A Rant on Semantics

“What religion are you?” someone asks me.

“Catholic,” I say.

My fellow Catholics, how do you usually answer this question?

It’s kind of a no-win situation for us. Here’s what I mean:

You say “Catholic.”
In the mind of the listener: Oh. That’s not Christian! OR Oh. Is that Christian? OR Oh. She’s one of THOSE. (Insert false stereotype here)

You say, “Christian.”
In the mind of the listener: She’s one of those evangelicals/nondenominationals

You say, “Catholic Christian.”
In the mind of the listener: Does that imply some Catholics aren’t Christian? OR That’s an oxymoron!

All three of these answers are accurate for us to say. I would be inclined to say that the last, “Catholic Christian,” is the most accurate and complete. I hate to leave Christ out of my description of what my religion is! We just have to hope that the listener recognizes that Catholicism and Christianity are one in the same.

I’m interested in hearing how you answer the question, “What religion are you?” Catholics, what do you say? Protestants, do you identify yourself as Christian, Protestant, or by your specific denomination?

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14 thoughts on “A Rant on Semantics

  1. Pingback: A Rant on Semantics - CATHOLIC FEAST - Every day is a Celebration

  2. Depends on who asks. If they are carrying a bible I say Christian, then explain that I’m catholic. If they aren’t carrying a bible I take a moment to recover from shock, and then I say I’m catholic.

    • You know, I was thinking about it more, and it’s interesting that when we see someone carrying a Bible, we assume they aren’t Catholic, but another kind of Christian. I would make the same assumption. We Catholics need to start carrying Bibles around! πŸ™‚

      • Agreed. We also need to read the Bible more frequently. I’ve found that Protestants are more apt to notice a biblical reference in the mass than a Catholic. In fact, I prefer to talk about my faith with a protestant because they usually know what they are talking about. When I discuss my faith with some Catholics (I teach at a catholic school) they just nod their head and say, “Wow, I never thought about that.”

  3. I usually just answer Catholic but I suppose it depends on the situation. If it is someone knocking on my door to see if I have been saved, I politely tell them yes I am a Christian…a Catholic in fact! πŸ™‚

  4. I just loved this blog! I’m a brazilian missionary and I quit college to go on a mission. Each day, I’m more certain that’s the will of God for me. But it’s always fantastic to see that there is people inside the secular environment that can keep up with their Catholic faith. I have a question. Are you from some moviment in the Church, or just a regular Catholic living your life? hahaha I’m from a New Comunity called “Shalom”! I don’t if you heard about it… Keep going! God bless you! Shalom!!

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