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What's the Difference Between Catholics and Christians

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Catholics and Christians are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Catholics are Roman Catholic and Christian refers to all people who believe in Jesus Christ as their savior. There's no difference between the two when it comes to beliefs because they both worship one God and follow the Bible, but there are some differences in how they practice their faith.

As one of the largest religions in the world, Christianity has always been a hot topic. There are many people who don't know what the difference between a Catholic and a Christian is, so this article will explain it for you!

Who are Catholics?

pope francis
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church

Catholics are people who follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholics believe in one God, who is three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They also believe in Jesus Christ as their savior. Catholics also believe in the Bible as truth from God, and they follow Christ's teachings.

The Catholic Church began in the first century with the Apostle Peter as its leader. Throughout history, many people have joined and left Catholicism, but it continues to be one of the largest sects today around the world.

Who are Christians?

jesus christ
Jesus Christ, central figure of Christianity

Christians are people who look to Jesus as their savior. They may or may not belong to a church, but all Christians believe that God sent his son into this world to save us from sin and eternal damnation. Many churches have good Christian education programs for children through adults of every age.

These classes teach about biblical stories such as Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Moses' Ten Commandments, etc., which help explain how we can know what is right or wrong according to our creator. In Christianity, there is a focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ and how to apply those teachings to our lives.

Key Differences between Catholics & Christians

The difference in strictness

Catholics in general are more strict when it comes to following the Bible and teachings of the Church. There are many rules and regulations that they must follow, such as attending Mass every Sunday and abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent. Christians, on the other hand, maybe more relaxed in their observance of religious customs.

The difference in population

Since even Roman Catholics are Christians, the population of the latter is much larger. There are approximately 2 billion Christians worldwide, while there are about 1.3 billion Catholics in the world today.

The difference between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy

There is a big distinction that separates this branch of Christianity from others. The main factor separating them stems from their understanding of who holds authority over Christian practices - whether it be Pope or Church Councils (Eastern Orthodox). For example, unlike Eastern Orthodox branches, Roman Catholic churches emphasize tradition as well as scripture when it comes to matters concerning marriage annulment and communion during mass.

Similarities between Catholicism & Christianity

Both Catholics and Christians believe in one God who created the world and all that exists in it. They also believe in the Bible as God's authoritative word, and that Jesus is the Savior of the world. They also believe that God is present and active in the lives of Christians.


What makes someone a Catholic or a Christian?

A Catholic is always a Christian, but not all Christians are Catholics. This is because there are some practicing beliefs that one has to follow while being a catholic. A Catholic is someone who follows the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and recognizes the Pope as their spiritual leader. While a Christian refers to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their personal savior - regardless of what church/denomination they may belong to. Anyone who wants to be a Catholic has to accept the Pope too.

Are Catholics more strict than Christians?

In some ways, Catholicism can be considered more strict than Christianity - since Catholics are required to follow the rules of their church and attend Mass on a regular basis. In contrast, Christians have no such requirements or practices that they must adhere to in order to remain devout followers of Jesus Christ.

What about Eastern Orthodoxy? Is this considered a different type of Christian/Catholic denomination?

Eastern Orthodoxy shares many similarities to both Catholicism and Protestantism - in that it follows its own interpretation of Christianity which contains elements borrowed from each sect within its faith. However, they are seen as distinct denominations because there are certain practices/beliefs found only among Eastern Orthodox Christians. The biggest difference between this group and others is how they view authority.

Where Catholics believe in leadership under priests who take guidance directly from God through prayer; Protestants follow an individual's direct connection with Jesus Christ without any form of intermediary; while Eastern Orthodox sees spiritual authority as residing in the entire church community (rather than an individual).

What about Protestantism & Christian? Are they the same thing?

Protestantism is a branch within the Christian denomination but is not associated with Catholicism, since it wanted to reform the Catholic Church during the 16th century. While it's perfectly fine to use both terms interchangeably, a better way of describing someone who follows Christianity would be 'a protestant follower of Jesus Christ since that more accurately describes what their faith entails. Protestants believe in salvation through grace alone, which is why some refer to them as being "reformed" sects rather than Christians.


Catholicism and Christianity are both Christian religions that worship Jesus Christ as their savior. The beliefs of the two differ in some ways, but they do not represent mutually exclusive traditions with differing views on salvation or heaven. It is important to note that there is no single unified Catholic church; instead, Catholics belong to different denominations. You might have had a few misconceptions about what each of these terms means, but hopefully, you now feel more educated on this topic. 


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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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