Are you a Christian or a Catholic

I have heard this question more times than I can stand. It has finally begun to bother me to the point that it is becoming a problem for me. Even “good” Catholics have asked me this.

My question is this: Do you see a dichotomy, or even a break, in whether you are a christian or a Catholic? Also, what would you respond if asked the question “are you a christian first or a Catholic first?” I have gotten this from at least one Catholic and to me there is no difference. That is, to me, akin to asking someone “Are you a man/woman first or a human?”

Just trying to get other thoughts on this.



Pope Benedict XV said ‘name Christian, surname Catholic’

There is no difference between the two although in other cultures such as Asia ‘Christian’ implies ‘Protestant’ although in a way not derogatory to Catholics unlike in the USA.

When I am asked this question I look at them like they have a second head and simply say, “Catholics are Christian.” Anyone who can state such a thing have no clue what they are talking about and hopefully the look will give them a cause to stop think and try to research what it is they are trying to preach about.

The hard part is I have no idea how to respond to this. It shows that they think that to be a “hardcore” or trad-catholic you have to choose whether to follow Christ first or the Church first… I am a convert that cannot understand this false dichotomy which I used to use lol


PS I love your Sig…

Well, Catholics are part of the body of Christians, but there’s an important distinction between the two, which is that the Catholic Church is unique in certain doctrinal areas.

A lot of Protestant groups do not consider Catholics to be Christians, so that might be where you would see someone asking you to “choose”.

To be a Christian without being a Catholic is to be an incomplete Christian. I’ve been asked the same question and I always say that Christ is the Church and the Church is Christ. It’s his body. By being a part of the Church through baptism you become a part of Christ. The part that’s difficult and that a lot of people, especially protestants, have trouble with, is that everyone who is baptized, even in a protestant church, is actually part of the Catholic Church until they consciously reject it. That’s why we say in the creed “I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.”

This is one of the issues I never dreamed even existed. I am a cradle Catholic who for most of my life was a typical Catholic. I was brought up going to mass, you know all the requirements to be a “good Catholic”. But I never desired to learn more.

About eight years ago I went through some rough times in my life and finally understood despair. Well the story is the same for most so I won’t bore you. But after that moment I really started looking into my faith and learning, I am currently in formation to be ordained into the permanent diaconate, God willing in December. This is relevant to this discussion because my recent journey has given me a desire to know why others go elsewhere to practice their faith. I don’t understand why there are so many other denominations except the fact that there is so much misinformation about the Church, His Church and our home.

In my research, and I didn’t have to look far, I found many resources as to why we should hate Catholics, the main reason was we are not Christians!!!

As you can imagine when I discovered this I was amazed. It has been, since my discovery, my mission to tell everyone I can possibly come into contact with within the proper circumstances that I am indeed a Catholic Christian. That is why my affiliation reads, “Roman Catholic Christian”.

When some one makes a statement along the lines I saw this morning on another thread it really bothers me, I read, “I am a Christian so I cannot defend Catholicism.”

Catholics were and remain the first Christians, St Ignatius of Antioch called His Church Catholic as early as 107 AD. In the letter in which he wrote this he did not write in a manner to explain it, he used it as matter of fact; in other words the term was obviously already common to the people who were being addressed, the Christians of the Catholic Church built upon Peter the rock by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!!!

Most Catholics, includeing me at one point in my life, do not know how to defend our Christianity and have not done the research into the early Church. This is a must in order to make it part of our knowledge. It cannot be my knowledge but yours, and then we can defend our faith.

Have a God day folks! Sorry so wordy.

Actually, I think your comparison between that question and “are you a human or a woman/man first” is spot on. You cannot be a Catholic without being Christian, any more than you can be a man, without being human. That’s answer enough for me! :thumbsup:

To paraphrase a quote from St. John Neumann: “Once a person reads a history book, they cease being Protestant.”

If a Protestant denies that Catholics are Christians, they completely deny themselves since their faith is derived from Catholicism, Christianity’s root. They would make themselves an effect without a cause.

I guess I’m pretty old :stuck_out_tongue: but I remember when tv went off. :slight_smile:

In our area, before tv went off, there was a brief ‘commercial’ by the Interfaith Commission before the National Anthem played.

I was a small kid… maybe First or Second Grade.

They had an image that showed Judaism separate from Christianity, and Christianity was divided between Catholic and Protestant. (We all worship the same God)

Years later, like years after I graduated from college, I had a Protestant cousin correct me. “I’m NOT a Protestant” :confused:

Years after that, using the internet, on a Faith Discussion Board, I had someone to inform me that Catholics are not Christians. Someone who claimed to Catholic herself said that she most definitely was not Christian (I did suggest to her that she ask her priest if HE was Christian… she never responded. I don’t think she had been in a church for years)

Today, when it comes up, I will typically explain to people that Catholics are Christians, and Protestants are simply the Other Christians. We all believe in the Trinity and accept Christ as the Messiah and our Savior. One can not be a Catholic without first being Chrisitian. The Protestant groups are Christian, too, but they are not the only ones.

I do, however, cringe :eek: when someone tries to explain that ‘it’s all the same’. It is NOT. We worship the same God, but in different ways. There is a distinction to being a Catholic. If you don’t know the differences, please learn what they are. And if you are Catholic, start there! :thumbsup:

That’s very true. A lot of people try to get around that, though, by saying the Catholic Church didn’t really exist until much later. They believe there was some kind of golden age when Christianity was just like modern protestantism, before the big bad Catholic Church took it over. The early fathers put the lie to this hypothesis, but you still hear it a lot. I had a discussion with a Pentecostal pastor recently about the early Church. When I asked him why he followed a canon of scripture put together by the Catholic Church, he said he believed the canon came together naturally by itself sometime around the year 100 and that the Catholic Church had adulterated the actual teachings of the bible by establishing traditions that were non biblical. It was a good dodge, to take the Catholic Church out of the canon forming process completely, but not very historical.

(I messed up the quote thing, but to be clear I was replying to the second last post before mine)

I often say “I am a Catholic Christian”, and then explain what I mean (those that feel compelled to ask this question almost always have an “agenda”). I then go into what is needed to dispel the idea that Catholics are somehow not Christians. It seems to go as follows: All Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholics.

I say “I’m a Catholic Christian,” too. But then, they wanna know when I got saved:rolleyes:.

Amen sister!!!

I cannot understand why one would choose to leave something without a clear understanding exactly what they are leaving!

Good friend of mine struggles with his faith, he’s a cradle Catholic, and his words a couple of months ago were this, “I will learn as much as I can about the Church and Jesus. As soon as I find something untrue in the teachings in the RCC, i will move on to the next and begin there until I find untruth.”

He told me this about three months ago, but it was a statement he made to himself years ago, he’s still in the RCC! Evidently he is having trouble finding untruth in the Catholic Christian Church

It gets even more confusing because people now use the term Christian in a very different context than it’s always been understood. When I was in university I had a lot of friends who were devout Christians, but were adamant that they weren’t protestants. They were mostly very good people, and put a lot of Catholics to shame in terms of serving the needy and homeless, but their understanding of Christianity was limited to what’s in the bible, and they had zero interest in anything to do with historical Christianity, or in belonging to any denomination. In many people’s minds there is a difference between Catholic and “Christian” as it’s used in this new non-denominational sense.

I was asked this a few times as well. Once, when I was much younger, I asked what that person meant, because I told them, in order to be Catholic, you must be Christian.

The person told me that most Catholics she knows are only Catholic “in name” and don’t act as Christ taught us to act. She explained that the Catholics she knew tended to act pious in Church but were either 1) sooooooo dedicated that they forced their views down everyone’s throat, “shunned” those who didn’t agree with their “antiquated” views, felt like they were the only ones who were “right” and thus the only ones who were saved, or 2) they were soooooooo far from being Catholic that it was a joke (drinking, drugs, sex, etc.). Or 3) even that they said they were Catholic, but from where she stood they didn’t appear to practice the faith at all, which she didn’t get because that’s not being Christian either. So she said, when someone says they’re Catholic, it means nothing to her because none of the Catholics she knows act like Christ said to act. However, she said, “most” of the people who defined themselves as Christians were Bible-thumping, Church going, always-talking-about-God people who were living the label.

Now, that’s just her labeling, not mine. That’s just ONE “outsider” perspective. I’m not about to change how I answer the question.

The only other person who asked me if I was Christian (after telling him I am Catholic) was raised Baptist and just have never met a Catholic before (I moved to the Bible belt, yes he shocked me, “what do you mean you’ve never met a Catholic before?”. But apprently, being Catholic in the Bible Belt can mean different things, and can accompany different “levels” of faith. I guess just like my friend up North?

But since I’m usually not in the mood for a sermon, or giving one, at the time I’m asked, I just answer “A Catholic is a Christian” and just go on my way. Then I try to live by example, that way they can see what kind of Catholic I am. That way, they get their answers in my actions. Because talk is cheap. You can spew out all kinds of teachings, rules and regulations, but IMOHO the way you live will define you better than rules you can recite. But again, that’s just MOHO…

I like how you put it, Rence.

To me, the question “are you a Christian or a Catholic,” is every bit as offensive as if someone who appeared dark-skinned were asked “are you [insert name of other race], or are you human?”

I am a Catholic Christian. To be Catholic is to be Christian

The answer to that one is everytime I go to Confession! Of course that answer can either just scare them away or open a whole new set of objections: “no man can forgive your sins!”, answer “no man does forgive my sins, it is Jesus Christ who does this”:smiley:

Brenda V.

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