23 Catholic Facts That Will Make You a Smarter Catholic

1. “Simon Peter bar Jonah,” if taken in its literal meaning would mean that Peter’s name is actually “Rocky Johnson.”

(A bust of Peter the Rock made out of rock)


2. The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin have the same blood type and are dated from around the same time, providing a possible link between the two

(Notice the overlap between the two. Very interesting, indeed)


3. The Tridentine rite, also now known as the “traditional Latin mass,” was promulgated in 1570

Contrary to popular belief, this rite was not imposed on the dioceses of the world, but was offered as a “novus ordo” in light of the decrees of the Council of Trent. Pope Pius V allowed the usage of any rites older than 200 years old, but because Rome was now using the Tridentine Rite, and dioceses wanted to be like Rome, they willingly changed over to the new rite. The older rites naturally fell out of usage but were still valid forms of the mass.

4. Pope Liberius (AD 352-366), the 36th supreme pontiff, was the first pope of the early Church not to be recognized as a saint.

(He is recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church)

 I’m sure he was still very holy.

5. Patrick was actually not an Irishman, but a Roman Briton

(Lord, beer me strength)


6. Seminary education for priests was not actually standard until after the Council of Trent

Even then, it took time for the implementation of the decrees.

7. The chapel where St. Joan of Arc prayed is in Wisconsin

Formerly located in Chasse, France it was moved piece by piece to the Americas, resided for a time on Long Island, and now is on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.

BONUS FACTOID: The rock slab on which she prayed is still extant and placed behind the altar. Scientific tests confirm that it remains at a cooler temperature than all other stones in the structure. Supernaturally epic.


8. Before the year 1000, there had already been 15 “Pope Johns.”

I’ll just give you the first of the Pope Johns

9. Vatican City was only truly “founded” on February 11, 1929

According to the most recent stats, the population of Vatican City sits at 451.

10. We can thank Pope Clement VIII for “baptizing” coffee

Now, when you say, “Thank God for coffee” you can mean it more seriously. Also remember to thank Pope Clement VIII for his service to the Church & humanity for this gift to mornings everywhere.

11. Pius IX was the first pope to be photographed while pope

(This photo has been colorized)


12. There exists a recording of Leo XIII singing the Ave Maria

This makes him both the oldest born person to be recorded (b. 1810) and the first pope in history to have his voice recorded (Hear the recording here:


13. Hitler’s mother, Klara, was a devout Catholic

It is too bad she did not rub off on her son.

14. Priests wear vestments because they evolved from typical Roman dress of the 4th & 5th centuries

They had practical applications at first, but as time wore on, the dress became more symbolic. Fashions changed, but clerical garb did not. Check out those styles. Timeless, really.

15. The oldest prayer for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the “Sub tuum praesidium (Beneath thy protection),” dates from circa AD 250

It was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy. You’re looking at the oldest known image of Mary, nursing Jesus, from Catacombs of Priscilla, circa 3rd c.

16. Christ’s Passion culminated in the “finishing” of the Passover meal

Begun the night before when he took the final “drink” from the cup of blessing when the sour wine was offered to Him on the sponge when he exclaimed, “I thirst.” His saying “It is finished” not only points to the fact that our salvation was now effected, but also to His Passover meal also being finished.

17. Valid apostolic orders remained within the Anglican Church for a time after the Reformation

Until Edward changed the rites of ordination for the English Church… Only after the last of the validly ordained bishops had passed did the English clergy eventually “return” to a form of the rites before the change. By that time, the Anglicans no longer had valid orders and had lost valid apostolic succession.

18. The Catholic University of America is the only school established with a papal charter in the United Stated of America

This charter allows them the authority to grant ecclesiastical degrees and is the only school able to do so. Check out CUA at

19 Chief Sitting Bull was introduced to the Catholic faith by Father De Smet

He was never fully received into the church because he could not decide between his two wives. One of the most famous pictures of Sitting Bull, if it is not cropped, shows him with a crucifix around his neck.

20. There are 194 archdioceses/dioceses in the USA and 1 exarchate

‘Merica! ‘Tholicism!

21. Catholics believe in extra-terrestrials…

They’re known as angels. (But we would have no problem with physical extra-terrestrials, since they too are part of God’s creation).

22.The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

(A great and most informative read. Pick it up and inform yourself!)

She is responsible for much of the rise of Western civilization and the institutions that we take for granted (hospitals, schools, universities, charities, etc.).

23. The Church is not opposed to science

Nor has she ever been. In fact, she has always championed truth in whatever form it takes so long as it is not opposed to revelation. Faith and reason, people!

Matt Vander Vennet currently resides somewhere in northeastern Virginia. Matt is a teaching assistant and doctoral student studying Church History at Catholic University of America by day and is a semi-amateur cat whisperer by night. He also is an instructor at the He earned his M.A. from Holy Apostles College & Seminary. Matt is married to a beautiful redhead named Liz and loves being daddy to their baby daughter! He loves a good brew (NO IPAs!), the Green Bay Packers, & also plays guitar. Feel free to check out

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  1. “The last few Popes have accepted evolution in most respects…”
    They acknowledged that evolution does occur within its kind. Evolution obviously accounts for the varieties within a species, (see the Peppered Moth Experiments used in many American High Schools as an example of this), not for the creation of new species. Big difference.
    “If you accept evolution, that means there most certainly was no paradise, no garden of Eden… Nothing remotely like the Genesis garden story was possible in a real life evolutionary struggle for survival.”
    Not necessarily. Once again, you’re confusing the creation of species with the variations within a creature’s biological family… and jumping to some pretty hasty conclusions.
    “Paul said sin entered the world through one man, Adam, but there was no Adam – there were 10 – 40,000 Adams according to the DNA evidence. (See BioLogos)”
    Interesting claim, but one that is contradicted in the August 1, 2013 journal Science, and presented online at “Almost every man alive can trace his origins to one man who lived about 135,000 years ago, new research suggests. And that ancient man likely shared the planet with the mother of all women.”
    This, and various other recent studies, conclude that not only do all humans descend from a common DNA structure, but the variations (there’s that word again) began to occur as humans began to migrate from East Africa. The idea of a ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ or ‘African Eve’ has been the subject of considerable research since the late 1980s.
    “Even if there was such a thing as original sin, the Church declared in 1854 that Yahweh was capable of removing or preventing it, if he chose to… He could have removed this mythical original sin without all the rigamarole (sp) of impregnating a young girl without her consent…”
    “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) This certainly seems like consent to me, but (somehow) you disagree.
    So what to make of this vitriolic post, on a Catholic website no less, that’s akin to throwing a rock and running away? In your submission, Patrick, you misrepresent data, make unfounded assumptions, and attempt to comment on Biblical passages you clearly don’t understand. While your zeal is admirable, it is clearly misguided. You clearly have issues with the Catholic Church, but by tossing-out a few tired Atheist talking points, you don’t seem interested in any substantive dialogue on the subject. What I find most ironic is the unspoken assertion that this faith is somehow anti-Science, when it was Catholicism and its’ impact on Western Civilization that is largely responsible for most of the Scientific discoveries we often take for granted.

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