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)