Catholic vs Roman Catholic
Catholic and Roman Catholic beliefs do not differ drastically though there is some difference between them. As a matter of fact, the Roman Catholic is one of the oldest religions of the world and by far the largest Christian group. Roman Catholics pray to Mary and saints. They adore angels too. If you take Catholic and Roman Catholic as two denominations that come under the Catholic Church, which is in communion with the Pope, then, you will have one difference between the two terms. However, if you take the term Catholic to include all Catholic beliefs (that is including Catholic churches that are not in communion with the Pope), then the difference between Catholic and Roman Catholic is different from the difference you got for the earlier definition.
What is Catholic?
Catholic generally refers to all the Catholic beliefs such as Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholic, etc. Orthodox Catholic Church is headed by a Patriarch. The word Catholic is coined from the Greek word ‘katholou’ meaning ‘throughout the world’, ‘universal’ or ‘general’. The word was first used by the early Christians to describe their religion and belief. According to the Catholics, Jesus is the savior of mankind. The Greek ‘katholikos’ became the word ‘Catholics’. The word also means ‘according to the whole’. Since the Catholics are firm believers of Jesus, all the Catholic Churches are the churches of Christ. The word Catholic can be understood in different ways. The word could be taken to mean, ‘of or involving the Roman Catholic Church’, ‘of or relating to the universal Christian Church’, ‘of or relating to the ancient undivided Christian church,’ or ‘of or relating to those churches that have claimed to be representatives of the ancient undivided church’.
What is Roman Catholic?
The Roman Catholic Church is headed by a Pope. It is actually one tradition of the churches headed by the Catholic Church. What all these churches have in common is that they are in communion with the Pope. The major difference between Catholicism and Roman Catholicism lies in the performance of rites. The Roman Catholics resort to the Latin rites whereas the orthodox Catholics resort to the Byzantine rites. Roman Catholic is considered, sometimes, as a word that distinguishes it from all the other type of churches. As a matter of fact, the Holy Roman Catholic and the Apostolic Church refers to Rome.
What is the difference between Catholic and Roman Catholic?
Catholic and Roman Catholic are both terms used to refer to a person’s religious beliefs. There a several theories regarding the two words Catholic and Roman Catholic.
• Catholic generally refers to all the Catholic beliefs such as Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholic, etc. Roman Catholic refers to one tradition. Originally, Roman Catholic was introduced to distinguish this belief from other Catholic beliefs. However, by now, the terms Catholic and Roman Catholic both refer to the same religion.
• Catholic is wider than Roman Catholic in the field of expansion as it also includes Roman Catholicism.
• When you say Catholic Church, it refers to the churches that are in communion with the Pope. Pope is their leader. In the Catholic Churches, there are different rites. These are different traditions. Roman Catholic is one such rite. There are other rites such as Maronite Catholics. These are all in communion with the Pope. So, in this sense, Roman Catholic is a subset of Catholic.
• However, if you consider Catholic as the widest possible area that include Catholic (in communion with Pope), Orthodox Catholic (not in communion with Pope), then the difference between Catholic and Roman Catholic changes. Here, Catholic, as in the churches that are with the Pope and Roman Catholic are both subsets of the wider term Catholic.
- St. Paul Catholic Church by Ian Poellet (CC BY-SA 3.0)
- St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church by AgnosticPreachersKid (CC BY-SA 3.0)