“What’s the difference between a dissenting Catholic and a Protestant?”

On the heels of my post earlier today about bad Catholics, on the one hand, and the oblivious who drift (or dash) into some amorphous new “religion”, on the other, I note that Fr. Robert Sirico of Acton Institute has some comments at the WSJ about the VP candidates. HERE



Has the U.S. accepted Catholics, or has it merely accepted Catholics who, when their progressive politics conflict with church doctrine, simply subordinate their religious beliefs? This is the key question for modern Catholic engagement in civic life. Unfortunately, it seems that many Catholics have abandoned the distinctive contributions they bring, in favor of blending in with modern progressivism.


Key doctrinal and moral rules apply to all Catholics in all contexts—in business, at home, or in elective office. One cannot “personally” oppose something while making a living advocating it.


There was an old joke that made the rounds in seminaries some years ago: What’s the difference between a dissenting Catholic and a Protestant? The Protestant has integrity.


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  1. un-ionized says:

    A lot of Protestants don’t believe the things that dissenting Catholics do. I was in a bunch of different denominations over the years and they were all pretty strict. I don’t see a lot of overlap, unless by Protestant you mean anything that isn’t Catholic, or is I’m making my own choicesism. Whatever the real name for that is!

  2. FarmerBrawn says:

    I think the problem here is that the government setup by the Constitution is thoroughly secular. It does not recognize Jesus Christ as King and it does not subject itself to God’s Law. I

    As long as we fail to recognize the true source of earthly power and the just ends of government we vow our allegiance to the civil religion of the United States. With its own Patriarchs, hymns, shrines, and sacraments.

    My point is that we all need to consider the source of the error.

  3. Clemens Romanus says:

    “What’s the difference between a dissenting Catholic and a Protestant?”
    I think I’ve heard this one before….

    So he said, “Wrecked him? Damn near killed him!”

    Forgive my odd humor, Father.

  4. Pnkn says:

    Assuming he personally won’t abandon his heterodox beliefs, he could at least have pushed for free prenatal care and free adoption services for those who don’t want to kill their unborn baby. Clearly not an advocate of “all lives matter”. Sad that he and anyone would consider him/self to have been “renewed” by his recent visit to a previous parish and very sad that anyone would think that this is representative of Catholics. On the other hand, the leaders within the diocese of Richmond are not remarkably orthodox.

  5. Dave N. says:

    Politics is the golden calf of American culture; people paint on a thin veneer of religion to cloak their political beliefs in some sort of divine authority.

    Probably 80-90% of “faithful, mass-going Catholics” are not actually faithful Catholics—they knowingly dissent from Church teaching. And most other Catholics, the ones that are actually faithful, seem utterly incapable of wrapping their heads around this simple fact. Why is that?

  6. The Masked Chicken says:

    “There was an old joke that made the rounds in seminaries some years ago: What’s the difference between a dissenting Catholic and a Protestant? The Protestant has integrity.”

    That’s not a joke. That’s a definition.

    Alex, I’ll take, Follows the Rules, for thirty points.

    The Chicken

  7. Luvadoxi says:

    There are mainline Protestants, many of whom have integrity, but their denominations have sold them out. These are the denominations our hierarchy has been sucking up to. Then there are the faithful Christians who accept the tenets of orthodox Christianity, which have their origins in the Catholic faith.

  8. Luvadoxi says:

    It’s too bad that too many in my latter category were taught to be anti-Catholic. These are the people who are fellow travelers, in my opinion. Pray for unity!

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    If only there were men whose responsibility were to oversee geographic regions, men who took vows to teach or uphold Catholic doctrine, who would be in a position to call out public figures who cause scandal by dissenting from Catholicism and representing themselves as appropriate Catholic role models.

  10. Gerard Plourde says:

    If the term “dissenting Catholic” applies equally to the bishops and clergy of Society of St. Pius X as to the Women’s Ordination Coneference, then I heartily agree. Rejection of the validity of decrees the of the Second Vatican Council and the efficacy of the Sacraments according to the Ordinary Form is different only marginally in degree to the rejection of Catholic Teaching regarding qualifications for the priesthood.

  11. Mike says:


    I don’t think you mean validity of the decrees of V2; most folks who have qualms about some documents of that council fully recognize it was validly called by the Pope.

  12. Y2Y says:

    The most important difference is that there is a possibility that the Protestant may be saved, as a result of invincible ignorance.
    No such possibility exists for the dissenting “Catholic.”
    While I’m on the subject, there is absolutely no equivalence between dissenting from the ill-conceived and poorly-worded “pastoral” babble of Vatican II and dissenting from the perennial teachings of the Church. To suggest as much is either absurd or disingenuous.

  13. Imrahil says:

    No offense, but –

    and while the fight against pro-abortion, pro-womenpriests etc. Catholics is of course praiseworthy,

    the adage “What’s the difference between a dissenting Catholic and a Protestant: the latter has integrity”, such as it stands in itself, makes me think of an other headline from this blog as sort-of an objection.

    “Ultrapapalism is the other side of the coin of Sedevacantism.”

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    Acton Institute!

  15. cl00bie says:

    I think that a Protestant cannot be deemed a heretic.

  16. MAJ Tony says:

    Q: “What’s the difference between a dissenting Catholic and a Protestant?”

    A: One thinks he’s Catholic.

Comments are closed.