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According to me Protestants are the one who doesn't pray to Mary.

I also came across the Protestantism which speaks about the 95 Theses which Martin Luther started against indulgence.

I don't see any relationship with Protestants and Protestantism. Are they same? Or Protestants came from Protestantism?

Rectify me if Iam wrong.

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The 95 Theses were not merely against indulgences, but against many things, of which indulgences was one. –  Narnian Apr 24 '13 at 16:46
    
Protestants are people. Protestantism is the tradition to which they belong. –  Narnian Apr 24 '13 at 16:46
    
@Narnian: But Protestantism doesn't speak about Mary, but protestants how come came to a conclusion that they wont pray to Mother Mary and even other Saints. –  Ant's Apr 24 '13 at 16:48
    
Protestantism was originally based on ideas like "Sola Scriptura", meaning that the Scriptures alone should be the basis for doctrine and practice. Praying to Mary is never taught in the Scriptures. The pattern and teaching on prayer in the Scriptures always indicates that prayer should be directed to God and to God alone. –  Narnian Apr 24 '13 at 17:06

3 Answers 3

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"Protestantism" is the name of a movement. "Protestants" are people who are part of that movement. It's the same relationship as between the words "Catholicism" and "Catholics". Catholics are the people who are part of Catholicism.

The problem is that your definition of Protestants is far too narrow. Protestants don't pray to Mary (mostly - there are a few exceptions) but it's not the most important thing about them - there are many other differences between them and Catholics too - their beliefs about the authority of the church, the place of the sacraments, the theology of the priesthood are just a few of many examples. It should also be pointed out the Protestantism is incredibly diverse and there is almost nothing that is unquestionably true of all Protestants except that they are not Catholic (or Orthodox, whose followers are also considered not Protestant).

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Protestants do not pray to the saints (like Mary, or any other "saint"). We pray only to God. Since God is revealled to Christians in 3 different ways (what we call different "persons"), you will hear Protestants paraying to The father (God the creator, in Heaven), or to Jesus (who is God incarnate in human flesh), or to the Holy Spirit (the on-going presence of God in the world).
Because we pray to those 3, we don't bother praying to the saints.

Protestants base their beliefs and actions on Scripture (the Bible), and since the Bible doesn't recommend praying to saints (who, after all, are dead), we just stick to praying to God.

Some Protestants (such as certain Anglicans, or certain Lutherans) may pray to the saints, but if they do, they are careful to not ask the saint for anything. Instead they ask the saint to pray for them to God the father.

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The difference between Protestants and Protestantism isn't the same as the difference between an optician and an optometrist or the difference between a Pontiac and a Buick.

It's not a level of the same sort of thing with different priorities or anything.

It's the difference between Catholics and Catholicism or Communists and Communism or sadists and sadism or hedonists and hedonism or stuff like that. The -ism part of the word is the suffix that means "it's got that same condition"

So, protestants have protestantism. (no one would say this, but it's true)

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