Catholics say the darndest things — UPDATED

Matt Archbold’s got a little list.

And it’s worth sharing and spreading around:

1) Whispered by a father in the pew behind me to his children who were being a little noisy: “When we get to the car I’m testing all of you on what the gospel was. And if you get it wrong you’re dead.”

2) Whispered by my daughter minutes before going up for her First Communion: “Dad, I think I’m gonna’ throw up.” (She did. Our parish priest later came to our home to offer her the Eucharist but she was still sick so we waited until the next week.)

3) Said by priest who noticed that two birds had flown into the Church and were dive bombing parishioners: “Oh, I know how to get the birds out of here. I’ll baptize them and then they’ll only come back twice a year on Christmas and Easter.”

4) Deacon in January 2009: “There’s been a lot of talk about ‘hope’ recently and I think we’ve all gotten excited and inspired about it.” (I thought about raising my hand and saying “Not me” but I didn’t.)

5) Jesuit priest from the altar right after Communion: “Are the dancers ready?” Uh-oh.

6) Little girl talking to her younger sister just after Communion in the pew in front of us: “Ha ha. I get Communion but you’re too little.” This was accompanied by a little celebratory dance.

7) My nine year old daughter to my eight year old while walking into Church: “You have to sing because my teacher said you get twice the credit for praying if you sing.” That night they asked me if we could sing our nighttime prayers. I said no.

8 ) Priest: “Oh the Book of Revelation is a bunch of hooey.”

9) An usher said to me and my wife while handing us the bulletin: “Whoa five kids. You really take this Catholic thing seriously, huh?”

10) Priest at the beginning of Mass: “If this is your first time here, we do things a little differently…Now give the person next to you a hug.”

11) During the homily a woman said to her husband: “This is a really boring bulletin.”

Do you have any of your own to add?  Bring ‘em on.

One of my favorites was from a guy who was shocked, simply shocked, that there were little smatterings of Latin in our mass (sung, for example during the “Holy, Holy, Holy.”)   “Why do you do that?,” he snapped at me after.  “Don’t you know that’s divisive?”

Another time, I came out of the sacristy after mass and saw my wife waiting in the pew for me.  I went over and gave her a big bear hug and a kiss on the cheek.  A woman sitting a few rows away came running up the aisle.  “Do that at home, not in church!,” she hissed.  “Not appropriate.”  My jaw dropped.  “This is my wife,” I said.  “I love her!”  She shook her head.  “You do not do that in church,” she repeated.  Of course.  How foolish of me: the last place you would want to express love is in church.    (Reminds me of an old joke.  Woman to priest: “Father is it a sin to have sex with my husband before mass?”  “Only if you block the aisles,” he replied.)

UPDATED:  A reader sent this along, and it’s a classic.  If you’re looking for the ultimate traffic-stopping comment by a Catholic, you’d be hard-pressed to top this one.


  1. Monica Rafie says:

    Here is one of my faves:

    “Children do not belong in the Adoration chapel. Keep them at home!”

  2. Your last anecdote made me laugh. My husband is a deacon, and if I kiss him on the cheek after Mass, for sure that’s when some little lady will come up and say, “Good morning, Father!” On days when our pastor explains the difference between priests and deacons, some folks still don’t get it. I’ve decided it’s scandalous to touch the man in church.

  3. My six year old daughter immediately following the second reading, “… human elephants?!”

    It was Cor 1:
    For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
    and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
    so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

  4. Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher says:

    One time one of the lectors proclaimed that she was going to read the letter of St. Paul to the “Filipinos”. All the Filipino parishioners sat up and looked expectantly at her. Another lector spoke of a “flaming brassiere” while reading once.

    My niece was taking her wailing child out of church during the Archbishop’s homily, and the child cried out, “Does this mean we don’t get to have doughnuts?!?”. On his way out of the church, the Archbishop stopped at her pew and handed his crozier to her and smiling, said, “Here, I think you need this more than I do!”

  5. A few years ago, in an attempt to get her young family to pay more attention during Mass, my sister decided to bring her three kids right down front and sit in the first pew. Everything was going exactly to plan – the kids were actually watching and listening attentively, especially her youngest son, 4 year old Nick.

    However right before the Homily, when everyone was quietly waiting for the Pastor’s sermon, Nick had discovered the Crucifix suspended high above the altar. Nick proceeded to loudly blurt out “Mama, who’s that man up there flying that airplane and who took his britches?”

    Next week she was in the 3rd pew from the back.

  6. Hey Deacon Greg! I can just see Pedro doing #6 to Angela in two years!

  7. At the March for Life this week, my friends were leading their 4 year old son through a retelling of the Mass for Life in DC. I asked if there were Bishops present.

    “Yes, they were there.”

    I asked if they were wearing those funny hats (miters).

    “No. The Knights (of Columbus) wear the funny hats.”

  8. Adrienne Krock says:

    One time at Disneyland, in line for Space Mountain, we saw a mom turn to her misbehaving children and say: “Stop it! There are priests here watching you! They’re disguised wearing regular clothes so you won’t know who they are but they’re WATCHING YOU, so behave!”

    Several months later, our family was on vacation camping outside a small town up in the mountains north of Lake Tahoe. My husband and I were telling the story to our family as we walked into mass. Two gentlemen walking in near us looked at us startled and said “WHO TOLD YOU??” Yep. They were priests on vacation who had decided to come to mass incognito in their street clothes because they didn’t want to be pressed into service.

  9. My latest favorite was little Davis (he’s 3) at the Christmas Eve Mass- the Knights of Columbus in full regalia solemnly processed in as an honor guard, in chapeau, capes and swords and Davis said very loudly “Mom! Look- the Pirates are here!” My husband was in the honor guard and was shaking all the way down the aisle, trying to control his laughter. The Pastor gave up and was laughing out loud with quite few parishioners.

  10. My nephew, aged four, had a carrying voice and perfect diction. One Sunday, as the priest entered the church, he felt inspired to announce the fact: ‘Look, Mummy,’ he said, ‘here’s God.’ The priest was flattered rather than not, but my sister, after Mass, explained that the priest represented God, but was in fact Father. And all the following week she was at pains to talk about Father. Father said this. Father is going to do that. Her efforts were rewarded the following Sunday when Mr Four stood up on the pew and announced: ‘Look, Mummy. Here’s Daddy.’

  11. Easter Sunday and a packed Church. Gentleman behind us looks around and sees that preparations are being made for a baptism during Mass. “I can;t believe it!” he whispers loudly with disgust. “They’re actually going to have a baptism on Easter!?!”

    My daughter, sitting next to me, turns with a grin and whispers just as loudly: “Unclear on the concept.”

  12. Deacon Norb says:

    This happened a few years back.

    A middle-aged father in our parish had been talking to his five year old about the God (imagine that?). Along the way, he mentioned in passing that there were three persons in one God. His daughter gave hm one of those looks like only a five-year old can do to a father she thinks is joking to her and said: “Daddy, you are wrong! There are two persons in God!” He tried his best to convince her: “No there are really three!” but it didn’t work.

    Then, one Sunday soon after that, I was “on ceremony” with my pastor at the same mass that this father and his daughter attended. As my pastor and I processed down the aisle with the congregational singing preventing her comment from going too far, the daughter promptly pulled her father’s shirt and said: “See Daddy! Look ! I AM right! There are two persons in God.”

    That father, by the way, is now a deacon-candidate and is due for ordination in about six months.

  13. Fiergenholt says:

    Deacons being mistaken for God ?

    I happened to be in a Catholic parish in Central Florida shortly after the death of one of their beloved deacons. The book that the parish used to encourage folks to write in their personal prayer needs was open and a lot of folks had commented about their late deacon in prayer. In the middle of the page was this notation — in the large printing style of a third-grader.

    “Dear God, Thank you for Deacon God.”

  14. Our youngest daughter, age 2, was watching a baptism during Mass for two children.

    I’ve often tried to whisper to the children what is happening as this unfolds, e.g. “Look, now they are baptized! They are part of God’s family!”

    She looked at me and said in a triumphant tone, “Now they’re bad guys!” (“bap – tized”)

    We’ll keep working on it… ; )

  15. When I was in middle school, my family and I attended the Christmas Eve Children’s Mass at our parish. Much to our chagrin, there was a bit of choreographed liturgical dance as the items of the manger scene were brought up in the opening procession. The kids in this dance were from a family we knew well. The 3 boys were all dressed as shepherds, which seemed fairly normal, but their sister was dressed in this blue feathery leotard and she pranced all the way up the aisle. Obviously there was considerable eye-rolling happening on the part of most of the members of my family, until my dad leaned over to me and whispered, “Someone should tell Mary that Big Bird is yellow.” We were rolling with laughter, and you better believe Mom’s eye’s shot daggers at us!

  16. Years ago at church (another tradition), a pre-school boy was really acting up. His mother took him outside for a bit and brought him back in. He whined “Mama spanked me on the grass.” It was hard to keep from laughing out loud.

  17. Deacon Mike says:

    I was at a grandparents event at my granddaughter’s school when little Tristen spotted me and said “Mommy, Jesus is here.” Mom replied “No baby that’s Deacon Mike.”
    To which Tristen replied “Him lives at Jesus house”

  18. Woman was sitting in pew during homily, kind of spacing out not paying close attention. Eight-year-old leans over and whispers, “Mom, what’s a ‘hymen’?” Mom has moment of sheer panic trying to figure out what was going on in the homily that had gotten clinical. Then she saw the 8-yr-old pointing to the hymnal which had “HYMNS” in big letters on the front.

  19. It was the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary just this year and we went to a smaller church that we only go to a few times a year. There is less singing there and Father is beautifully loquacious. He was particularly so on this day because he had actually been physically attacked the night before by an intoxicated man on the reserve on which he served.

    People were feeling very blessed my Father’s words that day and we were all deep in thought and prayer
    after his homily. My 4 year old daughter knows the Mass pretty well and she knew it was a bit of a long pause happening.

    “What’s everybody waiting for?” she said nice and loud for everyone to hear. Hard to hold back laughter in a situation like that.

    But I love what she said last week. Father asked everyone “What do you see when you see Jesus on the cross?”
    “Suffering”, one woman said.
    “Pain”, another person added.
    “Rejection,” chimed another.

    “MERCY”, my four year old daughter said. Wow. Just wow. Some of it is sinking in…..

  20. A young boy who once saw our parish priest walking his dog in the street : Oh, Mom, I just saw Jesus with his big black dog!

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