And that's when I walked out of mass

Background: One of my pet peeves with my church is their blind fascination with “The Alpha Course.” I think this was the first thing that brought me to the Catholic Answers forum. I would see the same banners hanging at the local Presbyterian or Episcopal churches and wonder why my Catholic church was promoting this.

I once posted a thread here on CAF asking about Alpha, and the responses were along the lines of, “oh, they’re must be OK, the bishop allowed it.” or “I’ve heard they’re ok” or, “they have website, go check it out.” I’m in no way slighting anyone who answered, but I continued looking for information from a Catholic point of view.

The first Catholic opinion I found on this was at this link:

A very committed Catholic lists what he believes are faults with the Alpha Course and asks the simple question: We have a chatechism, why not learn it? He also brings up the disturbing fact that anything even slightly Catholic was added to the alpha course as an afterthought.

Here, below, direct from the Alpha course home page, under “Teaching Alpha in a Catholic Context” are recommendations by a number of Catholic priests. Again, not one mention of a sacrament, Pope, church tradition, Mary, etc. I ask you is there anything they said that could not have been said by any other clergyman in any of the 30,000 brands of Protestantism? (I’m assuming there’s some reason two of those priests are not wearing collars?)

There numerous Alpha detractors from many Christian pastors, especially non-denominational evangelicals, fundamentalists, and baptists, but I won’t list them here because I’m trying to remain focused on Catholics and Alpha.

So anyway,as for the title of the thread, my wife had warned me on the way out the door, “Watch out, they’re pushing Alpha again!” (she and the other daughter were in music ministry at earlier masses) and when my daughter and I reached the church, there was the 20 foot banner proclaiming “ALPHA IS HERE” but I trudged on anyway, not letting it get me down…until the end of mass, when we had all received Communion and were silent and awaiting the final blessing, the priest said, “we now have a few words from someone organizing the Alpha course.” And while this person began proclaiming the benefits of this course, I told my daughter to get her coat on we were leaving. I hated to do it, but I felt like I had to. And as we walked out, the Alpha rep at the door try to to give me a brochure!

So, I felt I needed to write this down. I may sound “anti-eccumenical”, but as a guy who never had a decent chatechism, and now is is trying to raise a Catholic family, I echo the man whose link is above, "Why alpha? Why not use the Chatechism of the Catholic Church?!

(stepping off soapbox)

I hope you had a good vent.
I agree entirely.
We don’t need to borrow from the Protestants, we’ve got the CCC- and of course the CCCC (love those Cs)!

I still don’t understand just what Alpha is. What is it’s purpose? Can you give me a better understanding of it? The Church I used to attend(Ileft for many reasons) had just started using Alpha, and if I remember correctly, it had to do with helping children cope with loss of a loved one. :confused:

I feel the same way about Catholic VBS,
When we are using the same VBS as the Methodist church up the street, we have a problem.

Thank God for K4J!

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There are Alpha courses in few churches here. I’m curious what others have to say about it. Is it bad?

I say thanks for the heads-up, and look forward to much more input on this matter.

God bless you Max37 for your attentiveness.


The Alpha course is a 15-session practical introduction to the Christian faith designed primarily for non-churchgoers and new Christians. The course also serves as a refresher course for both practising Catholics and those who have lapsed in their faith.
From early on, Alpha has been run in Catholic parishes. ‘Alpha for Catholics’ involves the situating of the standard Alpha course within a Catholic parish or organisation.
Alpha is a very effective initial presentation of the core of the Gospel, ‘the Kerygma’. It is wholly compatible with Catholic teaching, but it does not address specific Catholic teachings and ecclesiology. It does not seek to be a substitute for catechetical programmes. Rather, it works best as part of an overall parish programme of evangelisation or catechesis.
The Alpha course works best as part of an ongoing process of catechesis within a church. There is a range of different follow-up materials and courses available to help people to grow in their faith.

What I am not grapsing here is WHY a Catholic CHurch needs an ALPHA program…if the purpose of ALPHA is to be a refresher course on Catholicsm…then why not teach the CCC instead…give the people what they really need not some made up program that does not even address certain Catholic Teachings

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Please keep us informed.

Karin, thanks for the information. Now that I know what it’s about, I too don’t understand why the Catholic Church needs other resources when we have the Catechism! That’s just wonderful.:cool:


Sadly, in the “spirit” of ecumenism, we tend to allow for too much “handholding” and not enough constructive teaching.

Ahh that we could only clone Fr. Corapi


and that is why we have so many people that do not know their faith, traditions, teachings and Church!
Teach the basics and we will all be better off!

Once again this is all just my humble opinion and I do not expect anybody to follow it or listen to it!

There are much better products than Alpha to promote the “keygma” experience, such as Zacchaeus and Light of the World Retreat, Curisillo, etc.

To me, it’s comparable to opening a Cahtolic school and using Bob Jones or the more fundamentalists’ curricula.

so you know that type of situation exists too, huh:bigyikes:

I don’t see the problem with this. I don’t think it should replace the regular CCD classes or RCIA for heavens sake but it sounds like it would be a nice addition :slight_smile:

I guess I don’t have problems with pulling from Protestants, I think we can learn a great deal about embracing the bible and focusing on Christ even more or in different ways. I see so much potential in learning from each other.

It’s funny someone in here references holding hands as a Protestant thing, I grew up Protestant and never did this until I entered the Catholic Church…but I digress.

I like a bit of eccumenalism within the spirit of the Vatican.

My three diamonds (daughters) grew up attending VBS and they absolutely have the best memories of those times. I have to admit, I loved it as well. :smiley:

Ok help me out here…
What can a Protestant teach a Catholic about the Catholic faith/traditions etc.?
I am honestly confused by this …

More about ALPHA
***The Talks ***

The underlying theme of the talks is that Christianity is not a set of rules or dogmas, but a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This relationship, lived out in the parish community, is life changing.
*]*Who Is Jesus? *
*]*Why Did Jesus Die? *
*]How Can I Be Sure of My Faith?
*]*Why and How Do I Pray? *
*]*Why and How Should I Read the Bible? *
*]*How Does God Guide Us? *
*]*How Can I Resist Evil? *
*]*Why and How Should We Tell Others? *
*]*Does God Heal Today? *
*]What About the Church?[/LIST]

Geez - I’m blushing over here:o

Really, it’s no special virtue on my part!

But am I glad that I’m not getting slings and arrows for being the cranky guy who up and walked out!

I have to confess I fight the urge to actually “vandalize” the banner. Under where it says:


I have the terrible urge to write:

***Your quickest way to becoming a presbyterian! ***

By the grace of God I haven’t done that.

Oh God LOVE you!!!

well, I’ve always felt we can learn from each other karin. This is how I was raised. As a Protestant I lead a bible study with women only, we were mothers in the nieghborhood together. Our kids went to the same schools etc. But we went to different Churches. They attended the Catholic Church across the street. There was about three of them and rest where Presbyterian, like me :slight_smile: anyway, we had a bible study and learned a great deal about each other and our faiths. We all got to be very good friends. We even had a “field trip” were we visited Mass and then they would came over and went to our Church service. They along with many Catholics used our VBS for thier kids durning the summer.

I don’t think that really answers you question though :slight_smile: just to point out that I don’t see an issue with learning as much as we can. Keep in mind that I made it a point to say I don’t think the RCIA or CCD classes should ever be replaced but that this would be a nice addition. :wink:

What brought me to my final conversion my friend was the Protestant Church, I have only wonderful things to say about my upbringing and what I learned from them.

I think I know a few Catholics that could use some help in picking up their bible more often :wink: :stuck_out_tongue: I’m thinking of something my priest often says. He jokes that we could learn a few things from the Protestants.

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