A new Protestantism has arisen, a hybrid version that is not something to be found outside of the Catholic Church, but deep within its heart. If you aren’t sure who the new Protestants are, I am describing the Catholics who are Catholic by virtue of their baptism and confirmation, but Protestant in their mentality. How do we recognize the New Protestants? Below are a few indications one is a Protestant at heart even if they are a sacramentalized Catholic:
1. Most Protestants reject the view that the Mass as a sacrifice and believe it is just a commemoration of the Last Supper. They emphasize that the Mass it really just about the community gathering together and sharing in a meal. Many in the Catholic Church have bought into this view. There is some truth to this view, namely that the Mass invovles the community gathering together to share a meal, after all, St. Pauls notes the aspect of the community coming together into one body when he wrote “because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” (1 Cor. 10:17) However, this does not meant that this is ALL the Mass is about. In fact, the mass is also the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ, thus the mass is a sacrifice (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1368). The new Protestants in the Catholic Church tend to only emphasize the community aspect and neglect that the Mass is also a sacrifice. Examples of this can be found in priests and laity who orient the entire liturgy around the community instead of God. Instead of Mass facing God in worship and sacrifice, towards the East, Mass is often celebrated facing the people to gain a better sense of community. Instead of using incense to represent the prayers of the people going up to God, incense is often dismissed since it might bother some people. Instead of having a longer liturgy with more elaborate elements to show the greater mystery of what is going on in heaven, the liturgy is often as short as possible in order not to inconvenience the people (after all, Mass is all about us and our enjoyment, right?). Instead of the emphasis being on the work of the priest offering sacrifice to God, the emphasis is on the laity and invovling them in everything they can possibly be involved in without requiring ordination. An example of this can be seen in the overuse of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, an attempt to invlove the laity in a ministry that is often unnecessary. Many others examples abound but it is clear, this emphasis on community at the expense of sacrifice is a Protestant notion.
2. Another way to recognized the new Protestants is when one places oneself over the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals. The Protestants are notorious for this, going back to Martin Luther’s speech at the Diet of Worms where he explicitely placed conscience over the Church. The New Protestants have bought into this error as is evident by their willingness to contracept, abort babies, fornicate, etc., when the Magisterium of the Church is clear on the sinfullness of these matters. With the new Protestants, conscience trumpts the Magisterium, so if one believes an action is morally acceptable, then it is good in their estimation. The new Protestants are actually in opposition to the Second Vatican Council which taught that conscience is subordinate to the Magisterium (additionally, the Catechism confirms that the conscience may error when when not properly informed by the Magisterium, see CCC 1792.
3. New Protestants are also identifiable by their rejection of everything before the Second Vatican Council. Just as Protestants believe the Church became corrupt and needed a revolution of doctrine in the 16th century, so too the new Protestants believe the Church had lost her way and needed to change her doctrines in the 1960’s. This group took the Second Vatican Council as an opportunity to reject everything prior to the council and read the council itself in discontinuity from the past. Sadly, if this group actually believed the Second Vatican Council, they would believe everything before then since it was not intended to be a replacement for everything in the past but a development of previouis councils.
4. Many different kinds of Protestants tend to shun observance of God’s commands by an over emphasis of God’s grace. Some Catholics have picked up on this mentality. They may say things like “God isn’t interested in us following a bunch of rules”. Though it is true the faith should not be reduced to a mere observance of a set of rules, the Catholic Church teaches we are to obey God’s rules if we are to be saved (CCC 2052), even the Lord Jesus said “if you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15).
Many more examples may be given in order to identify the new Protestants in the Catholic Church but these should be sufficient to identify the revolutionists which are bent on changing the Church into something she is not. They will not succeed in the end, but they will create alot of damange and scandal if permitted to continue unchallenged.