The recent threads in this forum discussing Catholic dogma are not about Catholics and Protestants criticizing one another. They're about one thing, and one thing only: arriving at the truth. Any belief system that is not in line with fundamental, Bible-based Christianity should be held up to the light of Scripture, to expose its structural cracks and weaknesses, so people are not unwittingly led astray. Catholicism, because of its very questionable doctrines--based on equally questionable evidence instead of solid Scripture--falls into that category. Especially when its adherents claim divine inspiration based on those uncorroborated credentials, and go on to criticize those who reject them of being foolish and rebellious against "the church."
In the Gospels, we have a written account of the life and teachings of Jesus. And in the book of Acts, we have a record of how the Apostles went about fulfilling the Gospel commission Jesus entrusted to them. Between these, the letters of Paul, and the various other writings of the NT, we have documentation of what the early church believed--things did not change after the time of the Apostles. Yet, we have an assortment of odd beliefs that did arise, centuries after they died. Why, and upon whose authority, were they added to the tenets of the Christian faith?
We are supposed to believe that Jesus conferred upon Peter an exalted office, to which all the other Apostles, were subservient--an office tantamount to his being the sole representative of God upon the earth. And we're supposed to believe that that office was ordained by God to be passed along perpetually from generation to generation, over the last 2000 years. We're supposed to believe that this exalted throne entitles the man sitting on it--whoever he happens to be at the time--sits in the seat of Jesus Christ, and is entitled to the same reverence and obedience, and is equally incapable of error in matters of faith.
We are supposed to believe that Mary-- a sinner in need of a Savior lik us--was born without sin, and remained a perpetual virgin; that she ascended bodily into heaven, and now sits upon a glorious throne in heaven, being adored, hearing and answering prayers, and even making appearances upon the earth to her faithful, from time to time.
We're supposed to blindly accept these and many other doctrines--even though there is no corroboration for them in either Scripture or the writings of the church fathers who lived a few generations after the time of the Apostles. That's the problem, here. We're expected to accept these things because those who promote and benefit from them, assure us they are true. We should be skeptical of any belief that arose after the time of the Apostles, because it is a certainty that Jesus left no valid doctrine out when He sent the Apostles forth, telling them to teach among the nations exactly what He had taught them.
Anyone who promotes such beliefs--destitute as they are of valid, impartial corroboration--can reasonably expect to be aggressively challenged to give a better reason why we should believe them than "sacred tradition." Show me where the Apostles believed and taught these things. Or show me these beliefs in the writings of early church fathers who either heard the Apostles themselves, or knew those who did know them. That at least, seems reasonable to me.
People are free to believe anything they want to believe. But don't expect others to accept questionable beliefs that cannot be properly substantiated. Such a dangerous practice has spawned many a cult, and continues to do so today. If Christians would both rely on Scriptural corroboration, and try the spirits--as we are clearly instructed to do, and be led by the Spirit as Jesus instructed, instead of blindly following man made tradition, there would be far less spiritual deception in the world. There would also be far less tragedies like those that occurred under Jim Jones and David Koresh.