Catholic's that know nothing about Catholicism?


I am in RCIA and I am interested in the church and its teachings. I have one question. Why are there so many Catholics that know nothing about the Bible or the teachings of the Church. I used to be Baptist, and this was something that was brought up often when Catholics were talked about. I love the Church and cant wait to be confirmed, however this is something that seems to be on my mind lately.



The same reason there are Americans who know nothing about being an American nor about American history. They either weren’t taught, taught wrong, or don’t care.


we are not sola scripture. Or for that matter we are not Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solus Christus, or Solo Christo, or Soli Deo gloria. Having said that by all means catholic are poorly catechitized. My guess is they are taught too young, and given the Church teaches the bigger picture many simply do not get it. Our first Eucharist is usually at 7 when boys barely are developing long term memory and that is the end of the primary education.

you are exactly right many attend both classes but have no desire to learn any of either


You ask a question that is quite complicated.
There can be many reasons.
Now - Assuming that we are talking about “Practicing” catholics, I would that they are not as ignorant of the Bible as they think they are. One convert I listened to said that Catholics know more about the Bible than they realize. They just don’t know where to look it up (CH:VS) if they need to. After all we hear the Bible read in mass every day/week.



Why are there so many Catholics that know nothing about the Bible or the teachings of the Church

There could be many reasons. Many Catholics know a lot more about the bible than might be evident using only an ability to quote chapter and verse from scripture. One does not have to know what book and verse contains the parable of the Prodigal Son or the Good Samaritan in order to “know” what are the lessons taught from them.

In the last several decades, the strength of catechesis has taken a downturn, I’d go so far as to say that is a predominant viewpoint. The reasons for it are many, and you often hear it blamed on Vatican II or its reforms, but the truth is there is a big disconnect from what Vatican II desired and what resulted. In general, because of so many people trying to make changes, many of them were wrongly directed and went on for some time before their errors or the effect of their error was really felt. There is a generation, maybe two, that did not get the same kind of “old school” teachings that were acceptable for hundreds of years.

There is an element of personal responsibility to this that can’t be ignored. With the resources available today, it’s a pretty dead argument for someone to claim they are ignorant and it’s all the fault of some bad CCD teacher or director. If they aren’t getting the information they need, go online or to a diocesan library and find it. As some previous posters have pointed out, some simply don’t care to do this, they operate on barely minimal knowledge and are satisfied having a paper-thin faith. The first time they encounter someone quoting chapter and verse knocking on their door, they hide because they have nothing to counter it with, and that is truly sad, but it is themselves who put them in that situation. It reflects how important their spiritual life is to them.

Thing is, every church has them, not just the Catholic Church. I know people from just about every major faith you can name that will stumble for an answer if you ask them the simplest question about their faith. I think it’s just because they go to that church because mom, dad, grandma and grandpa went there, not that is is the one among many they would pick because they think it is true.

So the reasons are many.


I have asked many types of people, “What are Jesus’ principles?”

The only time I ever got an answer even resembling anything coherent was from a Catholic. Yet what answer could be of more importance? :blush:


My pastor, when I was growing up, would not confirm teens in our small Lutheran Church until they could answer a 100 question test, with 50 of those question being about other faiths. Also he would not confirm teens until they had visited five churches of other denominations at least twice and interviewed clergy members of those churches to learn about their faiths. I really respected that of him. “Because this is where my parents go” was no kind of answer as far as he was concerned when it came to becoming a member of his church. Every year out of about 12 youths to be confirmed two or three would change their minds and join other churches. We were all also expected to write a sermon on a gospel verse and deliver it to the entire congregation.


There was a bad transition period after Vatican II was first implemented church wide, along with changes to the liturgy. For several decades there was some very poor catechisis going on (I’m among those afflicted by this).

I think things are slowly turning around, Pope John Paul the Great started the process of cleaning up this mess, and now Pope Benidict XVI is continuing the process.



me…I’m still learning…sorry guys…

but its hard, because theres soooo much to learn…and…I’m 28 now, so I can read things a couple times and then get the jist of em’, but a lot of the words/wording is very complicated. When I was younger, teen years, I tried to read the bible-

Didnt make a bit of sense to me.

And I went to church a couple times with friends, you sit and listen to the sermon…it makes more sense, you get more out of it…but at the end of the day without my family supporting those morals/values/traditions, it all got swept under the rug for the big ‘party of the weekend’…

Now, I’m fully into my faith…I love it, I sought it out…I feel the NEED to know more…its like, feeding my soul…but its still hard for the first reasons I mentioned. I find I learn better in regards to the bible/our faith, by conversation…by asking questions…getting answers…they ‘WHY’…the thing is I dont have anyone that is totally educated in the catholic faith to have these conversations with…

thats why I live on CAF! lmbo… seriously though:o


I think there are two reasons. One is that, regardless of the education one receives as a child, a person cannot truly “find” God unless they seek Him for themselves-and this usually requires some impetus or another-as with anything else, the more effort we put in the more we get out. The other has to do with the Church needing improvement in this area. There is much effort going on at all levels to address the need for “adult faith formation”. Perhaps this is an area you could contribute to?


I used to be a Catholic who know nothing about Catholicism until I joined a Catholic Community called Couples For Christ (CFC). My husband and I are active servant leaders of this community along with our 17 year old son. He actively serves in Youth For Christ (YFC) and he has his own activities with his youth friends but they are guided by couple coordinators. This is one of the ministries under the umbrella of Couples for Christ. We also have other ministries like Singles for Christ (SFC) for singles, Kids for Christ (KFC) for children of couple members, Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) for women who are widowed, or whose husbands are not Catholic or who are simply not ready to join. Then we also have Servants of the Lord (SOLD), the male counterparts of Handmaids. We are a “womb to tomb” community.

My husband and I attend a prayer group called a household (about 7 couples) and we come together every fortnight. We also have a prayer assembly where the whole community come together and a teaching night where we are taught how to live our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. So we meet every week and for CFC and its ministries, this is a way of life for us. We also have special events like our anniversary, retreats, Advent Gathering, overseas conferences, etc. We are also encouraged to spend daily quiet time with the Lord in prayer and scriptural reading.

We do not claim to know all but we take comfort in knowing that our chrisitan lives are being formed and made more purposeful by serving God and one another in our community.

All this we do over and above attending weekly or daily mass and receiving the sacraments.

Also, it helps that we have a website like and Catholic radio like Ave Maria and EWTN.

So all Praise be to God for His many blessings.:thumbsup:


among the best questions I receive all the time from RCIA candidates, and you are quite right to wonder. They have not been taught either because they grew up in a family, parish or diocese that did not take seriously their mission and solemn promise to God to hand on the faith to their children. OR this instruction and example was freely offered not only by their family but by many good people, priests, nuns and lay people, but the individual rejected or wasted the opportunity to learn and grow in the faith.

The question is of course, why would anyone reject happiness offered on a golden platter? who knows, only God.


I was just going to ask how we can better help “cradle” Catholics learn more about their Church. I plan on NOT ever leaving RCIA (I’ve been there 4 years due to DH’s annulment issues…). It seems this year I’m finally going to be able to be confirmed, and am going to do what I can to help facilitate. It’s shocking to me how many don’t know that much about their religion.

I, of course, don’t know jack, but I’m getting up the courage to meet him :slight_smile:

I am in love with the Church, and have a hard time with those in “like”. LOL


I wish there were more programs open for adults to learn more about the Catholic faith, especially for those who may not be properly informed or just plain have forgotten the years at Catholic school. I, for one, would like to grow deeper in my faith but the only program out where I live is RCIA, and that’s for those converting to Catholicism. :frowning:


Mrs. Abbott-- I was looking for more education as an adult in the Faith, too, when I got to college. I was so angry when I realized that after 12 years of Catholic education (!!!) that I’d learned almost nothing beyond “God loves me” and how to make felt banners. Thankfully I met someone in Opus Dei, and they have the kinds of programs and classes you are talking about at their centers. It was such a relief to finally learn about the teachings of the Church in a systematic and non-wishy-washy manner.

If there is an Opus Dei center nearby, you could get in touch and ask if they currently have any basic doctrine courses running. They are usually organized by topic-- the Ten Commandments, the Creed, etc… Similarly, if there are any really solid, “orthodox” parishes anywhere nearby, you might find something there as well. We are blessed to have such a parish straight up the road from me. (Parishes with 24-hour adoration would top the list of strong prospects!) I bring my kids there for CCD, but I know they also take adult faith formation very, very seriously, and also cover topics in an organized, in-depth fashion. :thumbsup:

Best of luck,



In our parish, anyone can generally be a part of the RCIA process, contributing whatever they can. We all learn a lot by doing so, and if you could become a team member-we do some pretty extensive catechist training-then you’ll learn even more. From there, maybe you could explore other avenues to help in adult faith formation. Just some thoughts-I share the same concerns.


And don’t discount RCIA as a fantastic way to jump start your own learning. We discuss many issues there that spark a fire, and I come home to research those topics. Granted, many of the “whats” and “hows” of Mass (why do we kneel…etc) aren’t as big of a topic as I’d like to see, but the theological discussions are outstanding!

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