Childhood misconceptions about Catholicism and what you "thought" they meant. (humorous)

Share your innocent misconceptions about the faith when you were a child. This probably applies more to those who grew up in the pre-Vatican ll era.

Having older siblings, I would listen to them talk about catholic school and I had all kinds of crazy ideas about things because I was too young to understand and hadn’t even started school yet.

For example: My mother would give them a dime or a nickel to “feed the pagan babies”…I imagined these little baby animals in a cage that needed food.

I didn’t know if nuns were men or women…or neither.

The concept of a “Holy Ghost” just didn’t compute !

Tell us your stories !

I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph in their traditional habit and I used to ponder how they managed to get in and out of it as I thought the dress and the head dressing were all simply one piece. So I came up with the solution that there was a pulley by their beds which attached to the veil on top and simply lifted everything up - and in the morning released the whole thing with the sister standing under it with arms upright in order to slide into it.

Silly, I know.

Well, when I was pretty little I didn’t like peas. My parents and grandparents tried to guilt me to eat them by saying, “Eat your peas. There are starving children in Ethiopia who would be happy to have peas.” At mass when we sang the Lamb of God at the end when we say, “Grant us peace,” I thought we were saying, “Grant us peas” for the starving children, of course!

Just thought of a couple more! The little bells the altar servers ring during the Eucharistic prayer… I thought it was God signaling that he was coming down into the bread and wine.

And the choir in the choir loft… I thought they were angels singing since I couldn’t see them from my seat.

Well I don’t know if it was a misconception, but I always thought it was silly.

When the nuns sold the scapulars, there was the tradition brown scapular, which was a guaranteed ticket to heaven, if you were wearing at the time of death, and the cheaper green scapular, which would only get you into purgatory.

I don’t remember which scapular I bought, but I remember thinking how sad it was, that kids who couldn’t afford the brown scapular, would be rejected getting into heaven, over the kid who could.


I didnt’ think this myself, but a priest once said this at mass:

A child that once said the “Our Father”: …give us this day our jelly bread…"


Just thought of a couple more! The little bells the altar servers ring during the Eucharistic prayer… I thought it was God signaling that he was coming down into the bread and wine.

When I was about 5 I remember asking my dad why they rang the bells at the consecration. He must have been tired of me peppering him with questions, because he told me they were for waking up sleepy little girls. For years and years I honestly believed the bells were to wake up all the people who were asleep. :rolleyes:

When I was little, I thought the Host would be citrus-flavored. It looked like the giant vitamin C tablets that we thought were treats; during cold season my mom would put a bowl of them out and we would grab some every time we came through the kitchen! They were gray, but flavored sour cherry or orange, and the Host, from what I could see, looked the same color as the tablets.

Imagine my disappointment when we got the “practice” Host for First Communion, and brought it home so we could practice receiving, and it tasted like flat bread! I even spat it out! :o My mom had to explain that it was made of bread, and would still “taste” like bread when it was consecrated. Darn.

My husband was about five when he threw a fit for the Host. He was walking up with his mother while she went to receive, and when the priest blessed DH it dawned on him that he wasn’t going to get what he thought was a cookie! He planted his little feet right in front of the priest and yelled, “I WANT A GOD COOKIE!”

My mortified MIL had to pick him up and carry him out of the sanctuary, while he yelled, “GOD COOKIE! GOD COOKIE!”

was widespread then, and still is, the perception that each time Mary appears and is portrayed in a different image or title–OL Guadalupe, OL Fatima etc, it is a different person, that we have dozens of Virgins.

this is so old, et cum spiri two two oh is God’s phone number

my little brother when he was asked to lead prayers always began with “Hello, God” because he heard
"Our Father, Hello in heaven"

if you guys are not honest I will have to post a poll: how many snuck into the convent at some point during their parochial school career to see how the nuns ate, slept, did they have TV and radio etc.?

I learned almost nothing about Mass as a very young child, because in the parish we attended before we moved (when I was 5) we always sat behind a lady who wore a fox fur neckpiece, which was fashionable at that time, yep, little tiny fox faces and paws (or maybe they were some other little animals, but I guessed foxes). It was both terrifying and fascinating. I swear those beady little eyes looked right at me and kept me sitting and kneeling up straight and behaving myself. I spent so much time watching the little foxes that I got very little out of what was happening on the altar. If that lady was not there I was both relieved, and also a little disappointed.

I’m a post VII baby, but in the 80s and early 90s the sisters at our school (IHM) still wore their habits. I never snuck into the convent, but my girlfriends and I would wonder if they had hair under their veils and we all believed that they slept and bathed in their habits as well. It wasn’t until we saw them doing their laundry behind the convent that we realized they wore underwear and nightgowns. And what a shock that was!!! After that, I then imagined them having pajama parties, sharing their bedrooms with bunkbeds - although all still wearing their veils. :stuck_out_tongue:

At mass, I remember being enamored of the stations of the cross in our church. They weren’t pretty. Actually kind of ugly, but there were these lights highlighting each station. I was in second grade and was very much into the saints, becoming a sister, making my First Penance and First Holy Communion, etc. I thought because I was in this year of holy “firsts” the angels were shining a light down onto each station. I didn’t see the light bulb over each station and actually thought I was witnessing some sort of divine miracle.

Too funny about sneaking into the convent ! I attempted such an excursion when another boy and myself were given the keys to the back door to go in and retrieve the “phonograph”. Once inside, we figured it was safe to have a look around. We made it as far as the stairs, only to be met by one of the nuns peering over the railing at us saying, “And just WHERE do you two think you’re going” ?

There always seemed to be an assortment of nuns we didn’t know roaming about…they weren’t teachers at the school so we never knew how they fit into the greater scheme of things.

I used to think that when we prayed for the “faithful departed,” we were praying for the “faithful retarded.” :blush: I figured out what it was after I learned to read…

Oh my gosh, puzzleannie…the fox fur stoles! I remember as a kid sitting behind a lady who wore those to Sunday Mass!

Too funny…

This is a little different than most of the examples above, but I thought of it when I read the title of this thread.

I grew up Protestant, and there was a large Catholic family who lived down the street from me. I knew absolutely nothing about Catholicism growing up, but I remember once mentioning to my parents that this family had a lot of kids. My mom just said, “well, they’re Catholic.” Like that explained it.

Since I didn’t even know yet how children were conceived, I remember thinking that Catholics must have some inside track on how to get the stork to come to their house! :slight_smile:

hahahaha! That is such a cute story. So innocent!

That reminds me of a story my mom told me. When she was very little, and the bells started ringing for the consecration, my three year old mother started screaming at the top of her lungs, bellowing “Whoopy! Whoopy! There goes Jesus Christ!”

My mortified grandmother never sat on that side of the church again.

I remember my youngest brother yelling “Hello Jesus!” during mass… Mom would always try to hush him up, but he just had to say his hellos.

My dad was military, so we would go to Mass on base growing up. To another one of my brothers, ANY man in uniform was either “Daddy” or “Father John.” We would be at a store and he would yell “Fadder Don Fadder Don!” when a short man in uniform walked by. and “DADDY DADDY” when a tall man in uniform walked by. Hehe it was cute…

Another story. A friend of ours was taking her son shopping at the grocery store. Im not sure what they are called, but there is always a sponge in a little dish of water so that the cashier can wet her fingers when dealing with cash. Anyway. Our priest was infront of them in line, and as soon as the little boy saw him, he dipped his hands into the dish of water and blessed himself. HAHA.


Oh my…I have many of these:

Well, when I was about 4 or so, I didn’t understand the concept of the choir loft. I thought the voices were coming from the people in heaven.

You know, I just think this is so beautiful. Even though I know that the voices are not of the angels and coming from heaven, even now, when I hear the voices coming from the choir loft, that’s what it sounds like and feels like. There seems to be this divine connection that I admittedly never feel that when I see the choir or see the cantor. I’d rather just hear them from behind.

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