If that was the case, the growing up form would be Cristiano
and not the foreign Christian/Cristian.
Moreover, in the South European Catholic cultures (Portuguese, Italian, French, Spanish...), the way to express the devotion and Christianity through a name is not with the use of the equivalent to Christian
as a name, but through names related to Catholic dogma, mysteries, festivities and advocations plus from some main Catholic characters. Even in the Middle Ages, when the equivalent forms of Christian
appeared and were more common, they were not very usual.
Even if it is possible to found people named Christian-equivalents in South European Catholic countries, the use of those names were regarded as typically Protestant (including in this label, the Reformed churches and the Anglican communion) names until very recent times, just like some Old Testament names.
The current Italian trend is identical to the Spanish trend from the 80s (even more because both countries are of Latin culture, with very similar Romance languages and religiously very alike, in practices, devotion...), when Christian/Cristian grew up in popularity, absolutely not because of religious causes but because of the influence of American films and TV shows.
"Desde hace unas pocas décadas, y por importación foránea, este nombre ha arraigado en nuestro país con cierto éxito, en la mayoría de los casos escrito en la grafía extranjerizante Christian
y acentuado en la primera sílaba." (Diccionario de nombres propios
, by Roberto
I absolutelly agree with Fiammetta
about the myth of some countries as ultra-devout Catholic countries, mainly Italy and Spain. Even ultra-devout Catholic people (as the members of Opus Dei, and in this specific case I have first-hand knowledge) pick the names mainly for aesthetic qualities, just like the rest of the population. The repertoire can vary, because every group has its own trends, but the motivation in the election is the same.