What about people who aren't very educated?

I know a lot of people that faithfully go to Mass and try in general to be generous and good and charitable. They worship Jesus, but most of what they know just comes from family and Mass - they aren’t very well-read, haven’t read the whole Bible, and don’t know much about saints or Church fathers. They aren’t aware of the intricacies and nuances of the CCC - they just know the “biggies.” They pray the Hail Mary and the Our Father, but don’t know any others. They don’t debate about what certain lines of scripture mean, or split hairs about what constitutes sin. They are just regular people living regular lives and haven’t taken the time to learn a ton about Catholicism. They probably go to confession once a year or less. They don’t have a panic attack about missing Mass, although they do try to make it every week.

Is that a bad way to live? Does everyone need to be “obsessed” with Catholicism like some of the posters on CAF are? Can they just go to Mass, love the Holy Trinity, and try to be good and generous and let it go at that?

The poor and uneducated are the exact people Jesus came to save - don’t believe theres a test of knowledge or questions of doctrine or bible knowledge to get in heaven - its about faith in Jesus and repenting in ones ways and trying to live a life pleasing to God.

I have a baptist friend I said to the other day ( he loves to quote scripture line and verse ) I’m not going to be asked to quote bible verses by Jesus ( he thinks I’m going to hell because I’m a catholic and is continuously trying to get me to renounce my faith in the church and be a protestant so I’ve had to spruce up my knowledge - even bought a copy of the CCC in my battle with him ) - and really the bible has only been available since the invention of the printing press and even then I don’t think it was available to the average Joe for quite some time. So that leaves alot of people way back without access to a bible. Although I guess theres no excuse today for not having a personal copy to read. Also the invention of the internet has opened it up all the way , but many people can’t afford a PC let alone use it.Maybe thats a good thing - even this site can get your gears spinning if you go too deep - sometimes less knowledge is better as the bible suggests the more you know and understand the more accountable you will be for the life you lived. Maybe ignorance is bliss - lol. But what do I know I’m just a regular Joe.
I’m just going to go back and swim with the little fishies in the big school.

Some people here obviously have studied deeply the lives of saints and church history and the intricacies of the Catechism. But I agree that not everyone has the educational level to do that. If you do then that’s wonderful but there’s nothing wrong with not doing those things. If they love the Lord and strive live by the teachings of His Church then there is nothing wrong with that.

I love that our conversion is a lifelong process That we can learn at our own paces and no one is there to grade us.

I’ve had to learn to take some CAF posters with a grain of salt. To some, anyone less than a Latin speaking CCC walking encyclopedia is not deemed worthy and is seen as the reason for a split in the church. The fact is, most Catholics, I have found, have a passion for the Church which fuels a self paced study of our history and our rich tradition.

No one need to be well educated…just loving God and living for the Eucharist. The rest will come in time.

Who is trilingual and still petrified of Latin.

Wouldn’t it depend on WHY they weren’t ‘well educated?’

There is a difference between a person who is, perhaps, dyslexic, or who had to quit school in the 8th grade to help his/her family, who lives in an area where there isn’t much available in books or Internet availability, who doesn’t have family or friends to help, and who is thus in a position where he doesn’t know much to begin with and doesn’t have the ability or the resources to learn more. . .

and the person who is simply too lazy or complacent to even try. . .who thinks he can just show up for Church when he feels like it, not bother to try to learn or even to ‘refresh’ what he supposedly knows about his faith, and who thinks that just throwing the occasional $$ or ‘trying to be a nice person’ is all he HAS to do to ‘get into heaven free’. Especially if this person has the time, the opportunity, and the resources EASILY available to him/her to give sufficient knowledge.

God would know the difference and would judge accordingly.

The Church does not ask very much. In addition to the moral guide of the Ten Commandments, Catholics are expected to observe five precepts of the Church:

*]You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
*]You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
*]You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
*]You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
*]You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
Your example of the lukewarm Catholic is fine with regard to the Confession schedule, but appears to be lacking regarding attending Mass.

Now, the Church has all sorts of legitimate exceptions to all of these precepts. For example, a person who is seriously ill (or caring for someone who is) is excused from the obligation to attend Mass. Your question, however, says the person may “try” to attend Mass - which suggests that s/he will attend if it is convenient. C’mon - it’s an hour a week. I just watched a two-hour movie.

No, of course not. Many of the posters here have deeply studied the Catholic Faith (often because they wanted to find some reason NOT to convert to it - which was my situation). We want to share the deeper truths of our Faith with those who ask about them. But no Catholic is required to be able to recite a single verse of Scripture, or name a single Early Church Father, or tell you anything that the Council of Trent did.

Waitaminute - I thought Mass was kinda optional. Are they going to Mass or not?

But, to answer your question, no, they can’t let it go at that. However, they can uphold the Ten Commandments, go to Mass, confess their sins, receive Eucharist, observe the fasts, and support the Church, and *then *let it go at that. Because that’s what it means (at an absolute bare minimum) to live a Catholic lifestyle. And you do not need to be well-educated to do this.

Perhaps the question refers more to the first category you describe, because those are individuals who as you say do not have the ability or resources to learn more - the truly uneducated. The second category you describe is just lazy and uninterested, it’s not that they CAN’T learn more it’s that they WON’T.

And they sometimes take on a sort of reverse snobbery, thinking themselves spiritually superior to and more charitable than those who actually do take their faith seriously. :shrug:

Interesting comments. I always thought the most ignorant had the best chances of getting to heaven. :wink:

God calls everyone to different talents. Some are “well-read” and may have more knowledge, but God doesn’t judge us on what we know, but what is in our heart. If we follow the greatest commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind, and to love one another as He loves us, then we are doing what God commanded.

One of my favorite Scriptures is 1 Cor 13 especially the last verse 13, because all the knowledge in the world doesn’t matter: only three things remain when we die: Faith, hope and love, and of those three, love is the greatest.

blessings, :):slight_smile:

One of my Doctors is Catholic. You would consider him to lack education.
He meets all the requirements mentioned by David Filmer.

He saves lives everyday and you are worried about his lack of education in the bible?


Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to a Catholic. It is incumbent on Catholics to learn about their faith and Church teachings. They cannot hide behind ignorance for long.

CCC 1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.” In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

In reply to the paragraph quoted: I wish to respond that many, many and I repeat a GREAT many African Catholics, living in remote rural areas in Africa H A V E to be satisfied with a priestly visit and Mass once a month. We are not privileged to even have the choice to attend Mass once a week or not. As a result, our ‘Catholic education and customs’ are very rudimentary and most of the time by the next monthly Mass we have forgotten the procedure for Mass. The Church in this village in Mpumalanga consists of 8 adults, 5 teens and 10 children below school going age. We are grateful to our Priest who pulls out all the stops for us. Unfortunately the area in which he serves is so large, we have to be happy with the arrangements.

Yes, we are ignorant because we lack the facilities and the Priests to teach us about our faith and Church teachings. One Mass once a month is not enough. Please pray for more Priests to come to Africa.

early christians didn’t have a bible to read, they broke bread together helped one another and shared christs love and as paul says lead simple quiet lives. Though the history and bible reading is very interesting and can deepen your faith with the lord

I just remembered about a man who was the caretaker of my father’s farm.
He was Catholic but he has never been to school a day in his life.
He was a farmer, he knew how to take care of goats and cattle not how to read or write.
This man literally could not have read the Bible or the Catechism.
But he would have known the teachings of the Church and if he lived his life according to them then does the fact that he has never read the Bible make a difference?

No. In fact, no Catholic is required to know even one single verse of Scripture.

And, in fact, no Catholic even knew what “Scripture” was before the Sixth Century.

Imagine this conversation between yourself and St. Cyprian of Carthage (one of the greatest of the Early Church Fathers, who died around 258 AD, and is my personal favorite):

YOU: Hello, Cyprian - I wanted to look something up. Would you please lend me your Bible

CYPRIAN: Umm, I would like to help you, but what, exactly, is a “Bible?”

YOU: Of course, it is the collection of writings from the Old Testament and the New Testament that are recognized as inspired Scripture. The word “Bible” means “books” from the Latin biblia.

CYPRIAN: Well, I speak Latin, although that particular word is unfamiliar to me (as it came about some time after I died). But I think I know what it means. It refers to the Hebrew Scriptures. But I’m not sure if it means the Palestinian Canon or the Hellenistic Canon.

YOU: Umm, let’s ignore this for now - what I really wanted to see was your New Testament.

CYPRIAN: I have absolutely no idea what you mean.

YOU: Of course you do - you are one of the greatest Early Church Fathers. I mean the four Gospels, and the various letters of St. Paul and others, culminating in the Revelation of St. John.

CYPRIAN: What do you mean, four Gospels? I have heard of only two. I know of this Paul fellow - I have read (only) two of his letters to other Churches. I have never heard of this Revelation of which you speak.

Umm, good luck.

Well educated in the Faith is not the same as much book learning about the faith. It means having the meekness and humility to allow the Holy Spirit to instruct the soul. That is best achieved by becoming as little children, being obedient to God’s commandments, loving as a child loves and above all maintaining innocence, the state of grace. For adults that means avoiding sin, the process of continuing conversion, putting the commandments and beatitudes into action through works of mercy, and above all remaining close to Jesus in the sacraments. Saints who are also scholars got that way through heroic virtue, not through study.

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