In Defense of Cradle Catholics

by Steve Ray on March 7, 2012

photo-we-the-people-american-constitutionSince I am planning trips to speak to Catholics in India later this year — where Catholics are all “cradle Catholics” — meaning they were born Catholics and never had to think about it. I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across.

As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street and challenged my country, would I be ready and able to defend the USA? Would I know all the historical details, dates, and facts?

Do I know the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court rulings or even the ancient documents that preceded the birth of our nation—the documents and events that formed the foundation for our government?

The answer is simple: “No, I would not be prepared.”

constitution-signing1But I am an American. I love my country. I was born here and believe in the principles and love the freedom that are American. I know my country has many problems and I do not love everything that is American. But I would be unprepared to explain and defend the details and documents of my nation even though I love the USA and would readily stay an American citizen rather than join another country.

This is much the same as a “cradle Catholic.” They are often ashamed that they cannot defend the faith, but they are like me as an American. I was born American and never have been in a situation where I had to defend my country in a rigorous intellectual debate with an anti-American.

Cradle Catholics, those born into a Catholic family, have been Catholics from birth. They have never had to research it, defend it or struggle to get here. They usually love their faith, the Lord Jesus, the Bible, Mary, the Rosary, the Eucharist and the Catholic Church. But for years they have “just been” Catholics and never needed to “defend” it. They only needed to love it and practice it.

screen-captureBut now the wolves are approaching and making great inroads devouring the flock. The attack comes not only from cults and sects, New Age religions, and more, but also from modernism and relativism and materialism. They are pursued from every side. They are pushed to leave the Church, to join the cults and sects or to pursue pleasure, money, and sin.

Just like I would I need to take the time and energy to study my country and its history, so Catholics are now required to learn their faith in a new and enegetic way to defend the faith and their children. The time for comfort is over.

The time to study and learn is here. No longer can the Catholics—or anyone who has been born and raised Catholic—sit back and take the faith for granted. It is time for war! It is time for defense! It is time to get to work!

I do not criticize “cradle Catholics” for not knowing their faith. I understand the situation. But now we must begin rigorous study and learning—our children and our faith and our Western culture are at stake. We have no time to to waste. We are called to re-evangelize and defend Mother Church! God bless us all as we serve our Lord.

FILIPINOS, it is now time to defend your family, your Church and your nation. Rise up and take the challenge. Learn to defend and fight for what is important!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricko April 27, 2010 at 11:50 AM

More and more “Cradle Catholics” converting in other religions, yes you’re right because they don’t know the dogma of the Catholic Church, they just been baptized in the Catholic Church, but during the baptismal in water the Church bestowed the order to teach the child about Catholic faith to parent and sponsors of the child, but harsh reality some parents doesn’t even know what it was.

I am one of the Cradle Catholic but I enter “Cursillo” a short coarse about Catholic dogma.
Lots of religious group always looking for someone to convert in the religion, teaching their beliefs, but I believe that before I investigate other houses I must first know my own house, in and out, up and down.

Maureen Dierkes April 27, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Very well put, Steve! When I came to know Christ in a personal way and began studying Scripture with Protestant friends, I soon realized the need to know how to defend being Catholic! I have spent the last 12 years doing that. It has been the best 12 years of my life. A friend of mine and I now startedl a large Catholic Women’s Bible Study last year with 28 women and it has already grown to 75 ladies! It is so wonderful mentoring other women in the faith and seeing their eyes being opened to Jesus, Salvation History and the History of Christ’s Church!!

Thanks for all you do to assist in the process and in helping so many come to know, love and appreciate being Catholic!!

In His love and service,

D'artagnan April 27, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Great analogy, especially as many cradle Catholics sadly use the term more as an ethnic identity than out of any thought to faith or belief, leaving us wacky converts to do much of the ‘splainin’ (O:

Roisin April 29, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Well said Steve, you are helping this cradle Catholic learn her faith more deeply. I appreciate your parallel story and empathy for some of us who were not fully catechized.

Tricia May 1, 2010 at 8:04 AM

I loved this article. Wish I could share it on my facebook page.

manila_ortiz September 21, 2010 at 9:27 AM

As a Filipino and a Cradle Catholic, I appreciate this article. I was ten years old when my Catholic mother became a “Born Again Christian”. Since we were just kids, my brother, sister and I were easily convinced to follow in her footsteps. At such a young age, we had no choice but to obey and had no idea on how to defend our Catholic faith. I’m forty years old now with kids of my own. Five years ago my husband (also a cradle Catholic who as a child was also taken out of the Catholic church by his parents) and I decided to go back to our Catholic roots and raise our children as Catholics. The journey back home is not easy, but we are passionate about teaching our children how to defend themselves from anyone who tries to mislead them from their Faith.

Joseph March 7, 2012 at 11:11 PM

any filipinos near Dumaguete Negros Oriental that would like to get together and watch vids on the bible, let me know and I would like to make a day during the week or weekend so we could start. I am cradle catholic, and have deepened my faith. As I live here now, and not the states, It would be a great activity.

calixto March 8, 2012 at 3:53 AM

Catholic religion in the philippines is being attacked by all non catholic religion to win membership from our cradle catholics. The local church must act on this. Various sects are sprouting in this nation.


Cyriac Sebastian March 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Hello Steve,

Exited to know about your trip to India. I am a cradle Catholic in Bangalore. Do you have any schedule in Bangalore? Kindly provide more details about the trip.

Wishing you the best and with prayers for the trip.


Jomar March 13, 2012 at 5:54 AM

To all truth seekers Good day…i I am a student of catholic faith here in dipolog…I am happy that I belong this group….To defend our catholic faith…….

Marian April 5, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Hi Steve!
I am a cradle Catholic, became a Born Again Christian for a while, then became a “Born Again” Catholic.
I thank my Born Again Christian friends for my return to the Catholic faith. They have made me more aware that I should read Scripture. As a matter of fact, it was during these bible study sessions with them that many questions arose. This made me hunger for more and actually brought me to “Rome Sweet Home” and “Crossing the Tiber”.
I want to learn to share and defend my faith to them to help them see the light. How do I do that without antigonizing them?

Daniel Peper April 7, 2012 at 6:34 AM

Thank you, Steve, for the kind words about those born and raised Catholics.
I do object when Catholics are accused of not having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive Jesus personally in the Holy Eucharist, are blessed to receive his personal forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession. Jesus gave his mother Mary to care for the apostle John personally, and to each one of us who are beloved by her Son.
One of the first things I ask my friends is “How is your mom? How is your dad?”.
To me, a relationship is truly personal when you are concerned with all the members of the family.
God bless your fine work, Steve. And do add my brother and his wife and 11 children to your prayers. I love them very much, but they left the Catholic Church many years ago. I pray that they return home, to the church that our Lord founded.

De Maria April 11, 2012 at 2:31 PM

For centuries, Catholics have been taught to evangelize by actions rather than words. But now, our Pope of loving memory has called us out to respond to challenges by word as well actions. And I have seen more and more Catholics responding to that call. The sleeping Giant is waking up.


De Maria

Antonio April 19, 2012 at 1:06 AM

I’m a cradle Catholic and so are my parents and siblings. Unfortunately, the forces of evil was able to influence my two brothers. We had a protestant neighbor who was an influence to them and they started talking against the Catholic faith. I was so upset about what happened and got challenged. I know somehow that there are answers to their attacks. Then I started reading about Catholic apologetics and it all reinforced my faith and belief. Not only was I able to answer all their questions but was able to get them back to the faith..Praise the Lord….thanks also to Steve Ray…I read your books and writings.. they are so helpful….let’s persevere in defending our faith…

Nicholai M. Lucenos August 2, 2012 at 1:13 AM

For nowadays many religious denomination come, for that as Catholic we are aware in defending our Mother Church. If you Love your Catholic Religious Belief you must defend and study his Teachings,Moral and his background the philosophy and theology. We are encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church to study the scripture and learn to proclaim it others in order us to fulfill in defending the faith. I was born in a Catholic Family, Many years believing but that believing will not work if I’m not studying apologetic s nowadays in defending the Christian Faith…. God Bless You All…

Greeting’s from Miputak Dipolog City Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines
Our Most Holy Rosary and Saint Vincent’s Ferrer Cathedral Diocese of Dipolog

1 Peter 3:
15. but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

Francis August 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Very informative. I wish to reach out to persons everywhere on our most holy faith. Had some personal experiences with the divine. After much thought i do not think they are coincidences – winning chess games with an impossible to win chess engine named “Extreme” ( “X”),the Japan earthquake, dreams appearing to connect to subsequent events which frightened me at first ( at first i thought i was the devil, i mean the devil devil and no other). If interested, you can go to my fb acc : (password: psalms373839). Btw, im thinking of creating a Catholic blog myself and thus this blog would be most helpful for learning.

SophieEvans September 6, 2014 at 10:44 PM

I just came across this disgusting post. How dare you say Cradle Catholics have “never had to think about it.” It takes plenty of courage to remain Catholic. Perhaps we can’t recite chapter and verse of everything but those of us who remain faithful Catholics do know what OUR FAITH teaches. Your arrogant attitude is sinful and wrong and insulting to all faithful Catholics who grew up in the Church, recognized the truth and stuck with it, despite plenty of people out in the world (including some of you, before you converted) telling us we were wrong and all the secular temptations which many of you succumbed to before you “found God!” I know my American history AND I know my faith. Not being able to recite every line or footnote does not mean someone doesn’t know or believe something. For shame!

STEVE RAY HERE: Of course there are always exceptions. Glad for your stong knowledge and stand for our country and our Faith.

Sandy Henning December 3, 2018 at 8:48 PM

I have been born to a Catholic mother and father. I have always understood my faith. I attended catholic school. As a adult I taught religion to the public school children. I played the guitar mass and was the youngest person in my church asked by a priest to be a Eucharist minister. I believe that calling anyone other than catholic is dividing us. There are people who really find a comfort in being Catholic. Let’s stop this nonsense on who is the better Catholic or whether or not you where born in the religion. Let’s all help each other in becoming better.

I agree with some of what Sandy says, but the Catholic Church is a real reality. It is the Church Jesus started. I was born a Baptist and thought Catholics were going to hell. At 39 years old I realized there was a real Church and joined it. Never looked back.

It is not nonsense to claim the Catholic Church as the one Jesus started and has nothing to do with “being born” into the Church. Yes, let’s help each other be better Christians but let’s not forget where the true Church is, If we really love people we will invite then to join us.

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