Catholic vs. Christian: Subtle Differences

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Difference between Catholic and Christian

It is interesting to note that the terms Catholic and Christian signify two separate faiths that are as different as any two could be, yet they both point to Christ as a central figure. That being said, they do have a number of clear differences, and they may as well be two entirely separate religions for all their disparities in terms of belief system. Let's take a closer look at what both are all about.


Core Beliefs

Christianity is a religion that counts several million believers from around the world. All religions that fall under the umbrella of Christianity believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior. The Catholic faith is only one of many denominations of Christianity that include Lutheranism, Protestantism and many others. Of all these different sects, Catholicism is the one with the largest population by far. Many other Christian religions share in the beliefs of Catholicism, although there are numerous theological differences as well. Nevertheless, all Christian religions believe that Christ died on the cross in order to save mankind from its sins.

Beliefs On Specific Issues

One key difference between the two is that Catholics believe that man retained some measure of righteousness after the Garden of Eden, while many other faiths preach of man’s total descent into sinfulness after the fall from grace.Catholics also believe in the seven sacraments, while many Christian faiths do not hold such sacraments in importance.

Another important difference has to do with Mary. While all Christian believe that Mary was indeed the mother of God and thereby hold her in reverence, not all faiths hold her in the same regard as Catholics do. Catholics believe that Mary was the greatest saint for instance, and that she was free from sin her whole life. Other Christians, such as Protestants in particular, believe that Mary was a sinner just as everyone else is.

Finally, Catholics believe in the Pope as the earthly leader of God’s church, a view that is not shared by any other Christian faiths.

Bible Beliefs

An important distinction is how the Bible is interpreted, with Catholics believing that the book is subject to both spiritual and literal interpretations. Many other Christian sects are a lot stricter in this regard, with the meaning of the Bible taken word for word.



  • Only one of many Christian denominations
  • The Christian denomination with the largest number of followers
  • Believes in the seven sacraments
  • Believes in Mary as the Mother of Jesus, and that she was the greatest saint and was free from sin
  • Believes in the Pope as a spiritual leader
  • Believes that the Bible can be interpreted spiritually and literally
  • Believes in confession


  • Is comprised of various denominations, including Catholicism, Lutheranism, Protestantism and many others
  • Non-Catholic denominations generally do not recognize the sacraments
  • Believe that Mary was the mother of Jesus, but don’t revere her as a saint
  • Follows the Bible word for word, although accepts bishop’s interpretations occasionally
  • Believe in an personal dialogue with Jesus as opposed to confession


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