Strange Reactions to Catholicism

Just because I’m curious:

What is the typical response you receive when you tell someone that you are Catholic?

Also, if you are a convert to Catholicism, what has been the response of your family and friends?

Most people who are not Catholic seem to be taking my conversion in stride; however, I did have one strange moment on Ash Wednesday. I went to my choir concert with the ashes still on my forehead, and a fellow student looked at me, yelled, “Catholic!” and ran down the hall. I wondered if anyone else had an experience like mine.

That’s bizarre!

I’ve had people make fun of me when I had ashes on (“you’re face is dirty” seems terribly original to some people, I cannot imagine why). But I’ve never had anyone actual react fearfully. Possibly the shout-and-run response was meant to be a joke? Was it someone you know well enough for them to make a joke? (Or what he/she thought was a joke?):shrug:

When I first entered the Church my evangelical family was horrified and some people made unpleasant remarks. But that was almost 30 years ago, and they’ve mostly come around.

BTW, Welcome to the Family! :smiley:

I don’t know her that well; we don’t get much of a chance to chat with people at my university choir, unless you get there early. Perhaps she thought she was being funny? College students are strange, sometimes.

That’s good that your family has come around. I’ve had several conversations with my parents (mostly my mom) about converting, and she thinks it’s a good idea because my boyfriend’s family is Catholic (he isn’t practicing, but his beliefs are still closert to Catholicism than anything else). That’s not why I chose to convert, but at least they’re being encouraging. My mom has also been reading up on some of the beliefs, so she’s gotten past the common objections many Protestants have to Catholicism. My parents basically figure that I’m an adult (I turned 21 in February), so I can make my own decisions about religion. My Protestant friends don’t quite get why I would want to become Catholic, but at least they respect my decision and don’t think that I’m un-Christian or evil.

Thank you! I’m excited to be joining.


I’m surprised that I haven’t gotten more repulsed looks, because the area I’m in is heavily Calvinist/Christian Reformed. Then again, most of my friends now are Catholic (both practicing and non-practicing), or of the less evangelical Protestant denominations.

Well, there have been 2 reactions that I would classify as strange. The first (probably not so strange, since it seems to be fairly common) is the, “Oh, I used to be Catholic, too, until I became a Christian!” response from former Catholics. :whacky:

The second one was from a coworker who is a Jehovah’s Witness. Once she found out I was Catholic, she of course started proselytizing me. She gave me the whole, “I used to be Catholic, too, until I found the truth of the Witnesses”, and went into all the anti-Catholic rhetoric that she’d been taught by the Watchtower. Turns out she was baptized as an infant, but NEVER had any teaching in the faith. Her parents never attended Mass and never taught the kids the faith, and they never attended catechism classes. She was ripe for the picking. So when I said, “Oh, so you were never really Catholic, what you meant to say was you and your family were no religion”, she stopped, took a step backwards, and said, “yes”. Then she started throwing all the anti-Catholic teachings of the Watchtower at me, and when I could answer all of her objections to Catholicism with solid Catholic teaching, she told me I’d make a wonderful Jehovah’s Witness! It has never connected with her that she will one day make an extraordinary Catholic. She personally actually believes much of what Catholicism teaches, but her biases are so strong that she cannot accept it. Please pray for her conversion.


For the most part, our relatives are sad. We converted from evangelical Protestantism. We could have been called, “Super Evangelicals,” as we were involved with some program or ministry in our church almost every day and/or evening.

Then we were kicked out of our church when a woman pastor trumped up a charge against us. A tribunal was convened, we were condemned, and told to leave.

It was horrific and utterly destroyed any belief that I ever had in the Satanic docrine of sola Scriptura. These people used the BIBLE to condemn us, and conveniently ignored the ENTIRE Bible in their quest to oust and shun us. Their treatment was incredibly cruel. Both of our daughters stopped attending church at that time (2002). Our older daughter, thank God, converted to Catholicism last Easter (2008), but our younger daughter and her husband still do not attend. She says she can’t trust churches. I don’t blame her.

So when we converted to Catholicism, our relatives are sad because they think we converted out of disgust over and defiance of Protestantism. They think that if our Protestant pastors had treated us right, we would never have converted to Catholicism. And they think that if we could just attend a “good” Protestant church, that we would drop Catholicism and return to “real” Christianity.

No one running for the hills when hearing of my conversion, just a few odd looks and an “oh” or two, like I was admitting to somthing unforunate, :rolleyes:. My family was super defensive and took it as a personal insult, we still don’t talk about it. They just are not ready. Once I made up my mind, I have never looked back though.:smiley: I know what I have chosen is what God wanted me to do.

Except when I lived in WI, there were few other Catholics around. Catechism, when I was a child, was on Wednesdays. My friends would see me waiting for the post bus and they didn’t know how to react.
I take remarks about the dirt on my forehead on Ash Wednesday in stride. I worked in a distribution center where you get dirty anyway and people thought it was a grease smear I needed to remove.
As a Catholic it is okay to go to services with other denominations provided you go to Mass first. At the Assembly of God, I would hear people pray for the conversion of Catholics. After the service while talking about the resurrection, I would reveal the fact that I am Catholic. The inevitable response was "I didn’t know Catholics believed that!"
I did put up with some verbal abuse during the sexual scandal. Generally speaking, however. discussions of faith generally lead to “where do you go to church?” Ecumenical discussions with other people who believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ help dispel misconceptions people have of the Catholic Church. Discussions at the distribution center led to genuine questions about the Catholic faith. My friends understood I was offended with the telling of jokes about priests during the scandal. After all, I walked away.
One time when I was visiting my mother, a televangelist asked “how many people have you brought to Christ?” My mother’s humble response was “at least six.” We lived in Japan. Each of the converts saw the love members in my family showed each other. As Catholics, we are recognized more by the lives we live than by the words we use.

Ha! Last year, on Ash Wednesday, I was at school in my English class. My teacher said, “You’re Catholic?” I nodded and he approached in caution, practically throwing my assignment at me. I asked him, half-laughing, “What are you doing?”

His response: “I don’t want to spontaneously combust.” :rotfl: I found that hilarious even when I was a Catholic. Ah… my English teacher, the ex-Mormon. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways, don’t be offended if someone reacts strangely to your faith–no matter what that faith is. :slight_smile:

Ironically Yours, Blade and Blood

Wait… What? Is this a common practice within evangelicalism?

God bless

I normally get a strange look followed by “…but you’re black.” When I converted, I had an aunt ask me how do I understand what they are saying. Thursday a new co-worker asked me what do catholics wear to church. I just take it in stride.:smiley:

Well, I have had several different reactions…

-My best friend told me I was “crazy”

-A lady I attended the methodist church with just said, "hmmm, that’s interesting. And not in an interested way.

-My husband’s best friend has been all for it (and he’s a baptist deacon) up until our confirmation night and he started making jokes about the “magic” of the Eucahrist.

-But the one that tops them all is my mom actually told my sister that she was very disappointed in me that I wasn’t raised that way and that Catholics don’t believe in Jesus.:eek:

Although, I will have to say that some people have been interested in learning about the RCC and ask lots of questions - which I think is great!! And there were actually some who were sincerely happy for us.


How about when you have to explain to Latins what Eastern Catholicism is? Most of them have never heard of it before.

You might be interested in learning about Thea Bowman and other black Catholics.
When your co-worker asked what Catholics wear to Church, did she want to know if they wear casual wear or dress up?

I found the easiest way to disabuse others of misconceptions is through normal conversation. The best reaction I find is when I start talking about the Resurrection.

How does your husband’s best friend explain John 6:52-62.

I just had to share this message I got from my mom today. The first line amused me :stuck_out_tongue:

Hope that you’re having a great Catholic day. Don’t mind me teasing you. It is all done with love. Actually I think it is wonderful that you put in so much time and effort looking into being a Catholic before you actually committed to it. Congrats again and enjoy your Catholicism. Mom

Once I tell someone I am Catholic anything can happen!
I’ve had folks embrace me and exclaim “I’m a Catholic too! Isn’t Papa Ben awesome?!?” :smiley:

I’ve had folks whos faces get this shocked look which fades to disgust then to hatred as they say “o”. :frowning:

I’ve had people say “you really need to come to our Bible study!” (Protestants)

I’ve had people just start asking questions like "do you believe in God, why do you worship the Pope, etc.

Sadly in my area most reactions are negative. :shrug:


The strangest reaction I got was, “What did you do that for”? Like I’d just put my shoes on the wrong feet or something.

I said, “Because God told me to”. I got an even stranger look yet. :o

But you know what, sometimes God calls us to wear our shoes on the wrong feet so that we have an opportunity to explain why.


Here’s what I usually get: “Come to Bible Study with me and maybe we can make you an evangelist.” Which I then politely refuse, at the insistence of my mother. :smiley:

It’s passing strange to hear your stories, in my nick of the woods (Montreal, Qc) we are mostly Catholic (although secularism has taken it toll on us), thus far I have not dealt with anti-catholicism and/or strange reactions (personally), and a good thing too because I’m not too kind when riled up.

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