Do Cradle Catholics and Catholic converts have same standing within Catholic Church?

Hi everyone,
I’ve seen the label “cradle Catholic” used on CAF and I’ve also become acquainted with other Catholics on CAF who used to be protestants and converted at some point in their lives.

What does the term ‘Cradle Catholic’ mean? Does it mean a Catholic who was born and raised in the Catholic Church and stayed there all of his or her life?

If so, does a cradle Catholic have a higher status within the Church than a protestant convert or is everyone treated basically the same? Just curious.

A cradle Catholic is someone who was born into a Catholic family and baptised as one, usually they still identify as Catholic (whether practicing or cultural), even many of the lapsed ones (myself included). No they aren’t higher up in the pecking order.

Yesterday evening at the vigil Mass, this fulfilling our Sunday obligation for we that work, the presider’s homily focused on the Vatican II documents in reference to Pentecost Sunday.

When we go to Mass on the Lord’s Day, vigil or actual, we encounter the Risen, Glorified Lord who stands in heaven before the Heavenly Father, wounded but triumphant, ministering to us through the Holy Spirit His Word Made Flesh, the Liturgies of the Word and Eucharist.

When we enter a Catholic church, we are now entering into God’s space, we are no longer living in the world’s linear time, but we are now in the eternal being with God, not structured but with Him, I Am Who Am.

The priest was stating that the Pope, the bishops, priests, religious, and lay are first and foremost all members of Equal footing before the Lord as His People. Subsequently, you profess the Creed with all believers throughout the world, you are expressing with them the only perfection we can express as sinners in need of redemption.

It doesn’t matter if you are a cradle Catholic…some who are faithful take many years to understand their faith. Then there are those who converted, are received, and have such a profound faith and comprehension and fervor, that their faith feeds us.

We are all the same before the Lord and we all have our own lives to live out His will.

So there is no rank of faith and holiness. We are all the same and have the same struggles.

Be not anxious or wary…the Lord awaits you!

Thank you for the helpful answer, KathleenGee. I was hoping that was the case :slight_smile:

You are welcome! The Vatican II documents are what the priest referred to yesterday. The Council is the summation of all past councils going back to the Council of Jerusalem, the first one. Vatican II is simply updating and clarifying the Lord and Church for the times we live in.

In the past, and it still comes up, is clericalism, where some think of the clergy or pope as superior. My former pastor told us it was clericalism that brought about the Protestant Reformation. The Council of Trent followed the Reformation, addressed abuses and corrected them, put in more advisors to avoid what happened before.

But then the pendulum swings back and forth. People can put priests on pedestals and when they begin to see the priests’ own humanity, they lose some or all their faith.

Before the Lord we are all sinners in need of His redemption.

The key to staying Catholic is to always keep our eyes focused on the Lord Alone, to put our trust in Him alone, to be detached from things of this world, including fame and honor, but to pick up the cross which is very difficult and follow the Lord. And to keep learning…you will never learn everything about being Catholic in this life.

God bless!

No, we’re all treated the same. However—a convert may very well feel more welcome by fellow parishoners because they’ll be so excited to have someone new joining the flock. :slight_smile:

I became a Catholic 50 years ago, and I long wondered if Catholics would see me differently at all. I never asked Catholics about this. I have long seen that they do not see me any differently.

Before I graduated up to the Catholic Church I don’t think many of the people I talked to in the parish had any idea I wasn’t Catholic. The cradle Catholics don’t have a secret hand shake or anything like that, at lest not that I have found out about;) I’ll have to do some checking tho.

A cradle catholic is one baptized catholic as an infant. It has nothing to do with status .

People put things like that on their profile so you can understand their world view better.

A Cradle Catholic would mean born Catholic from Catholic parents.
Convert Catholic (like myself) just means I changed to be Catholic
Every person would describe themselves how they felt, even maybe you could get someone saying “A Catholic striving towards greater holiness” which is what the person is doing, they are trying to lead a holier life .

But at the end of the Day no matter what the description ad on is, ALL are Catholic.
All Equal before the Lord, and unlike the Free Masons we don’t have a secret hand shake.
All brothers and sisters in the Lord, striving to live a good and Catholic life.


I like your sense of humor. I was mainly just interested if converts were looked down on compared to crade Catholics in terms of status and it sounds like that is not the case.
Thanks,everyone. This is good to hear. You have all been very helpful and I find your answers reassuring.

Hello, wanting to Return, what is stopping you, as a fellow brother we are your Family, and would like you to be re united with us, this is what you want and the One you Seek, Seeks you.

Ephesians 3 : 14

Knowing the love of Christ which is beyond knowledge you may be filled with the utter fullness of God …

The Christian identity is a belonging to the Church because to find Jesus outside of the Church is not possible. Pope Francis

Come Back Home, go to Confession and then Communion, you will feel at peace with yourself, God and His Church.

I will keep you in my prayers that Our Lady’s shawl will be around your shoulders.,

Definately not. In fact, sometimes the term “cradle Catholic” is used with a somewhat negative connotation. Eg. “I was a cradle Catholic, but I never understood my faith until…” Unfortunately, the term can carry the connotation of someone who is Catholic in name only, whereas converts are often thought of as having really studied and learned their faith well.

I grew up a cradle Catholic. I knew one of my maternal grandparents was a convert. I always thought it was my grandpa who was kind of quiet, but no, it was my grandmother. She was so devout and always reading her Bible. We kids got a shock when we were old enough to understand!!! She was my inspiration to be a better person and to read the WHOLE Bible because she said she had done it “many times!”
Doesn’t St. Paul say something like woman or man, master or slave no more but we are one in Jesus Christ? So I guess it like old Catholic or new Catholic we become one in Christ Jesus! No difference…

My husband and I converted to Catholicism in 2004. (We came from the Evangelical Protestant background.)

Our experience has been that converts to Catholicism are adulated. Everyone is convinced that we know so much, especially about the Bible, and they are convinced that we must have some kind of special spirituality because we heard and heeded the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Often, converts seem to be the ones recruited to teach and lead Bible studies and other classes.

I think Catholics need to be very careful not to over-admire converts or be too quick to recruit them into teaching ministries. Yes, there are some converts (e.g., Scott Hahn) who come into the Church with an extensive background in theology, history, Scripture, teaching experience, etc., and they should certainly be encouraged to use their background and gifts in teaching ministries.

But many of us converted to Catholicism because we became more and more disillusioned with Protestantism. In our case, our family was thrown out of our Protestant church, and we were hurting terribly. I told God that I would not attend any more churches until I was literally “wooed” into the church by loving people. (And God answered that plea!)

That negativity against the Protestant church can come across and be harmful, as cradle Catholics can pick up on it and develop negative attitudes, too. That could hurt their evangelism work among their Protestant friends and relatives.

Also, it is really easy for converts to become pride-filled, as cradle Catholics and even the priests admire them and pet them and tell them how enthusiastic and knowledgeable they are. Pride goes before a fall. And pride is a horrible attitude to have when witnessing to others. There is no greater turn-off then someone who is proud, not humble, about their Church, and who looks down on all the “inferior fellowships.”

When we were Protestants, we often saw new converts to Christianity admired and praised by the church members, and for a while, the convert would maintain a strong testimony and be part of the church leadership. But new converts are easy targets for Satan, because they don’t have strong “roots” and years of experience to fight off his attacks. We have seen so many converts fall into their old sinful habits and lifestyle, and then fall away from the Church and Christ entirely.

Finally, even though converts often come across as extremely knowledgeable, we really don’t know much about being Catholic and about Catholic teachings from personal experience, like the cradle Catholics do. We have “book knowledge” because we have read every book by modern Catholic writers/apologists, and we have spent hours here on CAF reading! But book knowledge is not real life.

Converts start out as “Catholic babies.” We don’t know much, and we need a lot of nurturing and help to “grow up” and become mature Catholic Christians. I encourage Catholic parishes to “proceed with caution” when it comes to elevating converts too quickly into the parish teaching ministries. Let them grow, learn, and assimilate Catholicism into their daily lives for a good long while before expecting them to take their place among the leaders of the parish.

Hope this is helpful.

Shhhhhhhhh!!! The secret hand shake is the 8th sacrament administered every February 30th, at the 26th hour, by all of the female deacons. We can’t let everyone know everything…:smiley:

This is what inspires me about converts. I often wonder with a shudder if I hadn’t been born Catholic, would I have had the faith and courage to come over considering how negatively Catholicism is portrayed by many in the world. :gopray2:

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