Do you say this?


#1

This may be really silly, but I am curious –

Do you say (or know someone who says) “I am a Catholic,” or “She is a Catholic,” with Catholic being a noun? Like how some Jewish people might say “I am a Jew,” instead of saying “I am Jewish.”

I have never heard anyone Catholic say this, but I hear it all the time in films and on TV.

Where I grew up & live (In the Northeast) everyone I know says “I am Catholic,” with Catholic being more of a adjective.

Is this a regional, or generational thing?

Any insight would be appreciated!


#2

What about “I am Catholic-ish?”

I guess that would only be applicable to cafeteria Catholics.


#3

Or they could say they were Catholic Lite?


#4

I am pretty sure I say both. Grammatically speaking, it seems using the meaning is equivilent, ie either Catholic being an adjective or a discriptive noun.

But it brings up a more interesting question which I have debated with others. Is it more proper to say "I am an American Catholic" or "I am a Catholic American"? In my opinion, there is a correct answer and I am certain of the answer, but most well meaning and devout Catholics disagree with me.


#5

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:1, topic:201345"]
This may be really silly, but I am curious --

Do you say (or know someone who says) "I am a Catholic," or "She is a Catholic," with Catholic being a noun? Like how some Jewish people might say "I am a Jew," instead of saying "I am Jewish."

I have never heard anyone Catholic say this, but I hear it all the time in films and on TV.

Where I grew up & live (In the Northeast) everyone I know says "I am Catholic," with Catholic being more of a adjective.

Is this a regional, or generational thing?

Any insight would be appreciated!

[/quote]

I don't think it is an issue whether you say of yourself or of someone else I am Catholic, or I am A Catholic. A Jewish person responding however is giving both his ethnicity and his religious belief. Many of not most Catholics in America are of mixed heritage so it would no longer be accurate to say I am an Italian Catholic, Irish Catholic, Mexican Catholic, or Polish Catholic. Nor can we any longer assume if someone claims either of those ethnic ties that they are also Catholic by definition. Nor do all ethnic Jews necessarily retain their religious ties and practices. It is best to let people self-identify both their culture and their religion.


#6

Maybe it is a regional thing. I find that I use it both ways, saying, either, " I am a Catholic" as well as "I'm Catholic." Maybe I am just being grammatically lazy and informal when I use the latter.

In my mind it doesn't matter whether the article "a" is used before "Catholic," as long as the person is a practicing Catholic!

The ethnicity never mattered in my family, it was whether you married a practicing Catholic. Thus my Spanish-American-Catholic father was acceptible to my Irish-American-Catholic mother, and I, as a Spanish-Irish-American-Catholic, was acceptible to my Irish-Scottish-Czech-Catholic husband, and my All-American-Catholic kids are acceptible to their All-American-Catholic spouses!:thumbsup:


#7

Peggy/puzzleannie, it is my opinion that your terminologies are backwards. The adjective is typically more powerful than the noun. You should describe your self as a Catholic American ( or Catholic Irish-American, etc) as opposed to American Catholic. Think of it this way, the adjective modifies the noun, not the other way around. Broadly speacking, my catholocism affects my americanism, but my americanism should not affect my catholicism.

Examples:

Proper: I am an American.
Proper: I am a Catholic.
Proper: I am a Catholic American.
Improper: I am an American Catholic.

just killing time....


#8

Too right!
I was just going in alphabetical order.


#9

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:3, topic:201345"]
Or they could say they were Catholic Lite?

[/quote]

Not really. Catholic Lite are Episcopalians. Also refered to as the "farm team". :D

I learned this from an old Irish (adj.) Catholic (n.) friend of mine.

Or, if tafan prefers, a Catholic Irishman. :thumbsup:


#10

I'm not Catholic yet so I never refer to myself as a Catholic... heh.

But when I speak about my sister I tell people she is Catholic. Not she is A Catholic. Not sure why, I just don't.


#11

[quote="Poco, post:9, topic:201345"]
Not really. Catholic Lite are Episcopalians. Also refered to as the "farm team". :D

I learned this from an old Irish (adj.) Catholic (n.) friend of mine.

Or, if tafan prefers, a Catholic Irishman. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

A friend of mine who is Episcopalian jokingly tells me she is Catholic Lite -- same religion, half the guilt.


#12

I've always just said that I am Catholic. That's how the rest of my family words it, too. I've only heard non-Catholics, or people outside the family commenting on my religion, refer to any of us as "**a **Catholic". Not sure if it's a regional thing or not, but FYI I am from the Southwestern US.


#13

I always say "I'm Catholic," or "We're Catholic." I never use it as a noun, unless I say something like "Look over there, on the horizon! It's a horde of Catholics headed our way!" :)


#14

[quote="puzzleannie, post:5, topic:201345"]
I don't think it is an issue whether you say of yourself or of someone else I am Catholic, or I am A Catholic.** A Jewish person responding however is giving both his ethnicity and his religious belief.** Many of not most Catholics in America are of mixed heritage so it would no longer be accurate to say I am an Italian Catholic, Irish Catholic, Mexican Catholic, or Polish Catholic. Nor can we any longer assume if someone claims either of those ethnic ties that they are also Catholic by definition. Nor do all ethnic Jews necessarily retain their religious ties and practices. It is best to let people self-identify both their culture and their religion.

[/quote]

Really? I never thought of Judiasm as an ethnicity, since there are Jews from so many different parts of the world. Europe, Russia, middle east.....


#15

I definitely use both. I'm not sure why I use both, but I do.


#16

Re: the OP - I think I alternate between “I’m Catholic” and “I’m a Catholic”. I probably use “I’m Catholic” more frequently.

Interestingly enough, I think that most non-Catholic Christians tend to say “I’m a Christian” instead of “I’m Christian”. Anyone else noticed that?

I think that generally, Judaism refers to the spiritual/religious beliefs. “Jewish/Jew” pertain to the ethnicity, and this has its roots in the Bible, predating large populations of Jews settling in Europe or Russia. Throughout the Bible, Jews are regarded as an ethnic group or nation (even in the NT, we see the distinction made between “Jews and Gentiles”). At one time they were settled together in Israel, but through various persecutions and exiles they ended up all over the world.

Jewish people have long considered the only Jews to be those born to Jewish mothers (or those who go through the conversion process, which is not encouraged and which is probably a bit more complicated than being baptized). Even someone who believes all of the spiritual teachings of Judaism and worship in a synagogue is not considered a Jew.

A Jew is any person whose mother was a Jew or any person who has gone through the formal process of conversion to Judaism.

It is important to note that being a Jew has nothing to do with what you believe or what you do. A person born to non-Jewish parents who has not undergone the formal process of conversion but who believes everything that Orthodox Jews believe and observes every law and custom of Judaism is still a non-Jew, even in the eyes of the most liberal movements of Judaism, and a person born to a Jewish mother who is an atheist and never practices the Jewish religion is still a Jew, even in the eyes of the ultra-Orthodox. In this sense, Judaism is more like a nationality than like other religions, and being Jewish is like a citizenship.


#17

When I look in the dictionary I see Catholic defined as both an adjective and as a noun.

I have heard it used both ways (when referring to specific persons) for as long as I can remember.


#18

Very interesting, Rachel! Thanks!

Anyway, I see here that some of us do indeed say that, so I am satisfied that Hollywood is not wrong on this particular point!

Now if they could just get a Boston accent right with someone other than Matt Damon & Ben Affleck, I'd be happy!


#19

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