Are you Catholic? No, I’m Christian

I experienced one of those “holy shit” moments the other day.

You know the type of experience you get from something you see, hear or read and you just have to say to yourself out of earshot of everybody something like: “holy shitoli!”

I had seen a young woman pass by as I was walking a few of my daily 10,000 steps when I asked her if she was going to work. She replied yes and I followed up with “Where do you work?”

The 20-something dark-haired lass said she worked at St. Matthew’s Day Care Center which was a block away from where we saw one another in Conshohocken, PA. The church provides services for people who need child care so that they can go to work.

“Are You Catholic?” I asked her out of curiosity.

“No, I’m Christian.” she relied.

That is when my jaw dropped and my world tilted a little bit.

The young lady seemed to say it with such anuthority and innocence that I was speechless for a moment. Then some arcane knowledge inside of my kicked in. It was the fact that Jesus was never a Christian. He was a Jew who was put to death by the Roman government which decided to place a written sign above the cross where he hung.

The sign displayed the Greek word “Christ.” or “Christos” which means “anointed one.” In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible called the Septuagint, Christos was used to translate the Hebrew word of Masiah or massiah, meaning “one who is annointed.”

Catholics are Christians. My first grade teacher – a nun – drilled that into me at the ripe old age of five. I don’t think any teacher in any school in our world ever taught that Catholics were not Christians.


Then I had dark thoughts about Catholics being treated as “Others.” You know, people like the Irish, the Italians, the Poles – any group that was unlike the British. Catholics were lumped in with blacks and Jews and targeted by the Ku Klux Klan. Did the Klan believe that Catholics were not Christians? I really don’t know.

The young girl did not come up with her knowledge of what Christians were or were not. It saddens me to think that it was passed onto her by her family.

No matter what the denominations, everyone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ are Christians. I married a woman who was raised Episcopalian in a Presbyterian Church by a Methodist minister (who was my wife’s sister) and my older nrother – a Catholic – as best man.

There are no distinctions.

Now let me end this diatribe with a rousing “AMEN!”

5 comments on “Are you Catholic? No, I’m Christian

  1. contoveros says:

    The following comments were shared on Facebook:

    Nancy Stinson —
    I’ve heard that distinction myself over the years and always wondered about it, but never followed up. Good job, Michael.

    Michael J Contos —
    It’s crazy and I am so glad those of us studying Buddhism don’t have such a discrepancy.

    Nadja Dalantinow Cross —
    Michael glad to hear that I’ve been Buddhist all my life.

    Michael J Contos —
    You’re lucky Badja. But, we got to remember that the followers of such enlightened and venerable people created the names for their holy ones.
    Christ was never a Christian, Buddha was never a Buddhist, and Mohammad was never a Muslim. They’re just names applied to help people find the path toward Love and Wisdom.
    Bruce Saul —
    Interesting story Mike. I think there is a general lack of knowledge on the subject of Christian denominations. In the Apostles Creed Protestants state that “we believe in the holy catholic church. This confuses some people as they do not understand what catholic means in lower case. It means a universal church which is different from the Catholic (RC) Church headquartered in Vatican City. But in the end, both RC and Protestants are indeed Christians.

    Michael J Contos —
    Bruce, I want to thank you, my gracious neighbor. All followers of the teachings of Jesus are indeed Christians. I forgot the meaning of the lower case “catholic” and am reminded how we can all learn from each other if we but open our hearts and minds to His teachings.
    Andrea Hornett —
    The only truly Christian person I have ever known was an Orthodox Jewess.

    Michael J Contos —

    God bless her.
    And God bless you Andrea Hornett while we’re at it!
    Lisa Baxter Horwitz —
    I want to give her the benefit of believing she just hasn’t had much religious exposure, but she literally works for a Catholic Church- how is this possible? Or does she just not really have a denomination she belongs to? That could be it, she may have been raised to call herself a Christian but didn’t ever go to church.

    Michael J Contos —
    I believe you are correct on both counts Lisa.
    She is a young person who may not have exposure to the rich history of different religions.
    She may also have had little contact with any church she may have been taken to as a child by her family.
    It is still unbelievable in today’s world that people exist with such little or no understanding about the organization they are employed in.

    Lisa Baxter Horwitz —
    This is why we need to rule the world!

    Michael J Contos —

    You go, girl!


  2. Rebecca Goff says:

    Michael, nice try to “try” to make sense of this subject. Carmen’s post indicates another strong position, which resonates “shame” over Catholicism. It’s a tragedy that this issue continues to be so confusing and often volatile. Indeed, Jesus would weep over all the anger, hate, and division, in “His” name sake. And the Buddhists are still smiling! God Bless your tender inquisitive soul! 🙏. Old friend, Rebecca 💖

    Liked by 2 people

    • contoveros says:

      Yes, there is a smidgeon of shame involved but I am still glad to have been raised by the nuns and guided by the old parish priest. I served as an altar boy and had my first Buddhist “satori” while on a kneeler in the church sacristy. I meditated while praying and felt this unconditional love envelope me. It was divine and deeply enlightening!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never and do NOT admit to BEING a Catholic. If anything, I always say, I was “raised” Catholic. Sometimes, depending on the environment, I might say, I’m a “recovering Catholic” – but even that is rare. It has less to do with the facts you present and more to do with the embarrassment of what the Catholic Church has become (or always been). I do not associate myself with the Roman Catholic Church for so many reasons and for over 20 years. Yes, Catholics are Christians. But not all Christians want anything to do with being Catholic.

    (And for the record, I really don’t associate with Christianity or religion in general. But I do still retain my faith).

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      I personally like being called a “Lapsed Catholic” who has not renewed his membership or complete his Easter duty.

      I like what Pope Francis is trying to do and see how conservatives are trying to halt his progressive progress. But I feel more comfortable with the study of Buddhism with a sprinkling of Christianity thrown in. (That would include the Catholic Christians, by the way!)

      Liked by 2 people

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