Calling Jesus, "Bro"

there is a debate now ongoing over the internet by the Filipino Catholic Community. there is a popular evening telenovela (telenovelas are very popular in the Philippines as all major networks air several of them the entire Primetime Period, from 6pm-11pm) in the Philippines whose story has a young boy (10 or less) who is in the care of seminarians and also serves as an altarboy

i’m not too familiar about the details of the show because i no longer live in the Philippines nor do i subscribe to The Filipino Channel, which airs this show around the world. but the issue here is that the show has become popular and the kid always refers to Jesus as “Bro” (short and slang for Brother). now, Filipinos tend to popular trends and given the popularity of the show, most Catholics i suspect will feel that its okay to start referring to Jesus as “Bro” as well

now, the issue in the debase is, is this acceptable? my stand on it is its not. yes, God is our Father, Jesus is our Brother, but is it respectful enough to call our Lord and Savior as “Bro”, which to me isn’t much respect.

i want to hear people’s opinions. and if there’s any Church teaching that is either for or against this practice

oh, and the sad thing is, the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) has remained silent on the issue

That is probably because there is not a Church position on such thing. Through Jesus, who is our brother, we have an intimacy and can even call Almighty God our Father. That is such a huge leap, that the change from brother to bro is legligible by comparison. On the other hand, our debt is infiite. Our humility before God should reflect this.

I think it does not matter, as God sees our hearts and knows what it is in it. I would shudder to here this at Mass. On the other hand, I would rather one call Jesus bro than not to pray at all.

i think your last sentence would reflect the reason why the CBCP is mum on the issue

if it brings people closer to Jesus, then it would be tolerated

i personally just have a problem referring to the Lord of Lords, King of Kings with a slang term. even if it means “brother”

we also have slang terms for “father” and “mother” but we wouldn’t call our own father and mother with those slang terms. so why use a slang term to refer to our Lord and Savior?

I don’t prefer “the Guy Upstairs” either. But I hear it.
Wonder if it’s addressed in the Catechism under “Taking the Lord’s name in vain.”

I don’t prefer “the Guy Upstairs” either. But I hear it.



You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.72
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not swear falsely. . But I say to you, Do not swear at all.73 


2142 The second commandment prescribes respect for the Lord’s name. Like the first commandment, it belongs to the virtue of religion and more particularly it governs our use of speech in sacred matters.

2143 Among all the words of Revelation, there is one which is unique: the revealed name of God. God confides his name to those who believe in him; he reveals himself to them in his personal mystery. The gift of a name belongs to the order of trust and intimacy. “The Lord’s name is holy.” For this reason man must not abuse it. He must keep it in mind in silent, loving adoration. He will not introduce it into his own speech except to bless, praise, and glorify it.74

**2144 Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes. The sense of the sacred is part of the virtue of religion:

Are these feelings of fear and awe Christian feelings or not? . . . I say this, then, which I think no one can reasonably dispute. They are the class of feelings we should have - yes, have to an intense degree - if we literally had the sight of Almighty God; therefore they are the class of feelings which we shall have, if we realize His presence. In proportion as we believe that He is present, we shall have them; and not to have them, is not to realize, not to believe that He is present.75 **

2145 The faithful should bear witness to the Lord’s name by confessing the faith without giving way to fear.76 Preaching and catechizing should be permeated with adoration and respect for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus as our brother is a name for Jesus, as is Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, Prince of Peace.

I don’t ever use the “Brother” analogy because I don’t have any earthly construct for it. I only have sisters. I would think that as long as it is used reverently, and not in vain, it would be okay, especially since it makes God presence available to every man.

I agree. I’m sure the Bishop’s Conference has bigger fish to fry than a kid on a TV show calling Jesus “Bro.” Would that we had such a “problem” in any of our primetime shows!

Jesus called God the Father “Abba”, which could be construed as a slang term. The very notion that Jesus encouraged us to call God, the Creator of everything, “Father” was revolutionary.

Having already heard people say “Jesus is my Homeboy”, “Bro” doesn’t seem that bad to me. :shrug:

Personally, to use this term would be pretty irreverant FOR ME. Because if I were ever to call someone “bro”, first of all I would be joking and or pretty sarcastic with intent.

That being said, I think that for certain cultures of people, particularly children in lower income areas, this terminology could imply the utmost love and respect. If a 10 year old, in a television series, in a lower income country like the Phillipines is using this terminology-- AND it is not being used derisively-- then it COULD be an attempt to reach the people on their own level and in words that make sense to them.

This post makes me sound like I am 2 things which I am not:

  1. In favor of relative truth
  2. A huge snob who looks down on lower income people.

I assure you I am neither-- but having worked in the city (NYC) with underpriviliged kids who spoke a language that was actually FOREIGN TO ME, even tho it was English, I can tell you that words dont mean the same things to me that they mean to that population of children!

I do think the term is irreverant. However, I think the users and/or viewers might not be aware of the irreverance, given the context and age of speaker. We cant hold people accountable for knowing something is irreverant if we dont tell them WHY its irreverant. So unless the users are fully informed about the irreverance of the terminology AND they are not speaking derisively of Jesus, it does not offend me.

i think i failed to mention that the actors who play the seminarians and priests also use “Bro”

but its the kid who popularized it

the issue really isn’t the kid doing that on a TV show, but popular shows tend to start trends among the masses. people will start adopting this and use it casually, especially the younger audience

lol…if God doesn’t mind, I don’t either. If those children are using the word bro. regularly to refer to Jesus then hopefully Jesus is apart of their life. If this show helps to do that…I’m all for it…if it’s okay with God that is…lol

Since when do bishops’ conferences speak about popular entertainment?

The USCCB sure doesn’t hesitate to do this. :smiley:

“God has given him a name which is above every name –
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
and that every tongue should confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord…”
Philippians 2:9-11.

We just had the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. My pastor reminded us of bowing our heads at the name of Jesus, not only for our sake, but to witness to others the reverence we as Catholics have for Him. I can’t see anyone who calls him “Bro” bothering to bow their head or bend their knee when they say it.:frowning:

It is very sad what is going in our world today. people are loosing reverence for God more and more. woud call your King, bro? we have lost the sense who God is. this is a big problem today.

just this past sunday i heard the priest at Mass saying pointing to Jesus: that guy. people laughs. how irreverent. than i hear the Clergy always complaining about the people in the issue of reverence. people will learn from the sheperds. if the sheperds are disrespectfull to God so will be the people.

Who is God? we should be asking this question always, so we dont forget. the world doesnt know Him but we should.

At Mass, probably not. In other contexts, possibly. Christ is both king and counselor. There are times when it is necessary to worship in a more formal manner, but there are other times where it can be acceptable to pray more informally

Where you are from using the word bro may not mean much but in my old neighborhood using the word bro is sometimes considered the ultimate in respect and yes I have seen tough looking guys praising the name of God reverently on bended knee. Sometimes we forget that English is an ever evolving language and that what is formal or good today may in a decade or so be the ultimate in informality or rudeness and vice versa. So, I think if the intention is there God will see it. It doesn’t seem like the people in this show are trying to be irreverent but are just trying to say that “God and I are really close like brothers”. That’s a good thing to me as long as it’s okay with God.

From what we know about the Bible, Jesus didn’t walk around in fancy clothes using big words. He spoke so the people could understand him.

Personally I don’t have an issue with calling Our Lord “Bro”.

However, I think that some of the people may start to treat him irrevently since I think that most of us are poorly catechized and may start to fall into the trap of not taking God or religion seriously.

Disclaimer: I don’t call Jesus “Bro!”; it’s not my style.


Given that Jesus frequently socialized with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners, I suspect that he would have less of a negative reaction about being called “Bro!” that many denizens of this forum would have at hearing Him called “Bro!”


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