18 Common Catholic Beliefs Not Found in the Bible

SharePinEmailCatholicism is steeped in beliefs, values, and tradition, and it’s easy to assume that all the philosophies we associate with the Catholic faith stem from the Bible. But that is not always the case. Traditions and Beliefs That Did Not Originate from the Bible Here we look at several Catholic values that do not derive…

Catholicism is steeped in beliefs, values, and tradition, and it’s easy to assume that all the philosophies we associate with the Catholic faith stem from the Bible. But that is not always the case.

Traditions and Beliefs That Did Not Originate from the Bible

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Here we look at several Catholic values that do not derive from the Holy Scripture.

There is a Place Between Heaven and Hell Known as Limbo

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In Catholic theology, there is a Limbo, a space between heaven and hell where souls who have not been baptized are not condemned to eternal hell and punishment but are deprived of eternal happiness with God in heaven. The concept and term Limbo do not appear in the New Testament but appears to have been developed by Christians over time. One theory is that it emerged to address the issue of the fate of babies who had died unbaptized.

The Immaculate Conception of Mary

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One of the most important aspects of the Catholic faith is that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was without sin. Mary’s Immaculate Conception cannot be found in the Bible and it was not until 1854 that it was registered as a belief by the Church.

The Pope is Never Wrong

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The Catholic belief of Papal infallibility: that the Pope is never wrong and that every decision the Pope makes about the Church is always right, does not come from the Bible. While the Bible does refer to Peter, the first Pope, being a central foundation for the church, the ancient texts do not mention papal infallibility.

The Pope is the Leader of the Christian World

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For Catholics, the papacy is an additional source of authority, and they turn to the teachings of the Pope for guidance. However, the Bible does not cite anything about the duties of the Pope.

The Rosary and Prayer

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The Rosary is a medieval prayer that involves a beaded necklace, a rosary, to assist with Catholic prayer. The use of this accessory is important to Catholics, as it assists with meditation and helps them to focus on the life of Jesus. But this type of prayer is not directly mentioned in the Bible. The earliest form of the rosary came from Pope Gregory the Great in 540 – 604.  

Mary’s Assumption

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The dogma of the Immaculate Conception is similar to the doctrine involving Mary’s Assumption. The end of Mary’s life, and the teaching that “at the end of her earthly course, Mary was assumed into heavenly glory, body and soul,” is not explicitly described in the Bible. However, there are references to Mary’s death, which resonate with the doctrine of the Assumption.

The Celebration of Saints

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The Catholic Church venerates the saints and regards them as examples of lives that were well lived in faith. Many Catholics find comfort in knowing that those who had saintly status lived on earth with similar sins, struggles, doubts, and fears. While the Bible respects these holy people, it does not devote worship or celebration to them. Rather the celebration of saints is centered on tradition, not biblical instruction.

The Use of Incense

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Incense has long been used during religious worship within the Catholic faith, which believes that the sweet aroma is representative of a prayer going up to heaven. While the Old Testament refers to sweet scents being used in ancient religious rituals, the practice was adopted by the Church much later.

Celibacy and Priesthood

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The tradition in the Western church is that priests and bishops take a vow of celibacy. This rule has been firmly in place since the early Middle Ages but does not originate from the Bible.

Different Colored Robes

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It is common for priests to wear different colored robes at different times of the year. For example, white is used at Easter, and purple at Lent. The different color of the priest’s robes is not something that can be found in the Bible and was instead adopted by the Catholic church much later.

The Baptizing of Babies

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A standard part of the Catholic faith is the baptizing of babies, as a means of welcoming the very young to the religion and washing away original sin. The Bible does teach about baptizing but does not stipulate an age.

Sunday is the Holy Day

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Catholicism holds that Sunday is the holy day, but this has not always been the case. Holy day used to be celebrated on a Saturday, before it was changed to Sunday in honor of the day that Jesus rose from the dead. There is however no mention of Sunday being the holy day in the Bible.

Seven Sacraments

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Catholicism involves seven sacraments. They include baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance and reconciliation, the anointing of the sick, matrimony, and holy order. Many Catholics believe that Jesus created the seven sacraments, but there is no direct link to this in the Bible.

Canonization

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Canonization refers to the formal process in which someone is declared to be a saint and thereby worthy of veneration around the world by the Church. The practice of Congregation for the Causes of Saints was originally established as the Congregation of Rites by Pope Sixtus V in 1588 and is not a teaching of the Bible.

The Confessing of Sins

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Catholics confess their sins to a priest as a method of forgiveness which Jesus established during his earthly ministry. The practice involved entering a confessional box, listing sins, listening to the priest, praying the Act of Contrition, receiving absolution from God via the priest, departing, and fulfilling the act of penance. But the booth ritual is not cited in the Bible, and instead came about much later.

Holy Water

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In Catholicism, holy water which has been sanctified by a priest at a baptism blesses a person and repels all evil. While the holy water ritual is widely practiced at Catholic ceremonies, it was not specifically mentioned in the Bible.

Stations of the Cross

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Walking to the Stations of the Cross helps many Catholics think about the final hours Jesus had on earth. While this does not come directly from the Bible, believers created the concept of a pilgrimage to connect with the suffering of Christ on a more personal level.

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