Catholics and Christians

The Christianity is one of the major religions of the world. Within the community, there are those who label themselves Mormons, Anglicans, or even Catholic . Is a Catholic different from a Christian? What are the differences between those who call themselves Catholic and Christian? Read on to learn about the differences between these concepts.



Literal meaningCatholic – the Greek adjective καθολικός, (katholikos) meaning “general” or “universal”.Follower of Christ.
LegislationCanon Law, Diocesan Law, Pontifical Decree.Varies by denomination.
Population1.1 billion.More than two billion adherents worldwide.
BeliefHe believes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the King of Heaven and the Savior of the entire world.The Nicene Creed summarizes the Christian faith in the Holy Trinity.
ScripturesThe Holy Bible consists of 73 canonical books in two parts, 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament (including the Apocrypha).The Holy Bible composed of 66 books.
Original languagesLatin and Greek.Aramaic, Common Greek (Koine), Hebrew.
RemainingLatin Rite and Eastern Rite and, as of 2008, the Anglo-Catholic derivative of the Latin Rite.Roman Catholics, independent Catholics, Protestants (Anglicans, Lutherans, etc.), Orthodox (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox).
ClergyDeacons, monks, nuns, priests, bishops and other ranks of offices (Archbishop, Cardinal, Pope, etc., although there are also several others)Priests, bishops, ministers, monks and nuns.
Life after deathEternal salvation in heaven; Eternal damnation in hell; Third temporary state before Heaven for those who desire purification, known as Purgatory.Eternity in Heaven or Hell, in some cases temporary Purgatory.
Means of salvationReceived in baptism, believing in Jesus as the only savior of humanity, performing the seven sacraments.For the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.
Confession of sinsConfess to the priests to absolve you of sins in the name of Christ (John 20: 22-23). Prayer to the saints.Protestants confess directly to God, Catholics confess mortal sins to a priest and venial sins directly to God (the Orthodox have a similar practice). Anglicans confess to priests, but they are considered optional. God always forgives sins in Jesus.
Pope’s authoritySuccessor of Saint Peter.Leader and supervisor of the Catholic Church. His authority is completely rejected by the Protestants and the Orthodox.

Differences between Catholics and Christians

Simply put, a Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ . Christianity encompasses many denominations like Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and also Catholics. Christianity is the largest religion in the world and occupies 33 percent of the world’s population. They believe in Jesus as the son of God whose arrival as Messiah is prophesied in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.

A Catholic is also a Christian, but not all Christians are Catholic . Catholics follow the Catholic denomination or religion transmitted through different Popes who follow a system of succession. Catholics are also known as Roman Catholics and make up about 60 percent of Christians.

History of Christianity

Acts 11:26 says that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch . Christianity, as we know it today, dates back to Jesus and his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. If we were to assign an event to the birth of the church, we would probably point to Pentecost . In any case, Christianity dates back to the 1st century AD , and its roots go back to the dawn of human history.

History of Catholicism

Catholics claim that the history of Christianity is exclusively their own history , dating back to Jesus, Peter, the apostles, etc. The word catholic means universal, and the Catholic Church views itself as the only true church. So they see the whole history of the church (up to the Protestant Reformation) as the history of the Catholic church.

However, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, with the Bishop of Rome as Pope, dates back only to the 4th century and to Emperor Constantine (despite dubious Catholic historical claims). And a host of defining doctrines of the Catholic Church date back to well after the 1st century, in the Middle and Modern Ages (eg, Marian doctrines, purgatory, papal infallibility, etc.).

It was not until the Council of Trent (16th century) , also known as the Counter-Reformation, that the Catholic Church definitively and officially rejected many central elements of the true gospel, as taught in Scripture (for example, that salvation is by faith only). Thus, many of the distinctions of today’s Catholic Church (that is, the ways in which the Catholic Church is distinct from Christian traditions) date back only to the 4th, 11th, and 16th centuries (and even more recent).



Christians believe that salvation is only by faith in Christ (Sola Fide and Sola Christus). Ephesians 2: 8-9, as well as the entire book of Galatians, argue that salvation is separate from works. A person is justified by faith alone (Romans 5: 1). Of course, true faith produces good works (James 2: 14-26), but works are the fruit of faith, and not the meritorious basis of salvation.

Romans 3:28 “Because we hold that a person is justified by faith without the works of the law.”


Catholics believe that salvation is multifaceted and comes through baptism, faith, good works, and staying in a state of grace (that is, being in good standing with the Catholic church and participating in the sacraments). Justification is not a forensic statement based on faith, but the culmination and progression of the previous elements.



Christians hold that baptism is a symbolic ceremony intended to demonstrate a person’s faith in Christ and their identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is not, in itself, an act of salvation. Rather, baptism points to the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.


Catholics hold that baptism is a means of grace that cleanses a person from original sin and is an act of salvation . A child, apart from faith, is cleansed from sin and brought into friendship with God through baptism, in accordance with Catholic theology and practice.

CCC 2068 – “The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are binding on Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them. All men can attain salvation through faith, baptism, and the keeping of the commandments.

Life after death


Christians believe that there is a literal heaven and a literal hell . That when the faithful die, they go immediately into the presence of Christ and will dwell eternally in the New Heaven and the New Earth. And that those who perish in unbelief go to a place of torment, and will dwell eternally far from God’s presence in the lake of fire (See Philippians 1:23, 1 Corinthians 15: 20-58, Revelation 19:20, 20 : 5, 10-15; 21: 8, etc.).


Catholics believe that those who die in friendship with God go directly to heaven or a place called Purgatory for further purification through pain. It is not known for sure how long a person endures in Purgatory and it depends on many factors, including the prayers and indulgences of the living on their behalf. Those who die in enmity with God go straight to hell .

Penance / Confess sins to a priest


Christians believe that there is a mediator between God and man named Jesus (1 Timothy 2: 5). Furthermore, Christians believe that the one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ is completely sufficient to cover a Christian’s sins (past, present, and future sins). There is no more need for absolution from a priest. Christ is enough.

Timothy 2: 5 “For there is only one God, and one mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ . 


Catholics believe in the need to confess sins to a priest, who has the delegated power of absolution . Also, penance may be necessary to cancel some sins. Therefore, the forgiveness of sins is not based solely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but largely on the sinner’s works of contrition.

CCC 980 – “Through the sacrament of Penance the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church: The Holy Fathers have rightly called penance“ a kind of laborious baptism ”. This sacrament of Penance is necessary for the salvation of those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for the salvation of those who have not yet been reborn.



Christians believe that Christ is the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) and that the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament is a shadow of Christ. They reject the Catholic priesthood for being unscriptural.


Catholics see the priesthood as one of the sacred orders of the Church , therefore they defend their legitimacy and consider it as an office in the church.

CCC 1495 “Only priests who have received the power to absolve from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.”

The celibacy of priests


Most Catholics hold that priests must remain single (although, in some Catholic rites, priests can marry) so that the priest can concentrate on the work of God.

CCC 1579 “All ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate” for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. ” . Called to consecrate themselves with a whole heart to the Lord and to “the Lord’s affairs”, they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to whose service the minister of the Church is consecrated; accepted with a joyful heart, celibacy radiantly proclaims the Kingdom of God.


Christians hold that bishops, supervisors, pastors, etc., can marry according to 1 Timothy 3: 2.

Timothy 4: 1-3 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons. Such teachings come from hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared like hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

View of the bible


There are significant differences in the way Christians and Catholics view the Bible, both in the actual content of the Scriptures and in the authority of the Scriptures.

Catholics hold that it is the responsibility of the church to declare authoritatively and infallibly what constitutes Scripture . They have declared 73 books as Scripture, including books that Christians refer to as apocryphal.

«The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted solely to the living magisterium of the Church. His authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. (CIC para. 85).


Christians, on the other hand, hold that the church observes and “discovers” – it does not decide with authority – which books are inspired by God and therefore should be included in the canon of Scripture. Christian Bibles have 66 books .

But the differences between Christians and Catholics when it comes to the Scriptures do not end with what they constitute. Catholics deny, while Christians affirm, the insight or clarity of Scripture . That is, the Scriptures are clear and understandable.

Catholics deny insight and insist that Scripture cannot be properly understood without the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (who have an official and infallible interpretation). Christians reject this notion.

Furthermore, Catholics do not regard Scripture as the sole infallible authority on faith and practice, as Christians do (i.e., Christians affirm Sola Scriptura). Catholic authority is like a three-legged stool: Scripture, tradition, and the magisterium of the church . Scripture, in practice at least, is the short leg of this wobbly stool, as Catholics deny the perspicuity of Scripture and rely more on the other two “legs” as their infallible authority.

Acts 17:11 “These were nobler than those in Thessalonica, because they received the word with great enthusiasm, examining the Scriptures every day to see if these things were so.”

Holy Eucharist / Catholic Mass / Transubstantiation


At the center of Catholic worship is the Mass or Eucharist . Catholics believe that the elements of the Lord’s Supper (see Luke 22: 14-23) become the actual body and blood of Jesus when they are blessed during a Mass (although Catholics also hold that bread and wine keep its external characteristics of bread and wine).

By participating in Mass, Catholics believe that they are participating in and enjoying the sacrifice of Christ in the present. Therefore, the sacrifice of Christ is an ongoing timeless act , brought to the present every time a Catholic participates in the elements at Mass.

Furthermore, since bread and wine are the blood and body of Jesus Christ , Catholics believe that it is correct to worship the elements themselves.


Christians object to this as a gross misunderstanding of Jesus’ instructions regarding the Lord’s Supper . This is meant to remind us of Jesus and his sacrifice (once and for all), and it was completed in history at Calvary.

Christians further object that this practice is dangerously close, if not directly, to idolatry.

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