Thanks for the question — but
what a huge amount of information
is required to fully answer it.
I will give a few thoughts for distinction
and common ground.
Baptists and Catholics both believe
- Jesus is God
- He saved us from our sins, and
- without Him, no one goes to
That being said, Baptist and Catholic
beliefs about who holds Jesus' officially
sanctioned authority on Earth, differ.
- Baptists claim there is no real
authority sanctioned by Jesus,
other than the Bible, and some
vague notion of Church where you
couldn't actually point to any
one person and say he definitely
has authority given by Jesus Himself.
- Catholics say that Jesus definitely
left certain individuals in charge,
namely the Apostles, and that
they held His authority, with
Peter, who in particular, held
the keys of authority (cf. Matthew
16:19), having a unique place
We believe that Jesus built his Church
on the Apostles (cf. Ephesians 2:20),
and they weren't merely given honorary
titles, but a vital role in Christ's
own mission to the world (cf. Matthew
28:18). For better or worse, we are
married to the one Church that Christ
Himself established. And we don't
run any from it, even when scandal
and evil seeks to tear Her down and
destroy Her, because Christ warned
us that Satan would seek to sift
us like wheat (cf. Luke 22:31). There
are many sinners amongst us, but
many saints in the making too: the
small, the quiet ones, that make
no headlines. Often they are our
leaders, like our current Pope, or
here in Boston, our Archbishop Sean
O'Malley. He had a terrible job,
being appointed to come here after
the scandal, but this humble Franciscan
exemplifies what true "servant
hood" leadership consists of.
We are blessed to see in our own
day, Christ's call being lived out.
Sorry, for getting a little away
from my point.
Without an authoritative Church,
we couldn't even tell "authoritatively" which
books would belong in the Bible,
which the Baptists claim is their
authority. The Bible was put together
by the Catholic Bishops, successors
to the Apostles, who were given
their authority by their predecessors.
So, because we view the Bishops and
the Popes, who succeed Peter, as
our authority, we believe the Bible
and all that Jesus taught us. We
have the Blessed Sacrament, not watered
down and abandoned in Its authenticity.
That means we believe 100% that the
bread and wine become Jesus' own
Body and Blood, and this fact of
the faith has been unchanged for
2000+ years. It has been a defining
characteristic of Christians from
the beginning. Only Catholic and
Orthodox Churches (basically Apostolic
churches) still hold true to this.
Read John's Gospel, chapter 6, and
see how when Jesus challenged people
that they would have to literally
consume His Flesh and Blood, they
abandoned Him. He didn't water the
teaching down. He wasn't speaking
merely symbolically; they were actually
accustomed to Him speaking in allegories,
parables and symbols but here, He
blew their minds, because He didn't
explain how it was going to happen;
He merely insisted that they give
their assent. In reacting to this,
many stopped following Him. I probably
would also leave a leader who insisted
I eat his flesh — unless by
the light of God, I saw he was going
to do something miraculous. That
is what really should humble us about
the disciples — the twelve
stayed and didn't abandon Him, and
they finally got to see the fulfillment
of Jesus' words in the Blessed Eucharist
at the Last Supper, which is where
Jesus' first gave Himself as part
of the Paschal Feast (the Passover).
He became the Lamb of God, a sacrifice,
which when consumed, gives the very
Life He possesses. The Eucharist
is the Bread of Life because it is
He is God. No one completely gets
this, but we trust Jesus, and we
have seen the miracles follow the
Eucharist throughout history.
I better stop here because I'm not
sure if I am overwhelming you with
too much already. This is so important
to us Catholics because it is the
central reality of our Faith.
Baptists, while they have communion,
only have a symbol, not the real
deal. They do not have a valid priesthood
descended from the Apostles which
can confect the Eucharist.
We love them, but they are missing
the most important piece Jesus left
us — Himself in His fullness.
If they knew what we had, they would
be pounding at our doors, but sadly,
Catholics don't often witness well
about our Faith.
Please study the Christian Faith
well, and don't ignore history, because
you will see the continuity of the
Catholic Faith all the way through
on such important matters.