Etic and Emic View of Catholic Religion

Emic view of the Catholic religion is that it is different from other Christian religions. It is the only approach that gives legitimate precedence to understanding the norms of religion. The Catholic religion has universal reverence to a Mass, a Papacy, and Roman Catholic symbols. Notably, the Roman Catholic symbols are truthful, genuine, and authentic. These features make the Catholic faith different and the strongest Christian religion. However, the etic view of the Catholic religion is that it is not different from other Christian religions. For instance, the Catholic faith conforms to the Holy Trinity, acknowledging God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Besides, they acknowledge the Lord’s prayer, which is universal for the Christian faith. However, Catholics pray through the mother of Jesus, which contradicts the etic view.

An objective researcher might find the Catholic religion to be proud of an etic view. First, the etic view is that the Catholic religion is indifferent from other Christian religions. However, an etic objective researcher finds that the Catholics believe their religion is the one which Jesus founded during the Great Commission. They believe that only their bishops are the successors of biblical apostles. They believe that the Catholic religion has a more legitimate transcendence from Jesus Christ, by symbolic over-representation than any other Christian religion, and having more Christian epistles. However, the Christian bible has in many instances claimed the equality of all who conform to the faith, including Colossians 3:11 “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”


From an etic perspective, a Catholic religious person might experience the same reality but differently. It is important to understand that there are many Christian denominations, and all have their unique norms of expressing Christian faith (Osborne and Vandenberg, 2003). However, the Catholic religion has a significant universality, where the reverence of Mass, Papacy, and symbols are similar throughout Catholic Churches. This has led to a perception of superiority over other demonization. In 2007, the Vatican released a statement claiming the Catholic Church to be the true church of Christ (Catholic Church only true church, Vatican says, 2007). Therefore, a catholic follower may not find the religion proud but have a sense of religious superiority. This is due to the denominational differences, which cause a never-ending competition, as explained by Conflict Theory developed by Karl Marx.

Understanding the etic and emic perceptions is critical in the overall understanding of my religion. It is a valuable tool for assessing biases that may persist and eventually affect my research or professional work judgment. For instance, I understand that the Catholic religion is similar to other Christian religions in that it transcends the mission and vision of Jesus Christ. While there are critical denominational differences and beliefs and practices, there is no superior Christian church. From an etic view, one is likely to favor their religion since, like in the Catholic church, members are taught to accept Catholic religious practices.

Care practitioners ought to approach their clients with an open mind, accepting biases that might persist in etic or emic perspectives. This enhances respect for other people’s religions and or cultures – a cultural-religious competency. A study has found that cultural-religious competency increases patients’ health outcomes and fosters clinicians’ professional development (Hordern, 2016). Besides, the sensitive approach to other people’s beliefs and practices is part of professionalism. Practitioners must accept diversity and be aware of the biases that might cause a dilemma in care. For instance, Hordern (2016) acknowledges the religious differences in the perception in the concept of healing, which practitioners must respect to ensure a holistic approach to care.


Catholic Church only true church, Vatican says. CBC. (2007). Retrieved 5 January 2021, from

Hordern, J. (2016). Religion and culture. Medicine, 44(10), 589-592. Osborne, T., & Vandenberg, B. (2003). RESEARCH: Situational and Denominational Differences in Religious Coping. International Journal For The Psychology Of Religion, 13(2), 111-122.