What Is the Difference Between Roman Catholic & Catholic Church?


Roman Catholicism is the largest denomination of the Christian religion. According to New World Encylcopedia, there are 1.1 billion Roman Catholics on the planet. While Roman Catholics are the largest group of Christians, slightly less than half of all Christians are Protestant, or Evangelical. The Greek Orthodox are also Catholic, but not Roman Catholic.


  • The Roman Catholic Church traces its origin to Saint Peter, one of the 12 apostles and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Great debate surrounds the role and importance of St. Peter among Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Greek Orthodox. There is little historical evidence to show St. Peter was ever in Rome.

Papal Authority

  • Roman Catholics, claiming the Pope as their spiritual leader, call him the Vicar of Christ. Other Christians recognize no man by that title. Greek Orthodox Catholics do not attribute any spiritual authority to the Pope in Rome.


  • Roman Catholic Bibles contain books that other Christian groups do not recognize as part of the canon of scripture. These include The First Book of Esdras, The Second Book of Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Additions to the Book of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasseh, the First Book of Maccabees and the Second Book of Maccabees.


  • Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Catholics practice a sacramental means of grace. There are seven major sacraments that make grace accessible to the believer: baptism, communion, marriage, confirmation, confession, holy orders and anointing the sick (final unction). Other Christians recognize baptism and communion as the only sacraments or ordinances.


  • The Roman Catholic church has an exalted view of Mary that attributes titles to her such as "Mother of God" and "Queen of Heaven" and places her in a role of mediator between the believers and God. Eastern Orthodox Catholics hold her in high esteem as well without going to these extra-biblical extremes.


  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Marc
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