To understand the difference, you must first understand the similarities.
Protestant Churches broke off from the Catholic Church during the reformation and schisms. For the most part, Catholics and Protestants are Christians, believe in Jesus Christ as being GOD, along side the Father and the Holy Spirit (also known as the Holy Trinity).
Protestant primarily believe in what’s called Sola Scriptura, which means that all their beliefs should come only from the Bible. Here is where it gets interesting though. The original Bible, was given to the world in roughly 300AD, by the Catholic Church. Protestants did not agree with some of the books, so they removed 7 of them to reform their Bible.
Many Protestants bash the Catholic Church saying that they added books. But how can this be possible, when the original Bible, was the Catholic Bible. If anything, this only proves that the Protestants removed the books. Now, if we take a step back and think about it… When Jesus was on Earth, he tought verbally. He did not tell his disciples to grab pen and paper and write down what he said. After Jesus died in 33AD, his teachings continued through his Apostles, who also taught verbally and not through the Bible. What this should prove through reasoning is that the original Church and Church fathers taught Jesus’ message through verbal proclamations, as there was no Bible for at least another 270 years after Jesus died. So if the concept of Sola Scriptura is to be followed, wouldn’t this mean that there were no Christians until the Bible was put together in 300AD? This is something that Protestants can never explain. However, Catholics can explain this.
After Jesus died, he came back during Pentacost to commission the new ministers of HIS Church. So in HIS absence, he entrusted HIS church and teachings to be carried out by what’s called the Vicar of Christ (Pope) along with the Bishops, and Priests. As such, the faith & Christ’s teachings were taught through Sacred Traditions. Hence, this is why Catholics know that our faith and teachings have to come from both Sacred Tradition and the Bible. So when Protestants ask… “Is you church, Bible based?”…. the answer is and should be that “The Church is not Bible Based… rather, the Bible is Church Based”. In a nutshell, following Protestant beliefs, there would be at least 270 years of… “What happened to all the Christians? --- Did the Church just not exist?”… This would then be followed by another 1200 years of using the Bible given to the world by the Catholic Church, to then arrive at the Pretestant reformation in the 1500s, to which the 7 books were removed…
2000+ years of teachings of Christ through the Catholic Church (via Sacred Tradition [2000 years worth] + Catholic Bible[1700 years])….. or…. 400-500 years of teachings out of the Protestant Bible… You chose. The decision for me was easy, and that is why I am proud to say that I am Catholic.