20 Common Catholic Beliefs That Are Actually Not Biblical

There are many different branches of Christianity, and while they have a lot of similarities, there are also differences that set them apart from each other. Catholicism is an example of this; its teachings are rooted in the Bible, but there are still certain beliefs and practices within the faith that some people argue have a lack of clear support from Scripture. No matter what religion you follow—or even if you follow nothing at all—understanding these differences can shed light on the true meaning of faith and religion.

The Concept of Purgatory

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In Catholicism, purgatory is believed to be the place where souls are cleansed and purified from sin before entering Heaven. It came from the Latin word “purgare,” which literally translates to “purge” or “cleanse.” However, such a term was never explicitly mentioned in the Bible. In fact, according to the Catholic Review, the closest thing we’ll ever see in the Bible that relates to purgatory is Matthew 12:32, which reads, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come,” implying that there is something that comes after man’s death.

Belief in the Doctrine of Original Sin

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In the Catholic Church, believing in the concept of the Original Sin means you think that everyone is born sinful and that we all inherited Adam and Eve’s fallen nature. This Original Sin is the reason Catholics have to be baptized as babies or young kids—so they start afresh and clean. Though parts of the Bible are used to justify this, many others are refuting it. These include Psalm 139:14, which reads, “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well,” and Ecclesiastes 7:29, which reads, “Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”

Belief in the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception

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Though all humans are believed to have inherited the Original Sin, one person did not: the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. She’s supposed to have conceived Jesus Christ through the power of God and the Holy Spirit—through what is called the Immaculate Conception. Though the term itself is not in the Bible, people believe that certain parts of Scripture point to it, such as Luke 1:28, which reads, “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’”

The Principle of Papal Infallibility

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Britannica defines papal infallibility as “the doctrine that the Pope, acting as supreme teacher and under certain conditions, cannot err when he teaches in matters of faith or morals.” However, many counter this belief, thinking the Pope’s infallibility is a manufactured tradition or belief. In addition, there is no concrete or exact mention of this concept in the Bible.

Devotion to Holy Icons and Relics

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Catholic devotion to relics and holy icons has long been part of its faith. However, this goes against some of Christianity’s most basic tenets. In the First Apology of St. John of Damascus, he said, “You see that the one thing aimed for is that no created thing can be adored in place of the Creator, nor can adoration be given to any save Him alone; therefore to worship Him always means to offer Him adoration. For again, He says, ‘You shall have no other gods before Me; you shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is on the Earth beneath; you shall not worship them or adore them, for I am the Lord your God.’”

Belief in the Blessed Virgin’s Assumption

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Like the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s Assumption isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Bible. One Bible verse that refutes this belief is John 3:13, which reads, “No one has ascended up to Heaven, but He who descended from Heaven, the Son of man.” However, some Catholics counter this by saying that the verse pertains only to those who died before Jesus Christ Himself died—not those after, which includes Mary. They also argue that Mary was “assumed” into Heaven and she did not “ascend,” and this is mainly because she’s believed to be a unique, special individual favored by God, as mentioned in Luke 1:28.

Clerical Order and the Hierarchical Structure of the Church

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The Catholic Church’s hierarchy starts with the Pope at the very top, followed by cardinals, archbishops, priests, deacons, and laity or the people. However, many believe that this hierarchy is unjust and not biblical. First and foremost, hierarchy enables abuse and does not promote servanthood. In addition, the National Catholic Reporter notes, “Sadly, sex abuse by church personnel is a well-documented side effect of the hierarchical structure.”

Seeking Intercession From Saints

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Catholics pray to saints to ask them to intercede on their behalf; they believe, after all, that saints are close to God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2677 reads, “By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners, and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the today of our lives, and our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender ‘the hour of our death’ wholly to her care.”

Observance of Saints’ Feast Days

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Nehemiah 8:10 reads, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord; do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” This generally talks about the mass and the Eucharistic Feast, but in the Catholic Church, there are also specific feast days for each of the saints. It assigns one date out of the year for each canonized saint, but since there are more saints than the number of days in the year, sometimes, two or more saints share one feast day.

Praying the Holy Rosary

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Most devout Catholics grew up praying the rosary. However, it may come as a surprise to some that it’s actually not biblical. NeverThirsty explains, “The concept of praying the rosary using a string of beads is never mentioned in Scripture because it is a human invention; it is not biblical, and it is not of God. The Roman Catholics defend the ‘prayer of the rosary’ by showing that some phrases can be found in the Bible, but most of the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer and ‘Hail Holy Queen’ prayer cannot be found in the Bible.”

Sanctifying With Holy Water

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Holy water is one of the fundamental aspects of the Catholic Church. Sometimes, at the end of a mass, the priest would even walk through the aisles of the church to bless those who attended the mass with holy water. However, the use of holy water wasn’t mentioned in the Bible as much as one would think. One of the closest verses that could attest to its use is Numbers 19:17-19, which reads, “The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them; those who are being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and that evening they will be clean.”

Confessing One’s Sins to a Priest

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The confession of one’s sins to a priest, though common in Catholicism, isn’t something that could be found in the Bible. In fact, 1 John 1:9 teaches us that we should confess our sins to God because God is just enough to forgive the sins we confess to Him; additionally, He is the most righteous and, therefore, the one who has the right to absolve us from sins. In another passage, specifically James 5:16, we are called to confess our sins to “one another.” However, this doesn’t mean we’re to confess to priests or church leaders; when read, it’s also clear confessing one’s sins to another doesn’t necessarily lead to God’s forgiveness.

Attending Sunday Mass

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Similar to Christians, Catholics attend mass on Sundays. However, Sunday mass or worship is not biblical, as the original day of worship is Saturday. Wisdom International explains, “According to Old Testament laws, the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, Saturday. However, in Christian practice, the term Sabbath has often been applied to Sunday in recognition of the day of Christ’s resurrection.”

Clerical Abstinence or Celibacy

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Celibacy or abstinence is often a requirement for members of the clergy in certain religions, like Catholicism. However, though priestly celibacy is a teaching or instruction, we must all keep in mind that it’s not a doctrine or a dogma. In fact, many revert back to Peter, as he was married even though he was the first Pope. An online forum on religious questions released an article saying, “Scripture nowhere requires celibacy for those serving in positions of church leadership.”

The Necessity of Penance for Salvation

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 980 reads, “This sacrament of penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after baptism, just as baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn.” However, people argue that because God is just and all-loving, penance is not required for forgiveness to occur. Therefore, penance is also not a requirement for us to be saved.

The Sanctification of Marriage as a Sacrament

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Marriage is, without a doubt, mentioned in the Bible. However, marriage was never referred to as a sacrament in Scripture. Even so, many Catholics and Christians alike view it as a sacred covenant established by God and Jesus. One of the clearest Bible verses about marriage is Ephesians 5:22-33, which starts as, “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.”

Addressing Priests as “Father”

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In Catholicism, followers are taught to refer to their priests as “Father.” It’s their way of giving them a religious title of respect. However, traditional Christians, especially first-century Christians, never called their church leaders as such, as they believed it was against the Bible’s teachings. Matthew 23:9 reads, “Jesus says, ‘And call no man your father on Earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven.’”

The “Sprinkling” of Water During Baptism

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In the Catholic Church, babies and kids are baptized by priests who sprinkle or pour water over their heads. However, this goes against the very essence and definition of baptism. The Greek word for baptism, “baptizo,” literally means “to immerse,” and just like Jesus, people are supposed to be submerged in water during baptism. Matthew 3:16 reads, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.”

The Exclusive Authority of the Church to Interpret Scripture

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 100 reads, “The task of interpreting the word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.” However, this belief is not explicitly mentioned or supported in the Bible. The Catholic Church will always have a role in interpreting Scripture, but it does not have the sole or exclusive authority in this matter. Instead, the Bible and the teachings of Christ call us to recognize individual responsibility.

Belief in the Tenet of Transubstantiation

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There’s been an ongoing debate about the concept of transubstantiation, or the Catholic belief that during the Eucharist, the bread and wine given out by the priests actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The closest Bible verse we can relate to this is Matthew 26:26-28, which talks about the Last Supper. It reads, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.” However, though these lines were mentioned in the Bible, some people, especially non-Catholics or non-Christians, think that these words are just metaphors or something to be viewed symbolically.

Read More: 18 Things People Regret the Most When They’re Old and Dying

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As people near the end of their lives, they commonly reflect on what they’ve done or didn’t do and what they could have done better. Regrets often plague us in the last moments of our lives, but they’re completely avoidable. If you want to ensure you live a full life without any regrets, learn from the top 18 regrets of the old and dying that we have on this list!

18 Things People Regret the Most When They’re Old and Dying

20 Things You Should Say Goodbye to the Moment You Reach Age 50

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Reaching age 50 marks a significant milestone in life. As you embark on this new chapter, it’s important to say goodbye to certain things or habits that no longer benefit you in this current chapter. At this point, you must learn to let go of unrealistic expectations and detrimental vices. Read on and find the top 20 things you need to avoid when you’re in your 50s so you can live a full, meaningful, and happy life!

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20 Common Christian Practices That Go Against the Bible’s Teachings

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The Bible’s teachings are classic and timeless, yet many Christian practices have veered away from its core principles over time. Today, we’re exploring 20 prevalent Christian practices that stand in contrast to the Scripture and the Bible. Understanding them will give us a deeper and more thorough understanding of how certain traditions may diverge from Christianity’s foundational beliefs. Read on and find some things you might need to reflect on!

20 Common Christian Practices That Go Against the Bible’s Teachings

17 Reasons Companies Aren’t Hiring Anyone Who’s 50 and Over

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Many laws and policies highlight how wrong it is for companies or businesses to discriminate against others solely because of age. Even so, they try to find loopholes in the hiring process so that they can forgo hiring people over 50 and instead prioritize those from the younger generations. However, aside from being unfair, companies overlook valuable resources that could contribute one-of-a-kind experiences and skills that could set them up for success!

17 Reasons Companies Aren’t Hiring Anyone Who’s 50 and Over

17 Things Christians Do That Absolutely Bother and Annoy All the Non-Christians

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Sadly, some Christians might not realize that their behavior is offending non-Christians. Their hypocritical and judgmental behaviors can be off-putting, pushing others to get annoyed and irritated with them. So, if you’re a Christian who wants to improve how others perceive your institution as a whole, read through to the end of this list to identify some key behaviors or habits you need to avoid!

17 Things Christians Do That Absolutely Bother and Annoy All the Non-Christians

Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.