Primarily, Protestants see the Catholic faith as strict because they believe they have already done everything they need to do when they "accept Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour"—otherwise known to Catholics as the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit of presumption, which if you die in that state, then...well, you know what happens after that.
In addition, Catholics feel threatened by Protestantism because it has grown considerably in the United States—the world's largest Catholic country.
The Catholic Church is true to its name: "Holy" because Jesus Christ is the center of its life and teaching, not just some figurehead who can be replaced with any other priest. Christianity as a whole is holy because we are called to follow Christ and learn from Him at all times. If someone rejects this call and choice, then that person is left to judge how "holy" they are.
Furthermore, Catholicism requires that people who claim to represent God on earth are very human and make mistakes from time to time. The two most important examples of this are found in the Bible: Jesus was tempted by Satan and failed the tests he was given, but this didn't destroy His relationship with God; instead, it strengthened it. And Paul, who wrote many chapters of the New Testament while under house arrest for his beliefs, admitted his sins to the Christians who came to visit him and they took care of him through letters written during that time.
Catholics, like other Christians, believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, God's begotten son who came to earth to atone for humanity's sins via his death and resurrection. They adhere to His teachings as outlined in the New Testament and put their faith in God's promise of eternal life with Him. Catholics also uphold the tradition of ecclesiastical authority, referring to the Pope as "the successor of Peter" and the bishops as the "successor to St. Andrew."
Because Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination with over one billion members worldwide, it is important to understand its origins so that we not misrepresent its message to non-Christians.
Catholicism is a Christian denomination that emerged around AD 380 in Rome when Emperor Theodosius I outlawed all other religious practices but continued to allow people to worship in private homes. The church soon divided over new theological questions arising from biblical texts such as Paul's letter to the Galatians where he argues that Christ died for all people regardless of race or ethnicity. The Eastern Orthodox Church supported this idea while the Western Roman Church did not. This division between East and West continues to the present day with some aspects of culture (such as language) belonging to one region but based on theology belonging to the other. For example, Catholics use Latin while Orthodox Christians use Greek.
Over time, the influence of Eastern Christianity grew while that of Western Christianity declined.
The Protestant Testimony Some people believed that the Catholic Church was more concerned with money and power than with rescuing souls. The church, for example, sold "indulgences" to persons who had committed sins. Your transgression would be forgiven for a fine paid to the church, and when you died, the church declared you would go to paradise. Some people felt that this was a bad deal for the church, because the money went to Rome instead of to the priests or nuns who heard confession. They believed that the church should give away its wealth in order to save souls.
Another reason some people gave for why they were dissatisfied with the Catholic Church is she will not let her followers judge them. In Catholicism, only God can judge us at the end of our lives, so the church allows people to sin without feeling guilty about it. If you believe you have sinned but don't know how to get forgiveness, you can ask someone who knows the church's rules to pray for you. This person can be a priest or a pastor. They will tell you what kind of prayer you need to say and sometimes even write it down for you.
Last, some people felt that the Catholic Church did not preach salvation through Jesus Christ alone. It also required faith in many other things such as the Bible, the saints, and prayers to be saved. These people believed that the church showed a lack of love for them by asking them to trust in something else besides Jesus Christ for their salvation.
Some Protestant faiths accept practically everything the Church teaches, yet they deny the Pope's authority. "Why do Catholics have a Pope and bishops?" they wonder. The answer is that Catholicism is a Christian religion, so it is necessary to have a leader over all Christians, especially since Jews don't have a prophet today.
In addition, Catholics believe that the bishop's role is more than just leading church services and giving spiritual advice; they believe that the bishop has direct access to God and can work miracles. Also, priests are not allowed to marry nor can they be ordained after their 40th birthday. Because there are so many roles in Catholic life, it is easy to see why the position of bishop is one of honor and responsibility.
In conclusion, because Catholicism is the largest Christian faith, it is necessary to have a head over all Christians. In addition, there are no younger priests, only higher-ranking ones who can continue to lead well past their retirement age. Finally, Catholics know that Jesus wanted his followers to have leadership structures so they created these positions.
Thank you very much for your inquiry. I, too, was raised as a Catholic, and it's easy to become perplexed when you learn about the distinctions between Catholics and Protestants. In answer to your query, I have a few things to say. To begin, what motivates you to do good and live a good Christian life? What matters most? Your faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. Without a belief in Jesus' death for our sins, there is no hope of salvation. The Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).
Next, do not let anyone tell you that being raised Catholic means you are doomed to eternal punishment in hellfire. Through the work of Jesus Christ, everyone who believes in Him will be saved from their sin and brought before God for judgment. God is not just willing but eager that all people be saved and come to know Him through faith in Christ.
Last, do not worry about what other people think of you or your upbringing. As Christians, our lives should reflect our beliefs -- we are called to make disciples of all nations.