“Catolicos Ignorantes Futuros Protestantes” is a famous Spanish expression widely used in Latin America. It means that Catholics who do not study their faith are easy candidates for Protestantism. This is a reality. So far, in my circle, I have not encountered any learned ex-Catholic (in theology or apologetics) who left Catholicism and embraced another belief.
Every non-Catholics I know left the Church either by ignorance or by force renunciation of faith due to inter-religious marriage. Once they become non-Catholics, especially the Protestants, many of them begin to hate the Catholic Church because of their lack of knowledge of her. They would attack her from all sides directly and indirectly.
For the benefit of my non-Christian friends let me differentiate the two. Catholicism, of which I am a member, is by sacred tradition the first and the only assembly of faithful (church) founded by Jesus in the 1st century. Jesus Christ is God himself who took our form (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the founder and the current head of the Church. After fulfilling his mission on earth he returned heaven leaving a vicar or representative on earth to lead his church with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis is the 266th vicar of Christ.
On the other hand, Protestantism is a movement that started in the 16th century in the person of Martin Luther, a Catholic monk. Luther developed his own views or interpretations of the Sacred Scriptures and convinced many of his reformed views. Since then, hundreds of Protestant sects sprouted. While most of them, like Catholics, believe in Jesus Christ as God and savior; there are many groups who refer to the Sacred Scriptures but do not confess the same faith.
All these groups disobey God who desired a “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” aiming for one body, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). The Bible also says that “no prophesy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). This is in order to keep the same Gospel handed to us by Jesus and the apostles. The apostles exhorted us all to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which was taught… either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 11:2) As Paul said, “even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach other Gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8) “Accursed” or “anathema” means “under a divine curse” or “set apart for destruction”.
But many Catholics listen to their preaching. Many follow them to the point of leaving the Church and her life-giving sacraments that Jesus instituted for our salvation. They choose not to avail of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation that gives new life and sanctify their souls. Without the sacraments, they risk their souls towards eternal damnation.
So we Catholics should continue to practice and study our faith. We are supposed to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13) to bear witness to Jesus Christ according to what the apostles preached to us. If we listen and support any other preaching than what the Catholic Church received from the Apostles, then we bear false witness to Jesus Christ. And we all know that bearing false witness is such a grave sin Jesus himself equates it with murder, adultery, fornication, theft, and slander as many times repeated in the Bible (Matthew 15:19, 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20).
We do not have to be experts in apologetics, theology, or similar disciplines to bear witness to Christ. We only need to learn the basics so we are not easily deceived. By doing so, we protect our own families and friends safe from destructive teachings. This is a real challenge for all of us especially to parents.
There is another famous expression in the Latin world that says “Catolico Instruido Jamas Sera Confundido“. It means that Catholics who study their faith will never be confused. This is a reality too.
Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!