Difference Between Catholic and Protestant (With Table)

Roman Catholics and Protestants belong to the same religion of Christianity. They both belong to the same realm of Christianity but follow different traditions, beliefs and practices. Both are very different from each other. To become a Christian one has to choose between Catholic or Protestant depending on what they believe.

Catholic vs Protestant

The difference between Catholic and Protestant is that Catholics worship Jesus and follow the veneration of Mother Mary. They also worship other saints asking them to help them whereas Protestants believe in the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They do not believe in the saints.

Roman Catholics are the earliest form of Christianity that has been followed for centuries and it is old. The main church of the Roman Catholics is situated in the Holy See called the Vatican City. That is where the head of the church, the pope, resides.  The Roman Catholics follow the Bible as well. 

Protestants are a relatively new form of Christianity that has been followed since the 16th century. Martin Luther was one of the important faces who opposed the Roman Catholics. He published a book called Ninety five theses as an argument against the Roman Catholics. Germany was the place where Protestantism began.

Comparison Table Between Catholic and Protestant

Parameters of ComparisonCatholicProtestant
When did it begin?Around the second centuryIn sixteenth-century
Main area The holy sea called the Vatican CityNorthern Europe
Worship of idolsThey worship idols of Jesus and other saintsThey do not practice idol worship
SaintsThey Believe in Saints and also worship themThey do not believe in Saints and do not worship any
HeadPope is the headThere is no pope only ministers of the church

What is Catholic?

Catholicism is the umbrella term for all Catholics. They are the first Christians ever to exist. They have the oldest traditions of Christianity being followed. They have the oldest and the largest Church of Christians which is followed by them. The pope is the head of all the Catholics present.

The pope is believed to be the successor of St.Peter. There were twelve Apostles or disciples that Jesus had. Among them, St.Peter was one of the Apostles. The primacy was given by Jesus to St. Peter. He was chosen to practice the teachings of Christ through the Church.

After St.Peter, there were many popes. They are not related to St. Peter by blood as sons. Because saints, fathers and sisters follow the principle of not being married and devote their lives to Christ. These popes are elected by the College of Cardinals. The present pope is Pope Francis.

There are twenty-three oriental Catholic Churches. They are also called Eastern Catholic churches. From the data of two thousand and nineteen, there are about 1.3 billion Catholics who practice Catholicism globally. Latin is the most spoken language where the Pope is present. The term catholic came into existence in the second century.

What is Protestant?

During the sixteenth century, a movement took place. It is called the Reformation movement. The period of western Christianity marks this as an important event that took place. This movement is where the Western Christian movement made a political and a religious challenge to the Church.

These were about the abuses and the errors of the church which the Protestants stated against the Catholics. The Protestants opposed the idea of popes being the Supreme power of the church after Christ. They were against the Catholics and hence began a division called the Protestants. There are about 37% of protestants.

Protestantism began in the year 1517. It particularly started in Germany. Later in the sixteenth century Protestantism spread to Denmark, Norway, Iceland and many parts of the world. Martin Luther was one of the prominent figures of this movement because of his book Ninety-five Theses where he opposes the Catholic church.

The Protestants believe in the Holy Trinity. They do not practise their way of Christianity in the Catholic Churches. They have their educational institutions, hospitals and churches. The members of the western church who followed the principles of Protestantism are Protestants. They separated from the Catholic church during the Reformation.

Main Differences Between Catholic and Protestant

  1. Catholics are the people who believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit, God and the other Saints. Protestants believe only in the Holy Trinity which is God, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  2. The followers of Catholicism are called Catholics; they have their churches. The followers of Protestantism are called Protestants. Their churches are different from Catholics. Hence their practices of religion differ too.
  3. Catholicism began in the Holy sea called the Vatican City where the pope is the head. Protestantism began in a country called Germany then it slowly spread to other parts of the world.
  4. Catholics believe in the worshipping of idols. Where the idols of Jesus, the Mother Mary, and several other Saints idols are worshipped. Protestants do not practise idol worship and any saints.
  5. When it comes to marriage a person from another religion can marry a catholic but promise the church that their child will be a Roman catholic. Divorce is not allowed. Protestants can divorce.


Catholicism and Protestantism initially existed together. There were no differences as a protestant movement did not begin. The Catholic Church was the oldest and the largest community where Catholicism was practised. Due to the reformation movement and Martin Luther’s book ninety-five theses, a strong opposition against the Catholic community took place.

 Since then Protestants separated and were under the community of Protestantism. Both of these communities believe in the teachings of Christ and come under the umbrella term Christians. The pope is the head of the Catholic Church and protestants have leaders such as ministers, pastors or a priest for a church. The father’s sisters of a Catholic church cannot be married whereas the ministers, pastors of Protestants can be married.


  1. https://ixtheo.de/Record/1613517130
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=McvcmiZ6h8gC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=protestantism+&ots=kjOIia35q6&sig=IOZatH2-MAdbzYXdMgfgGwt7RMY
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