Catholicism is a denomination, and is, therefore, a subset of Christianity. All Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholics. A Christian refers to a follower of Jesus Christ who may be a Catholic, Protestant, Gnostic, Mormon, Evangelical, Anglican or Orthodox, or follower of another branch of the religion.

A Catholic refers to a Christian who follows the Catholic religion as transmitted through the succession of Popes of Rome and the Vatican Empire across history. The Pope is the leader of the Catholic church. The Catholic Church is the largest of the Christian Churches - about 60% of Christians are Catholic.

Comparison chart

Catholicism

Catholicism

Christianity

Christianity
Place of worship Church, chapel, cathedral, basilica. Church, chapel, cathedral, basilica, home bible study, personal dwellings.
Place of origin Jerusalem Roman province of Judea.
Practices Catholics are expected to participate in the liturgical life, celebrate and revere Jesus' sacrifice on the cross at Mass. The celebration of seven sacraments Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of Sick, Holy Orders and Confession. Prayer, sacraments (some branches), worship in church, reading of the Bible, acts of charity, communion.
About Belonging to the Church Founded By Christ, when He chose St. Peter as His Rock (first Pope). Apostles creed gives summary of Catholic creed, man fell and Christ came to redeem mankind. Christianity broadly consists of individuals who believe in the deity Jesus Christ. Its followers, called Christians, often believe Christ is "the Son" of the Holy Trinity and walked the earth as the incarnate form of God ("the Father").
Religious Law 10 Commandments, Canon law , Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), papal decrees and orders. Has existed among Catholics in the form of canon law.
Goal of religion To give glory to God and share Eternal Life in Him. To love God and obey his commandments while creating a relationship with Jesus Christ and spreading the Gospel so that others may also be saved.
Human Nature Man has inherited "original sin" from Adam. Mankind then is inherently evil and is in need of forgiveness of their sin. Man has inherited "original sin" from Adam. Mankind then is inherently evil and is in need of forgiveness of sin. By knowing right and wrong Christians choose their actions. Humans are a fallen, broken race in need of salvation and repair by God.
Rites 7 Sacraments: Baptism, Eucharist, Penance, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick; exorcisms, blessings of objects, dedication of churches sacred garments installation into clerical offices. Roman Missal and eastern rites. Seven sacraments: Baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, matrimony (Catholic and Orthodox). Anglicans: Baptism and Eucharist. Other denominations: Baptism and communion.
God's role in salvation God sent His only Divine Son to save humanity from their sins. Humans cannot save themselves or ascend on their own to a higher level. Only God is good and therefore only God is able to save a person. Jesus came down from Heaven to save mankind.
Use of statues and pictures Crosses, statues and pictures are acceptable in Catholicism. Catholics widely use them as depictions of Christ, Mary, and the Saints. In Catholic & Orthodox Churches.
Confessing sins Confess to priests for absolution from sins in the name of Christ (John 20:22-23). Prayer to the Saints. Protestants confess straight to God, Catholic confess mortal sins to a Priest, and venial sins straight to God (Orthodox have similar practice) Anglicans confess to Priests but considered optional. God always forgives sins in Jesus.
Founder Jesus Christ, St. Peter the Apostle. The Lord Jesus Christ.
View of other Abrahamic religions According to Catholic doctrine, Catholicism is the original Christian Church. Christianity is the true religion, and Catholicism is true Christianity. Judaism is regarded as a True religion but incomplete (without Gospel, and Messiah) Islam is regarded as a false religion, Christianity does not accept the Qur'an as true.
Legislation Canon Law, diocesan Law, Papal Decree. Varies through denomination.
Means of salvation Received at baptism; may be lost by mortal sin; salvation through faith and penance. Belief in Jesus as the sole savior of humanity. Must have a relationship with Jesus. Good Works. Seven Sacraments. Through Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
Branches Latin rite & Eastern rite and as of 2008 the Anglo-Catholic derivative of Latin Rite. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant.
Birth of Jesus Virgin Birth, through God. Virgin Birth, through God.
Promised Holy one. Second Coming of Christ Second Coming of Christ
Scriptures Holy Bible, a collection of 73 canonical books in two parts, 46 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament. The Holy Bible
Literal Meaning catholic - from the Greek adjective καθολικός, (katholikos) meaning "general" or "universal". Follower Of Christ.
Death of Jesus Death by Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascent to Hevean Death by crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. Will return.
Offshoot religions Protestant denominations and many others. Rastafarianism,Universalism, and Deism, and Masonry.
Belief of God One God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Goal of Philosophy Eternal Salvation. Objective reality. Worship of God who created life, the universe, and is eternal. Christianity has its own philosophy, found in the the Bible. That philosophy is Salvation from sin, through the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Day of worship Worship should be a continual process in the lives of Roman Catholics. Sunday is not the only day Catholics can attend Church for Mass. Sunday, the Lord's Day.
Resurrection of Jesus Affirmed Affirmed
Authority of Pope Successor of St. Peter. Leader and overseer of the Catholic Church. his authority is completely rejected by Protestants, and is viewed by Orthodox as first among equals. Orthodox and Protestants reject Papal infallibility and Papal supremacy.
Direction of Prayer Facing the Blessed Sacrament (when in Church). Catholics and Orthodox usually face the Tabernacle in their prayers but it is not considered necessary, but recommended. God is present everywhere recent reforms have prompted many Christians to not face anywhere in their prayers.
Population 1.1 Billion. Over a billion adherents worldwide.
Marriage Marriage is sacrament between one man and one woman. Divorce does not exist in Catholicism, but there is annulment (that the marriage was invalid to begin with) by competent church official. A Holy Sacrament.
Status of Muhammad False Prophet. N/A.
Belief Believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the King of Heaven, and Saviour of the entire world. The Nicene Creed sums up Christian belief in the Holy Trinity.
Holy days/Official Holidays Sunday (The Lord's Day), Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost. The Lord's Day; Advent, Christmas; New Year, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, everyday is dedicated to a Saint.
View of other Oriental religions N/A. N/A.
View of Animistic religions Pagan Idolatrous. Paganism is Heathenism. Witchcraft is communication and interaction with demons, fallen evil angelic beings. These have no real interest ultimately, in helping their worshipers. Demonic possession is common.
Original Languages Latin and Greek. Aramaic, Common (Koine) Greek, Hebrew.
Clergy Heirarchial clergy in Holy Orders Deacons, monks, nuns, Priests and Bishops, other ranks are only offices (archibshop, cardinal Pope etc. although several other offices also exist) Priests, bishops, ministers, monks, and nuns.
Virtue on which religion is based upon Love. Love.
Life after death Eternal Salvation in Heaven; Eternal Damnation in Hell; Temporal third state before Heaven for those who desire purification, known as Purgatory. Eternity in Heaven or Hell, in some cases temporal Purgatory.
Definition Universal. Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Second coming of Jesus Affirmed. Affirmed.
Prophet Moses, Abraham, John the Baptist, many others. Moses, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, etc., as well as both Johns in the New Testament too.
Identity of Jesus God Incarnate. Son of the Father. The Messiah saviour of mankind sole mediator between God and man. The Son Of God.
Belief of God God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Purgatory Affirmed Believed in by Catholic Church.
Authority of Dalai Lama N/A. N/A.
Position of Mary The Queen of all Saints. View is similar to the Orthodox church - the title 'Mother of God' being used more commonly than Theotokos. In addition, it is claimed that at various points in history, Mary has revealed herself to the world in apparitions. Mother Of God.
Three Jewels Faith, Hope and Charity Christ, Grace, and Virtue
Religion which atheists may still be adherents of None. Faith is integral to Catholicism, a christian who rejects Christianity altogether is considered an Apostate. Atheism is a sin against Faith. No.
Praying to Saints, Mary, and Angel Allowed. They can intercede with God on your behalf. Encouraged in the Catholic & Orthodox Churches; most Protestants only pray directly to God.

Beliefs

While Catholicism preaches and believes the Roman catholic church to be the supreme authority, Christianity encompasses all churches as well as individuals without churches, as many modern practitioners may be believers in Christ but not active church goers. Both Catholics and other kinds of Christians will study the Bible, attend church, seek ways to introduce the teachings of Jesus into his or her life, and engage in prayer.

Catholics also follow the teachings of Jesus Christ but do so through the church, whom they consider as the path to Jesus. They believe in the special authority of the Pope which other Christians may not believe in, whereas Christians are free to accept or reject individual teachings and interpretations of the bible. Catholics and Christians seek forgiveness for their personal sins through faith in Jesus Christ. The goal of the Christian and Catholic is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on Earth and the attainment of Heaven in after-life.

The Catholic Church teaches the doctrines of Jesus Christ as transmitted in the New Testament of the Bible, as well as the teachings, Psalms, and histories of the Jewish prophets in the Old Testament. The Catholic Religion preserves a tradition of Priesthood, Monks, and Nuns that date back to the early middle ages and before. The Catholic Religion is based on the entire Bible, especially in the direct teachings of Jesus given in the New Testament of the Bible. Other non-Catholic Christian texts based on the teachings of Jesus include the Gnostic Gospels.

Video explaining the differences

The following video explains the doctrinal differences between Roman Catholics, Eastern Rite Catholics, and Orthodox Christians.

Salvation

Christians and Catholics believe salvation is a gift by means of the unmerited grace of God, a gift from a loving heavenly Father who sent His only begotten Son Jesus to be their savior. They believe that, through faith in Jesus, one can be saved from sin and eternal death. However, the Bible records in John 3:3-10 that in order for anyone to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, one must be born again by the Spirit of God. This was taught by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and is recorded in scripture in both Catholic and Protestant Bibles. Catholics do believe that one becomes born again at Baptism. Christians believe that once you believe and have faith in Christ you are born again. You don't have to be baptized to be a Christian, but in all the scriptures, people receive Christ, then they are baptized. Baptism is the representation of dying with Christ and being raised with him.

Scriptures

The teachings of the Catholic Church are derived from two sources, firstly the Sacred Scriptures (the Bible) and secondly the Sacred Tradition. Catholicism, like Christianity regards the Holy Bible, a collection of canonical books in two parts (the Old Testament and the New Testament) as authoritative: written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and therefore the inerrant word of God. So in a way both follow the Bible as their central scripture, however there are nine books that are left out from modern Christian translations.

Origin

The first known usage of the term Christians can be found in the New Testament of the Bible. The term was thus first used to denote those known or perceived to be disciples of Jesus. Similarly, in the two other New Testament it refers to the public identity of those who follow Jesus.

The history of early Christianity, including Catholicism is told in Acts in the New Testament. The early days of Christianity witnessed the desert Fathers in Egypt, sects of hermits and Gnostic ascetics. Christianity began in 1st century AD Jerusalem as a Jewish sect but spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond to countries such as Ethiopia, Armenia, Georgia, Assyria, Iran, India, and China.

Roman Catholicism traces its history to the apostles, especially the Apostle Peter. St. Peter is considered the first pope, and every Pope since is regarded as his spiritual successor. It was only after the first thousand years of Christianity that this new denomination of Catholicism came into being. This was for those people who wanted to follow God through the Church. They give the leader of the church spiritual authority to provide a means for resolving disputes that could divide the church. Roman Catholicism was not initiated until the First Ecumenical Council in A.D. 325. At this point, corrupt church leaders were attempting to take power in the Byzantine Roman Empire. The first unified Roman Catholic Church was created in A.D. 606 with world-wide leadership. It is virtually impossible to trace the origin of the Papacy, as the early Christians maintained their records in the Catacombs in Rome. The Church of Rome took control of the catacombs and revised the documents to include the title Pope for any early church leader that was deemed worthy. Roman Catholic Tradition and the Catechism of the Catholic Church prevail over scripture in every context. Scripture is used as a reference. During their rise to political power in A.D. 300-500, the Church or Rome accepted Pagan and Roman society as holy and acceptable to appease the population. During this time, the Church of Rome (not yet universal) declared anyone who disagreed with their teachings as a heretic. Heretics were killed by the Church of Rome for any belief outside of Christianity and their written works were destroyed. During the plagues circa A.D. 500, many people abandoned the cities and the sick. After this dark period, the full Catholic Church entered into society.

The Pope View

The idea of the "pope" actually existing from the beginning of the church is scripturally correct as Christ had declared Peter, the spiritual rock. It was the Holy Spirit who instituted the church when He visited the 120 people in the Upper room on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2. On that day the "Christian Church was born when 120 were "filled" with the Holy Spirit and tongues of fire rested upon their heads. They then began to "speak in tongues" as evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

View of Homosexuality

Throughout the majority of Christian history most theologians and Christian denominations have viewed homosexual behavior as immoral or sinful. However, in the past century some prominent theologians and Christian religious groups have espoused a wide variety of beliefs and practices towards homosexuals, including the establishment of some 'open and accepting' congregations. In Roman Catholicism, homosexual acts are contrary to natural law and sinful while homosexual desires are disordered (but not necessarily sinful). Both the Catholic church and other Christian denominations have had priests or pastors who were gay. All homosexual priests have been censured by the Catholic Church.

Hierarchy

The Catholic Religion has a historical lineage and hierarchy that is centered in the Pope and Vatican City in Rome. The Catholic Religion was the source of the Protestant and Anglican Churches as they evolved to break with Papal authority. Catholics do not allow priesthood to women.

A Christian may follow any church based in the New Testament. Some churches permit female priests, while others do not. Both Catholics and Christians venerate the Mother of Jesus, Mary, as well as the 12 disciples as the principal teachers of the faith. The Pope is not regarded as the supreme authority by Christianity. Some denominations of Christianity allow women to become priests after ordination.

Worships and Practices

Roman Catholics and Christians believe that all people should strive to follow Christ's commands and example in their everyday actions. For many, this includes obedience to the Ten Commandments. Christian practices include acts of piety such as prayer and Bible reading which even Catholics follow. Christians and Roman Catholics assemble for communal worship on Sunday, the day of the resurrection, though with Christians other liturgical practices often occur outside this setting. At Mass the Scripture readings are drawn from the Old and New Testaments.

In the Catholic Church, there is a distinction between Liturgy, which is the formal public and communal worship of the Church, and personal prayer or devotion, which may be public or private. Other Christians may not have such a system and may all pray together. The Liturgy is regulated by church authority and consists of the Eucharist (the Mass), the other Sacraments, and the Liturgy of the Hours. All Catholics are expected to participate in the liturgical life.


References

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