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Is Catholic and Christian the Same?

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A Christian and Catholic person holding the same cross.

When it comes to religions known worldwide, Catholic and Christian are probably the two that come to mind instantly. Both have been around for centuries, with solid congregations around the globe.

In addition, they have a robust online presence with workshops, courses, and events happening daily.

Although we might think that we know quite a bit about these two religions, we might wonder whether they are, in fact, the same religion.

Is there a Difference between Catholic and Christian Religions?

Interestingly, the most significant denomination of Christianity is Catholicism. As a result, people who are Catholic are also Christian. However, people who are Christians might not be Catholics.

There are several branches of Christianity, including but not limited to Anglican, Protestant, Gnostic, Catholic, and Mormon.

The Pope leads the Catholic congregation, and as such, a Catholic is a person who follows the order of the Pope when it comes to Christianity.

The Catholic branch of Christianity is very vast, with about 60% of all Christians belonging to the Catholic church. 

Although both Christians and Catholics believe in God, there are some distinct differences in the two branches, including: 

The Place of Worship

Christians have the freedom to meet and worship wherever they like in the world. However, Catholics are limited to worshiping in the chapel.

The Pope

Perhaps the most obvious difference between Christianity and Catholicism is the Pope.

Other denominations of Christianity do not embrace any idea of papal supremacy, while Catholics embrace the idea of the Pope being the successor of Apostle Peter. 

The Virgin Mary

Although Christians believe that the Virgin Mary was an essential figure in the Bible, being the mother of Jesus Christ, they also think she was a sinner.

Furthermore, Christians believe that she passed away and was buried. However, when it comes to Catholic beliefs, the Virgin Mary is believed to be free of sin.

In fact, she is regarded to be the sainted leader and has the highest rank in sainthood. As a result, she is considered to have resurrected herself and is residing in heaven.

Pictures, Symbols, and Statues

Christians use a simple cross made of wood as a display piece in most churches. However, it is not uncommon for the walls to be decorated with images of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in the Catholic church.

Some Catholics are happy to display similar pictures in their homes.

Religious Routines

Christian churches most commonly have services on Sundays, with most Christians attending church at least once on Sundays.

However, the Catholic church has mass several times a day, with many Catholics attending mass more than once a day.

Furthermore, while Christians are welcome to come to the church to pray at any time, Catholics are supposed to stick to Mass times.

Lastly, Christians can worship God from any location, including their homes, while Catholics must keep their worship limited to a church, cathedral, or chapel.

Confessing Sins

Since Christians believe that Jesus Christ is their connection to God, all Christians can confess their sins directly to God by prayer. It is a highly personal process without interference from others.

Christians believe that repenting is all that is needed to rid yourself of your sins. There is no further penance for sins.

When it comes to Catholicism, however, sinners are required to repent their sins in the presence of a priest. First, the priest will listen intently to the sins of the Catholic, and then the priest might ask for penance in order to cancel the sins. 

The Celibacy of those in Service

Christian priests are allowed to marry and have children. However, most Catholic priests are expected to remain celibate while they are in service.

African American Man at Church with His Hand Raised

Are there Similarities between Christians and Catholics?

Yes, there are many similarities between the two denominations. Both are acts of individuals that have committed to serving God. They require a deep faith and commitment from the people in their congregations.

Another element that both expect is regular attendance of church services. When it comes to beliefs, there are several points that both belief in, including: 

Jesus Christ

Christians and Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Both belief in the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, both believe that Jesus Christ was born in human flesh, living amongst ordinary humans until his crucifixion. Finally, both Christians and Catholics believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins.

He was sent to guide us to eternal salvation.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Christians and Catholics believe that there is only one God. Their one God includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

God’s Expectation

Both Christians and Catholics believe that God expects us to follow his word. They believe that God becomes furious when people are unkind to each other because they disrespect his instruction to treat each other with kindness.

Our Judgment Day

Catholics and Christians believe that God will judge us in the afterlife for our decisions while living. As a result, we will spend an eternity in Hell or Heaven.

In addition, some congregations believe that those who have made severely bad decisions while living will face an eternity in purgatory.

Our Faith makes us Better People

Regardless of whether someone is Catholic or Christian, a commitment to God should inspire someone to be a better person. Having strong faith changes a person significantly, as the person tries to live a good life.

In addition, staying committed to God requires trust, dedication, and faith, all of which are beautiful traits for any person to have.


Although there are vast differences between Catholics and Christians, there are incredible similarities. The most important being a quest for faith. Living a life close to God is a goal that is admirable and inspiring.

Therefore, it is important to focus less on the differences between the branches of Christianity and focus more on what the common denominator is, a deep love for God.

We should all strive to keep our faith strong and be the best people we can be.

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