What Roman Catholic doctrines are based only in the 7 books canonized by the Roman church, but not accepted by Protestants. (e.g., Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, the additions to Daniel and Esther, etc...)

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    I think the proper name for them is Deutero-Canonical - lit. 'second canon'. Apocrypha, if I recall, is the term Protestants used at one time to demean the books as dubious.
    – user304
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


There's a few notions, but no doctrine, as the domain of doctrine in the Catholic Church is encompassed entirely by the New Testament insofar as it is the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament.

But, here's a sampling off the top of my head:

  • Tobit
    • Archangel Rapahel in the heavenly host
    • Respect for burying the dead as a corporal work of mercy
  • Maccabees
    • Understanding of the efficaciousness of praying for the dead.
  • Judith
    • Maybe a little to do with Just War Theory?
  • Wisdom
    • Deeper understanding of who Christ was/is and how He would be treated
  • Sirach
    • Love of wisdom personified (may have something to do with Mary's title "Seat of Wisdom")

Concerning the state of purgatory and Maccabees, Protestants wholly reject purgatory and they do so because they say it's only in Maccabees, which they also reject. But when Jesus says in His parable about repayment to the last penny, that also informs the Catholic understanding of what purgatory is.


In the Episcopal Church in the USA, excerpts from the Apocrypha are read in services. But the Apocrypha is not a source for doctrine. We pray for the dead, as do Catholics around the World. This idea is confirmed in Macabees, and it has always been part of the Church Liturgy since the beginning.

In the examination for Holy Orders in the ACC it is required: §11.9.01 Holy Scripture: The Old and New Testaments with the Apocrypha in English, their contents, teachings, theology, and historical background;

The word "Apocrypha" originally meant "sacred books that were reserved for the wise." The Greek word has the meaning hidden i.e hidden from those who were not yet wise. The explanation is in 4 Esdras which, of course, you may not have seen if you follow Protestant doctrine.

From New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia (emphasis added):

The original and proper sense of the term apocryphal as applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured. But a clue to it may be recognized in the so-called Fourth Book of Esdras, which relates that Estrus (Era) by divine inspiration composed ninety-four books. Of these, twenty-four were restorations of the sacred literature of the Israelites which had perished in the Captivity; they were to be published openly, but the remaining were to be guarded in secret for the exclusive use of the wise (cf. Daniel 12:4, 9, where the prophet is bidden to shut up and seal an inspired book until an appointed time). Accordingly it may be accepted as highly probable that in its original meaning an apocryphal writing had no unfavorable import, but simply denoted a composition which claimed a sacred origin, and was supposed to have been hidden for generations, either absolutely, awaiting the due time of its revelation, or relatively, inasmuch as knowledge of it was confined to a limited esoteric circle.

Since all these books are in the Anglican, Orthodox, and Catholic Bibles (with some variation) they are indeed scripture, and all scripture is sacred. So it is proper in the "catholic" Church to refer to the books as "sacred."

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    The word apocrypha does not mean "sacred"; it means hidden. Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 7:29
  • Indeed it does mean sacred to catholics of: Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Churches. These books are scripture and in their Bibles, and so sacred by canon.
    – Waeshael
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 15:46
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    "Sacred" perhaps by implication, but certainly not by meaning. "Apocrypha" ultimately comes from the Greek word ἀπόκρυφος, meaning "hidden, obscure." Nothing to do with "sacred" which is ἱερός (cp. 2 Tim. 3:15).
    – user900
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 0:06
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    The word is translated as "secret" by many theologians in the catholic religion.
    – Waeshael
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 13:44

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