Catholic ‘influencers’ use TikTok for community and evangelisation


When Amber-Rose Schneider first joined TikTok — the snappy, short-form social media app with more than 1 billion users worldwide — she wanted to see more young teenage creators like herself, who reflected her Catholic beliefs.

A self-described “cradle Catholic” and graphic design student at Liberty University, Schneider, now 21, began using her TikTok as “@the_religious_hippie,” a fun moniker her friends gave her.

She was posting casually, but had what she calls a “turning point” in her faith, and began posting openly about her beliefs.

“At first, I felt like I was the only Catholic,” said Schneider, who now has nearly 90,000 followers. “But then I discovered people like me, from everywhere, with one thing in common: we all love God.”

Even as its future in the U.S. remains unclear, the viral social media app continues to grow, especially among young users.

Over half of TikTok’s users are between ages 10 and 29.

The app, first launched in China in 2016 before later merging with, showcases a newsfeed of simple, short-form entertainment videos made by creators themselves.

People can also see algorithm-selected videos in their newsfeed, based on people, trends or hashtags they follow.

For young U.S. Catholics like Schneider, TikTok is more than an app for dances, funny memes and challenges in 60 seconds or less. It’s a community dedicated to evangelizing and defending the faith as well as a place for networking and recreation, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, as more young people are seeking connection and answers in a particularly divisive year.

Even religious men and women have gotten in on the trend, using the time in quarantine to start posting more content and engage openly with followers: such as “viral” priests Fr. Frankie Cicero of Life Starts Here Ministries in Arizona and Simon Esshaki, a Chaldean priest in San Diego.

Even the Netherlands-based Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart have nearly 243,000 followers; their comment sections are filled with people from other faiths thanking the nuns for their entertaining and wholesome content.

(In a @carmeldjc video from July, when a user asked, “What do you think about the LGBT community?” The nuns’ simple reply was, “God loves everybody.”)

“Catholic TikTok” is filled with diverse creators; they are mostly teens and young adults posting videos — church teachings and memes, real-life struggles and news takes — often with a filter, set to music or a track. Trending hashtags like #catholic and  #catholicsoftiktokhave more than 380 million views.

@faithfullylanahow’s self isolation going for y’all? ##fyp ##catholic ##christian ##jesus ##adoration ##eucharist ##veiling ##catholiclife ##rosary ##lovejesuschrist

♬ ricoco bicc aesthetic – Tik Toker

Those hashtags tend to attract TikTokers who identify as “rad-trad” or “traditionally Catholic,” said 16-year-old Chris Karroum, who has more than 6,000 followers for his humour. Karroum said he started attending traditional Latin Mass after learning about it on the app. Continue reading

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