Holidays such as Christmas and Easter have evolved over the years throughout many Christian churches - you can't just put all of the blame on the Catholic Church.
Yes, I do agree with your next statement, that we can't change the eternal Word of God. But, since the Catholic tradition was the first to†be established, can't this argument apply to those who broke off from those traditions? Isn't it they who changed the most? And yes, I know that the Catholic Church has changed over the years. But no institution can remain completely unchanged, especially when it has been around for thousands of years. Almost all Christian denominations have†changed some of their practices through their existences.
And†I think you're missing the point of original sin. It's really just putting a†label on something that†pretty much all Christians believe.†No, an infant has obviously not had the opportunity to sin. But, because of Adam and Eve, the child will sin, at some point in his or her life. That is why Catholics go through the Sacraments. As far as I can tell, this is not so different from many other Christian church beliefs, Catholicism simply formalizes it.
And you said that young children are "trapped" into the Catholic faith. Yes, parents do bring their young children into the Catholic Church before they are old enough to consciously make the decision†for themselves. This is why Catholics undergo confirmation later in life - this is their choice to leave. And, honestly, parents bring their children to church - nearly every Christian went to Sunday School as a child. So parents want their children to follow their faith. But it's not just Catholics.
And as for confession: Yes, Catholics do go to a formal confession. But the idea that we need to confess our sins before God is really no different - again, we have simply formalized it. Why does a priest need to be there? The priest is simply a link between the sinner and God. Really, it's a way to make confession easier, a reminder. But it's†not really that different.
Also, you noted that Catholics "worship" the saints, especially Mary.† Now, who do you look to for guidance in your Church, besides God Himself? I'm guessing probably your church leaders. Well, Catholics also look to the saints. Do they worship them? No. But Catholics believe that the saints are people who were so holy that they must be in heaven. Sometimes it is easier to ask for them to pray for us. When you feel lost, do you ever ask a friend to pray for you? Maybe you know that they are closer to God, or maybe you just don't have the strength to pray. Asking for the saints to pray for us is no different. Also, Catholics look at the saints' lives, and strive to follow them. They want to be like them? Is this worship,†idolism? I don't think it is. After all, we all have people who inspire us.
Just please try to understand that Jesus wants us to love and respect one another. I don't agree with all†of the teachings of every Christian church. I don't follow Judaism, or Islam. I don't share the beliefs of atheists, agnostics, or deists. But I respect them. I would never denounce their†beliefs as "wrong," especially not on a public web site. I believe that everyone, regardless of their religion, has a chance at salvation. I know that the Catholic Church is not perfect. But no one is. And we need to just accept that and respect one another. I hope you aren't teaching the members of your church to judge†others like this. Personally, I'd rather just leave the judging up to God.
Thank you for your time. And though our beliefs may be different, I know that we both share the core of Christian creed - we both accept Jesus Christ as our savior. We are both striving to follow Him. And for that I give you both my prayers and my utmost respect.
Like many Catholics whom I've talked with over the years, you basically state that my analysis is right, but you don't like the terminology used.
You also attempt to argue from uncertainty. You claim that you can't be sure about things, even things which can be proven from the scriptures. You then assert that in uncertainty each person can make up their own mind and believe whatever they desire. Uncertainty isn't proof, it is a lack of proof. See "Reasoning Without Truth" for more details.
The start of the church
Christianity was started by the Lord Jesus Christ. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). Peter had the privilege of delivering the first sermon, but it wasn't Peter's church nor was he the founder. "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 3:11).
You claim that Christianity and Catholicism were the same until recently, but then agree that Catholicism has added many things not found in the Bible. Inadvertently you support my contention that at the beginning was Christianity and Catholicism arose from it, but it is not the same as what was in the beginning. Even the name "Catholic church" doesn't appear in the Bible. Its first known use was in 107 A.D. by Ignatius when he wrote, "Wherever the bishop is, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." It was just as Paul said would happen. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9).
Since I'm not Protestant, I can't speak on their behalf. You are correct that the Catholic viewpoint isn't supported by the Scriptures. It didn't show up until approximately 350 A.D. (See "Why did Catholicism start and when did it happen?") It is a denial that figurative speech was being used. (See "Thoughts about the Lord's Supper" for one explanation.) It isn't that evidence isn't there but since you don't accept it, it is easy to pretend that the other side has no evidence.
Again, you are incorrect in stating that the Bible doesn't talk about this subject. See "I have concerns about the Catholic Church's teachings."
Must Truth Change?
The answer is no (Galatians 1:6-10). Nor does it matter how many teach a doctrine not found in the Bible. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). The number of supporters doesn't establish truth. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17).
Once again, it isn't how many people who accept a doctrine. It is whether it is taught by God. The Bible is very clear that sin is not inherited. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20). See: "Are Babies Born Sinners?"
Should false teachings be refuted?
What you've inadvertently done is condemn the Lord and his apostles. Read Matthew 23 some time. See: "Jesus: Intolerant, Confrontational, and Exclusionary." To stand against a false doctrine is not disrespectful. To accept it would be disrespectful to God.