When I was a Catholic, I heard this explanation constantly. I used to listen to Catholic radio, watch EWTN, etc and the collective opinion was that the vast majority of Catholics have been “poorly catechized.” Here on these forums, people often accuse each other of being “poorly catechized.” What does this mean, precisely? I have thought of some options:
A poorly catechized person:
- Misunderstands Catholic dogma/doctrines/practice
- Is ignorant of Catholic dogma/doctrines/practice
- Was improperly educated
- Has no education
Is this accurate? Often, the accusation of “poor catechesis” comes up when someone is trying to explain why a Catholic has a dissenting opinion (supports contraception or women priests) or when a Catholic apostatizes totally or partially. Things like this:
“Tsk, tsk, well, 98% of “Catholic” women use birth control because they’re poorly catechized.”
“Yeah, it’s a shame that huge numbers of South American Catholics are becoming Protestants…catechesis must be totally lacking.”
Is this explanation adequate? Does it have enough explanatory power to explain the Great Schism, the Protestant Reformation, or the massive apostasy of today? Is it a verifiable claim? Can it be falsified? What is its prior probability? Are there competing explanations that do more work? What do you think?
I think that imperial politics can explain the Great Schism, the advent of the printing press can explain the Protestant Reformation, and the free exchange of ideas and debate on the internet together with the religious freedom of secular states can explain the current rapid decay of traditional religious beliefs. Just my opinion, probably wrong.