As a former weekly mass-going RC, raised in devout family, being an altar boy, with my 3 brothers, and with 2 uncles who were priests, and who later became manifestly born again thru a contrite repentant conversion, casting myself on the mercy of God in Christ as a damned and destitute sinner, and who yet who sought to serve God as a faithful mass-going soul (every holy day of obligation, CCD teacher, lector, plus some Catholic charismatic meetings and Bible studies) during about 6 years after conversion;
Before finally being led into evangelicalism as a result of sincere prayer; and who since has witnessed to hundreds of RCs about Christ. by God's grave, and know the teachings better than most, and examined such in the light of Scripture;
Then i can honestly say that in addition to realizing the profound difference btwn being religious and real conversion and regeneration, then more I read the Scriptures and also understood what the Cath church teaches from her own sources, then the more i see the clear contrast in his distinctives.
And which no amount of censorious "Catholic answers" propaganda can justify.
It is sad that you are deceived by such, but as a well meaning soul why not debate here on the absence of RC distinctives in the life and teachings of the NT church (Acts onward, which are interpretive of the gospels)? Isnt it rather likely that you havent been told the whole story?
BTW, you argument that "do you really think a fourth of all Americans would be Catholic if their religion were as odd as its opponents claim?" is specious, for besides being outnumbered by Prots, liberalism overall predominates where Catholicism does , while Muslims make up a far greater percentage of many countries than RCs do in the USA. Numbers of adherents do not necessarily translate into validity.