Best Answer
Answer">AnswerThe question should be "What are the differences between Catholicism and other Christians?"

Before delving into differences, it would be beneficial to list things that all Christians, including Catholics, have in common:

* God is the Creator, and Sustainer, of the Universe .

* God is deeply interested in the human race.

* God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit: 3 persons but 1 God.

* God became incarnate in the person known as Jesus. (Incarnation)

* The Virgin Mary conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through any sexual act with another person.

* Jesus is completely human and completely divine.

* Human beings turned away from God's wisdom: this is sin. Actually, humans ate of the fruit of knowledge, becoming aware of the existence of sin and thereby losing their innocence. They did so out of disobedience to God and as a result of listening to the serpent (Satan, the deceiver, formerly first among the angels and cast down by God), and the result was being thrown out of Eden.

* Only God can save human beings from the grasp of sin.

* Jesus (God incarnate) saved humanity by His freely-given sacrifice on the cross.

* Jesus rose from the grave, conquering death, and ascended in to Heaven.

* Christ will return one day; how, and in what form, we do not know. Anlthough scripture suggests that His return will be as a lion rather than as a lamb, perhaps meaning that He will not be as gentle when He returns.

* Through Christ's passion, death + resurrection, God reconciled humanity to Himself.

* God's grace (His love) and the salvation offered are completely free and cannot be

earned by what a person does, no matter how noble.

* The Holy Spirit dwells within each person.

* The Bible is a collection of works written by men. Some of these works were divinely inspired and are the word of God. All of the works in the current bible were selected by the Catholic church, with some books being omitted since they did not support the Catholic view.

* Jesus Christ is Head of the Church and is always present.

* Jesus left Christians the command to spread the Good News of salvation.

* Jesus directly left Christians 2 sacraments: Baptism and Eucharist.

* God's will is that all people accept the salvation and eternal life offered.


Now, the main doctrinal differences between Catholics and Protestants

* Catholics believe that after the Fall in the Garden of Eden, some original innocence and goodness remained in humanity whilst much of Protestantism (e.g. Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Baptists, Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism) teaches that humanity became totally depraved. A citation is needed for this thought, because not all Christians are taught that humanity is without goodness and innocence.

* Catholics: The bread and wine in the Eucharist are miraculously, and mysteriously, changed in to the Body and Blood of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Protestantsbelieve there is no change and that Christ's presence is symbolic (though many Anglicans do believe there is a change)

* Catholics: believe that only Catholics are permitted to partake of the Eucharist. Protestants practice "Open Communion" that expressly welcomes all believers to the Lord's table, regardless of denomination.

* Catholics: There are seven sacraments (holy moments): Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Reconciliation/Confession and Anointing of the Sick. Protestants have only 2 sacraments: Baptism and Eucharist (though some Anglicans also believe in seven)

* Catholics: It is Christ's will that there be 3 types of minister in the Church: bishops, presbyters/priests and deacons. Protestants sometimes have deacons but no presbyters/priests or bishops. A citation is needed for this thought, because most Christian churches have pastors/priests.

* Catholics: The saints are worthy of both honor and respect due to their fidelity to Christ. Catholics do not pray to saints, but ask saints to pray for them just as they would ask any person of faith for prayer. For Catholics, saint's physical bodies may be dead, but they are spiritually with Christ. Protestants do not ask saints for prayer because they believe that only Christ can intercede with God the Father. Most non-Catholic Christians also view the practice of praying to saints as idolatry.

* Catholics: The greatest saint is Mary, Mother of Jesus. Mary was so full of love for God that she did not sin (Immaculate Conception). Protestants respect Mary as Jesus' mother but believe that she sinned like any other person. They believe that Mary was entirely human, and not holy.

* Catholics: Because she did not sin, Mary's resurrected body was taken into heaven immediately after her death (the Assumption). Protestants believe Mary's body was buried, but where is the proof of what happened to her body?

* Catholics believe that only a person perfectly open to God can enter heaven; thus, when someone dies the sinfulness left inside is purged (Purgatory) by God's love. Purgatory is not a place but an experience. Protestants do not accept the doctrine of cleansing/purgation but say that a soul goes immediately to either heaven or hell. However, Christians that accept that Jesus died for all of their sins, and thereby reconciled them to God, believe that everyone who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior, who died to deliver them from their sins goes to Heaven.

* Catholics: God not only speaks to His people through Sacred Scripture, but also through the daily life of the Church over a long period of time; this is called tradition, and, although important, can never contradict Scripture. Protestantsbelieve in sola scriptura: Scripture alone, although some groups (e.g. Anglicans) do value tradition. However, some Christians do not believe that the bible is the unadulterated word of God. It only includes the works selected by Catholics, not selected by the Apostles, and as such is only the word of Catholics. The word of God is present in the bible, but the Catholics have selected works that supported their sect and perhaps omitted the word of God that was present in other works of the time.

* Catholics: The Bishop of Rome (pope) is the spiritual leader of the Church (Christ is the Head), as this is Christ's will. Protestants do not accept the pope as spiritual leader, although some non-Catholics (e.g. Anglicans) have their own spiritual leader. Most Christians who are not Catholic view Jesus as the head of the Church. In this view, there is no need for other religious figures, since Jesus fulfills all religious needs. Jesus has already granted us Salvation without any requirements aside from believing on the Lord and being saved.

* Catholics: Though he is capable of making mistakes, when the pope formally speaks about morals or dogma in the name of the whole Church, he cannot make a mistake because the Holy Spirit guides the Church. (Infallibility). This has only happened twice. Protestants do not accept papal infallibility and do not believe that any one person can speak for the Church. Jesus was the only person who could speak for the church, because he was also divine. The Apostles were directly influenced by Jesus, and could also speak for Jesus. Beyond this, nobody has authority to give morals or dogma because the time of Prophets is over, we are told by God in the Bible.

Non-doctrinal differences:

There are other differences, due to human (not divine) law, and these may change.

* Catholic priests of the Latin Rite may not be married (Eastern Rite Catholic priests may be married). Protestantclergy may be married.

* Catholic laity have a voice in the Church but they do not help govern. In Protestant (and Orthodox) churches the laity help make every day decisions.

* Catholics have no say in whom their leaders will be while in Protestant (and Orthodox) churches people usually either choose or have real influence.

* Catholicism tends to be more prescriptive when it comes to what vestments to wear during services whilst in Protestant churches clergy have great freedom.

* Catholicism tends to be much more centralized than Orthodoxy and Protestantism.

* Catholicism does not allow a divorced person to be remarried in church unless a Church annulment has been granted. Whilst a few Protestant churches (e.g. Church of England) do not like to remarry divorcees, most permit remarriage after divorce.

* Catholicism allows non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion only under strict conditions. Protestant churches usually allow any baptized person to receive Communion, although some non-Catholic churches do not observe Communion. (Orthodox churches totally forbid the practice).



The mainstream religions of the world and Catholics themselves consider Catholicism to be Christianity.

A difference between Protestantism and Catholicism includes celibacy of the clergy, that is that priests cannot be married, (Jesus is not recorded in the Bible as making that a requirement, and the apostles were all married, save St. John, though they were married before they knew Jesus). The defense of a non-married clergy comes from the understanding that Jesus was not married since He dedicated His life solely to God, and sought to teach people the Word of God free of familial obligations. Hence, the Catholic priests of today do not marry so they may dedicate their lives to God and teach people the Word of God. Eastern rite priests, however, can be married before they enter the seminary to become priests.

Another difference is in receiving Communion. Catholics are offered Communion at every Mass. The idea being that, as human beings, they can receive the Body and Blood of Christ and the strength it gives to live a Christian life.

A third difference is the idea of confession. Catholics believe that they should go to confession to verbally express their sins. Besides the grace of the sacrament and the guarantee that their sins are forgiven by Christ who acts through the priest, Catholics also feel a natural sense of peace. Some other religions think that a Catholic has to go to confession, almost as a punishment. However, most Catholics feel this give them happiness, joy and strength.

Catholics are Christians and they believe in Christ.

Even what is "written in the Holy bible is just the word of man". As what is written in the Magisterial Teachings of the Roman Catholic church. The differences are huge and many between the numerous denominations of Christianity to the point one wonders so many beliefs are really from God or man-made. However, most Christians believe there is only one God, and that no matter the name you attach to your one God, we all worship the same one God.

Roman Catholic AnswerChristianity is the religion of, the body of faith and morals taught by, the Catholic Church of Christ. The word may be properly extended to include the religious systems of the dissident Eastern churches and of some Protestant bodies (see Christian below). The current popular use of the word [Christianity] in an ethical, subjective sense, is to be deplored: it is stripping it of all objective or historical connotations.

Christian. A name first given to the followers of our Lord at Antioch (Acts xi, 26). Since the rise of Protestantism the name has been used in so many different senses as to have become almost meaningless: it may indicate a Catholic or a Unitarian, or even be applied to an infidel who displays some virtue which is associated with Christ. It may reasonably be applied to the members of all the ancient churches, whether in communion with the Holy See or not, and to those Protestants who profess, explicitly or implicitly, the Nicene creed in its traditional interpretation. the Church puts no definite official meaning on the word, as she does on Catholic.

from A Catholic Dictionary, Edited by Donald Attwater, 2nd Edition, revised.
Catholicism is one of the Christian religions.
Christianity is following the teachings and worship of Jesus Christ. The Catholic (universal) church is the institution set up by Christ through St. Peter, the 1st Pope and is the true, Catholic and Apostolic church. The eastern Orthodox churches including the Coptic church of Egypt are also Apostolic. A schism occured in the 5th century between the roman and coptic church for mainly geographical and political reasons, likewise the Orthodox church in the 11th century. Doctrinally they are virtually the same.

Other than the above, other Christian groupings (they cannot truly be called Christian churches) are not apostolic, being man made.

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