Catholic memes

Catholic memes DEFAULT

Pinterest Highlight: Catholic Memes

Guilty confession: I can't decide if I love or if I hate Pinterest.

Whenever I go there, I find myself sucked in more completely than any visit to Facebook or Twitter. There are pretty pictures! Look! SQUIRREL!

And I've made some boards and there are some ideas, but, honestly, I usually find myself overwhelmed by Pinterest. I see the pretty pictures, but it's more like leafing through a magazine than anything really useful in my life.

That said, there ARE the pretty pictures.

And so, today, in what may or may not become a regular feature, I thought I'd share a Pinterest board I found recently and have really enjoyed.

catholic memes pinterest screen

I sure hope you weren't expecting flowers and rosaries and doilies, because the board I keep coming back to is, in fact, Catholic Memes by Catholic Memes. (Yes, the same folks who Katie O'Keefe highlighted and interviewed a while back.)

Follow Catholic Memes on Pinterest and have yourself a laugh or three. Fair warning: I wouldn't scroll through this board while drinking anything. Your laptop will NOT thank you.

And if you're looking for me, here's where I am on Pinterest.

What are your favorite Catholic Pinterest boards?

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright Sarah Reinhard


The Best in Catholic Memes: Summer Part I

Editor&#;s Note: All memes directed at other religious traditions are meant in good fun. We love and respect people from all faith backgrounds. Furthermore, some of the theological opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of Clarifying Catholicism as a whole.

by Nick Jones, University of Rhode Island

To say there’s a lot going on right now would be a major understatement. The world seems to be changing for the worse every day. But, we know that there is no change in Jesus Christ (cf. Hebrews ). So, let’s enjoy this extra-long meme review and use humor to more fully apprehend the truths of our Faith in the Lord.


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

Think we don&#;t need a central authority to define and explain Scripture? Try asking each of the tens of thousands of Protestant denominations about any one given verse in the Bible. Chances are you&#;ll end up with thousands of different answers and interpretations. Certainly, they cannot all be true. Luckily, Our Lord left us a Church, not a Bible. By means of oral Sacred Tradition, Jesus Christ transmitted the truth of the Faith to human beings, who then were guided by the Holy Spirit in writing it down. It stands to reason that their successors, the bishops, should have the final say over the meanings of different verses.  


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

As the meme suggests, Purgatory is NOT a fun place. But, those souls are still in better shape than us at least in the sense that their salvation is certain. They know that they will reach Heaven. We ought to pray for them so that they can come at last to their final reward and intercede for us whose salvation is still at risk. 


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

Let&#;s all try to shed the baggage that would preclude us from entering by the narrow gate. We only need to have one thing when we die to have lived a good life: Sanctifying Grace. Anything that frustrates that isn&#;t worth it. Countless many have died without it. For them, the Lord&#;s death was in vain. Will we likewise mock Him and allow that for ourselves?


Source: SpongeBob Memes with Catholic Themes, on Facebook

When we say that something cannot come from nothing, we are not exempting God. Rather, we mean that no thing which could not exist can come into existence by itself. Thus, there must be some source of origin which itself exists necessarily and perpetually.  There must be something which could not not exist from which all things that could not exist take their existence. This is What we call God. 


Source: Tom Gould, on-line somewhere

I once read somewhere on the internet that if we&#;re always reading ourselves as the good guys in Jesus&#; parables, we&#;re doing something wrong. The Tax Collector&#;s disposition should always be our own. The fact that our utterly transcendent God desires to relate to us at all is remarkable. No one deserves God&#;s love and mercy and yet we receive it. How can we delude ourselves into thinking that our own virtue comes only from ourselves. Always humble yourself before God, and let Him exalt you as you see fit.


Source: @litcatholicmemes, on Instagram

Blessed Rosaries are sacramentals. This means that they open up those who utilize them with the correct disposition to obtain more Grace. In this case we are talking about Actual Grace, the kind which is offered moment-to-moment and enables us to act in accordance with God&#;s will. This is available to all people, including those who have not been Baptized or who are in a state of Mortal Sin. This is the typical means by which someone who lacks Sanctifying Grace, or the indwelling of God in the soul comes to repent or see the need for Baptism. Thus, even if you only use one or two of them, you could always give a blessed Rosary to a stranger or to a friend in need of Grace and help them on the path of salvation. 


Source: u/the_boy92, r/CatholicMemes, on Reddit

OOF. We&#;ve all been there. When we have come to habitually possess Sanctifying Grace, it might be easy for us to breeze through our Examinations of Conscience. We think, &#;I don&#;t steal or fornicate or kill.&#; Of course, even our venial sin wounds our relationship with the Lord. We should all be doing a deep examination at least once a month, Confessing even the pettiest of sins, recognizing that Our Lord agonized over those as well. If he died for them, then we should seek forgiveness for them and receive the counsel of the priest confessor as to how to avoid them. 


Source: u/chris, r/CatholicMemes, on Reddit 

The Incarnation is one of the most absolutely fantastic events of human history. It seems reasonable to me that we should order our calendar around it. The ironic part about atheists or secularists deciding to rename AD to CE is that they&#;re still acknowledging the advent of our salvation as the point reference for all of history. 


Source: u/phaeroskhan, r/CatholicMemes, on Reddit

Two little nuggets stand out to me here. Firstly, there is the fact that the ordinary means of obtaining forgiveness of Mortal Sin is sacramental Confession and Absolution. Secondly, there is the fact that only the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church established by Our Lord and Savior the God-Man Jesus Christ, has been vested with the authority to dispense this power to forgive and absolve (cf. John ). 


Source: Unknown maker, via @catholic_teen_posts on Instagram

I&#;ll expound upon this even further. Our daily prayer should not consist merely of asking things of God. Our most fervent and frequent prayers should be acts of Adoration. When we do this, rendering the praise that is so befitting of God to Him, we act in accordance with the virtue of Justice, which renders do persons that which is their due. By continuously striving to adore the Lord, we are able to more fully understand our nature as creatures and his as the transcendent God Whom we someday hope to reach. 


Source: @catholic_teen_posts, on Instagram

We all like to flame Saint Peter for denying Our Lord three times. We tend to forget that Peter also was reconciled to Our Lord three times, and later was crucified for love of Him. Imagine how much better our lives would be if we begged forgiveness each and every time we offended Him. 


C.S. Lewis wrote a wonderful book called TheScrewtape Letters. The basic summary is that an older demon, Screwtape, writes letters to his nephew Wormwood, teaching him how to be a better tempter of men. From our perspective, the book was written to give us an understanding of the nature of sin and temptation. Some of the advice given by the elder demon to his nephew is absolutely chilling when we consider its implications in our lives. At one point, Screwtape advises Wormwood that, &#;Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one&#;the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,&#;&#; How scary is that? And how often do we find ourselves there? What&#;s the best way to avoid the subtle descent into Hell? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, frequent sacramental Confession of even venial sin. 


Source: @litcatholicmemes, on Instagram

This issue always ruffles feathers. But, I think that&#;s because our society has very much lost the sense of decorum. We all should attend Holy Mass wearing the nicest, most modest clothes we have. Let&#;s qualify those two conditions. If someone dresses business casual every day to go sell cars, why should that individual not wear the same to go meet God? Obviously, He loves us no matter what we look like. But shouldn&#;t we try to put our best foot forward? We are sensory creatures. Our sensory perception can affect our dispositions. When we wear our nicer clothing, we subconsciously reorder our brains to be more attentive at Mass. We can train ourselves to associate formal clothing with solemn, recollected participation at Mass. Now onto the issue of modesty. The simple fact of the matter is that both men and women have an obligation to dress in a manner that glorifies God. Again, notice, men AND women have this obligation. It is certain that lust and coveting can be committed even if all we see is someone&#;s eyes and everything else is covered. That&#;s on the offender. If we dress provocatively, even if we do not intend to attract the attention of others, we need to understand the weakness of ourselves and fellow humans. So if someone strips naked and struts through town, of course it is still the fault of someone who might lust after that individual. But, is it not also the fault of someone who is becoming an occasion of sin for someone else? Obviously that&#;s an extreme example, but we should all take care that our attire at Holy Mass does not turn the greatest act of religion into a time of temptation for someone else. I feel the need to restate that we cannot ever control how someone else acts, but we also need to be prudent and pragmatic. Once again, for anyone who thinks that I&#;m singling women out, this applies to men and women, because no one is exempt from the Seven Capital Sins, of which lust is included. 


Source: @litcatholicmemes, on Instagram

What if I were to tell you that the fact that Latin is a dead language is precisely why it&#;s the best language for the [Roman] Catholic liturgy? Think about it. The priest who celebrates Mass in Latin is never going to hear a dirty joke or cuss in the same language he uses for Mass. There&#;s no slang in Latin, so a priest can&#;t cut corners. Additionally, the text never becomes outdated because there&#;s no development in Latin&#;s speaking population. Since there&#;s no one who speaks it as vernacular, it becomes truly universal. I always wonder at those quadlingual Masses. Why should different parts of the diverse congregation each have to feel ostracized at different moments throughout the liturgy? Wouldn&#;t it be better if we could all enjoy the same language for the entire Mass without preference towards or prejudice against any ethnic group? Think that we don&#;t need Latin because Vatican 2 cancelled it? Read Sacrosanctum Concilium and the standard Latin version of the Roman Missal; then get back to me. 


Source: Chad from the Parish Council, unknown platform

Yours truly stands guilty as charged. Theological studies and formation in the liturgical arts is wonderful and necessary. But, if we can&#;t hold a simple conversation with a soul still in need of Sanctifying Grace, we&#;ll never be successful in our evangelistic efforts. 


Source: @katolikomemes, unknown platform

This is one of my favorite themes for apologetics. The Church has always believed in a manner that would be described as Catholic. We have accounts from the earliest centuries of Christianity about the veneration of Mary, the primacy of the Pope, the literal understanding of the Eucharist, threefold Holy Orders, and so much more. So our options are to believe that either the Church has constantly taught the same orthodox, Catholic theology or that somewhere along the line there was a great loss of Faith that was only recovered later. I don&#;t know about you, but that second option sounds a lot like the Gates of Hell prevailing against the Church for a time. Of course, we know that won&#;t ever happen, since Our Lord promised it when He made Peter the first Pope (cf. Matthew ). 


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

Save the external congratulations for reception of Sacraments or good sermons for after Mass outside the church. We ought not let our own societal mores affect the celebration of Holy Mass. Hear the words of the greatest theologian pope of our times: &#;Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.&#; -Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy


Source: Unknown maker, via @catholic_teen_posts on Instagram

Haven&#;t been to Confession in a really long time? Don&#;t receive. Know you&#;ve committed a mortal sin or broken the 1-hour fast? Don&#;t receive. Aren&#;t Catholic or otherwise don&#;t believe in the Eucharist? Don&#;t receive. &#;Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the Body and Blood of the Lord.&#; -1 Corinthians


Source: Unknown maker, via @catholic_teen_posts on Instagram

Think you don&#;t deserve God&#;s love? Think you could ever lose it? Think that there&#;s no hope for you while you&#;re still alive on this Earth? Reread Luke and try to tell me that any of those are true. The only sin that can&#;t be forgiven is the one we won&#;t allow God to forgive. If we humbly beg for that forgiveness which we know we could never earn, God will never let us down. 


Source: Chad from the Parish Council, unknown platform

The Greek word for eat that Our Lord uses when He says &#;Eat My flesh&#; can be translated as gnaw. He wasn&#;t suggesting that we merely take His Body symbolically into ourselves. He literally meant that we need to eat His Flesh. The Jewish crowds left Him after this. Why would they have been in such an uproar if they did not think He was speaking literally? If the ineffable Word of God isn&#;t enough to convince you, read the early Church Fathers, especially Saint Justin Martyr. The Eucharist was always regarded as the literal Body and Blood of Christ. Who are we to argue with God about what He meant?


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Religion is something that gives us hope. It helps to fulfill our souls and give us meaning in life. It gives us a community we can be a part of.

It can also give us a lot to laugh about. And in the current age of the internet, that means a lot of memes. Lots of hashtags have popped up, like #GrowingUpCatholic, that are just super hysterical. And if you’re Catholic you can super relate.

These memes are sidesplitting. If you’re Catholic you can probably come up with some good ones on your own. In the meantime, check out some of these.

Here Are 50 Hilarious Catholic Memes That Will Have You Saying ‘OMG YES!’:

1) Peace Be With You

For some, the “peace be with you” portion of mass can be a little awkward. This requires you to shake hands and bless everyone sitting around you. This is what your face ends up looking like.

2) Ash Wednesday

Catholics will head to church on Ash Wednesday to have ashes places upon their head. There supposed to be placed on your head in the form of a cross. That doesn’t always happen though.

3) Post Mass Chat

Sometimes mass can be long. And let’s face it, it’s not the most exciting thing to sit through. So when it’s over you’re ready to leave. But your parents but not be in as big of a rush as you are.

4) Every Sunday

Sometimes you just want to relax on Sunday. But if you’re Catholic, you have to go to mass. Until you try this workaround.

5) No Meat Fridays

Some Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays. It’s supposed to be a sacrifice we make to remind us of Christ’s. It’s not always easy.

6) The Basket

Catholics pass around a basket during mass. It’s for you to leave money in for the church. You feel like a baller when you get to drop that envelope.

7) You Know What Day It Is

Yes, we know what day it is. You know how? Because you have a giant ash smuge across your forehead.

8) Thanks Internet

Sometimes the internet brings us unexpected gifts. Like this image of Christ Prat. Thank you internet.

9) April Fools!

Who knew that Jesus was such a joker. He pulled the ultimate April Fools Day trick. Hilarious!

10) When You Take It Literally

Very religious people will often remind each other to “leave room for Jesus. This is the literaly interpretation of that. It’s kind of creepy.

11) How Many Syllables

“Gloria” should have three syllables right? Not if you’re Catholic. If you’re Catholic, there’s

12) What Lent Really Looks Like

Lent requires Catholics to give something up for the duration of 40 days. Some will fast. It can be hard to sustain.

13) Walking On Water

If you’re drowning it helps when your savior can walk on water. That’s why Jesus is so cool. He saves ups when we’re metaphorically drowning because he can walk on water.

14) Don’t Look

We love candy. That’s why a lot of people give it up for Lent. So you have to turn a blind eye when you’re at the grocery store.

15) Catholic School vs. Public School

Sometimes Catholic school kids have public school envy. This is because they got a lot more holidays off. But you don’t get off for Jewish holidays at a Catholic school.

16) You’re Doing It Wrong Father

Even priests like dad jokes. They are, afterall, fathers. So, it makes sense.

17) The Church Parking Lot

The church parking lot is never big enough. It’s always packed. And it always looks like this.

18) When You Can Finally Eat Meat Again

Catholics love meat after Friday like Ron Swanson loves meat. When the clock strikes midnight… it’s on. Swanson style.

19) Catholisim is Metal

Think about it. You drink blood and eat the body of Christ. You also smear ash on your head. So, metal.

20) But How Though?

Truer words have never been spoken. Having so many friends after 30 is truly a miracle. One did betray him so… it must be a quantity over quality thing.

21) Enough With The Incense

You’ll often find that church will burn incense during mass. It can be a bit much. Sometimes you end up looking like…

22) Cat-holic

Did you know that Saint Francis was the first Cat-holic. And Catholics love cats. Well, no but it’s a cute meme.

23) You Sure You Want To Read That

Nighttime, just before bed, is a great time for reading. But maybe not for reading the Bible. It can be a bit jarring.

24) WWJD

What would Jesus do? Well, it depends. What story are we talking here?

25) No Meat

Not today meat Satan. We DON’T eat meat on Friday. Nice try.

26) Party Was Lit

Catholics really know how to throw a party. And this part was lit. Just look.

27) No Peace For You

This is another way the “peace be with you” portion of mass can get weird. Can you say… awkward? Just give him the sign of peace!

28) The Sole Pew

Ahhh, the sole pew. It’s a great place to hide. You also get something to lean against.

29) Say What?

We are but what? I think you’re confused? You might want to fix that one.

30) Drink!

Pre-gaming saves money. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Cabs are here!

31) May The Force Be With You

Catholics are trained to respond. So when you say “___ be with you,” they are ready. They will fire back quick.

32) If Not Now, When?

The answer is soon. That’s what Catholics keep telling themselves when they are waiting to eat meat. This is what Friday looks like for Catholics.

33) Peace Wrestle

When you make the sign of peace with your older brother. It becomes an entirely different thing. It’s becomes an arm wrestle.

34) Babies at Church

Some churches have noise-proof rooms where parents can sit with there babies and listen to mass and not disturb the rest of mass. But not all churches do. And in that case, this happens.

35) Don’t Tell Mom

Did you miss mass on Ash Wednesday? There’s a fix for that. You just have to avoid your mom and deal with you Catholic guilt.

36) Pope on a Shelf

Pope on a shelf. I mean, it makes sense. Who better thabn to make sure you’re being nice than the Pope.

37) The Number of the Beast

Some Catholics believe that “” is the number of the devil. That’s why this Catholic school skipped the number. The number has other connotations in other cultures though.

38) Getting Roasted At Church

Even priests be on the group chat. And sometimes they haveto peep it during mass. They’re human too.

39) Confession

Catholics go to confession to confess their sins. This way they can be forgiven. It’s a cyclical process.

40) Where Am I?

Church can be disorienting. Like when you’re coming back from communion and forgot where you’re sitting. You don’t even know where you are.

41) I Am The Way!

When Jesus is in the way. But he IS the way. So, you like… OK.

42) Not Star Wars

This is not Star Wars. This is an actual photo of Jesus fighting Satan in the desert. It’s very rare.

43) The Kneeler

The kneeler is a cushion for your knees used for praying in church. Sometimes it gets dropped on your foot. And in that case, this happens.

44) Venomous Pope

The Pope looks like a velocraptor in this photos. Apparently he’s just as deadly. Steer clear of him when you see him in this form.

45) Lent Problems

Put down that cookie. Remember… you gave it up for Lent? I know it hurts.

46) Like Night and Day

It’s all fun and games. Until you get into the parking lot. Then all the stuff you learned at mass goes out the window.

47) Your Body Is What?

Your body is supposed to be your temple. But if you’re Catholic its more like a church. Full of bread, wine, and guilt.

48) Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday

Priests like to have fun too. And get creative. I mean, God is love so this makes sense.

49) All The Gods

Here is God in the different books. He can be tempermental if you believe this meme. Kind of like Sponge Bob.

50) He Stay Fit

Did you know Jesus has some sick abs? He’s been working on them since he was a baby. They are like a washboard.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Religion is something that gives us hope. It helps to fulfill our souls and give us meaning in life. It gives us a community we can be a part of.

It can also give us a lot to laugh about. And in the current age of the internet, that means a lot of memes. Lots of hashtags have popped up, like #GrowingUpCatholic, that are just super hysterical. And if you’re Catholic you can super relate.

These memes are sidesplitting. If you’re Catholic you can probably come up with some good ones on your own. In the meantime, check out some of these.

Here Are 50 Hilarious Catholic Memes That Will Have You Saying ‘OMG YES!’:


An image of St. Ignatius Loyola wearing clear Wayfarer-style glasses has the superimposed text HIPSTER ST IGNATIUS/ CANNONIZED BEFORE BECOMING A SAINT. To get the joke, first you need to know that hipsters irritatingly tend to do things “before they are cool”; second, you must know that St. Ignatius was shot in the leg by cannonfire before his conversion. Hence: “cannon-ized.”

Welcome to the world of Catholic memes.

St Ignatius Cannonized

Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in his book The Selfish Gene as a shortened form of the word mimeme (drawn from the Greek for “imitated thing”). Memes transmit cultural ideas, behaviors and attitudes from person to person through imitation and variation. An internet meme, at its basic level, is anything that can be spread from person to person on the internet. This includes videos, catchphrases, links and, most popularly, images with overlaid text.

While almost anything shared on the internet can be considered a meme, the term is mostly used for particularly successful and long-lasting examples. It is difficult to predict what will catch on, but the memes that go viral tend to exhibit a perfect balance between absurd humor and replicability. Viral memes work insofar as they can be understood as jokes and can also be customized to apply to different situations or audiences. Most popular memes can be repurposed for inside jokes among groups of friends.

Mother Angelica Success Kid

That’s where Catholic Memes begins. Brandon Ocampo, a campus minister for the Archdiocese of Newark, recalled the birth of Catholic Memes on Tumblr in an interview with America. It began eight or nine years ago with a group of Catholic friends applying faith-related jokes to popular memes like All the Things or Success Kid. When the memes shared among friends grew more popular, Mr. Ocampo, 22, thought: “It would be awesome to have our own page. This is actually a good way to evangelize people.”

He began with the Tumblr blog, then created a Facebook page and Twitter account. “Our faith is not something we always have to be serious about,” explains Mr. Ocampo, and memes allow us “provoke questions and create conversations.”

The original Catholic Memes Facebook page has over 38, followers. Mr. Ocampo notes that it has become more difficult to create new content after going to college and now working full-time. Instead, his page often shares posts from another Catholic Memes Facebook page run by uCatholic.

“uCatholic’s goal is to reach people where they are,” Ryan Scheel told America, “Catholic Memes is one particular charism of that mission.” Mr. Scheel, 37, founded both uCatholic and a Catholic Memes page with over , followers. Based in Cleveland, Mr. Scheel and his nephew, Billy Ryan, a year-old student at the University of Akron, act as administrators on the page, and they say their content reaches over 1 million Facebook users each week.

“We’re using the same language that the internet uses,”explains Mr. Scheel, but with the goal of promoting the ministry of the church.

Indeed, for both uCatholic and Catholic Memes, evangelization is a hallmark of their mission. Mr. Ocampo’s page touts the tagline: “To Evangelize Through Memes.” “Something that makes someone laugh,” he says, “that’s what’s going to provoke their hearts to seek out Christ in a more authentic way.”

Similarly, Mr. Scheel and Mr. Ryan see their page as part of the new evangelization, bringing the message of the church to an increasingly secular world. They say that 62 percent of their audience are between the ages of 18 and According to Mr. Scheel, the Facebook page allows young people “to have conversations about things they might not have talked about otherwise.”

“The church is forgetting what St. Paul says: You have to feed them on milk first before solid food,” argues Mr. Scheel. Referring to the First Letter to the Corinthians and the Letter to the Hebrews, he says that Catholic Memes allow young Catholics to get to the basics of their faith. Rather than discussing “inside church baseball” topics like liturgical translations, young people on the Facebook comment threads are “interested in relics, the saints, liturgies, beautiful churches [and] abstinence,” claims Mr. Scheel.

Though evangelization is at the heart of Catholic Memes, Mr. Scheel does not have unrealistic expectations of creating a perfect meme to bring young people to Catholicism. “We’re not converting anyone,” Mr. Scheel says, “but we are planting seeds that may be watered later on in these people’s lives.”

According to Bishop Richard Umbers, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, Catholic memes are “quirky, have an immediate appeal, but also have a bit of mystery.” Bishop Umbers, 46, recently wrote “I’m a Roman Catholic bishop. And I make memes for Jesus” in The Washington Post. He tells America that memes are like parables in the Gospel, which were devised for an oral culture. It is easy to remember the details of a parable and apply different meanings based on different contexts. Similarly, memes work for our visually oriented culture, Bishop Umbers explains, “because you can keep applying different meanings to the same picture.”

For Bishop Umbers, memes are about “winning people rather than arguments.” He believes that people are drawn to Catholic content online because of Pope Francis’ explanation in “Laudato Si’” that “everything is connected.” In his view, Catholic memes can present an “offbeat” but otherwise rational worldview.

Posting memes on Twitter and Facebook is an extension of Bishop Umbers’s episcopal office. “What you see on Twitter is my true personality,” he says. Drawing on his own penchant for quirkiness, Bishop Umbers interacts with both Catholics and non-Catholics on the internet in a new kind of apostolate. “It is an overflowing of the inner spiritual life,” he says.

While some memes may cause viewers to consider Catholicism, creators say the real work of evangelization happens in the comments. “It’s beautiful to see a joke that then turns into real questions and answers in the comment threads,” says Mr. Ocampo. Mr. Scheel echoes that sentiment, saying he is constantly surprised by how “traditional and orthodox” his core audience is. Comment threads give people “both the opportunity to attack the church and the opportunity to stretch their apologetic legs and defend the church.”

Cardinal Burke Heresy

As often happens on the internet, however, healthy conversations among respectful people can quickly devolve. Page administrators on both sites do go through the memes and comments and delete the most offensive. Mr. Ryan, who goes by the unusual title memeologist, also reviews all the memes submitted to the page by the Catholic Meme community. He says that he “filters out anything that seeks to blatantly cause controversy,” like memes with explicit blasphemy. And when he sees particularly unproductive encounters in the comments, he will try to defuse the situation by posting a funny animated GIF.

“We take a real line of respect on the page,” echoes Mr. Scheel, “but it doesn’t mean we aren’t smartasses.” While they filter out any vulgarity and outright blasphemy, the administrators say they do not shy away from memes that will stir up discussion. Memes about non-Catholics, for example, are meant to be lighthearted jokes that look directly at the differences in worldviews. “It’s the same way you would tease a friend if you were out to drinks with them,” he said.

While the absence of civil conversation is not a problem unique to Catholic Meme pages, there is a heightened tension in these comment sections. The salvation of souls seems to hang on every comment and link to an apologetics page. However earnest commenters are, comment threads under controversial memes about Protestants or the Latin Mass look less like spirited debates between equals and more like frustrated shouting into a void.

Star Wars Luther

This meme relating a scene in the newest Star Wars film to the differences between mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic Bibles stirred up a discussion that made it past page administrators. A Lutheran commenter tried to argue that saying “Martin Luther removed books from the Bible” was a reductionist reading of history. Catholic commenters flocked to the comment to engage and correct.

In the end, ecumenical discussion devolved into a competition to write the ultimate takedown of the others’ argument, leaving both sides frustrated. Accusations of heresy (albeit with varying levels of irony) were lobbed by both sides in an attempt to shut down the conversation. Even the most faithful and orthodox fall victim to comment-thread cage matches.

Yet, for meme creators, trolls and disparaging comments are outliers. “Maybe in the Final Judgment, you’ll look at the memes I didn’t make,” Bishop Umbers jokes, saying that it is important not to fall into internet trench warfare. “Like [giving] a sermon, you want to be impactful, but not hit them over the head with it.”

Instead, Bishop Umbers, who is also a parish priest, focuses on the sense of community that exists online. “These are living, real people with living, real debates,” he says. He has seen people change their minds on issues based on the relationships they developed online. But he also says the online communities are no substitute for the parish, but are instead “complementary experiences” of Catholic fellowship.

One cannot help but feel charmed by the idealism to be found in Catholic meme communities. These memes are a new kind of language, Bishop Umbers claims, and the church needs to be speaking that language. As the Catholic Church in the United States continues to grapple with the dwindling numbers of young people in the pews, do online communities like Catholic Memes sufficiently bridge the gap between the church and the world? Can inside jokes among those who already speak the language of the church appeal to the outside world? Meme creators and their avid followers certainly think so.


Memes catholic


Christian meme review - Catholic Dom


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