I would call anyone who believes in the divine nature of Jesus Christ, and makes an attempt (however imperfect) to live his or her life in conjunction with his teachings, an individual that fits the term "Christian" by the most general standards of its definition. Naturally, the "right way" to interpret Christ's teachings and properly follow them is going to vary, hence the different denominations. People of one denomination might see their way as the only "right way", and therefore claim other denominations aren't "real Christians", but that seems like a hyperbolic way of saying "those other Christians aren't doing it right".
I am not a Catholic (or even religious) now, but I was raised a Catholic and went to Catholic school from kindergarten through the end of high school. My personal experience was that the church was very tolerant of other views, even faiths that weren't Christian. My school had plenty of non-Christians (Jewish, Muslim, etc) send their kids there because the school was a good; they never had to pray, attend the weekly service, etc.
While this is only my own personal experience, I think the current teachings of the church is inclusive and tolerant, as a whole. I'm not expert on this, so that's just my perception.
"I believe in God - not in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God. There is God, and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.
" -Pope Francis (the current pope of the Catholic church)
In regards to the various atrocities of the Catholic faith, history is certainly replete with them. In my humble opinion, its very important to never forget our history, especially if we're a member of whatever group's historical atrocities are being discussed (in this case Catholics).
At the same time, we shouldn't judge an institution (religious or otherwise) based on their misgivings of the past, particularly the distant past. We should learn about them, continue discussing and teaching them, but not ignore what good the institution is doing at present. Whether the institution is ultimately "good" or "bad" is your own personal judgement call to make.This
is a good article discussing the finances and charity of the American Catholic church. In 2010, $4.7 billion was given to poor. That's good stuff. But like all big institutions, there's also plenty of corruption (also discussed in the article), not to mention the utterly atrocious manner the church had been dealing with child abuse by clergy. Good and bad to be found in its present state, up to you to decide if you think the good outweighs the bad.As a side note: No one in this thread cast judgement on the church, only pointed out the atrocities its been involved with in the past. I included the second part of this post just for the heck of it, not to claim anyone was casting judgement, nor as evidence that the church is "good" overall. The article linked is from The Economist, and certainly isn't painting the church's finances in a positive light. I thought it might be handy info for the general discussion, but if not then just ignore it :)