Sometimes answering someone's questions just confuses everyone more.
We're hiring at my work, and one of the applicants listed Sister So-and-So as a reference on her application.
My Chinese coworker wanted to know if Sister was the lady's name, because that was a pretty funny name. So I explained, no, at least in this case, she was a nun. Nuns are called sisters as a title.
Obviously she concluded that a male nun would be called a brother.
I explained I was pretty sure that monks, aka male nuns, were usually called father. Or friar, which, that's pretty much just brother in Latin or French or something, so she was kind of right, I guess (I left that part out of my explanation).
"I think you call monks father, but I'm not really sure, because you never see monks anymore. There are lots of nuns, but very few monks. I think if you're male and you want to be a monk, you just go be a priest instead," I explained. Which probably shows how much I know about the Catholic church, but for real. I know lots of nuns, but no monks.
Anyway. Then she wanted to confirm that nuns and monks couldn't marry each other. "No, you can't marry anybody if you're a nun or a monk." Pretty sure that's still true.
"But," said Chinese coworker (I need to give her a codename. Let's use Lucy), "if you're a priest you can marry."
"No, priests can't marry. Well, Catholic priests can't. Anglican ones can, maybe? And Protestant pastors can. But they're not priests. Mostly."
Lucy's eyes sort of glazed over. She had no idea what I meant by Protestants versus Catholics. And I really shouldn't have introduced Anglicans, because I'm not sure they're Protestant or Catholic.
Lucy switched tactics.
"At the university, there is a church," she said. "What kind of church is it?"
I explained it's a Methodist church, which is a kind of Protestant church. This took rather longer than it sounds like it ought to have taken.
"So can that priest marry?"
"Probably. Most Protestant pastors can marry. Let's look him up." I looked up the pastor's biography on the church's website. Somehow I missed the part where he talked about his wife and just saw the bit about building forts with his kids.
"He has kids," I said, "so he must be married. I'm pretty sure you can't be a pastor and have kids and not be married."
"Unless they're adopted," she pointed out.
I admitted that could be, but then found the part about his wife and told Lucy that he was in fact married.
"So that building, it's a Catholic church?" she asked, circling back to our earlier confusion.
"Methodist." I countered.
"It's a Protestant church. So there's Catholics, and then there's Protestants, but Protestants include all kinds of churches, like Methodists and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Baptists and all kinds."
I clearly was not making any sense to her. She sort of smiled and nodded and quickly escaped across the hall to the bathroom.
Our other coworker chimed in, "Wait, one of the job applicants is a nun?"
I give up.