question for cradle catholics

just a quick question for those of you raised in the faith.

when did you learn all the important doctrines? like the significance of the mass, eucharistic prensence and all that?

i was only baptized when i was 12 and only did 2 years of prep classes so i think i missed it all. most of my learning has been on my own on the internet.

and why does there seem to be this pattern of catholics falling away from their faith in their teenage years and coming back later? does that happen to protestants too? or cahotlics who just don’t really know their faith that well or even the bible. whereas protestants are usually quite well learned with scripture.

I learned all the important stuff by doing research and talking to my dad. This was when I was 16? But I was baptized as an infant and confirmed at 14… Saint Albert the Great was my confirmation saint. I just picked a random saint because they had no meaning to me at that age, but later, when that I realized that St. Albert trained Thomas Aquinas, for some reason a fire was lit under me to start learning, extensively, about the Catholic faith.
Hopefully my answer is helpful!

Richard Feynman

I learned that stuff as I was growing up. My parents were really good about teaching me the importance of Mass, etc.
As for why Catholic teens fall away from the Church…Well, I’m a teen, and I’ve actually become more religious as I entered my teenage years. I don’t think it’s just Catholic teens who aren’t religious–I know plenty of people who say they are Christian but don’t act like it at all. I think maybe teens don’t pay much attention to religion because being religious isn’t “cool”. It sets you apart and teens and kids don’t want that. But it really depends on the kid, honestly. Some may be religious, others might not.

I was blessed by a Catholic elementary and middle school education and parents who sacrificed to send me there. We are all on a faith journey; we will never get there if we don’t keep moving and look for the answers to our questions ourselves, that is how we grow in the faith. I have known many people who were raised in one Protestant religion or another, but stopped going to that church when they left home or got older and it did not have the same meaning for them anymore. I have many Protestant in-laws who regularly change churches every couple of years; the difference is they are seeking a church that conforms to their way of thinking what the church should be and Catholics belong to the one, true Church that was started by Jesus himself and conform to it. Eventually, many Catholics find their way back, later in life, with a lot of regrets. The RCIA program is for anyone who wishes to learn more about Catholicism, you don’t have to be a new convert to attend. Maybe in the fall you could consider going to some classes, find some new friends and get some more questions answered?

I learned about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, back when I prepared for my 1st communion in the 2nd grade, 1958


I’m not sure we can make a blanket statement about how or why things happen.
My faith was strengthened by my parents, who never wavered, never doubted, and never missed any Masses or obligations. My only reason for missing Mass for a couple of years in college was my own laziness, not because I was not educated. I have only myself and my selfish desires to blame.

We have fallen away teens in our parish because the entire family has put the faith on the back burner. We can’t assume that they are uneducated.
We also have many faithful teens that are excited about their faith, and very prayerful because of their participation in our youth group, and the encouragement of their parents as well. Are they better educated?

Or have the latter made a choice for God in their lives.

Some parishes make a real effort to involve the teens in community service projects, in the Mass as servers, choir members, and readers. When someone has time invested, it becomes part of their lives. If anyone, of any faith, sees church as a one day a week for an hour commitment, you’re not going to get them to place it at the top of their to-do list.

If you fail to live a life in Christ…in all that you do…which includes worship, sacrifice, and giving of yourself to others as Christ did…what really do you have?

One must be more than educated, one must want a relationship with God.
And any relationship has to be cultivated.

I have to say I learned more about the tenets of the faith from my 12 years of Catholic schooling than I did from my parents. My dad was not Catholic, and my mom certainly followed the rules of the Church as she understood them, but there was not a lot of explaining about the faith done at home. I am most thankful for my primary and secondary religious education at two good Catholic schools, which I know was a financial sacrifice for my parents.

That said, two of my three siblings did fall away and no longer practice the faith (and we all went to the same school). Who can explain why? Not me…

It is good that you come to the forum to ask questions.

I never went to Catholic schools, there wasn’t any in my neighborhood. I did go to CCD and learned quite a bit there.

Finally, as a teen a library opened in my neighborhood and frequented it and got out many books on saints, Church history, people who converted to Catholicism, and some good spiritual direction reading.

As far as staying in the faith, what helps is when you have a group of your peers who are wanting to learn more about their faith and how to grow in it. When that happens community is formed and is very helpful.

Many times when young people go away to college they don’t look for the Catholic Church in the area and enter, instead, into the temptations of bad company. That never works in one’s favor.

Prayer, study, and good community are necessary.

I’m not a young woman anymore, but I have a desire to learn more, and keep seeking good spiritual

There are many excellent bible studies in the Catholic Church. Not every parish has one, but they are spreading.

It is one thing to know the bible verses, and another thing to understand and apply them correctly.

The most important and beautiful centerpiece of the Church is the Mass and the Eucharist. We get out of it what we put into it! Jesus is truly present there and our relationship can grow inasmuch as we cooperate with His grace.

Falling away as a teen is common in every religion. People tend to return when they have children and decide they need to teach them something about faith. It’s not just a Catholic thing.
You should consider joining an adult education class at your church. It may be RCIA or something different. Learning about your faith as an adult is very different from what you learned as a child. The information may be the same but your understanding is different. If you are interested now, you will find more fulfillment in faith from learning as an adult.

I learned all the most basic doctrines in Catholic grade school.
Now, as to why teens fall away - not all teens do. Some people fall away in college and some in later years. There isn’t one reason that fits everyone. I’m not sure it’s true that Protestants fall away less than Catholics.

I learned the gist of it while in formation for first communion. During Confirmation I learned some other things.

But most of what I have learned is from my own research.

Speaking for myself, I just grew into it. The nice thing is that I didn’t have to unlearn the wrong stuff before learning the right stuff. A lot of the teachings we learned were not just dogma but spiritual practises which seemed rather natural since we lived in a catholic environment. I see so many struggling with their spirituallity which just seemed almost automatic to me as I grew.

For example, Mary. She was a part of my life as was Jesus. Joseph too. In gradeschool we always marked our papers at the top with JMJ, that is, Jesus, Mary, Joseph. We stopped every hour on the hour in school to pray a short prayer. We not only had Abe’s picture on the wall, but the crucifix and some other holy pictures as well. We went to Mass five days a week before going to school. So as I said, we just grew and accepted spiritual ideas and they felt natural to us.

We were taught how to make our suffering and inconveniences something to offer to Jesus to bring grace upon ourselves as well as others. And the nun had a contest between the boys and the girls as to who would give the most money to buy and feed little orphan babies in foreighn countries. She was an expert at that and so we gave our ice cream money and sometimes lunch money to beat the girls contributions. As I said, the sisters must have went an extra year in college to become so good at squeazing the money out. But it taught us something…sacrifice and caring about others.

Speaking of nuns, I thought they were just great. Sometimes I hear comedians making them out to be a bit harsher than horse traders. My experience was quite to the contrary. I owe them a lot.

In summary, it was a beautiful time for the church and for America.

Now other cradle catholics may not have had my advantages in growing up, so their story will be a bit different.

May God bless us one and all.

In catholic school the teaching is embedded although at a young age it may not be in the form of chapter and verse. It is concepts and stories and living faith. Going to mass weekly, I got a good understanding of my Catholic faith.

All my friends were Catholic, mostly everyone went to mass or knew that they should. (In comparison to today, in my kid’s grade six class 2/30 go to weekly mass…yes in a Catholic school!)

Many questions started popping up again when I had kids. I went to my mom for answers. My mom was educated by nuns in the 50’s she knows a lot.

I am now 45 and for the past 2 years have been searching, mostly internet, in the vein of apologetics. Partly due to my interaction with people of other faiths who made me question things and partly due to having to refute claims made by hateful Catholics.

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