Kardinal Francis George i Chicago (en av de mest interessante teolog-kardinalene i Kirken etter min mening) skrev nylig en artikkel om hvordan katolikker blir påvirket av de (oftest veldig) protestantiske samfunnene de lever i. Og i artikkelen skriver han ganske interessant om hva som skjedde ved reformasjonen, hvordan Europas katolske kirke ble ganske dramatisk forandret på flere punkter i de protestantiske landene:
At the time of the Reformation, when the visible unity of the Church was broken for doctrinal reasons, the Mass became a memorial service for most Reformers, its unity with Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary became purely “spiritual” and the objective, sacramental, substantial re-presentation of that sacrifice was denied. With the disappearance of the sacrifice of the Mass, the ordained priesthood was reduced to ministry, a function or service based only on baptism. The sacrament of Holy Orders was lost to the life of the Protestant faith communities.
With the loss of ordained priesthood, the sacrament of penance or reconciliation became unnecessary, for neither the Church nor the priest mediated the penitent’s relationship to God’s mercy. Nor did the bond of marriage continue to enjoy the character of sacramentality, opening that tie to the contemporary reduction of marriage to an external, legal permission to have sex between two consenting adults. The individualism that is left when mediation disappears makes even the saints competitors with Christ, so there is no room for the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints to pray for us or care for us. At best, they become reminders of good behavior in past history; devotion to them is classed as a form of idolatry.
There are many good people whose path to holiness is shaped by religious individualism and private interpretation of what God has revealed. They are, however, called Protestants.