“Catholics aren’t Christians.”

“Catholics are idol worshippers.”

“Catholics don’t read the Bible.”

These are some extremely common stereotypes held about Catholics, and just some of the many things I have heard growing up Catholic. I have even been told these things while attending Goshen. I want to clear these misconceptions up.

First off, Catholics are Christians.

Merriam-Webster defines a Christian as “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Catholics are firm believers that God sent Jesus down to be the Messiah. Catholics firmly support this definition.

Second, if you say Catholics are idol worshippers because we “worship” Mary and the Saints, you are making a false statement. We don’t worship Mary or the saints, we ask them to pray for us in the same way you ask your friends, family and pastors to pray for you.

Finally, maybe not all Catholics read the Bible, but do all other Christians read the Bible? Probably not. The Catholic Church in no way discourages reading the Bible. We have Vacation Bible School and Bible studies just like any other Christian denomination. Every week at church we hear one story from the Old Testament and two stories from the

New Testament.

Growing up, I went to church once a week and attended Catholic grade school. All of my friends were Catholic. I then went to a public high school and made friends from the broader Christian church. Coming to Goshen allowed me to experience a whole new culture that I hadn’t even heard of before I visited. All of a sudden I entered a world where Mennonites surrounded me.

Out of the friends I made during my first year at Goshen, most were Mennonite with the exception of one atheist. It took me a little while to notice how other people perceived my faith. I started to notice that a close friend of mine always made jokes about Catholics. I explained to him that this bothered me and that his stereotypes about Catholicism did not describe me accurately. I was further offended last year when I read some students’ posts on Twitter about Pope Francis. These are just two examples of the difficulties of being in a religious minority here at Goshen.

I don’t want to make you feel bad, but I do want to make you more aware. I want you to be aware of the different types of people that surround us. Being in the minority at Goshen has made me stronger in my faith and more accepting of the people that surround me.  I always try to be more accepting of other people and what they believe. If you are curious to know more about Catholics you are welcome to attend Catholic Student Ministry on Tuesday nights at 7 in the third floor connector.