Difference Between Dogma and Doctrine

Main Difference – Dogma vs Doctrine

Many people find the two terms dogma and doctrine confusing since they both refer to similar concepts. Even dictionaries define these two words with similar descriptions. However, there is a distinctive difference between dogma and doctrine in Catholic Church. Dogma is the divinely revealed truth, declared as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church. Doctrine is teachings or beliefs taught by the Magisterium of the Church. All dogmas are doctrines, but not all doctrines are dogmas. This is the main difference between dogma and doctrine.Difference Between Dogma and Doctrine- infographic

What is Dogma

Dogma is a subset of doctrine. It includes the divinely revealed truth, declared as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church. Given below is an explanation about dogma given by the Catechism of the Catholic Church .

“The Church’s magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.”

Dogma is central to the faith, and belief in dogma is essential to be a follower of Christ. These teachings are incontrovertible; they cannot be denied or disputed since they are divinely revealed. If something is to be a dogma it must be found in sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition.

Difference Between Dogma and Doctrine

What is Doctrine

The word doctrine comes from the Greek word doxa, meaning belief. The doctrines of the Church are teachings or sets of beliefs which must be believed by the followers of the religion. Doctrines include dogmas and other teachings definitively proposed by the Church. Dogma is doctrines of divine faith since they are defined as formally revealed by God. Other doctrines are also connected to solemnly defined teachings.

Although doctrines are established and agreed upon, they are not necessarily rigid and unchanging. A follower of the religion may question their validity and relevance and yet remain a believer. Some examples include understanding of communion, apostolic succession, baptism, church polity, and infallibility of Scripture.

Main Difference - Dogma vs Doctrine

Difference Between Dogma and Doctrine


Dogma is the divinely revealed truth, declared as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church.

Doctrine is teachings or beliefs taught by the Magisterium of the Church.


Dogma is a subset of doctrines.

Doctrine includes dogma and other teachings by the Church.


Dogma is divinely revealed.

Doctrine is proposed by the Church.

Image Courtesy:

“Rome basilica st peter 011c” By Mattana (Crop of original picture) –  (Public Domain) via  

“St. Peters Basilica Early Morning” By Andreas Tille – Own work  via  

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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