Difference between Catholic and Christian

The basic difference between Catholic and Christian is that while one term is used to denote a whole religion, another is a part of it. So, in simple terms, ‘Christian’ is a term that is used to refer to an individual who follows and believes the teachings and the life and death of Jesus Christ. Whereas, a ‘Catholic’ is a person that believes and follows Catholicism, a part of the Christianity religion.

Below we will be looking at these two terms in detail. So, let’s dive into the topic without further ado.

Who is a Catholic?

So, as discussed previously, Catholic is a follower and believer of Catholicism. One of the largest denominations under Christianity, Catholicism is even regarded as the only true path to heaven by its followers. And as almost 60 percent of Christians recognise themselves as Catholics, outsiders often confuse Catholicism as the highest of all denominations under the religion.

While Catholics do follow the teachings offered by Jesus Christ, the final interpretation of scriptures and laws is what makes them different from the religion as a whole. They believe that God’s revelation is only accessible through the advice and guidance provided by the sacred traditions and sacred scriptures which is passed on to them through the Pope.

The Pope, also known as Apostle Peter’s successor, is solely responsible for the interpretations of the bible as per Catholicism. As the leader of the Catholic Church, his tasks include offering interpretations, confirming or falsifying existing beliefs and maintaining peace and uniformity amongst the believers.

Who is a Christian?

Now, a Christian is an individual who follows Christianity as a whole. They believe that God is the only truth and therefore to be a true Christian, one needs to completely change the flow of their lives by opting for Baptism.

A special ceremony held to embark the journey of a new soul on the path laid by Jesus Christ, Baptism is a form of ritual purification. This is done by either sprinkling Holy water on to the forehead of a person or immersing them in water completely. The act is said to help purify one’s soul of personal desires and ambitions and hence support them to have better lives.

Apart from Baptism, Christians also believe in repentance. They trust that God is ever-forgiving and that Jesus Christ is actually God’s Son. Also, Christians are known to have more modernised thoughts as compared to Catholics, and hence the difference between Catholic and Christian being such a trendy subject.

So, what is the difference between Catholics and Christians?

The Pope

Unlike Catholics, Christians don’t actually believe in the ideal of papal supremacy. They only recognise God as the Supreme Being with no mediating channels linking them with the Superpower.

However, Catholics are bound by the rules levied by the Pope and hence the Roman Catholic Church. This even includes laws that may contradict with the laws of the land.

The Virgin Mary

While most Christians believe in the Virgin Mary, some see the figure as a sinner and not the leader of all saints as in Catholicism. This also further leads to the confusion revolving around the Virgin Mary’s resurrection.

Thus, while Christians believe that the mother of Jesus Christ was a sinner just like everyone else, Catholics recognise her to be sinless and hence also accept her resurrection.


Catholics are often found to have statues or pictures of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, along with other saints. This can be found within their homes, at a Catholic church, with some even wearing them as jewellery.

On the other hand, Christians are not so accepting of these ideas. They have limited depictions of Christ or other saints even in their churches and mostly carry a plain wooden cross.


Finally, Christians go to mass mostly on Sundays or important religious days. But for Catholics, attending mass is a daily responsibility. With a regular morning and evening mass, some Catholics may even choose to go to the Church numerous times a day for making prayers to Christ.

To make this easier for you to understand, here is a tabular difference between Catholic and Christian.

Place of OriginRoman Province of JudeaRoman Province of Judea
Depictions of GodAllowed and extensively usedRarely used, with some denominations forbidding it completely
Belief systemOne God (The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit), Apostles, Nicene’s Creed states beliefsOne God (The Trinity)
Place of WorshipChurch, Cathedral, Chapel, BasilicaChurch, Cathedral, Basilica, Chapel, Personal residence, Home Bible study
ClergyDeacons, Monks, Nuns, Priests, Bishops, Archbishop, Cardinal Pope, etcPriests, Bishops, Ministers, Monks, and Nuns
FounderJesus Christ and St. Peter the ApostleJesus Christ
Position of the Virgin MaryThe Queen of all SaintsMother of Jesus, with reverence in many denominations
ScripturesThe Holy Bible, a collection of 73 Canonical books (2 parts)The Holy Bible
ProphetMoses, Abraham, John the Baptist, etcMoses, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Johns in both New and Old Testaments, etc
Life after DeathEternal Salvation in Heaven or Eternal Damnation in Hell, PurgatoryEternity in Heaven or Hell, Purgatory
Means of SalvationBelief in Jesus as the sole saviour of humanity, Baptism, Salvation through faith and penance, Good works, Seven SacramentsThrough Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection
Identification of JesusGod Incarnate. Son of the Father. The Messiah saviour of mankind, sole mediator between God and manThe Son of God

There are a lot many factors worth considering when it comes to understanding the difference between Catholic and Christian. So, if you would like us to cover some more of these points, don’t forget to share your opinions in the comment section and we will be sure to look at it.

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