Are Catholics Christian?

I’m starting a discussion with some people online who state that Catholics are not Christian and that they can’t see how Catholics stay catholic. Here’s my response.

“Let me try to shed some light on why good Catholics stay Catholic. A catholic uses three tools when examining the validity of the Church: the bible, reason, and history. If we look at the bible in context we find theres not a single scripture that goes against Catholic teaching. All the scripture passages protestants like to bring up that they think disproves Catholicism really doesn’t at all when taken in context. This answers bornforbattle74’s comment about his mom being told to study the catechism and not the bible. Now they shouldn’t have used the term “not intelligent enough” rather “not prepared yet” as the bible can easily be taken out of context to mean almost anything. The bible itself tells us this in the epistles of St. Peter states that the writings of St. Paul are confusing and some will twist them to their own destruction. next we look at reason. If the bible can be taken and twisted in such ways then clearly reason would lead us to conclude that an authoritative interpreter is needed. Otherwise whose to say who’s right and who’s wrong amount the thousands of different protestant denominations out there teaching contradictory ideas. Finally we look at history. The simple fact is that the teachings of the catholic church have been what Christians have held all the way since the time of Christ. And not until more than a thousand years later do we see Christians coming up with novel protestant ideas. So are Catholics Christian? Yes in fact they’re Christian in the truest sense.”

What do you guys think?

I would start out by asking them to define their terms: what do they mean by “Christian?”

To a Catholic, the answer is simple: a Christian is anyone who has received Christian Baptism (regardless of who administered Baptism).

Catholics and most protestants have valid Christian Baptism. So, I have a feeling that they mean something different. What, exactly, do they mean?

Excellent. If they object to what I’ve stated then I’ll definitely ask them this question

We are Christians…have been called Christians since the first century

First members of the Church were called “the disciples”… (See Acts)

Later called followers of “the way” …and it seems “Nazarenes” (see Acts)

then at Antioch we started being called Christians. (See Acts)

Later in the first century the Church started to be called “Catholic” (see St. Ignatius --again at Antioch --use around the year 100–Catholic Answers will have various things on this - he presupposes his audience will know the term so it was used already in the first century)

So in time Christians began to be also called Catholics.

Now a days we have many sorts of Christians --who are indeed Christians and our brothers…whom we call Christians …though we are unhappily not yet in full communion.

Catholics are Christians who in full communion with the successor of Peter. We call ourselves Christians all the time…Pope Benedict XVI when addressing the faithful did not usually say “Catholics this or that” but called them Christians…for that is what we are (see his homilies or audiences)

Other Christians have various degrees of communion with us.

As one early Christian noted (375AD):

“If you want to know who I am,” he said, “Christian is my name, Catholic is my surname.”
~ St. Pacian

Blessings on you for defending the church! There are many ways to answer the original question “Are Catholics Christian?” and you’ve answered it admirably. I’m a bit militant when answering and use the short form “yes.” That’s all I believe is needed to respond to their question. Those who wish to attack the Church will usually launch into various modes of attack and a Catholic firm in their belief should be able to refute them all and plant the seed of Christ’s Truth and Love at the same time. Remember, our wayward brothers and sisters are NOT the enemy! We are called to bring them back to the flock gently and lovingly. Have a Blessed Lent!:thumbsup:

I recently found out why many people and other Christians do not consider Catholics to be Christians. To these people, being a Catholic means following the Roman Church, Doctrines, and Dogmas. To them, the Roman Church, Doctrines, Dogmas are not God or Jesus. To them, they have direct, personal relationships with Jesus Christ that comes first. So they look at Catholics as worshippers of The Church, while they consider themselves worshippers of Jesus Christ.

Which on it’s face shows a real lack of understanding and knowledge of the Catholic faith.
It doesn’t get more personal with Jesus than with the Eucharist.
Having said that,I know Protestants’ don’t believe in the Real Presence,so probably not a good arguing point.However it is the most salient point in defending a Catholics’ relationship with Christ.

I am 78 years old, I’ve been a Catholic all my life and if I’m not a Christian, they sure fooled me. Catholics are the original Christians and who ever decided we no longer are, is sadly mistaken. I challenge any non-Catholic that believes all that nonsense Catholics are accused of, (worshiping statues, Mary, talking to dead people, (Saints) etc.etc and etc.), to take an RCIA class and then see what they think!!. Then come on here and post your conclusions. Would be interesting! God Bless, Memaw

Catholicism is a branch of Christianity. We are the original and the first type of Christians to have ever existed. The Orthodox broke away from us in 1054 AD. The protestant revolution was started by Martin Luther in 1517 AD. Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodox are the branches of Christianity. A Christian can be anyone who believes that Christ is God and is the Messiah.

When, in fact, the Church has only five rules, and we can doubt everything She teaches and yet remain faithful Catholics.

That’s why it’s important to define the terms. What does somebody mean when they say “Christian?” They might mean someone who accepts the Bible as the sole rule of faith (in which case Catholics are not “Christian” by that definition). But, once the term is defined, we can discuss it in particular.

They might mean someone who doesn’t worship Mary. That’s a different conversation.

For Catholics, being Christian simply means to be Baptized. It does not carry any beliefs, rules, obligations, or conduct. It’s possible that someone could be Baptized as an infant but raised in a non-Christian environment. The person may have never even heard of Jesus, but he is still a Christian (and nothing can ever un-make him a Christian), and if he manages to avoid mortal sin, he is assured salvation (wouldn’t that would be a big surprise!)

If Christians are the followers of the Messiah, Jesus Christ then there is no more Christian of a Church than the one founded on Peter in Rome.

Division in Christ occurs most notably in scriptural interpretation (authority being the central issue) but has been part of Christianity since Jesus walked the earth.

Ask your friends, when did those who professed to follow Jesus divide themselves in him and in his teachings? A first example is mentioned in the bible, when those who did not believe his teaching in John 6:53, to eat his flesh and drink his blood as true food and true drink split into two groups (the original protestants I like to call them if my audience is light hearted enough to laugh it off). Those who believed were the disciples, first of which was Peter who declared Jesus had the words of everlasting life. But the others who thought the saying was too hard no longer “walked with Jesus” in other words, no longer had a physical presence of Jesus, whether they still considered themselves Christians and continued to be Christian or not.

The Christians were both those who did and did not believe his teaching in John 6:53 but only the followers that believed were in full communion, just like today. Catholics share in the fullness of the faith and walk physically with Jesus while non catholic Christians are limited to a spiritual communion with Jesus.
I’m not a student of theology and beg to be corrected if I erred in my response, but Christians are all who have been baptized properly and to be a Christian is like being pregnant, you are or you aren’t. Catholics are the last followers of Jesus that I would call NOT Christian. That shows extreme lack of knowledge and understanding of what Jesus established for us on earth.

DavidFilmer #10
we can doubt everything She teaches and yet remain faithful Catholics.


Can. 205 Those baptized are fully in the communion of the Catholic Church on this earth who are joined with Christ in its visible structure by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical governance.

Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

John Henry Cardinal Newman said “ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate.” (Apologia pro vita Sua).

Even theologians aren’t totally free “to raise doubts”.
33. Dissent has different aspects. In its most radical form, it aims at changing the Church following a model of protest which takes its inspiration from political society. **More frequently, it is asserted that the theologian is not bound to adhere to any Magisterial teaching unless it is infallible. Thus a kind of theological positivism is adopted, according to which, doctrines proposed without exercise of the charism of infallibility are said to have no obligatory character about them, leaving the individual completely at liberty to adhere to them or not. The theologian would accordingly be totally free to raise doubts or reject the non-infallible teaching of the Magisterium particularly in the case of specific moral norms. With such critical opposition, he would even be making a contribution to the development of doctrine. **34. Dissent is generally defended by various arguments, two of which are more basic in character. The first lies in the order of hermeneutics. The documents of the Magisterium, it is said, reflect nothing more than a debatable theology. The second takes theological pluralism sometimes to the point of a relativism which calls the integrity of the faith into question. Here the interventions of the Magisterium would have their origin in one theology among many theologies, while no particular theology, however, could presume to claim universal normative status. In opposition to and in competition with the authentic magisterium, there thus arises a kind of “parallel magisterium” of theologians.(27)

Certainly, it is one of the theologian’s tasks to give a correct interpretation to the texts of the Magisterium and to this end he employs various hermeneutical rules. Among these is the principle which affirms that Magisterial teaching, by virtue of divine assistance, has a validity beyond its argumentation, which may derive at times from a particular theology. As far as theological pluralism is concerned, this is only legitimate to the extent that the unity of the faith in its objective meaning is not jeopardized.(28) Essential bonds link the distinct levels of unity of faith, unity-plurality of expressions of the faith, and plurality of theologies. The ultimate reason for plurality is found in the unfathomable mystery of Christ who transcends every objective systematization. This cannot mean that it is possible to accept conclusions contrary to that mystery and it certainly does not put into question the truth of those assertions by which the Magisterium has declared itself.(29) As to the “parallel magisterium”, it can cause great spiritual harm by opposing itself to the Magisterium of the Pastors. Indeed, when dissent succeeds in extending its influence to the point of shaping; a common opinion, it tends to become the rule of conduct. This cannot but seriously trouble the People of God and lead to contempt for true authority.(30) [My emphasis].

I hear what you’re saying and I’ve heard it myself. I usually ask people with this stance “so why did Jesus leave the keys to His church to His Apostles?” Were they meant to lock up the church since all humans afterwards won’t need the church? If each person has a personal relationship with Jesus, does this mean we can stop loving our neighbors as ourselves? Are we still commanded to save others as Jesus directed us to or can we just focus on our own personal salvation?

People tend to confuse “dogma” and “doctrine” because they don’t have any experience with the two. Interestingly enough, those who claim a personal relationship with Jesus is all you need for salvation are setting they own brand of “doctrine” out there for others to follow. In doing so, they attack the Catholic church “dogma” which is an attack against Jesus Christ Himself!

Amen! Semper Fidelis


My two cents worth:

They have no concept of a “good Catholic”. Instead focus on their misconceptions of the Church, Scriptures, Tradition and the faithful.

"The Bible is, and remains the [Catholic] Church’s book, and the Bible can exist as Scripture only in the [Catholic] Church. [Joseph T. Lienhard SJ, The Bible, the Church, and Authority, p 84]

The Protestant or reformer may say every individual is the arbiter of Scripture. The diversity of ‘equally valid’ doctrine among the schismatic churches belies this.

“The notion that all religions are ultimately equivalent appears as a commandment of tolerance and respect for others; if that is so, then one must respect the decision of another person who decides to change religions, but it is not permissible to call this conversion: that would assign a higher status to the Christian faith and thus contradict the idea of equality. But the Christian certainly does believe that in Christ the living God calls us in a unique way, which demands obedience and conversion. This presupposes that the question of truth plays a part in the relations between religions and that truth is a gift for everyone and alienates no one.”[Pope Benedict XVI, Truth and Tolerance]

Protestants and reformers tend to believe they have absolute sovereignty and independence from God’s will; after all they say, ‘one religion is as good as another’, i.e. relativism. Looking inward for authority, each rationalist holds the necessary individual authority to establish basic cosmic truths. This forms complete independence from any social morality not otherwise originating from one’s interior. This degradation continues with the implied right to judge moral and civil law. The argument extended is to say that God’s laws are relative; “what’s true for you, may not be true for me”. Polls and consensus become the judge of right and wrong; rather than God’s immutable truth, e.g. abortion. And finally, in the extreme the relativism requires absolute freedom of thought in matters of morality and religion.

Morality requires a standard or a guide for our actions that is subordinated to an ultimate purpose. In the case of the most basic fundamental rules, all actions are subject to an omnipotent ruler (God). Reasoning in the light of His ultimate purpose is moral order, to govern in the light of His fundamental moral rules produces law and order-or social stability.

You will ultimately need to explain what the True Church of Jesus Christ is NOT:
*]Church is not an organ whose unique differences from other ‘Christian’ religions are deemed inconsequential. “Based on incorrect theological perspectives and is characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another.’“ Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris mission, December 7, 1990.
*]Christ’s Church is not reformable
*]Church is not a company of like minded believers joined together by some vague vibe of Christ’s Divinity and Christ’s humanity.
*]Church is not a democracy whose doctrines are subject to the will of men. Instead it is a rule of faith, subject to the will of God.
*]Church is not constituted and commissioned by man, e.g. Luther, Calvin etc.
*]The Church is not Scripture, THE BOOK, i.e. Scripture Alone.
*]The Church is not body of ‘believers’ saying “Jesus Christ”, rather a body of faithful “doing” Christ’s sayings.
*]The Church is not solely the body of physical beings in a brick building. Rather Church is the body of faithful souls in communion with the Church including those in purgatory, and those in heaven.
Then you are obliged to explain what the True Church of Jesus Christ IS:

There is only one True Word of Christ that resides in only one teaching authority, the Catholic Church. In commissioning the Apostles to teach, Christ created a Divine college, sufficiently of God to teach a divine Word. Any other is false. Thus we see that only a Divine College can infallibly teach discipline in an irreformable Truth. Only the Divine can receive and bind others to immutable Truth with an authority that obliges. This Divinity resides only in the Catholic Church under one head, the Roman Catholic Pontiff.

The Catholic Church is constituted for the salvation of the faithful; explicit in the doors being opened in our baptism is that she is necessary for redemption, the faithful souls given an indelible mark, the new circumcision. She is a corporate family of adopted ‘sons of God’ redeemed through God’s merciful graces given freely. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). The Church is the Divine Motherhood of our salvation; consequently we find our devotion to the Blessed Virgin a gift from heaven. Nevertheless, the Church is simplistically defined as the “Body of Christ”. The totality of sacramental life is the Sacrament of Christ. As the Church affirms our faith, our faith affirms the Church; it is only within her that life exists. The Catholic Church becomes life in Christ. The sacraments are an outward signs of inward grace of sanctification. The Church herself has a visible and outward expression in her corporate priesthood signifying the graces bestowed through her.

“If Christ is the sacrament of God, the Church is for us the sacrament of Christ” Henri de Lubac, Catholicism: Christ and the common destiny of man, English edition 1988 , French original, 1947, p 76

One thing you must not do is apologize for our Catholic doctrine, speak boldly of those things that separate the Protestant and reformer from their Salvation.


No, I got that one right.

We can doubt any doctrine of the Church (even the existence of God, which necessarily means we doubt every doctrine) and yet remain faithful sons or daughters of the Church, free from sin, provided we meet three conditions:
*]We must realize that our doubt is a personal flaw that should be corrected. We must acknowledge that the Church is correct, even if we doubt Her teachings. The Church calls this “accepting,” which is not the same as “believing.”
*]We must make an ongoing, sincere, and good faith effort to correct our doubt (coming here is an option).
*]We must not, in any way, teach our doubts to others as any sort of alternative truth.
Belief is not an act of the will. We cannot force ourselves to believe something. No matter how much I want to believe in unicorns, I could never do so. Faith is the same way. We’re allowed to have doubts without incurring sin, but we’re not allowed to be complacent in our doubts (in which case the complacency, not the doubt, could be sinful).

Well I suppose it comes down to ones definition of Christian. To me a Christian is one who accepts Jesus Christ as their own and universal Savior. A typical Catholic fits this bill. The answer is simple and obvious to me.

So, according to your definition, a person must attain the “age of reason” (meaning the age at which a person may intellectually consider different belief options and reach an independent opinion) in order to be a “Christian.”

In Catholic theology, a Christian is ANYONE who has received Christian Baptism (even at the hands of a protestant minister).

Which definition is the most simple?

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