10 Catholic Cliches (And What They Really Mean)

flickr quinn_anyaFriends at Benedictine College and I were translating common sayings by Catholics last week. Add others in the comments if you think of any.

1. When a Catholic says: “I’ll pray about it.”

She might mean, “I will bring this important decision before God.”

… But often, she means: “My answer is No, but I want you to blame God, not me.”

2. When a priest says in a homily: “Let me share a little about the parish from the pastor’s perspective.”

He means: “We need more money.”

3. When a spouse says, “Honey, I think we should go on a marriage retreat.”

She means: “I am either going to strangle you or return you to your mother unless grace intervenes.”

4. When a Catholic says: “We need to pray for Frank. Let me tell you why.”

He really means: “I have awesome gossip about Frank, so let’s pretend it’s okay to gossip.”

5. When a single Catholic says, “I am discerning a religious vocation.”

He or she often means: “I have discerned that my vocation is not going to involve dating you.”

6. When a Catholic says, “Remember, it’s a sin to waste food.”

He means: “If you’re not going to eat that, can I?”

7. In youth ministry circles, when a Catholic says, “Be in the world, but not of it …”

She means “Be fashionable, but not immodest.”

8. When a Catholic says, “And also with you!”

She means, “I haven’t been to Mass for so long, I didn’t know they changed the words.”


“Change takes a looong time for me.”

9. In a parish classroom setting, when a young Catholic says, “Jesus? I mean … God?”

He means: “I haven’t been following what you are saying and I think pious words are interchangeable.”

 10. When a Catholic says, “I was thinking of you during Mass yesterday.”

She probably means: “Yesterday’s liturgy led me to reach out.”

But she might mean: “The priest’s message was so convicting yesterday, I decided to apply it to you instead of to me.”

(Special thanks to Dr. Edward Mulholland who also wanted to add: “When a Catholic says, ‘I’m worried about Pope Francis,” he really means “I haven’t been reading The Gregorian.”)


Categories:Culture Humor Prayer

7 thoughts on “10 Catholic Cliches (And What They Really Mean)

  1. Kelly says:

    Numbers 7 & 9 show that we are still good, old-fashioned sexists – “Girls” worry about clothing – “Young men” answer scholarly questions – even if the answer is incorrect. # 10 probably refers to the fact that the sermon was so boring that said churchgoer wasn’t paying any attention, and was admittedly thinking of someone else.

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