Frustration over RCIA (please help a convert)
#1
Hello! I am new to the board (after many years away) so this is my first question... hope you all can help me out!

First a bit of background on myself: I was born and raised traditional Catholic.

For months, a gentleman I know has been looking forward to RCIA classes, thinking it would provide a solid course of study about the Faith. He has since learned, from discussing with the instructor, that the it's a joke (basically).  :Hmm: Actually, it's far from funny -- they will not be studying the catechism (what?!?  :O) and when he asked the instructor what books they will be studying from, he wasn't given an answer.   The instructor sounds thoroughly incompetent and sloppy, meanwhile my friend is a very intelligent and scholarly-minded person. I can only imagine how frustrating this situation is for him. He has been so excited about learning the faith, but I fear his experience with the lack of care being shown to him may push him away from the Church. He wants to take the Church seriously but is not, himself, being taken seriously.

My question is, where are catechumens supposed to learn about the faith, if not RCIA? And is there any "way around it" by studying on one's own? How was it done in the old days? Would catechumens be instructed one-on-one with a priest, and is that still a viable option?
Reply
#2
My wife converted a few years ago and she ran into the same thing.  I bought her a catechism and worked with her each week.  As with all of us, the Church accepts everyone, even, apparently, folks like Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy.  How much you put into it is up to you.  It's a lifelong journey.

My grandmother was a cradle Catholic, never read the bible or the catechism, obeyed what her priests said, and I think she was fine.  You can be childlike, or aspire to the level of Saint Augustine.  You can still get into heaven if you're in between.

But yeah, the state of RCIA programs everywhere I have heard of is disgraceful.  But to be fair, one night a week for 20 weeks is not enough no matter how good the program is.
Reply
#3
I guess I'll open first by asking whether there are multiple parishes in your city. If so, maybe you could "shop around" for a parish where the RCIA program is better suited to someone with his academic/scholarly appetites.

The second option I could see is speaking to some priests after Mass. Maybe one of them would be willing (the Lord knows they have very little time as it is) to take him on as a student and teach him directly.

Finally, I would repeat what Jaeger said. You could always study with him one-on-one in between the dismal sessions of RCIA, since he certainly won't be learning anything concrete with that alone.


Peace,
Michael
Reply
#4
The best place to learn, unless you know someone devout who has the time to teach you, is the internet. Seriously. Yes, there are some good RCIA programs out there, but they are hard to find. I even heard of one RCIA program showing The Lion King for one of its sessions.  ???

So don't lose heart. Go through a stupid RCIA program if you have to, at least the graces you get from Confirmation make it worth it. And if you really want to learn, I have to say that this website is one of the best resources around.
Reply
#5
I can't really improve upon what's already been said.  As a convert to Eastern Catholicism my formal catechesis was very different from RCIA.  I did, however, go through RCIA several years ago as a sponsor.  I found it interesting in that it was quite superficial, basic almost to the point of childishness, and had nothing to do with the CCC as far as I can remember.  Sad, really...One good point, though, was that both the priest and the head of RCIA (who was recently ordained a permanent deacon) were very, very knowledgeable and quite willing to answer questions.
Reply
#6
(06-13-2014, 01:31 PM)Jaegermeister Wrote: My wife converted a few years ago and she ran into the same thing.  I bought her a catechism and worked with her each week.  As with all of us, the Church accepts everyone, even, apparently, folks like Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy.  How much you put into it is up to you.  It's a lifelong journey.

My grandmother was a cradle Catholic, never read the bible or the catechism, obeyed what her priests said, and I think she was fine.  You can be childlike, or aspire to the level of Saint Augustine.  You can still get into heaven if you're in between.

But yeah, the state of RCIA programs everywhere I have heard of is disgraceful.  But to be fair, one night a week for 20 weeks is not enough no matter how good the program is.

Thank you to everyone for your helpful replies.

Jaeger, did your wife still have to go through RCIA, if only to "go through the motions," in boredom? I think it is disgraceful that catechumens have to scrounge for answers on their own. The Church is failing with these souls... how is it different than in protestant denominations, where each man is for his own? In the past, didn't the traditional Church always offer formal catechesis, rooted in the catechism and Church history? When did this fall by the wayside? Of course it is a problem of the human element/ negligent clergy, and not the Church, herself. But this is a monumental problem of heartbreaking proportions. I knew that RCIA was awful, but this is inexcusable!
Reply
#7
I never relied on the Churches I have access to to learn about the faith. If he is still learning the faith maybe he could just read the Catechism; and I'm also quite fond of those books on Jesus by Benedict XVI – I would also recommend those. Also, there's three popular books by David Hart which I think every Christian should consider: The Doors of the Sea, Atheist Delusion and The Experience of God.
If he just wants to keep going deeper there's nothing better, in my opinion, than the Fathers – I even gave the cleaning lady S. Augustine's Confessions for Christmas, so I don't really think the Fathers are so beyond anyone's grasp.
All very cheap.
Reply
#8


Give your friend these two pages, in this order:

http://www.fisheaters.com/101.html
http://www.fisheaters.com/traditionalcatholicism.html

And a copy of this book:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0...lfboutique



Reply
#9
I converted to the Church through private study with an Traditional Priest using  traditional catechism. That might be one option for someone who is having problems with the RCIA process. This is the catechism I used. http://www.amazon.com/My-Catholic-Faith-Louis-LaRavoire/dp/0963903268/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402721998&sr=1-1&keywords=my+catholic+faith
Reply
#10
(06-13-2014, 01:13 PM)kellsangel85 Wrote: Hello! I am new to the board (after many years away) so this is my first question... hope you all can help me out!

First a bit of background on myself: I was born and raised traditional Catholic.

For months, a gentleman I know has been looking forward to RCIA classes, thinking it would provide a solid course of study about the Faith. He has since learned, from discussing with the instructor, that the it's a joke (basically).  :Hmm: Actually, it's far from funny -- they will not be studying the catechism (what?!?  :O) and when he asked the instructor what books they will be studying from, he wasn't given an answer.   The instructor sounds thoroughly incompetent and sloppy, meanwhile my friend is a very intelligent and scholarly-minded person. I can only imagine how frustrating this situation is for him. He has been so excited about learning the faith, but I fear his experience with the lack of care being shown to him may push him away from the Church. He wants to take the Church seriously but is not, himself, being taken seriously.

My question is, where are catechumens supposed to learn about the faith, if not RCIA? And is there any "way around it" by studying on one's own? How was it done in the old days? Would catechumens be instructed one-on-one with a priest, and is that still a viable option?

A side note.  No one is born Catholic.  We're baptized Catholic.

And yes, in the good ol' days, the priest would decide how to go about things.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)