18 Catholic Beliefs You Won’t Find in the Bible

SharePinEmailWith over 50 million Catholics in America, Catholicism is a major faith in many states across the nation. The Roman Catholic Church enjoys a substantial level of dominance worldwide and is the largest Christian denomination when measured globally. But did you know that many Catholic beliefs are not referenced anywhere in the Bible? Here is…

With over 50 million Catholics in America, Catholicism is a major faith in many states across the nation. The Roman Catholic Church enjoys a substantial level of dominance worldwide and is the largest Christian denomination when measured globally. But did you know that many Catholic beliefs are not referenced anywhere in the Bible? Here is everything you need to know.

Papal Primacy

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The leader of the Roman Catholic Church is the Pope, who resides in the Vatican. Interestingly, the Bible does not mention anything about Papal leadership. The Bible does reference that Jesus Christ made Peter the leader of the Church and he was later deemed Saint Peter, the Bishop of Rome. The Pope is considered to be the successor to Saint Peter.

Matthew 16:18-19: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Papal Supremacy

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The Roman Catholic Church gives supreme power to the Pope in the doctrine of Papal Supremacy. The Pope is the supreme teacher and should not be questioned when he teaches about faith or leading a moral life.

Paragraph 937 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997): “The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls.”

The Sacraments

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The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church are fundamental celebrations of faith for Catholics. They are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation, Matrimony, the Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders. However, the seven Sacraments are not mentioned in the Bible, although separate sacraments are referred to sporadically.

Transubstantiation

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Transubstantiation is central to the Catholic faith, believing that the bread and wine used during Communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. But is transubstantiation biblical? Despite not being directly referenced in the Bible, Catholics believe that the body and blood of Christ are rooted in the Last Supper.

The Immaculate Conception

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Catholics believe that Mary, Mother of God, was conceived without original sin. The moment Mary was conceived, she was free of original and personal sin, unlike the rest of humanity. This contradicts a popular belief that the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus. But the Immaculate Conception is not mentioned in the Bible. It is implied that Mary was pure and sinless due to being described as “highly favored”.

Luke 1:28: “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’”

The Assumption

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Catholics believe in the Assumption of Mary, that when Mary died, she was “assumed into heaven”. Some theologians believe that Mary never actually died and rose to heaven before death. But neither account features anywhere in the Bible and the assumption is implied from the book of Revelations.

Revelation 12:1: “A great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”

Purgatory

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The idea of Purgatory is that it is a type of “halfway house” where sinners wait and atone for their sins before they are allowed to enter heaven. The word “purgatory” literally means “to cleanse” in Latin and can last for a very long time unless you complete penance. But there is no mention of “purgatory” in the Bible, with the idea arising from making atonements to the dead.

2 Maccabees 12:46: “Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”

Saint Canonization

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When an individual is made a saint, they are said to be “canonized”. But this practice is not directly referenced in the Bible and is instead derived from honoring people who have led holy lives on Earth.

Priest Celibacy

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Priests must be celibate so they can dedicate themselves to the Church and the kingdom of God. It is also thought that priest celibacy emulates the celibacy of Jesus Christ, although we are not told that in the Bible.

The Holy Rosary

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Catholics adopt a prayer ritual called the Holy Rosary where they repeat a prayer pattern whilst meditating, focusing on the lives of both Jesus Christ and Mary, Mother of God, during four sets of mysteries. It is an important practice that Catholics perform to grow spiritually even though it is not directly mentioned in the Bible. The Holy Rosary is a construct of the Church, although the four sets of mysteries are presented throughout the Gospels.

The Apocrypha

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The Apocrypha is a collection of books that are accepted by Catholics yet do not feature in other versions of the Bible, particularly the Protestant versions of the Bible. They are also known as the Deuterocanonical books and are considered scripture by the Roman Catholic Church.

Holy Water

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When a Catholic priest blesses the water, Catholics believe that the water becomes holy. This is because the priest has invoked the power of God to cleanse the water, which is then used to bless people or places. Whilst this process is not mentioned in the Bible, biblical teachings regularly refer to the power of water to cleanse and wash away sins.

The Sign of the Cross

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Catholics conduct a regular ritual that is called the “Sign of the Cross”. This involves saying, “In the name of the Father, hand of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” When saying this phrase, the individual touches their forehead, their chest, their left shoulder, and then their right shoulder. But this ritual is not mentioned in the Bible.

Scapulars

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A scapular is a sacramental item that indicates spiritual commitment. Two pieces of cloth and string are connected and then worn over the shoulder. There are many different types of scapular in Catholicism but they are not referred to in the Bible.

Original Sin

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Catholics believe that the doctrine of Original Sin means that all people are born with original sin due to the actions of Adam and Eve. But this is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible.

Holy Days of Obligation

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Holy Days of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church are specific days when Catholics are expected to attend Mass. This is not an explicit instruction from the Bible, although Biblical teachings do encourage the commemoration of feast days as well as observing the Sabbath.

Incense

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The Roman Catholic Church uses incense for symbolic purposes to represent prayers rising to heaven along with offering atonement. There is no command in the Bible to use incense but Catholics believe it produces a sacred atmosphere and deeper reverence.

The Liturgy of the Hours

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The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Catholic Church and consists of a variety of prayers, psalms, readings, and hymns. The Liturgy of the Hours is influenced by 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “to pray without ceasing”. But it is not directly commanded in the Bible.

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