What is a Catholic?

How would you answer this question?

A Catholic is a follower of Jesus Christ, belonging to the Catholic Church established by Christ, believing in the apostolic tradition, holding to the beliefs of Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magesterium, striving to obey Christ’s Great Commission and holding to the two Great Commandments: Love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength, and Love your neighbor as yourself.

That’s the short, simple explanation that tells the most important things: Who we follow, how we follow, and why we follow.

Okay, good start. BTW, I’ma cradle Catholic and have no problems with my Faith. I am trying to answer this question for someone lese and was surprised that I couldn’t come up with a simple definition. Having said that…

How do address the Eastern or Orthodox Church versus the roman Catholic or other groups that fall into the definition of Catholic. How bout this: we can’t just decide were Catholic can we? We have to have Sacrements, etc. Please help.

How’s this…
Catholic: a Christian, a baptized believer in Jesus Christ, who is in communion with the leading bishop of Christ’s Church on earth, the bishop of the Church of Rome.

The Nicene Creed would be a pretty good summary of what it means to be Catholic.

The Nicene Creed actually speaks bout Christian’s in general. If you don’t believe in it, u cant be called Christian.

Thanks everyone. I did some reading and research and was able to provide what I think is a pretty detailed answer. Your help is appreciated.

I’m just trying to understand. Are you saying that the Nicene Creed is accepted across the Christian world? By Christian world, I am encompassing Catholics (both Western & Eastern) as well as Protestants, and the various non-demonational groups.

Most of the time Protestants do agree with the Nicene Creed and profess it occasionally. I suppose they think it was created so long ago that it can’t have any peculiar Catholic “touches” in it. :stuck_out_tongue:

But it’s kind of weird, from my experience, the Nicene Creed is said VERY little in the Protestant community. Once or twice a year, maybe? But again, that’s just my experience with the Covenant denomination. Other Protestants may correct me on their particular church, but that’s just my experience. I don’t think there is a Protestant church out there that can top every Sunday though! :smiley:

Here in the Philippines we never say the Nicene Creed. It is always the Apostles Creed we say every Sunday.

If you were baptized in the Catholic church, you are a Catholic.

If you were an infant at the time of your baptism, your parents and godparents made the profession of faith for you on your behalf, and promised to raise you in the Catholic faith. If you were an adult at the time of your baptism, your made the profession of faith for yourself.

And so from that, we see that a Catholic is one who believes all that the Church teaches. The question is, how much in communion with the Church are each of us as Catholics?

the Episcopal Church and the Lutheran Church say the NIcene Creed every Sunday-catholic means universal -there is the Roman catholic-Eastern Orthodox-Old Catholics-Lutherans & Episcopal Churches-do not see anywhere that one has to accept the infalliblity of the Pope to be “Catholic” to be Roman Catholic probably so

Catholic is a word that describes who a person is and what they beleive. A Catholic is one who believes is all things that Christ taught. They are also a member of the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Baptism.

CATHOLIC is also not a religious sect of Christianity as many have come to think of today and describe. It is Christianity!

Forgive me, and not to be confrontational, but I see some friction in logic here. How does someone else professing my faith and promising to raise me in the faith necessarily make me a believer in all the Church teaches?


You are correct in your statement, but you are not fully understanding “profession of faith”. The Sacrament of Baptism is in part a “Profession of Faith”, but it is more accurate to say that it is an infusion of Grace.

Obviously, a child cannot consciously, “profess” his or her faith. But, this does not mean that they cannot receive the grace of God and have a relationship with Him. And, as parents, it is our obligation to teach our children the faith of Christ passed down. When they reach the age of reason, they then confirm their faith, just as the Apostles were confirmed at Pentecost.

But, even then, you can lose your belief. Things can happen in you life that discourage you from believing anymore. Believing in God is a life-long struggle and it si why we must “work” at it - daily.

These are the practices of Christ’s Church.

The answer is too much for a post. The answer is in the Catholic Catechism, part one, section II, chapters one though three.

As far as I know, out Orthodox Brothers and us are almost the same. So much the same that we, under certain circumstances, as Catholics, can participate in their Masses, and take Holy Communion there.

We differ in recognizing at the Pope as head of the temporal Church, and I think that some complex theological perspective of the Holy Trinity, although that may have been already ironed out (not sure).

God Bless you,

ps. the reading pointed out at the beginning is a good read.

A Catholic is a person who has received the sacraments of initiation, performs the obligations of the faith and chooses to identify his/herself with Catholicism. All other issues merely illustrate the diversity among Catholics, they do not determine who is and isn’t one.

I like the Pillar of Fire Pillar of Truth book.


Here is the part about the Church being Catholic:

The Church Is Catholic (Matt. 28:19–20, Rev. 5:9–10, CCC 830–856)
Jesus’ Church is called catholic (“universal” in Greek) because it is his gift to all people. He told his apostles to go throughout the world and make disciples of “all nations” (Matt. 28:19–20).

For 2,000 years the Catholic Church has carried out this mission, preaching the good news that Christ died for all men and that he wants all of us to be members of his universal family (Gal. 3:28).

Nowadays the Catholic Church is found in every country of the world and is still sending out missionaries to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).

The Church Jesus established was known by its most common title, “the Catholic Church,” at least as early as the year 107, when Ignatius of Antioch used that title to describe the one Church Jesus founded. The title apparently was old in Ignatius’s time, which means it probably went all the way back to the time of the apostles.

Life everlasting in the creed and cattechism shows us a lot more in what we believe than just 2 words.

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