Ok. What does "poorly catechized" mean?

What steps will ensure that the “applicant” is properly catechized? I am curious. Is reading the catechism sufficient?

Applicant for what?

Applicant to be accepted as a member of the church. There are many threads that complain about “poorly catechized” members.

There’s no test one must pass in order to become Catholic.

So those who complain about the “poorly catechized” catholics are just blowing hot air? There is no way to find out if someone is “properly catechized” or “poorly catechized”? I

From what I can tell, it’s an epithet cast at any Catholic that does not agree with a Conservative Catholic position.


No. (I’m not particularly “Conservative”.)

There has been a general problem in the Church over the last few decades that the level of knowledge of Catholic doctrine and practice is not what it used to be. Back in, say, the first half of the 20th century,

  • many if not most Catholic children went to Catholic school where they were taught pretty rigorously, usually by nuns, using a standard Catholic catechism
  • those wishing to convert were taught individually by priests who were also pretty rigorous
  • many Catholic parents also taught their children faith practices at home, and if they were somehow not doing this the priest was likely to show up on your doorstep to find out the reason why.

Since about the 1960s, things have changed:

  • the quality of religious education in Catholic school and also in CCD classes for those not attending Catholic school declined and became very touchy-feely and not about imparting rules or doctrine - I experienced this firsthand as a child
  • instruction for those wishing to convert stopped being handled by individual priests and started being handled in classes like RCIA and its predecessor, which are sometimes not very good
  • Catholic parents became less likely to teach their children anything at home and in some cases weren’t even practicing the faith themselves.

So you had kids not learning at home, and the quality of religious education at the schools and in the classes for converts declining in terms of imparting basic knowledge. These situations have continued in a lot of places, as shown by threads on this board where the youth minister is telling teens it’s perfectly okay to miss Mass and somebody else’s RCIA priest is telling her it’s all right to have Communion in the Anglican church.

The result of all this is a significant number of people calling themselves Catholics today are “poorly catechized”. This is not some conservative person’s opinion, it’s a fact. If we made people take a test to get a Catholic church membership card, a lot of them would flunk it.


It means one who was not taught well what the Catholic Church professes.
For instance, my mother didn’t know who the Holy Ghost is despite being a “cradle Catholic” (she is sadly affected by various protestant beliefs, please pray for her and me).

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From what I can tell, it’s an epithet cast at any Catholic that does not agree with a Conservative Catholic position.

Actually, there is a grain of truth in what NA says. But the following post by Tis Bearself is a terrific answer to the OP. I couldn’t add anything more. Good post, TB

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I don’t know how you would know that someone is properly catechized or not without having a conversation with them about theological topics. And even then they may give evidence of knowing some things but not others.

I do think there’s an overall problem with developing knowledgeable Catholics, but it’s an area where few parishes put many of many of their resources.

No, certainly not. There are many people in the Church who are poorly catechized.

Catechesis means teaching. To catechize to teach. Many are poorly catechized because their parents didn’t teach them the faith, they didn’t learn beyond rudiments of the faith— meaning the don’t know or understand what the Church teaches.

For example, meeting a person who doesn’t know contraception is a sin against the six commandment, one might make the argument they were poorly catechized.

There are poorly catechized members of other churches too— I know a Greek Orthodox that doesn’t know beans about orthodoxy and a Lutheran who I know more about Lutheranism than she does.

Well, talking to them is typically sufficient.


In my opinion, the most effective step is for the parents to live their faith at home.

  1. Frequent family prayer.
  2. Frequent discussion about Catholic Doctrine.
  3. Attending the Holy Days of Obligation.
  4. Daily Mass, if possible.
  5. In general, living a Christ centered life.

I was a Catechist for a while and the main complaint I heard is that we, the Catechists, only had the children for one hour a week. Then they would go home and forget all that they had learned because their parents did not reinforce what they were taught.


On CAF? Yes, for the most part. Not agreeing with the ‘conservative’ majority on CAF will definitely get you called “poorly catechized”.

And I take issue with those in this thread who keep saying that Catholics today are poorly catechized. If you feel that way, then take the issue up with your bishop and quit complaining about something that you most likely don’t understand.

There is good reason that catechetical instruction has changed since the 60’s. Nuns are no longer aloud to smack children with rulers until they have the Baltimore Catechism memorized. That is not true instruction in the faith. Caring about other people, regardless of who they are, was not taught back then. What was taught was closed mindedness and rules, and if you didn’t do a good job, Father might pay you a visit. Doesn’t that sound pleasant?

Yes there was good reason that the instruction was completely flipped over. When I went to Catholic school in the 80’s the teaching was focused on kindness and compassion for my neighbor. Scripture was read and taught. Sacraments were taught and received. And ther was just as much catechesis as there was in the 60’s, but it had a different focus. It was less about rules, and more about humanity. It makes my skin crawl when people here on CAF are so focused on rules that they steamroll everyone who isn’t in lockstep. That’s not Catholicism. It’s some sort of warped Christianity that is mired in self-righteousness.

So yes, the “poorly catechized” label is essentially a ‘virtue signal’ commonly used here on CAF. Ironically, it only points back to the very Church whose rules they take so much comfort in.


LOL! Polemicize much?

So, you assert that most Catholics know what the Church teaches and accept it? Umm… yeah. Ok. :roll_eyes:

Poor catechesis often leads to disagreement. If you grow up thinking that contraception is A-okay with the Church and then find out it’s not, most Catholics don’t do a 180 on the spot. Sometimes they are well into adulthood before they ever hear this or other teaching. A Catholic can just obedianlty follow but personally I like to understand what is possible to understand. It would serve a Catholic couple to know this not just for their own sanctity but to teach their children so they aren’t blindsided by this when they are ready to marry and the love of their live won’t used the pill.

This is a twisted characterization of the the Church. You can’t be that much older than me but that wasn’t my experience. Catholics take a both/and not an
either/or. There is room to learn the Baltimore Catechism and practice service to others. And I was never smacked by any religious and I went to a Catholic school.

Was it now?

Then why do most Catholics not know Catholic teaching and leave the Church for the New Church down the road with the worship band and the sermons that mock Catholicism? Why would they leave Truth and the Real Presence if they knew that?

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To properly learn anything you need a) to be explicitly taught it and b) for people with some authority to consistently model and expect you to model it.

Looking back at my schoolmates I think a lot of our parents expected the school to teach us things that our school expected our parents to have taught us.

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Do you understand that to be a Catholic you have to believe a certain set of beliefs? Being a “liberal” Catholic is just someone who doesn’t follow church teaching.

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I wonder what happened in the 1960s :thinking:


And it should be both. I’ve shared this before but when I went to Catholic school my parents were told not to teach at home. One can only speculate why.

Perfect setup :+1:
Now that the Mass was in the vernacular everyone should understand what is happening.

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