The True Meaning of a Deep Catholic Faith

Nancy Pelosi recently said of Joe Biden: “He understands the dignity and worth of all people, because his Irish heritage in his case was accompanied by deep Catholic faith.”

“Deep Catholic faith.” Let those words sink in. What do they mean to you? I know what they mean to me. And I can definitely say that they don’t apply to Joe Biden.

Someone with a deep Catholic faith follows Christ’s teachings, follows Church law, teaches others these beliefs, and works every day to not only strengthen his relationship with God but to impassion others to do the same.

A deep Catholic faith necessitates obedience to God and His commandments. A deep Catholic faith necessitates love for all people—born and preborn. A deep Catholic faith necessitates adherence to what we proclaim to be true in the Apostle’s Creed.

A deep Catholic faith does not cause you to publicly proclaim a woman’s “right” to an abortion. A deep Catholic faith does not send taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood—the number-one killer of babies in America. A deep Catholic faith does not advocate for these evils and then desecrate Christ in the Eucharist.

Pelosi and Biden both claim to be Catholic, but both support abortion. As my son said once when he was just seven years old: “Mommy, you can’t be Catholic and for abortion.”


Deep faith is not something we’re born with; it must be learned. Deep faith requires a foundation that is built upon daily. It is something that must be taught to children from the time they are small so that every day they learn more and build a stronger relationship with God. If we do not reach people when they are young, they become ignorant adults who don’t know what to believe or who don’t believe anything. That is why only one-third of Catholics believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist and why so many believe in a woman’s “right” to choose abortion. They haven’t been taught!

These people cannot then teach others or evangelize to those around them.

My goddaughter was confirmed this past weekend. In his sermon, the bishop spoke about the seriousness of the sacrament and about that first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles. He then asked the congregation to clap if they believed that the kids were prepared and ready to receive the sacrament. Everyone clapped, but it was a moot point. The sacrament was going to take place no matter what.

Since then, I have thought about that preparedness a lot. Were those kids actually prepared? Had they been properly catechized? Who taught them, and who are their role models? Do they have people steering them in the right direction and teaching how to rebut a quote like Nancy Pelosi’s?

We should all be struck by the gravity of these questions, as these are the people our children are exposed to. They are the people’s whose stories permeate their screen and airtime. And, just as the Holy Spirit charged those first Apostles—and every Catholic since—we are charged with not only continually forming our own Catholic faith but ensuring that our children’s faith has a strong foundation.

Part of that foundation is built upon stories of people who have not only dedicated their lives to God but who have given up their lives for God. These people—saints who truly had a deep Catholic faith—give us the examples we need of how to live our lives glorifying God.

This week, we celebrate the lives of two saints who truly had a deep Catholic faith—saints who were not afraid to stand up for God and for all the truths of the faith. Each was martyred for his/her faith. But each is an example to the faithful of how we are to put God first in our lives.

St. Nicholas Owen lived in the mid-1500s in England. He was a master carpenter by trade, and after he became a Jesuit lay brother, he put these skills to good use when he took part in the resistance to the queen’s demands that people become Protestant. Those Catholics who wished to remain Catholic had to hold Mass in secret. As being a priest was punishable by death, they had to be hidden. Spies were everywhere, so Nicholas designed and built priest holes—hiding spaces in the walls of houses where priests could hide undetected by the authorities. He was eventually caught, arrested, and tortured to death.

St. Margaret Clitherow was born to a Protestant family in England around 1555, but despite threats to her life she converted to Catholicism. She was one of the faithful who hid priests in her home. Eventually someone turned her in for hiding priests, and she was arrested, tried, and condemned to death.

Both St. Nicholas Owen and St. Margaret understood the importance of adhering to the tenets of our faith. They did not bend or break God’s laws to make them conform to their wishes. They changed their lives to conform to God’s commands.

That is a deep Catholic faith.

As our world bows down more and more to hedonism and wokeness, we drift further away from the veneration of heroes like these saints. But we must get to a point where we—and society as a whole—truly understand the term deep Catholic faith and live it every day, not as how the likes of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi live it, but as how God intended the confirmed to live it and how saints like Nicholas Owen and Margaret actually lived it.

Only then can we truly say that we are living a deep Catholic faith.

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About the author

Susan Ciancio

Susan Ciancio is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine and executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program.