Since becoming Catholic, I’ve discovered that Catholicism is a particularly favourable environment for nerdiness.
Not all Catholic Nerds are alike, however. Through rigorous scientific observation, I have distinguished seven subspecies within the Catholic Nerdom. This was an extremely treacherous business (obviously) but I persevered.
I now present them to you in alphabetical order.
n., /ap-olo-geti-teck-y/ (adj., ~technical)
- A Catholic Nerd who is convinced he can convert the world via twitter.
- Fond of the term “New Evangelisation” and will this term to explain all his/her behaviour. On Facebook? New Evangelisation. Got an Instagram account? New Evangelisation. Played Candy Crush til 3am? New Evangelisation.
- Posts things on Google+ because Jesus told us to minister to the least of these.
- Often mistaken for the apologetidork. While the latter is media savvy, the former still thinks YouTube comments can go well.
Where to Find Them: Apologetitechies live online, and there is considerable debate within the Catholic Nerd community as to whether apologetitechies actually have bodies or simply use hologram technology to pretend they do. I say it’s not like we’re going to meet them in person anyway so does it matter? (Pun totally intended.)
Patron Saint: St Isidore, patron saint of the internet from the “Dark” Ages (because that makes sense…)
n. /bib-lio-brain/ (adj., ~y)
- A Bible-loving nerd.
- Had an intense interest in biblical languages, philosophies of translations, and discussing autographs. (If you’re wondering how many autographs bibliobrains have collected between them, congratulations, you are not a bibliobrain.)
For your own safety, please be aware that bibiliobrains have been known to lash out violently at the mention of the word “eisegesis.”
Should the bibliobrain begin foaming at the mouth, step away slowly and begin a solemn chanting of Psalm 119.
Ideally, in Hebrew if you can manage it.
How to Spot Them: Bibliobrains populate the dark and dusty corners of libraries from which they rarely emerge. The upside of this is that if their much hoped-for future careers as biblical scholars don’t happen, they can always donate their now dust-allergen-proof bodies to science.
Patron Saint: St Jerome, Bible translator and all-round grumpy man.
n. /con-vert-y pants/(adj., ~pantsy)
- A recent Catholic convert and nerd who feels the overwhelming need to tell everyone their life story and how AMAZING but also HARD their conversion has been. Oh, and how GREAT they are.
- Often resorts to social media to share their “enthusiasm” and as such, commonly mistaken for apologetitechies. Converty Pants, however, have a far less knowledgeable and irenic approach than their brother-nerds.
- Bizarrely fond of puns. Cf. Anything by Scott Hahn.
- Also see Laura McAlister.
Where to Find Them: Often found on street corners with placards, in blog com-boxes, or at religious debates. They will often be accompanied by Rome Sweet Home, Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic, and How to Go from Being a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in 95 Difficult Steps.
Patron Saint: St Paul, most irritatingly converted man in history and a thorn in the flesh of countless respectable people.
n. /dom-in-i-ak/ (adj., ~dom-in-ic-all-y)
- A Catholic nerd who is also a Dominican (typically 3rd Order Secular). Scholars believe the Dominiac is the most powerful of Catholic Nerds, mainly because most Scholars are Dominicans anyway.
- Fond of beer, hounds and the colour white.
- May display many or all the qualities of other subspecies but sublimates it all to the Dominican charism of being right about everything.
- Like, everything.
- No, really, EVERYTHING.
- You think you have an idea or question? Don’t Google it, SUMMA IT.
Where to Find Them: Dominiacs are the only subspecies with their own formal membership accreditation and can be found at your local Lay Dominican chapter. Alternatively, they enjoy congregating at St Peter’s List with it’s tasteful black and white design and endless lists devoted to St Thomas Aquinas.
Patron Saint: St Thomas Aquinas (was it ever not going to be Aquinas?)
n. /lit-er-geek OR lit-ursh-jeek/ [see note below] (adj., ~geekery)
- Catholic Nerd preoccupied with the liturgy.
- Often seen holding an original 1638 edition of the Graduale Simplex Hoitius Toitius Romanum Tomatoae for Low Pontifical Compline in the Ideas of March (Unabridged).
- Being liturgical nerds, liturgeeks are of course sharply divided on the pronunciation of the word itself. Those who pronounce it with a hard g (emphasising the geek) maintain this is the more natural English pronunciation. They are evil, slimy, felt-loving liberals. Those who pronounce it with a soft g (emphasising the liturgy) like that it sounds more like “chic”. They are evil, slimy, lace-loving conservatives.
- This simple field guide has neither the desire nor the wherewithal to solve this centuries-old dispute.
Where to Find Them: Liturgeeks can usually be found wherever and whenever the Heavenly Liturgy is. It is their mother-ship and they never stray far from it. Various off-world recon points for Liturgeeks include New Liturgical Movement and dark corners of the internet where folks like to flirt with schisms.
Patron Saint: St Gregory the Great because CHANT.
n., /thee-o-nerd/ (adj., ~nerdish)
- The most generic of all Catholic nerds, taking theological nerdiness to deeply discomforting levels.
- Inclined to fangirl over visiting theologians and emeritus professors.
- Names pet dog Anathema so Theonerd can say, Anathema sit!
- Passionate about books and would gladly sell all they have and give it to the poor, so long as they can keep their books. This is less a sacrifice than it sounds because Theonerds already follow the dictum of Desiderius Erasmus, “When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
- There is never any money left.
Where to Find Them: Like Bibliobrains, Theonerds frequent libraries. They also spend a considerable amount of time at the local magistrate’s trying to explain why they were found in Emeritus Professor’s study, with a magnum ice cream and the precious notes of his unpublished magnum opus. Again.
Patron Saint: St Albert Magnus, teacher of St Thomas Aquinas and the Theonerds never let the Dominiacs forget it.
n., /tob-sess-ive/ (adj., ~ssively)
- Catholic Nerd obsessed with the Theology of the Body, or ToB.
- Relatively new subspecies of Catholic Nerdom, emerging only with the pontificate of their homeboy JP2.
- Weirdly fond of acronyms, e.g. TOB, JP2, NFP…
- Notable for their peculiar tics, e.g. a tendency to shout the words “self-gift”, “openness to life”, “marital embrace”, and “complementarity” at every possible moment, particularly the
Where to Find Them: ToBsessives can usually be found in nupital intercourse — sorry, I meant, youth groups, sexuality forums, or anywhere where men and women can mingle. There, they channel all their pent-up sexual energy into a passionate discussion about the importance of virginity. Or so says Freud, I would never say that or even suggest such a thing!
Patron Saint: St Edith Stein and Blessed (soon to be St) John Paul II. (ToBsessives need a male and female patron saint because obviously, complementarity.)
And that wraps up all the Catholic Nerd types I’ve identified so far.
Have I missed any? Can you see yourself in any of the subspecies? Or do we need more? As a nerd, I take this all very seriously, so let me know!