Okay, Al got me all fired up about this Catholic thing (the only true church comments) with his posts in other threads. The below are not my words, but they provide a good look into the differences in Catholicism and Protestant belief regarding scripture and its interpreatation.
"For a start, the beliefs and position of the Catholic church on doctrine and practice are now very hard to define. There is a large amount of diversity and discussion within the Catholic Church iteself. Indeed there are many 'Catholic' churches (Roman Catholic, Byzantine, Greek, Polish etc). So although 'catholic' means 'universal' anyone can see that there is not uniform, totally agreed doctrines and point of authority within the system (one if its main claims to be the true and only church). It would be possible to write 1000s of pages on the various differences and their history, but the main points are:
1. The Bible
We believe the 66 books of the Bible is the final authority, the Roman Catholics add the additional books known as the Apocrypha that are the basis for some distinctive Catholic teachings. Before the time of Christ The Jews never considered these books on the same level of the 39 other books of the Old Testament and before the Reformation neither did the Catholic church. The leaders of the Reformation challenged various doctrines including: papal authority, purgatory and the selling of indulgences. At the Council of Trent (1545-1563) the Roman Catholic Church recognized the Apocrypha and anathematized anyone who disputed.
The Council of Trent also approved many superstitions and unbiblical beliefs of the Middle Ages, including equal value of tradition and Scripture, the seven sacraments, communion by eating bread only, purgatory, indulgences, and the Mass as a proprietary offering.
2. Papal Infallibility
This doctrine states that ecumenical councils of bishops and the pope speaking ex cathedra (Latin: from the chair) are immune from error when teaching concerning faith and morals. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that this "is more than a simple, de facto absence of error. It is a positive perfection, ruling out the possibility of error and entailing necessarily a central fidelity to the Christian revelation in the doctrine taught and accepted by the Church."
"[W]e hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty."
--POPE LEO XIII
This implies that as a Roman Catholic you must accept what the Pope says if it came from God Himself. Man is not perfect and should never be put on the same level as God or His Word however, this belief reveals that the Roman Catholic Church accepts an authority that supersedes the Bible.
This is the doctrine that indicates that the priest is an essential mediator between God and man and that the priest has the power to forgive sins.
"For the Roman pontiff (pope), by reason of his office as VICAR OF CHRIST, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal POWER over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise UNHINDERED."
--CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1994, P. 254 #882
"We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely NECESSARY FOR the SALVATION of every human creature to be SUBJECT TO THE ROMAN PONTIFF (POPE)."
--POPE BONIFACE VIII, BULL UNUN SANCTUM, 1302
The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is our mediator and forgiver of sins. 1 Timothy 2:5 states "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.".
4. Jesus Christ
Although the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is God they also teach that his death did not pay the full penalty for sin and that those that qualify for heaven must still spend time in purgatory to atone for sin.
The scriptures teach that only Christ's death can pay the penalty for sin and He has paid it in full. Jesus' last words from the cross are found in John 19:30 "It is finished" indicate that nothing needs to be added to what He accomplished on Calvary. Also look at Hebrews 10:11-14 "Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy."
5. Immaculate Conception
This doctrine teaches that Mary was perfectly sinless from conception and that she was unable to sin.
The scripture teach that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 and this would include Mary. If we look at Hebrews 4:15 we find the only exception to this was Jesus Christ "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin." This dogma did not exist until it was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Then in 1950, Pope Pius XII declared that Mary completed her earthly life and "was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." There is no biblical reference of this but because of the Pope's infallibility it is now doctrine. This is a perfect example of the dangers of such belief. Also consider the story found in Luke 11:27 "As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." Luke 11:28 He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Throughout the Bible Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man, not the as the Son of Mary.
The church teaches that a person is saved through the Roman Catholic Church and its sacraments, that faith is not enough, baptism is essential for salvation, and that anyone outside the Catholic Church can't be saved.
If we look at Ephesians 2:8-10 we find that salvation is a gift of God and given to us through faith not works. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." The Bible teaches that works are an evidence of our salvation not a requirement of it. We believe that baptism is a the obedient act of the saved, not a requirement for salvation. Acts 4:12 further states: "Neither is there salvation in any other [than Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
The Catholic church later taught there are seven sacraments -- baptism, confirmation, penance, holy Eucharist, holy orders, matrimony and anointing the sick and that these sacraments correspond to various stages of life between birth and death.
The Roman Catholic Church baptizes infants and teaches that this absolutely necessary for salvation (see salvation). This stems from the teaching that the Sacrament of Baptism is the divinely instituted means to erase the original sin.
We protestants believe in only the two sacraments mentioned in the bible, of baptism and communion (Eucharist).
That the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ and that through this means Christ offers Himself again and again as a sacrifice for sin. According to the Council of Trent "In this divine Sacrifice which is performed in the Mass ... Christ is contained in a bloodless sacrifice who on the altar of the cross once offered himself with the shedding of blood: the holy Synod teaches that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."
This is absolutely not Biblical, in fact the Bible expressly teaches that the offering of Christ is not to be repeated. Hebrews 9:25-28 states: "Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." Or look at Hebrew 10:10 which states: "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Teaches that even those "who die in the state of grace" must spend an indefinite time being purified for heaven, and that the prayers and good works of others on Earth can help those in purgatory . The church generally does now admit that there is no Biblical basis for this doctrine but that it is based on Catholic tradition, and that tradition is a foundational and vital part of Christian life and expression.
This teaching clearly demonstrates that the Roman Catholic Church does not rely on the authority of the Bible alone, or that faith in Christ's work on the cross is sufficient to completely deliver us from condemnation. The Bible teaches us in John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." and in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
In conclusion the Roman Catholic Church does not consider the Bible the final authority and considers many non-biblical teachings to be binding on its followers. The Roman Catholic Church rejects the Biblical teachings of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone, as is evident throughout the entire system of sacraments and the eventual destiny of purgatory.
Again I must emphasis that this does not mean that every Roman Catholic is unsaved, anyone who trusts in Christ alone for salvation will receive complete forgiveness of sin and has eternal life. The most important question is, how can I come into the right relationship with God? The Bible teaches Christ died for our sins (I Cor 15:3) and Jesus told us in John 5:24 "...whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." "