Are Catholics Evangelical

Are Catholics Evangelical? Understanding the Relationship between Two Major Christian Groups

The Protestant Reformation, launched by Martin Luther in the 16th century, introduced significant changes to Christianity in Europe and beyond. As a result, different groups emerged within the faith that varied in their views, practices, and beliefs. Two significant Christian groups today are Catholics and Evangelicals. Catholics belong to the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest Christian denomination worldwide, with over a billion followers. Evangelicals, on the other hand, represent a diverse movement within Protestantism that emphasizes the authority of the Bible, the importance of evangelism and mission, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But are Catholics Evangelical?

To answer that question, we need to examine the core tenets of each group and their relationship over time. We also need to understand what it means to be evangelical and how that term has evolved globally.

Defining Evangelicalism

Evangelicalism emerged as a distinct movement within Protestantism in the 18th century in Britain and North America. It is characterized by its adherence to certain theological convictions, including the authority of the Bible, the need for personal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the importance of evangelism and mission, and the priority of spiritual renewal and revival. Evangelicals seek to spread the gospel, or “good news,” of Jesus Christ to others and invite them to become followers of Jesus.

Evangelicalism is not a formal denomination within Protestantism, but rather a loose network of churches, ministries, and individuals that share common beliefs and practices. The term “evangelical” has different meanings and connotations in different contexts, and some people may use it to describe Lutheran, Anglican, or Pentecostal Christians in addition to Protestants.

Catholicism and Evangelicalism

Catholicism, on the other hand, traces its origins to the early Christian Church in Rome and claims apostolic succession from the apostle Peter as its first bishop. Catholics believe in the authority of the Bible, but they also accept the teachings of the Magisterium, or the official teaching authority of the Church, which includes the pope and bishops.

Catholics affirm the doctrine of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, but they also emphasize the role of good works and the sacraments in achieving salvation. Catholics perform rituals and observe traditions, such as the Mass, the Eucharist, confession, and penance, as part of their worship and devotion.

Historically, Catholics and Evangelicals have had a complicated relationship. At times, they have engaged in friendly dialogue and cooperation, such as in ecumenical efforts to promote Christian unity and social justice. At other times, they have clashed over theological differences, such as the nature of the Church, the role of Mary, and the doctrine of justification.

Interpretation of Scripture

One key area of divergence between Catholics and Evangelicals is their interpretation of Scripture. Catholics view Scripture as a part of a broader tradition of revelation that includes the teachings of the Church fathers, councils, and the Magisterium. Evangelicals, however, emphasize the clarity and sufficiency of Scripture for salvation and guidance.

Another significant difference is the role of Mary, mother of Jesus. Catholics honor Mary with devotion and pray to her as a mediator and intercessor, while Evangelicals view her as an important figure in salvation history but not as a mediator or source of grace.

Catholics and Evangelicals also have different views on sacraments or spiritual practices. Catholics believe in the seven sacraments, which they believe confer grace and spiritual benefits. Evangelicals, on the other hand, emphasize the importance of personal faith in Jesus Christ and the outworking of that faith in everyday life.


So, are Catholics evangelical? The answer is not straightforward, as the term “evangelical” can mean different things to different people. In terms of theology and practice, Catholics and Evangelicals have significant differences, particularly about the interpretation of Scripture, the role of Mary and the sacraments. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize that both groups seek to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own ways and are committed to living out their faith in the world. As such, there are opportunities for dialogue, understanding, and cooperation, which can help bridge the gaps between different Christian traditions.

In conclusion, understanding the relationship between Catholics and Evangelicals requires acknowledging their respective beliefs and practices, as well as their historical interactions. While there are theological differences, both groups share a desire to spread the gospel and make the world a better place. Ultimately, by working together and respecting one another’s faith traditions, we can advance the cause of Christ and promote Christian unity.