There are many significant differences between the Catholic and Baptist faiths which reflect on their beliefs and practices.
First, there is the infant baptism practiced by Catholics, but not practiced by Baptists. This is because Baptists believe that baptism is an indication of one’s understanding, trust and surrender to Christ. Infants, being too young to understand the role of Christ in their lives, are not yet qualified to undergo baptism. Baptists also point out that infant baptism is not practiced in the bible, which leads to the second significant difference between the two faiths – Baptists base their beliefs on the bible alone. Catholics supplement their beliefs with traditions and teachings of the pope. Catholics offer prayers to saints and Mary, while Baptists believe that prayers should be offered to God alone through Christ.
On a related note, another important feature that set the two faiths apart from each other is their concept of the church. Catholics believe in the existence of a universal church headed by the pope. Baptists believe in the autonomy and independence of the church from individuals. Also, Catholic churches are lavishly adorned with the presence of icons and pictures of saints – a practice viewed by Baptists as idolatrous. This is why Baptist churches are set up more simply by comparison.
Another thing, Catholics believe in the existence of purgatory, a temporary destination where sinners are ‘purged’ in fire before going to heaven. As an indication of the Baptists’ strict conformity to the bible which does not mention purgatory, the latter only believe in the existence of heaven and hell.
On a final note, the two faiths differ regarding their view on achieving salvation. Catholics believe this can be achieved through good works. Baptists point out that faith in Christ must accompany such good works.