The difference between Catholicism and Christianity
Christianity is the religion that believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Son of God. Catholicism is one of the branches of Christianity. The similarity between them is their belief, but there are many differences in the doctrine and practices.
Christianity, especially the Protestant faiths, believes that there are only two sacraments – Baptism and Eucharist. In the church hierarchy each congregation has a pastor. They usually do not have bishops, but they do have deacons.
Christians do not pray to the saints because they believe that the only one to pray to is God. Instead of asking the saints to intercede on their behalf, they believe that Jesus is the only one who can do that. They also do not worship Mary because they regard her as an ordinary human being and they believe that when she died she was buried in the same manner as others of her day.
In Christianity there is no such place or state of being as purgatory. When people die, their souls go to either heaven or hell depending on how they lived their lives on earth. They do not accept the Pope as their spiritual leader and they do not believe that he is infallible. Any person who has been baptized is permitted to receive the sacrament of Eucharist in a Christian church.
According to Catholic doctrine, there are seven sacraments – Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Extreme Unction (Anointing with oils before death). There are three kinds of ministers in the hierarchy of the church – bishops, deacons and priests. The leader of each congregation is called a priest.
Catholics worship the saints because they believe that they were the most faithful of all humans to the teachings of Jesus. They do not actually pray to the saints but they ask them to intercede with God on their behalf. Mary is the greatest saint in the Catholic Church. It is believed that when she died she was taken right to heaven and that her body was not buried in a tomb.
In Catholicism, souls do not go directly to heaven or hell. Instead they experience purgatory, which is not a place, but a state of being. The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and is the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. He is regarded as being infallible. In the Catholic Church in order to be able to receive the Eucharist, one must be baptized in the Catholic faith.