ADVANTAGES

Roman Catholicism: Diverse worldwide religious tradition that officially looks to the Pope and his predecessors/successors as God's human leader of world . Because of its size and scope—both in membership (about a billion people worldwide) and geographically, the actual beliefs held by devout Catholics are widespread and eclectic. Catholicism has been influenced by , especially in parts of South America. In Africa, the Caribbean, and elsewhere, attempts have been made to blend Catholicism with , creating a type of Catholicism with elements. In addition, since the 1960s there has been a small but significant element of charismatic Catholics who have been influenced by the larger charismatic movement. A small percentage of Catholics are doctrinally evangelical, and others (such as ) are part of the movement. As a whole, however, the differences between Roman Catholicism and are still seen most clearly in the issues of the . The 16th century reformers distinguished themselves from Catholicism in two key ways. First, they saw the Bible as the sole foundation for authority () rather than the Pope, church dogma or tradition. Second, the reformers taught alone" (). They also insisted that could be faithfully maintained only by understanding the to be the message of a free pardon and righteous standing with God through "faith alone" () in the imputed righteousness of Christ. The Roman Catholic Church claimed (and still claims) to affirm but anathematized sola fide, teaching instead that grace is received and maintained by a combination of faith plus works (religious rites, sacraments, or human endeavor).

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