What’s the difference between being a Catholic and being a Christian? Being a Christian is a lifestyle that involves the belief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and Savior of mankind. Being a Catholic is part of the Catholic Church, which also considers Christ as the Messiah and Savior, but relies on doctrines and dogmas to be followed by the faithful. Soon, a Catholic is a Christian, but not every Christian is a Catholic.
In this sense, Catholics see religion according to the interpretation of the Catholic Church. A Christian who is not part of this group can have his own vision of Christianity, or even disagree with certain aspects preached by the church.
A Christian can be Catholic, Evangelical, Spiritist, among other religious denominations. Moreover, a Christian may not even belong to any religious congregation, being self-sufficient in relation to his beliefs and the way he lives his life, according to what he believes about Jesus Christ.
What is being a Christian?
To be considered a Christian, the individual must accept Jesus Christ as a savior. It is common, but not compulsory, to become a Christian after baptism, since it would let the Holy Spirit guide his life from this event.
Being a Christian is not only to affirm that you have faith in Jesus Christ, but to be in accordance with your teachings and to follow what was preached by him. In other words, it is necessary to understand what Christ preached and daily practice the actions well seen to approach a state of holiness.
For this reason, a Christian must have Jesus Christ as a supreme example of benevolence and human being. Therefore, it is important that the individual identifies with the figure of Christ and commits himself to the mission of continuing to spread his love for the people on Earth.
In following the teachings of Christ, a Christian would be creating a testimony of life related to the Son of God, one of the premises of the Christian religion.
What is being a Catholic?
Being a Catholic is also being a Christian, but in this case according to the traditional principles of the Catholic Church. These principles are based on the Bible and protect the tradition of the Christian Catholic religion.
Thus, the institution is based on continuing the Mission of Jesus Christ.
In order for the Mission of Christ to be continued, the Catholic Church follows in the footsteps of Peter and the other disciples, who were charged with spreading the ideals of Jesus after his death and resurrection. Peter would have founded the church, his successor being the Pope. The bishops would be successors of the other apostles.
Although every Catholic is a Christian, the church represents a welcoming place for all Christians, whether from anywhere. Therefore, it is based on four pillars:
- Apostolic Foundation
The unit indicates that, despite several churches around the world, there is only one Catholic Church, commanded by the Pope. The Church would be holy and receive Christians from anywhere on the planet, characteristics denominated by holiness and universality.
The Apostolic Foundation is that the church follows the actions of the Apostles. This is because they had personal contact with Christ and were eyewitnesses of their miracles and teachings.
Therefore, to be considered a Catholic, it is necessary to accept the authority of the pope and the bishops, in addition to believing in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and respecting their traditions. It is also imperative that the Catholic individual participates in the sacraments and other activities developed by the Church.
Being a Christian vs. Being a Catholic
As it is to be assumed, being a Christian does not mean being a Catholic. There are several Christian religious denominations nowadays, such as Protestants and Orthodox, which are still divided into smaller congregations, such as Evangelicals and other segments.
Therefore, to be a Christian, just accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and seek to live a life as you have lived. This means that it is important to love one another, the main teaching of Jesus.
Being a Catholic is also being a Christian. This is because Catholics follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and seek in the Catholic Church a place to practice their faith and be in touch with what was preached by the Messiah.
In this sense, they respect the religious traditions of Catholicism and participate in the sacraments. They also consider the pope to be the successor of Peter and the main authority of the church, being the bishops also successors of the Apostles.
Because they believe that the Church continues the mission of Christ on Earth, they respect their traditions, doctrines and dogmas.