Difference between Catholic and catholic?

A friend of mine asked what the meaning is of Catholic spelled with a capital “C” vs catholic spelled with a lower case “c”.


The word “catholic” by itself means simply universal, wide ranging, broad. If the first letter is capitalized then it refers to the specific Church, the Catholic Church.

If I said: “I received a catholic education.” The lower case “c” denotes I received a broad, wide ranged education in many subjects.

If I said: “I received a Catholic education.” The capital “C” denotes I received an education based in the Roman Catholic faith.