Catholic vs. Jewish: What is the main difference?

Last week, I attended a wonderful 7-day Jewish celebration with plenty of Torah reading and dancing, and I was intrigued by how the Jewish people uphold their religious festivities. They reminded me of the Catholics who are also very devoted to their religious traditions, such as fasting and taking the Holy Communal during the Lent season. During our Bible study, I urged my wonderful congregation to emulate them for being very devout. However, one member asked me to distinguish between Jews and Catholics. I shared my insights and understanding of ‘Catholic vs. Jewish. So, what is the main difference?’

Catholic is a segment of Christianity as a religion that believes in Jesus Christ the Messiah. In contrast, Jewish is affiliated with Judaism as a religion that believes that the Messiah is yet to arrive. Catholics equally acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, whereas Jewish people regard Jesus as only being a wise teacher.

The article will shed light on the differences and similarities between the Catholic and Jewish and so much more. Get on board with me as we embark on this interesting topic without further ado.

Catholic vs. Jewish: Difference in the definition

Catholic vs. Jewish. Image source: Pixabay


Catholicism is a branch of Christianity that believes God established a covenant with humanity through Jesus Christ. They believe Christ is the Messiah and will return to judge the world. Worship is conducted in the church by priests and includes mass and religious sacraments. Their holy book is the Bible which is considered very sacred.


Being Jewish is believing in Judaism as a monotheistic religion developed by ancient Hebrews. It is characterized by faith in one transcendent God who revealed Himself to the Hebrew prophets such as Moses. Worship is conducted in the synagogue by rabbis through Jewish rituals and rabbinic traditions. Their holy book is the Torah, which is considered very sacred.

Difference between Catholic and Jewish

Parameters of Comparison




People who adhere to and practice Christianity as their religion and faith.

People who adhere to and practice Judaism as their religion and faith.

Holy Book

The holy book is the Bible.

The holy book is the Torah or the Hebrew Bible.

Belief about Christ

Believe Jesus Christ to be the son of God and the Messiah.

Believe that the Messiah is yet to arrive to bring change and do not consider Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Existence of God

Believe that three Gods are under one head as the Holy Trinity.

Believe in the existence of a single individual God.


Catholics have found their roots to be almost 2000 years back and have emerged by converting themselves from Jewish to Catholic.

Jews are more historic compared to Catholics, as the Jewish people found their roots to be almost 3500 years ago.


Catholics are found in almost all countries forming around 31% of the world’s total population and nearly 2.4 billion in number.

Jewish people are mostly found in Israel and several parts of Northern America.

Similarities between Catholic and Jewish

Catholic vs. Jewish
Catholic and Jewish similarities. Image source: Pixabay

Holy Books

Both the Catholic and Jewish religions have their roots in the Old Testament or the Torah.


Both Catholics and Jews share a common belief that there is one true God who is mighty and created the universe and everything in it. Both Catholic and Jewish religions teach that God is good, He reveals His Word to humanity, He answers prayers, and He wants people to live according to His holy laws.


Both Catholics and Jews believe in the same history, such as the creation of Adam and Eve, and that the Jews are God’s chosen people.

Prayer and Worship

Both Catholics and Jews permit people to pray alone but also encourage people to worship as a congregation.


Both Catholics and Jews teach about the importance of the concepts of faith, good deeds, love, hope, peace, justice, sacrifice, hospitality, and pilgrimage.

What are Catholic traditions?

Catholic traditions. Image source: Pixabay

Catholic traditions are as follows:


This is an admission ritual of infants into the Catholic Church that is performed once in a person’s lifetime. A priest pours holy water on the head of the individual and baptizes them in the Holy Trinity’s name. This is for one’s former self to die in the water and a new person to arise, paralleling the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


This refers to the Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper, where bread and red wine are consecrated by the clergy, like the sanctification of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The congregation shares the sacred bread and wine to commemorate Christ’s Last Supper and His crucifixion.


This confirms a baptized individual in Catholicism, whereby a priest stretches his hands on the person and prays, blesses, and anoints him with holy oil. The priest then seals the individual with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.


This refers to confession or penance to renew one’s faith. Sins are recounted in confidentiality to a priest who acts as a mediator between God and the sinner. It is for self-reflection and taking responsibility for an individual’s deeds.


This occurs during a religious ceremony with a religious leader who serves as the administrator to the mutual consent of the couple making marriage vows. It is viewed to mirror the union of Jesus Christ and is considered an unbreakable union.


This is also known as Holy Orders for clerics being ordained as priests, bishops, or deacons. A prayer and blessing are made as a religious leader puts his hands on the head of the man being ordained to grant him the power to administer sacraments.

What are Jewish traditions?

Jewish traditions. Image source: Pinterest

Jewish traditions are as follows:

Domestic Traditions

Men are obliged to have kippahs in the synagogues which are little caps on their heads. They hold the Torah, candelabrums for Shabbat and Hannukah, and winecups to sanctify holidays. Ritual purity is maintained in the scope of food known as kosher, where meals are segregated into ritually pure or forbidden foods.


Jewish circumcision is a traditional religious ceremony known as the brit milah for male Jewish infants conducted on the eighth day after birth. It involves the custom of naming whereby the boy receives his Hebrew name. It is performed as a symbol of making a contract with God and the family of the newborn baby, which is culminated with a festive celebration.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

This is the ritual for 13-year-old Jewish boys and girls for their coming of age. During this ritual, the boy or girl becomes religiously mature and is required to observe the commandments. After passing this phase, they are considered young adults that can take responsibility for keeping Jewish religious duties and assignments.


A Jewish wedding consists of the kiddushin or erusin, which is the engagement or betrothal, and the nisuin, which is the actual wedding ceremony performed by a rabbi. A wedding contract is issued to the bride to inform her of the marriage. A performance of the wedding is conducted within a canopy by four unmarried males. The bride does seven circuits around the groom to officiate the wedding ceremony. The groom gives the bride a ring, and both drink wine to symbolize matrimonial happiness. The ceremony culminates with the bridegroom treading on the glass reminiscent of the destruction of the Temple, and then the great wedding celebration begins.

What do Jewish people think about Catholic?

Jewish people think that the Catholic Church had heinous motives against Jews when it institutionalized antisemitism by forming bigoted laws and establishing the Inquisition against heresy. This resulted in widespread persecution of the Jewish people, such as coerced conversions and expulsions.

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