Conversion Process
#1
What are y'all's thoughts on RCIA -- not re. how much of it is watered-down and banal (which I imagine we all agree on), but RCIA itself -- and the lengthiness of the process of entering the Church?

Do we make it too difficult and too much of a time-suck for people wanting to enter the Church?

Should RCIA be replaced with self-study and a test of some sort? Or meetings with a priest, when possible (the way I entered)? Or options, at least?

How were things handled before the Council from Hell?

Does the Church drive away too many people with the hoops it makes people jump through in order to get baptized, confirmed, and on with their lives as Catholics? 

I've heard of many people running off when hearing about what's needed to enter the Church -- and, note, this is BEFORE they've learned what the Church teaches, so they don't know what they're walking away from, presumably. Given the existence of electronic texts and old-school books, one'd think it'd be easier to hand people reading material, have a meeting with them to see if they've learned what the material contains and if the intellectually assent to it all, and then get on with things.

What do you think?
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#2
I think it needs to be lead by a priest with solid theological and doctrinal knowledge. We had some lay director for my RCIA. Great guy, Lutheran convert, had a solid understanding of the faith, but the version of the faith he taught did not line up with the things I was learning on my own. And then he erred by comparing the Trinity to Optimus Prime, which was essentially modalism.

Our RCIA was on Tuesday nights which was a huge problem for me due to work and family. I attended once, maybe twice a month. Thank God I wasn't working evenings then, otherwise I might never have entered the Church.

I don't think having hoops to jump through is a bad thing, because it really emphasizes that this is a huge commitment. As Fr. Z often says in his homilies, sometimes we just need to stop and reflect on just what we've signed on for.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#3
My dad, who is not Catholic, tried to sign up for RCIA at his local parish and was turned away because “the next group doesn’t start until after Easter.”  He took this as a sign from God that he shouldn’t enter the Church, and stopped going to Mass. I don’t think the bureaucrats who run these programs have any idea how hard it is for non-Catholics to gather the courage to even approach the Church.
"I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’ — though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory." -J.R.R. Tolkien

"I know quite well that, to you as to me, the Church which once felt like a refuge, now often feels like a trap. There is nowhere else to go! (I wonder if this desperate feeling, the last state of loyally hanging on, was not, even more often than is actually recorded in the Gospels, felt by Our Lord’s followers in His earthly life-time?) I think there is nothing to do but pray, for the Church, the Vicar of Christ, and for ourselves; and meanwhile to exercise the virtue of loyalty, which indeed only becomes a virtue when one is under pressure to desert it." -J.R.R. Tolkien

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#4
(03-30-2019, 03:35 PM)Augustinian Wrote: (snip)

Our RCIA was on Tuesday nights which was a huge problem for me due to work and family. I attended once, maybe twice a month. Thank God I wasn't working evenings then, otherwise I might never have entered the Church.

I don't think having hoops to jump through is a bad thing, because it really emphasizes that this is a huge commitment. As Fr. Z often says in his homilies, sometimes we just need to stop and reflect on just what we've signed on for.

Re. the 1st paragraph: that's just one of the sorts of problems with present RCIA that I'm talking about. "Thank God I wasn't working evenings then, otherwise I might never have entered the Church." I mean -- that's an extremely serious problem. 

"Hoops" are one thing; obstacles that totally demotivate or make impossible are another. Me, I don't think there should be hoops for the sake of hoops; I think the purpose of RCIA is key: if the goal of RCIA is to ensure that a catechumen knows the Faith and intellectually assents to it before Baptism/Confirmation, then it can be accomplished in a lot of different ways that don't involve months and months of weekly classes, one night only (too bad if you work those nights or can't find a babysitter, etc.). 

A person looking into the Faith wouldn't know what he's walking away from until he's heard it -- and hearing that it'd take months and months to hear it in the first place -- well, it doesn't make much sense to me (then again, I'm an auto-didactic type, preferring to just be given texts and left alone. Others might be different. But that just goes to why I think there should be options in the process...)
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#5
I escaped RCIA. However, I have two stories. 1) I was a sponsor for a convert who went through it. It was taught by two Priests and a religious sister. If anyone asked a question about a specifically 'Catholic' topic, Mary, invocation of the Saints, etc., the answer was, 'We'll get to that later'. The problem was that they never did. One woman who was in  the program received the First Sacraments and then moved to a Diocese where the Catholic Faith was actually taught. She left the Church. She told me that  had she known what the Church actually taught, she'd never have become a Catholic.

A bunch of us went out for coffee after each session. A friend of mine who, like me had started out as a Methodist, said to me, 'Jovan, I've heard all this before, and better, in Methodist Sunday School'.

On Holy Saturday as we waited in the Church basement to process in, I was chatting with my Candidate. He mentioned he was converting because his second wife was a Catholic. I asked about an annulment. He had no idea what I was talking about! Not only had the indissolubilty of marriage never been discussed, no one had thought to check on prior marriages. I have no idea whether his first marriage was sacramental, but I was appalled at what had happened.

I had a friend go through RCIA in the same Parish another time, taught by a lay 'facilitator'. One session, she made a statement and was informed that she was a 'heretic according to Vatican II'. The next week, she brought her copy of the Decrees of VII, and read out the section proving she was right. The response? The Pastor told her that 'maybe she'd be more comfortable finding another Parish in which to be received'!
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#6
(03-30-2019, 05:00 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: I escaped RCIA. However, I have two stories. (snip)

And those stories could be multiplied -- how many times? It truly, deeply sickens me to see people turned away from the Church because of pure, unmitigated nonsense. I see stuff like that and sometimes wonder why I'm "wasting my time."

-- but only sometimes. I know I'm not really wasting my time since people have come to Tradition b/c of FE and all that. But sometimes...  Sigh.
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#7
(03-30-2019, 03:19 PM)VoxClamantis Wrote: What are y'all's thoughts on RCIA -- not re. how much of it is watered-down and banal (which I imagine we all agree on), but RCIA itself -- and the lengthiness of the process of entering the Church?

Do we make it too difficult and too much of a time-suck for people wanting to enter the Church?

Should RCIA be replaced with self-study and a test of some sort? Or meetings with a priest, when possible (the way I entered)? Or options, at least?

How were things handled before the Council from Hell?

Does the Church drive away too many people with the hoops it makes people jump through in order to get baptized, confirmed, and on with their lives as Catholics? 

I've heard of many people running off when hearing about what's needed to enter the Church -- and, note, this is BEFORE they've learned what the Church teaches, so they don't know what they're walking away from, presumably. Given the existence of electronic texts and old-school books, one'd think it'd be easier to hand people reading material, have a meeting with them to see if they've learned what the material contains and if the intellectually assent to it all, and then get on with things.

What do you think?

I don't think RCIA should be replaced with self-study and a test, but there's got to be some kind of formation for converts, not merely just passing a test.  I say this because I've known more than a few converts who knew all kinds of theology, but whose faith withered and died very quickly after their conversion.  They should have had guidance, but unfortunately those guiding them mistook their academic knowledge for virtue and they were brought into the Church and sent on their way without any real guidance or proper discernment. Classes for converts don't have to be the whole RCIA experience.  They can be formal or informal.  If nothing else, they can spend a few hours each week for a few months going to a nursing home to sit and learn from the example of a pious old woman who's prayed her rosary every day for the last 90+ years.
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#8
I'm an RCIA sponsor for my son right now.  We're doing the second of the 3 Scrutinies tomorrow at Mass.  

We haven't had any priests teach class.  We have a dDeacon, nice guy, who's supervising the classes and prayers, and sometimes teaches a class.  The rest of the RCIA team are laypersons, many of whom are converts, which can be a good thing.  

My son has commented that he would have liked more structure, more elaboration on the "rules", and maybe a little less experience sharing and emotion seeking. I went to most of the classes and I would be lost if I didn't already know what they were talking about.  He works nights and has to go to an abbreviated version of the classes after dismissal on Sundays.  They were very flexible and accommodating.

My other son wants to convert as well, but is frustrated with the once a year long program and I don't know if he'll join the next class or not. I personally think baptism should come a whole lot sooner, after a more concise class that lays down the bare-bones of the Church.  It doesn't take 6 plus months to figure out what the Church is about, especially if you do some reading on your own.  

I like the idea of an interview with a priest, or some sort of test of understanding, to make sure a potential convert knows what he or she is getting into.
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#9
Hey guys its kind of off topic but I would like to jump in here if its okay.

I signed up for this forum a few days ago and have made a thread 3 times now and deleted it before posting each time because I'm really not sure where to even begin. I'm not catholic and I have no real basic knowledge to use as a foundation other than through my recent study which consists of a few books by Scott Hahn (essentially basic apologetics and explanations but quite 'light' reading) going through the catechism by John paul 2 with an online study course and beginning to read the works of Augustine (city of god)- I've also been watching a ton of youtube videos which (in a round about way) have led me here.

I found a catholic church in my area that does the Latin Mass and I contacted them via email and they emailed me back with the phone number of a Friar of something and asked me to call him. I plan on calling but I dont even know what I should be asking.

I know without doubt that this is the path I am heading but I'm quite intimidated by the sheer amount of things I need to know- I do not want to be misled or have all this lead me into more confusion and I do not want to waste anymore time.

Can you guys possibly tell me what I should be looking for and/or asking and what I should expect if I end up attending the church- Can I just show up for mass or is there a process to even get to that point?

Thanks
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#10
(03-30-2019, 09:15 PM)Pathfinder Wrote: Hey guys its kind of off topic but I would like to jump in here if its okay.

I signed up for this forum a few days ago and have made a thread 3 times now and deleted it before posting each time because I'm really not sure where to even begin. I'm not catholic and I have no real basic knowledge to use as a foundation other than through my recent study which consists of a few books by Scott Hahn (essentially basic apologetics and explanations but quite 'light' reading) going through the catechism by John paul 2 with an online study course and beginning to read the works of Augustine (city of god)- I've also been watching a ton of youtube videos which (in a round about way) have led me here.

I found a catholic church in my area that does the Latin Mass and I contacted them via email and they emailed me back with the phone number of a Friar of something and asked me to call him. I plan on calling but I dont even know what I should be asking.

I know without doubt that this is the path I am heading but I'm quite intimidated by the sheer amount of things I need to know- I do not want to be misled or have all this lead me into more confusion and I do not want to waste anymore time.

Can you guys possibly tell me what I should be looking for and/or asking and what I should expect if I end up attending the church- Can I just show up for mass or is there a process to even get to that point?

Thanks
You can attend Mass, anyone can really. Just keep in mind that you cannot go up and receive communion.

I would approach the priest after Mass and tell him that you're discerning the Church and I'm sure he'll get you on the right track.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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