Difference between Catholic and Methodist | 8 Basic Comparisons

difference between catholic and methodist

Christian churches are divided into thousands of denominations and organizations. When we talk about the difference between catholic and methodist, it indicates two major Christian churches, their beliefs, and practices. 

With 2.5 billion followers, Christianity holds the place of the largest religion in the world. But it doesn’t mean all Christians follow the entirely same concept of Christianity. There are more than 30,000 Christian organizations worldwide and more than 1200 merely in the USA. 

The major split within Christianity occurred in 16th-century Europe when a person named Martin Luther started out a reform movement. This movement gave birth to a new denomination called Protestantism. Currently, there are nearly 1 billion protestants, making it the second-largest denomination of Christianity in the world. 

The largest denomination of Christianity is still the catholic church, with 1.3billion followers around the world. However, the Protestant churches are even divided into several denominations. Methodism is one of them. Currently, there are 80 million methodist adherents worldwide. 

Basically, Catholic churches are apostolic denominations of Christianity. In contrast, Methodists are a group of churches from the Protestant denomination. Here in this article, we will focus on several points where these two denominations differ from each other.

Comparison chart

ChurchThe Catholic Church, communion with the Western-Rite Catholic Church or the Latin Church and the Eastern-Rite Catholic Churches or the Oriental Catholic ChurchesThe Methodist Churches.

Ecclesiastical polity
Episcopal polity. A hierarchical form of church governance.Connexional polity. The conference of the representatives is the decision-making body in the Methodist churches.
Head of the ChurchThe Pope (Papa) is the head of the Catholic Church; he is the successor to Saint Peter (Apostle Simon Peter)There is no nominal head of the Methodist churches.
The EucharistCatholics believe that Jesus is present in the body, blood, soul, and divinity.Methodists believe that Jesus is present in a spiritual and heavenly manner.
DivorceCatholics do not allow divorce.Methodists allow divorce.
ContraceptionCatholics do not allow contraception.Methodists allow contraception.
AbortionCatholics do not allow abortion.Methodists allow abortion after prayerful consideration.
Ordination of womenCatholics do not allow the ordination of women.The majority of Methodists allow the ordination of women.
Ordination of married peopleThe Latin Church does not allow the ordination of married people except the permanent deaconate. Clerical celibacy is Mandatory in episcopacy in the Catholics.Methodists allow the ordination of the married people.
Ordination of LGBTCatholics do not allow the ordination of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people.Some Methodists allow the ordination of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people.
Understanding the churchCatholics believe that the Catholic Church is the only the Church of Christ.Methodists believe that all believers in Christ make up an invisible church.
PurgatoryCatholics believe in purgatory, a state after physical death for spiritual purification.Methodists do not believe in purgatory.
Free WillCatholicism teaches the doctrine of predestination, which is opposite to the Arminian concept of free will.Methodists believe in the Arminian concept of free will that human being has free will and the ability to fall away from the grace of God.
PredestinationCatholicism teaches the doctrine of predestination that God wills all events.Methodists believe in the Arminian concept of free will, opposite to the doctrine of predestination.
SalvationCatholicism teaches a predestined salvation of the human soul.Methodists believe that salvation on the day of judgment is conditioned by the graciously enabled faith of a human.
CondemnationCatholicism teaches a predestined condemnation of the human soul.Methodists believe that condemnation on the day of judgment is conditioned by the graciously enabled unbelief of a human.
SainthoodCatholics believe in the importance of the saints and saintesses in Christianity.Methodists do not reject sainthood but do not worship them.
VenerationCatholics pay veneration of saints and saintesses.Methodists honor saints of Christendom but do not pay veneration.


The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination on Earth. A member of the Roman Catholic church is referred to as a Catholic. The term Catholic comes from the Greek word Catholicos, meaning Universal, another Greek word Ecclesia meaning Assembly or Congregation

Greek term Catholiké Ecclesia means the Universal Church. The word Catholicos was first mentioned in 110 CE. Though, from 180 CE to 313 CE, before adopting the Nicene Creed, the Christian church was known as the Great Church. At first, the early Christian congregation was mentioned as The Church.

The First Council of Nicaea adopted catholicism based on the Nicene Creed in 325 CE. It was amended at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 CE. In 380 CE, Catholicism got the Roman Empire’s official religion (Imperium Romanum) and became the first organized Christian church. 

After the formation of the Council of Ephesus, the Church of the East (Nestorian), and the Council of Chalcedon, the Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from the Catholic Church. 

From 1054 CE, the Orthodox Catholic Church (Eastern Orthodox) separated from the Catholic Church due to a dispute over the pope’s authority. From the 16th century, the Restorationists also broke away from these apostolic churches.

The Catholic Church declares itself as the one, holy, universal, and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission. The Great Commission is the instruction of Jesus Christ to his disciples that they should preach his gospel to all the nations of the world. The Catholic Church teaches that bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles, and the pope is the successor to Saint Peter.

Church Structure

The Pope is the supreme head of the Catholic Church, and as the Bishop of Rome, he is the head of the Latin Church. Catholics believe that the pope is the successor of Saint Peter (Apostle Simon Peter). In Latin, the pope is mentioned as Papa means father. He is the one who stands on behalf of Jesus Christ. There are twenty-four apostolic churches that have communion with the Catholic Church led by the pope.

Catholic Church

The next authority of the catholic church is the college of Bishops. Bishops are appointed Christian clergy who have authority and oversight. Catholics believe that bishops, who are ordained ministers and representing the Church, are Christ’s apostles’ successors. 

In the Catholic Church, Bishops hold the completeness of the sacrament of holy orders. Their duties include teaching doctrines, governing Catholics in their jurisdictions, and sanctifying the world.

In some churches, the highest-ranking bishops are called patriarch or pope. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the patriarchs of the people of Israel.

The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Supreme Head of the Orthodox Catholic (Eastern Orthodox) Church. Metropolitan Bishop is a higher rank of bishop post in some churches. Archbishop is a higher rank of bishops, and Major Archbishop is a leading Archbishop.

In the Catholic Church, Cardinal is a leading bishop and prince of the College of Cardinals. The pope appoints him for a lifetime. In a vacancy period of papal rank, the College of Cardinals governs the Holy See, and the Cardinal Bishop is a senior order of cardinals.

The pastor is a Christian congregation leader who gives advice and counsel to the congregation’s people. Pastors are ordained people in catholic and orthodox churches. 

Various positions of religious leaders in different religions like the priest, bishop, cardinal, Imam, Rabbi, Bhikkhu, Granthi, Purohita, et cetera are collectively known as clergy.

A minister is an authorized priest by a church to teach beliefs and to lead church services.

The word ‘Abbot’ came from the Aramaic word Abba, which means father. This title is given to the male head of a monastery.

The priest is a religious leader in any religion that performs sacred rituals.

Missionaries are members of a mission or a religious group who preach religion, promote their faith, and perform ministries of ecclesial services.


There are seven sacraments in the catholic churches; these are Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the sick, marriage, and ordination. 

Communion is generally called Eucharist in the catholic churches. Catholics participate in the celebration of the eucharist as they believe this process is occurring in the presence of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. Believers have to fast for an hour before they participate in the communion, and during the communion, they are not allowed to be conscious about mortal sin. 

Communion is a process by which the believers come closer to God. In order to receive communion in the catholic church, a person must have to be a catholic and need to be in a state of grace. Infants are baptized via the rite of sprinkling (asperges).


Methodists are a group of protestant Christians who does not belong to a single church. Methodist movement began in England within the Church of England in the 18th century. Free Methodist Church, Methodist Church of Great Britain, United Methodist Church, World Methodist Council are the largest Methodist churches.

Methodist Church

The Methodist church was started by an Anglican priest named John wisely. The Anglican church was split from the catholic church in the 16th century under Henry VIII’s initiative. Henry was the supreme head of the Church of England.

However, John wisely primarily tried to establish a revival Anglican church, but many co-followers opposed his initiative. Later, under John Wisely’s leadership, a group of followers split from the Anglicans, thus starting Methodism. 

Methodism or Methodists are also known as The holy club. The first methodists church was established in the United States in 1784. This denomination of Christianity is called methodists because of their methodical way of carrying out the Christian faith. 

Methodists are restorationists. Restorationist Christians are also known as Christian primitives who believe in restoring Christianity in its ancient and purer form. Restorationist examples are the Hussite, the Waldensian, the Protestant, the Puritan, the Seventh-day Churches, the Anabaptist, the Landmarkist, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. Restorationists argue that the Apostolic Churches (the Catholic, the Nestorian, and the Orthodox) mixed-up with Greco-Roman paganism.Protestants are Restorationist Christians. There are many branches of Protestants: Adventists, Anglicans, Baptists, Calvinists, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Methodists, Oneness Pentecostals, et cetera. Protestant movement began in Germany in 1517 by Martin Luther.

Church Structure

A major difference between catholic and Methodist is in their structure of the church. Where the structure of the catholic church is hierarchical, the methodist church is representative. They deny the Papal authority system, and there is no supreme head in the methodists church. 

They are organized into conferences, and the conferences determine the policies and speak for the churches. There are generally 1000 conference delegates, elected by voters. Half of the delegates are clergies, and the other half are lay persons. Bishops can attend the conference, but he doesn’t have the authority to vote. 

The Methodist Church has a connexion structure, which means that any decision made for the church is an outcome of a combined effort. Ordination of women is allowed in the Methodist church. Both males and females can participate in the process and have the right to serve as clergy and bishops. Not to mention, homosexuals, transgenders, bisexual people can also be a part of the ordination. But, LGBT people are not allowed to participate in the catholic church.


Unlike Catholic sacraments, methodists have two sacraments. Like most of the protestant churches, methodists celebrate the Holy Baptism and the Holy Communion sacraments. Methodists refer to communion as The lord’s supper. 

Where in a catholic church, non-catholic cannot receive communion, in the Methodist church, Communion is allowed for all those believers who choose to participate. It’s the time to remember life, death, teachings, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Methodists believe Sacramental acts bring God closer to them.

The key differences between Catholic and Methodist

  1. Catholics are apostolic churches. On the other hand, Methodists are Protestant Restorationists.
  2. Catholics recognize the Catholic Bible, and Methodists recognize the Protestant Bible.
  3. The Catholic Church is Episcopal headed by the pope, and Methodists are Connexional as an organization.
  4. The Catholic church has seven sacraments. Whereas, Methodist church has two sacraments.
  5. Unlike Catholic and Orthodox, Methodists restrain from saint-worshipping or icon-worshipping.
  6. Catholics do not allow divorce, contraception, and abortion. Methodists allow these.
  7. Catholicism teaches the doctrine of predestination that God wills all events. Methodists believe in the Arminian concept of free will.
  8. Catholics believe in purgatory. On the other hand, Methodists do not believe in the doctrine of purgatory.

Catholic vs methodist: Doctrine

When it comes to doctrine, the difference between catholic and methodist churches focuses on some major concepts. One of them is purgatory. According to this catholic belief, after one’s death, the soul is made ready to enter heaven. Methodist church does not believe in purgatory. 

Catholic churches believe in the concept of predestination. According to this doctrine, any person has the free will to be included under god’s grace. Yet, there are some who will be abandoned. All events are planned under the will of God. The methodists believe in the Arminian free will concept. 

Sainthood is considered an important part of Christianity according to catholic belief. In Christianity, the process of declaring a person as a saint is called Canonization.  In order to be a saint/saintess, a person must have to show miracles and have Christian virtue.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs):

Can a Methodist marry a Catholic?

Yes, a methodist can marry a Catholic. These types of marriages are called mixed marriages.

Are Methodists Catholic?

Catholics are apostolic; methodists are protestant Christians. So, methodists are not Catholics.

Can Methodists drink alcohol?

The Methodist Church considers alcohol as a recreational drug.  But the use of alcohol should be minimized. However, many Methodist churches do not allow alcohol.

Can Methodists pray the rosary?

Yes, Methodists can pray the rosary.

What’s the closest religion to Catholic?

Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Assyrian Church of the east, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Methodism are some closest to Catholicism.


Catholics and methodists both share some major beliefs of Christianity like they both believe in the Trinity concept, Teachings of Jesus Christ, resurrection, and many others. Despite having notable similarities, these two branches of Christianity have some significant areas of differences too. Here in this article, we tried to discuss the difference between catholic and methodist from different standpoints.

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