Christians and Catholics

The difference between Christians and Catholics is that the term “Christians” includes all people, communities and churches that follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, Catholics are a specific type of Christians who embrace the interpretation of the Catholic Church.

Christianity is a spiritual current that has been interpreted in different ways, which has resulted in the existence of different churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church, the Coptic Church, the Calvinist Church, the Church Lutheran and Protestants in general.

Of all these confessions, Catholicism is perhaps the most numerous and widespread, so it has a very important referential weight.

Often times, some people use the term “Christians” to refer to the faithful of certain denominations of Protestant Christianity. However, this use is inaccurate, since it leaves out the other Christian confessions, which are numerous.

ChristiansCatholics
BeliefMessianic monotheistic religion based on the life and actions and messages of Jesus of Nazareth.
Hierarchy and organizational structureDecentralized structure.

It depends on each doctrine.

Centralized structure (the Pope as the highest authority).

  • Papa.
  • Cardinals
  • Bishops
  • Priests.
  • Deacons.
  • Nuns
Position regarding the Pope
  • Orthodox: they only recognize the pope as patriarch of the West, but not as a superior figure.
  • Other confessions : most do not recognize the Pope.
The Pope is the highest authority and is considered infallible.
sacred textDifferent versions according to the confession:

  • Protestant Christians : Hebrew or Palestinian canon, consisting of 65 books.
  • Other confessions : Alexandrian canon and may include some additional texts, such as Psalm 151.
The Bible (72 books. The books of Tobias, Judith, 1st and 2nd book of Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch are added).
Central dogmasOrthodox : they have the same beliefs as Catholics, except the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Protestants :

  • Universal priesthood, which involves the free interpretation of scripture.
  • Justification by faith alone.
  • Transubstantiation.
  • The Church as the authority for the interpretation of the scriptures and the absolution of sins.
  • Faith must be accompanied by good works.
  • Mediation of the Virgin Mary and the saints before Jesus Christ.
  • Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
SacramentsThey depend on each confession.

Orthodox and Coptic : same sacraments as Catholics (7 in total).

Anglicans and Protestants :

  • Baptism.
  • Lord’s Supper
  • Baptism.
  • Confirmation.
  • Eucharist.
  • Reconciliation.
  • Marriage.
  • Anointing of the Sick.
  • Priestly order.
Priestly celibacyIt does not exist or is not required.It is mandatory.
Position with respect to MariaProtestants : she is recognized as the mother of God, but they do not believe that she was a virgin after the birth of Jesus. Nor is their veneration or adoration admitted.

Other confessions : she is the mother of God and is an intermediary before her son Jesus Christ. Their veneration is admitted, not their adoration.

She is the mother of God and is the intermediary of her Son. Their veneration is admitted, not their adoration.
Position with respect to the saintsTheir veneration and adoration are not allowed.Its veneration is allowed, but not its adoration.
Position with respect to imagesProtestants : are not allowed or are restricted to certain places and functions.

Orthodox : they are allowed and are considered a vehicle of theology. Their adoration is not admitted but their veneration through icons is.

Its use is allowed, but its worship is not. They are usually promoted as a didactic instrument for teaching doctrine.
Life after deathThey believe in two possible destinations for the human soul:

  • Heaven.
  • Hell.
They believe in three possible destinations for the human soul:

  • Heaven.
  • Purgatory (transitory destiny).
  • Hell.
Final judgmentEnd of the known world. God will judge the living and the dead.

What is Christianity?

Christianity is a monotheistic religion founded on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as on his life, death and resurrection. In this sense, Christianity welcomes various communities and churches such as Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants and other doctrines.

Origin of Christianity

The Christian religion originated in Judea in the 1st century AD and little by little it spread to Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Syria, what today is the South Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, etc.), Egypt, Ethiopia and the Empire Roman, from where it spread to everything in Europe today, especially after Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in the 4th century AD. C.

What is the purpose of Christianity?

Christianity proposes the existence of a one and triune god, that is, the Holy Trinity, made up of God the Father, merciful creator; God the Son, who died for the sins of the world and God the Holy Spirit, giver of life. The purpose of Christianity is to lead human beings to the love of the Father and to reconciliation with the brothers as a means to achieve eternal life.

Christian slopes or streams

More than types or categories of Christianity, what exists are slopes. The most important ones are:

Catholicism

It is the current with the most followers in the world. The Pope is the highest ecclesiastical authority. It states that the Church is the representation of God on earth. Therefore, it mediates between God and men through the interpretation of the scriptures and the absolution of sins.

Orthodox Church

It arises after the Eastern Schism of the year 1054. It is quite widespread in the countries of Eastern Europe and in some countries of the Middle East. The best known are the Russian and the Greek, but there is also the Syrian, the Lebanese, the Romanian, etc.

Protestant Churches

They arise after the schism promoted by Martin Luther in the sixteenth century, called the “Reformation”, whose purpose was to reform the Catholic Church, which, by then, was facing a crisis of legitimacy in various areas. Unlike the Catholic Church, they believe in the universal priesthood, that is, in the free interpretation of the scriptures and in the forgiveness of sins by justifying faith. Within Protestantism, the Lutheran, Anglican, Pentecostal, Evangelicals, Quakers, among others, stand out.

Christian hierarchy

The hierarchical structure in Christianity can vary according to its aspect. For example, in the Catholic Church, the structure is centralized and rests with the Pope, while in the Protestant Church, the hierarchy is decentralized and authority rests on the pastors, reverends or priests.

Holy book of christians

The other confessions use the Alexandrian canon, although they organize it differently and may include some additional texts, such as Psalm 151.

The fundamental text of Christianity is the Bible. However, each Church is governed by a different version, which may include more or fewer books.

For example, the Catholic and Orthodox Church are governed by the Alexandrian canon, the 1970s or Septuagint Bible, while the Protestants are governed by the Hebrew canon, which excludes deuterocanonical books.

Doctrinal foundations of Christianity

In general, all Christians confess the Apostles’ Creed:

  • they believe in a God the Father, creator of the universe.
  • Create a God the Son, Jesus, who became man, died, and rose again.
  • They believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life.
  • They believe in the second coming of Jesus.
  • They believe in the Last Judgment.
  • They believe in the forgiveness of sins.
  • They believe in the resurrection of the dead.

However, each Church interprets and expresses these elements differently.

Sacraments

The sacraments vary according to the Church. For example, Catholicism recognizes seven sacraments (baptism, reconciliation, communion, confirmation, marriage, priestly order, and anointing of the sick), while Protestantism only recognizes two sacraments: baptism and communion.

Celibacy

Currently, only the Catholic Church makes celibacy a mandatory condition for the exercise of the priesthood at any level. The other denominations do allow the existence of married priests, who may also receive other names such as pastors or reverend.

An exceptional case is the Orthodox, where celibacy is optional, but for those who wish to ascend to bishops, it is a mandatory condition.

Position of Christians with respect to Mary

Christianity recognizes the role of Mary as the legitimate mother of God, however, the Protestant current does not approve of her veneration. On the other hand, other denominations such as Catholicism, Orthodoxy or Anglicanism do recognize the role of Mary as a mediator of human beings before her son Jesus.

Position of Christians with respect to the saints

Most of the Christian currents recognize the role of the saints as people who led an exemplary life according to the precepts of Christ. However, the Protestant side does not approve of their veneration or consider them God’s intermediaries. The other Christian denominations do.

Position of Christians regarding images

No Christian Church accepts the worship of images. However, non-Protestant Christian Churches admit its didactic use and its veneration as a reminder of the presence of God. Protestants, on the other hand, are also opposed to its veneration.

Life after death for Christians

All Christians admit that there is an afterlife. They also believe in the resurrection of the dead. Normally, life after death involves two worlds: heaven and hell.

The Final Judgment for Christians

The final judgment represents a momentous event in which the world as we know it will end, and Jesus will return to earth to judge both the living and the dead.

See also Difference between atheist and agnostic .

What is Catholicism?

The Catholic Church is a community of Christian faithful who gather around the figure of the Pope and is governed by the teachings of Jesus Christ, summarized in the New Testament of the Bible, as well as by the teachings of the catechism.

Origin of Catholicism

For Catholics, the origin of the Church dates back to the first century, when Jesus named Peter as “stone of the Church”, so they consider him the first of the Popes. After centuries of preaching and persecution, the emperor Theodosius made Christianity official through the edict of Thessalonica, promulgated in the year 380. From that moment on, the adjective “catholic” was used to describe the Church, which means “universal”. This appellation welcomed all the believing communities scattered in the domains of the Roman Empire.

What is the purpose of Catholicism?

The purpose of Catholicism, as of all Christian currents, is the proclamation of the New Covenant and the salvation of souls. Catholicism teaches that the Church is a living body, made up of all believers, and that the purpose is to honor Christ through repentance of sins and conversion.

Types

Due to its characteristics, Catholicism is centralized, but there are various tendencies derived from the charisms or ways of promoting and living the Gospel. For example, the Benedictines, the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Salesians, the Neocatechumens, etc.

Hierarchy in the Catholic Church

The highest ecclesiastical hierarchy of Catholicism is the Pope, considered the successor of Peter and the representative of God on Earth. It is followed by bishops, priests or priests and deacons.

Holy Book of Catholics

Catholics are governed by the Bible in the version of the Seventy (LXX), also known as the Septuagint Bible or the Alexandrian Canon. It is made up of 72 books, which include the deuterocanonical books of Tobias, Judith, 1st and 2nd Book of Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch.

For the Catholic Church, the catechism plays an important role, which summarizes the interpretation this Church confers on the Holy Scriptures.

Doctrinal Foundations of Catholicism

The Catholic faith is based on the Apostles’ Creed like other Christian denominations. For this reason, he believes in the Triune God, in the resurrection of the dead, the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and in the community of believers.

In addition, he believes in transubstantiation (eucharist), which is the conviction that the body and blood of Christ are present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. He also believes in the mediation of the Virgin Mary and the saints. Add the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin.

Sacraments of Catholicism

Within Catholicism there are seven sacraments or rites that are considered spiritual parallels with natural life:

  • Baptism: it is a rite with which a new believer is incorporated to the Catholic faith and through which he accepts the New Covenant.
  • Confirmation: rite of reaffirmation of baptismal faith.
  • Eucharist: it is the Sunday (or daily) celebration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, shared in the consecrated Bread and Wine.
  • Reconciliation: it is the process of repentance and reparation for sins.
  • Marriage: it is the ceremony by which a man and a woman unite before God.
  • Anointing of the sick: it is the anointing of the sacred oil to alleviate suffering and forgive the sins of the sick.
  • Priestly order: it is the consecration to serve God actively through the priesthood.

Priestly celibacy in Catholicism

Catholicism, unlike other currents of Catholicism, does not allow its priests to marry.

Place of worship of Catholics

Catholic rites or ceremonies are held in chapels, basilicas, churches, and cathedrals.

Position of Catholics with regard to Mary

Catholics recognize Mary as the immaculate mother who conceived Christ, was assumed into heaven to be with her Son and is one of the intercessors between Jesus and his faithful.

Position of Catholics with respect to the saints

For the Catholic Church, the saints are people who during their lives stood out for the implementation of Christian virtues, such as obedience, humility or love of neighbor. Therefore, when they die (and after being elevated to saints by the Pope), they become intercessors for God.

Position of Catholics on the use of images

In Catholicism the use and veneration of images is allowed, such as crucifixes, figures of Christ, Mary, saints or angels. However, their worship is not allowed.

Catholics and life after death

Catholicism proposes the existence of three places to which souls go after death: heaven, hell and purgatory. The latter is an intermediate stage for souls who await absolution from their sins.

The Last Judgment according to Catholics

The end of the known world is called Revelation, and at that time Christ will return to judge the living and the dead and send them to heaven, hell or purgatory as appropriate.

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