Denomination Differences

Catholic vs. Jehovah's Witness Beliefs

CatholicJehovah's Witness
Number of Members1,360,000,000[1]8,687,000[2]
How does one get saved?Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to save you, be baptized, participate in the Eucharist, and don't die with any unconfessed mortal sins.[3][4]Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to save you, be baptized, and do good works for the rest of your life. The 144,000 most faithful Christians will go to heaven; the rest will live on earth.
Who gets saved?Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy or by committing a mortal sin.Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.
Who gets baptized and why?The unsaved, typically as infants, get baptized as the first sacrament of Christian initiation, cleansing them of all sins.Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.[5]
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by pouring water on the head.Baptism should be by immersion.[5]
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at baptism.God's holy spirit is received after one prays for it, learns God's Word, and lives in line with it.[6][7]
What is the trinity?The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.There is no Trinity. Jesus is God's first creation, and the Holy Spirit is not a person.
What is the human nature?Human nature is not totally corrupt but is wounded and inclined to evil.[8]Human nature is corrupt and naturally inclined to evil.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.[9]No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.
Are Christians required to keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws?No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?"Christian perfection" is attainable in this life, but this does not mean one is sinless, as one will always commit minor "venial sins".No, although Christians can and should sin less, they can never become sinless in this life.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?Transubstantiation: Yes, the bread and the wine change into the body and blood of Christ.No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.[10]
Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?No, the dead cannot be baptized.No, the dead cannot be baptized.
What happens if a saved person dies without being perfect?Christians who die imperfectly purified must be purified through purgatory.[11]Death itself is the full and complete punishment for sin.[12]
Did Mary ever sin?Immaculate conception: No, Mary was free of original sin and remained sinless throughout her life.Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.
What spiritual gifts are available today?Most believe that all spiritual gifts are still available to believers.
What are the requirements for clergy?Priests must be unmarried men over 25 ordained by bishops.No clergy is employed. All members are ministers, but only men who have been ministerial servants may be elders.
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.[13]The church has two ordinances: Baptism and Holy Communion.[10][14]
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Mortal sins must be privately confessed to a priest at least annually.[15][16]Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.[17]
How should a church be structured?Episcopal: Churches should be governed by the bishop in that diocese, who in turn is governed by an archbishop, who is governed by the Pope.
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Jehovah's Witnesses meet on any two days of the week.
How does God's revelation come to us today?Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition have equal authority and comprise one finished deposit of faith.The Bible, as interpreted by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, is the only infallible source of God's revelation.
How many books are in the Bible?There are 73 canonical books of the Bible: 39 protocanonical books, 7 deuterocanonical books, and 27 New Testament books.There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.[18]
Is the Bible inerrant?No, the Bible was written inerrantly on matters of salvation but may contain errors in other matters.
Who can speak with God's authority today?The Pope speaks infallibly with God's authority when speaking ex cathedra.[19][20]The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses is God's "faithful and discreet slave" and "spokesman", although it does so imperfectly.
How was the earth created?The earth was formed by gravity pulling dust together, which ultimately came from the Big Bang.The earth was formed by gravity pulling dust together, which ultimately came from the Big Bang.[21]
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[22]Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[23]
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is never permissible.Divorce is only permissible for adultery.[24]
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Divorce is never permissible.Yes, a Christian may remarry after divorce if the divorce was for a valid reason.[25]
When does a fetus become human?Humanity begins at conception.[26]Humanity begins at conception.[27]
Is contraception permissible?No, contraceptives are not permissible.[28]Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[29]
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.No, blood transfusions are not permissible.[30]
Should women cover their heads?No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[31]Women should cover their heads when praying or teaching when a man normally would.[32][33]
Should Christians drink alcohol?Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[34]Yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[35]
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[36][37]No, Christians should never fight.[38]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[39]God's holy spirit comes from God alone.
Do icons glorify God?Yes, icons are holy and should be venerated.
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?Some Christians first go to purgatory to be purified when they die.[11]After death, one's existence ceases until and unless God resurrects him.[40]