Can I Teach My Husband?


#1

I posted this question in the AAA section, but since I usually don’t get a response, I thought I’d post it here as well.
My husband wants to become Catholic :dancing: , but making it to the RCIA meetings will be almost impossible for him (they only meet at one location once a week). Does anyone know if it may be possible for me to teach him at home? I have been Catholic all my life and have taught CCD classes in the past.
I have attended RCIA with friends and family before and was not impressed (to say the least)! At one meeting we were discussing the rosary and not one person (out of about 25 people?) had any idea how to recite the Hail Holy Queen! I was shocked! That’s just one example of how bad the classes here are.
Does anyone have any idea as to whether the Church will allow this or not?
Thanks for your help!


#2

I am currently in RCIA and have been given permission by the priest for my wife and I to go through a correspondence course through Inter Mirifica as well as to try to attend as many RCIA classes as possible. The reasons why we were allowed to take the course are: we have 4 kids and no relatives in town (babysitters are hard to find), the parish we are joining is nearly an hour drive from our home, and we are both well read on Catholic beliefs (we have studied our way into the faith over the last 8 months).

I feel your pain about cruddy RCIA, we initially started taking an RCIA course at a parish 5 minutes away from our home but the course is taught by a heretic. This lady was telling us that she wants to become a priest, that everyone can get to heaven by being nice, baptism wasn’t really necessary, and other such garbage.

If your pastor will allow it, Inter Mirifica is a fantastic course that is highly orthodox.


#3

another possibility is catechismclass.com

your parish registers wtih the website, you log on using their password and use the lessons for a flat fee of $50 a year (discount). Explain your reluctance and reason to go the RCIA route, especially as regards to the content being taught. If he has been baptized then strictly speaking he does not belong in RCIA, but in an adult confirmation class.

tip for anyone seeking to enter the Church–your first stop is an interview with the pastor. Number one because there are probably pastoral issues, including matter for confession, which only he can address. The second because you will quickly find out if the RCIA or Confirmation program in the parish is orthodox. Do not be palmed off on a secretary or DRE. The DRE or pastoral assitant may be administering the program or teaching the class, but you still need to start off with a talk with the priest. If you do encounter problematic teaching give him a break and inform him at once in writing, with specifics.


#4

I would not consider an RCIA class poor if the Hail, Holy Queen prayer was not taught, or not known by anyone there. It is a very nice devotional, but becoming a Catholic involves a bit more than that; and surprisingly, one can be an exceedingly good Catholic without ever learning the prayer.

Having said that, some people are not comfortable with RCIA; it is some times difficult to distinguish whether that is due to the contents of the class, or to the fact that they don’t like RCIA to begin with, as it is public (e.g. the various blessings, exorcisms, etc.).

My own personal feeling is that your husband might be better off learning from someone else, as that may work to keep peace in the family; any disputes, lack of understanding, pacing, etc. too often can take on side issues that are related to the marriage and not the main issue at hand. It parallels the issue of a prophet not being welcome in his own country.


#5

[quote=CatholicChef]I posted this question in the AAA section, but since I usually don’t get a response, I thought I’d post it here as well.
My husband wants to become Catholic :dancing: , but making it to the RCIA meetings will be almost impossible for him (they only meet at one location once a week). Does anyone know if it may be possible for me to teach him at home? I have been Catholic all my life and have taught CCD classes in the past.
I have attended RCIA with friends and family before and was not impressed (to say the least)! At one meeting we were discussing the rosary and not one person (out of about 25 people?) had any idea how to recite the Hail Holy Queen! I was shocked! That’s just one example of how bad the classes here are.
Does anyone have any idea as to whether the Church will allow this or not?
Thanks for your help!
[/quote]

The RCIA is much more than a process of instruction in the Catholic faith. You can of course be his sponsor and take on the bulk of helping him learn and understand the Catholic teachings and practices. However you cannot create the Christian community that forms within the RCIA group. You cannot celebrate the Rites that mark the stages along the way. You cannot take the place of the parish community in the catechetical process. You can participate in a very important way but you cannot replace the RCIA process.


#6

[quote=CatholicChef]I posted this question in the AAA section, but since I usually don’t get a response, I thought I’d post it here as well.
My husband wants to become Catholic :dancing: , but making it to the RCIA meetings will be almost impossible for him (they only meet at one location once a week). Does anyone know if it may be possible for me to teach him at home? I have been Catholic all my life and have taught CCD classes in the past.
I have attended RCIA with friends and family before and was not impressed (to say the least)! At one meeting we were discussing the rosary and not one person (out of about 25 people?) had any idea how to recite the Hail Holy Queen! I was shocked! That’s just one example of how bad the classes here are.
Does anyone have any idea as to whether the Church will allow this or not?
Thanks for your help!
[/quote]

I’d be wary of this because of the New Testament warnings about a wife teaching her husband. This doesn’t mean a wife can’t also be a Christian sister and point out a husband’s error, but it shouldn’t be a habit. I think there’s a danger in setting up a whole system in which a wife is teaching her husband (especially in a one-on-one setting) and having authority over him. The husband is to be the head of the wife. In your case, you are more advanced in the faith than your husband is, but that doesn’t mean you get to be his head. I’m not saying that this is what would definitely happen if you taught him, I’m just saying that it might set an un-Biblical precedent in your marriage that could weaken the proper relationship.

Also, as I’m finding out, there is more to RCIA than simply teaching about the faith. It’s about learning to be part of the Catholic community. The RCIA program I attend, while not heretical, does not usually get into the real meat of Catholic doctrine. I’ve been able to teach myself that stuff. The real value for me has been in talking to other people about how God is present in their lives and in making real connections with those people.


#7

I have been involved with the RCIA process long enought that I don’t recall when I started.

One of the things that I have found is that there are two components; information and faith building.

Information is very important in faith builiding; I am reminded of the bibilcal example of the house built on sand. If we don’t know the basics of the Church (the Creed is a good place to start), we have a faith that is easily lead astray.

But information is something even the devil has. We can get too caught up in the information side of things, and totally miss that we need to change internally; it is not how much information you have about, for example, the Sacrament of Reconcilliation, but how the reception of the Sacrament impacts your life.

We follow the ancient custom (and the practice of RCIA) of dismissing the Catechumens (and Candidates) after the homily. I usually take them out, and we read the Gospel; then the question is posed “What word or phrase jumps out at you?” and everyone comments (not discusses; just comments). we read it again, and the second question is "What is the “aha”; what did you see in this reading you had never seen before, or what did you see that particualrly has meaning today? and again everyone comments.

We read it a third time, and the question is “How does this Gospel reading call you to change?” and again, comments.

I can recall one younger woman, working for a high tech company, who basically fought the issue for quite a while. It was interesting to hear her comment after she joined the Church. She admitted to her reluctance with the process; but said that it fianlly was the most meaningful part of the whole process, as it gbrought her to an understanding of what faith really meant.

Our Monday meetings are for the information part, and faith building; the dismissal is for faith building almost entirely. I would hope that the OP’s spouse could find something similar in his journey to the Church.


#8

RCIA is not primarily about imparting doctrine it is about initiating and unbaptized person into the community. The process, including the dynamics of instruction in doctrine and practice, the various periods, the rites, the way scripture is used, the role of sponsors, etc. has been carefully thought out and is primarily a liturgical action. the doctrinal content is imporant, as 30 years experience has proven, but not the entire thing. As such, it takes place in the context of the community. there is certainly a place for private instruction if that fits your schedule but at some point the person should partake in the rites, and in the preparation for the rites. some of these are optional, some are not.

As a general rule we do not encourage spouses or fiances to sponsor each other, although they are of course welcome to attend the sessions. The reason is that the dynamic of RCIA between sponsor and catechumen is much different than that between marriage partners. The sponsor represents the community, and his primary role is to invite the candidate into the life of the community. You could certainly help answer his questions, guide him where to find instruction etc., and of course discuss topics as they come up.

RCIA is a faith journey of an individual, and there could be problems cropping up if a spouse is trying to guide or control that process, which is one of interior conversion. The candidate also needs regular access to pastoral care through the RCIA team, and no spouse can provide what the priest does, especially since some of the issues that arise may deal with the marriage and family situation.


#9

[quote=CatholicChef]I posted this question in the AAA section, but since I usually don’t get a response, I thought I’d post it here as well.
My husband wants to become Catholic :dancing: , but making it to the RCIA meetings will be almost impossible for him (they only meet at one location once a week). Does anyone know if it may be possible for me to teach him at home? I have been Catholic all my life and have taught CCD classes in the past.
I have attended RCIA with friends and family before and was not impressed (to say the least)! At one meeting we were discussing the rosary and not one person (out of about 25 people?) had any idea how to recite the Hail Holy Queen! I was shocked! That’s just one example of how bad the classes here are.
Does anyone have any idea as to whether the Church will allow this or not?
Thanks for your help!
[/quote]

I am a convert to Catholicism and I wasn’t either able to attend RCIA classes because of my work schedule. I was self catechized in Catholic theology and my brother, who was a convert, and former seminarian and my sponsor also knew Catholic theology, so the pastor of our Church allowed a priest to meet with us a few Saturdays before eventually bringing me into the Church. Canon law doesn’t require one to take RCIA classes but they are recomended, although beware of the liberal teaching of some programs. So your husband can come into the Catholic Church without going through RCIA but it is up to the pastor of your Church in conjunction with the Bishop of your diocese. Go talk to the pastor and tell him your situation very nicely and he may allow your husband to come into the Church!


#10

Also, let me recommend the free Catholic study courses offered by Fr Oscar Lukefahr (a very orthodox Catholic) and the free audio CDs offered by the Mary Foundation. You can find them here:

amm.org/chss.htm
catholicity.com/maryfoundation/


#11

Catholic Chef, you have been given very good advice. The basic information can be gleaned from study guides, a couple of good books, and the Catechism. Even if your hubby came out of this process as knowledgeable on Church teaching as the most informed cradle Catholic in your parish, he would have missed out on the other aspects of RCIA (gaining a sense of community with his fellow Candidates as well as participation w/ the parish representatives assisting your Pastor as sponsors and/or on the RCIA team). This dimension is not to be discounted or minimized. In many ways, this dimension is what will support him when the “knowledge” lets him down.

Secondly, after over 5 years being on our RCIA team, I have come to appreciate that it is the weekly fellowship where the Candidates/Catechumens come together to share their life experiences and pray together is what makes the difference. Being Catholic is a journey and seeing the journey others have taken to get where they are and the paths they all have yet to walk to truly get where they are going (Heaven) gives them that intangible understanding that the journey doesn’t end at the Easter Vigil but is actually just the beginning.


#12

[quote=Orionthehunter]Catholic Chef, you have been given very good advice. The basic information can be gleaned from study guides, a couple of good books, and the Catechism. Even if your hubby came out of this process as knowledgeable on Church teaching as the most informed cradle Catholic in your parish, he would have missed out on the other aspects of RCIA (gaining a sense of community with his fellow Candidates as well as participation w/ the parish representatives assisting your Pastor as sponsors and/or on the RCIA team). This dimension is not to be discounted or minimized. In many ways, this dimension is what will support him when the “knowledge” lets him down.

Secondly, after over 5 years being on our RCIA team, I have come to appreciate that it is the weekly fellowship where the Candidates/Catechumens come together to share their life experiences and pray together is what makes the difference. Being Catholic is a journey and seeing the journey others have taken to get where they are and the paths they all have yet to walk to truly get where they are going (Heaven) gives them that intangible understanding that the journey doesn’t end at the Easter Vigil but is actually just the beginning.
[/quote]

RCIA is not intended for everyone… it’s intended for catechumens who have not been baptized. However, most parishes don’t have the resources allocated to setup a different program for Christians coming into the Church. I think it would be better learning at home through correspondence courses or what have you, and forming your faith from that… than with all of the heterodox and well-meaning but misinformed catechists out there. then, after that, he could join a group such as the KofC or whatever. RCIA is not right for all people in all situations but I do agree with most of your points. I think I’ve shaped my faith myself more in the first 3 months or so when I started investigating Catholicism than when I was catechized, which was basically for a couple months and then had no more instruction at all until I started it up again a few years ago when I decided to come back into the Church.

A good sponsor and a good spiritual director is a must if CatholicChef and her priest decides the best route would go would be for her to teach her husband about the faith.

Let me also recommend a few places to get some decent books from too:

ignatius.com (Ignatius Press)
tabbooks.com (Tan Books)

and also, tell your husband about avemariaradio.net/, ewtn.com/, and releventradio.com/.


#13

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:41508"]
another possibility is catechismclass.com

your parish registers wtih the website, you log on using their password and use the lessons for a flat fee of $50 a year (discount). Explain your reluctance and reason to go the RCIA route, especially as regards to the content being taught. If he has been baptized then strictly speaking he does not belong in RCIA, but in an adult confirmation class.

[/quote]

I wanted to point out that the process has now slightly changed. The Adult Package/RCIA program is $54.95 and you have access to the content forever -even after completing the program. The system also allows your parish pastor or DRE to monitor your progress, quiz scores, etc if they wish to - ensuring accountability with the process.

And, with CatechismClass.com you can work at your own progress. Some adults are able to move faster than others and the program is destined to allow everyone to work at their own pace.

Here is the program: catechismclass.com/packages/1

We now have a 100% guarantee that we will offer our products to any homeschooling family, parish, or other group at a price cheaper than they are paying now. We strongly believe in our material and wish to offer them to all parishes/groups, even those unable to pay the unit price. All you have to do is show me a past invoice from your current provider of catechism material and I will beat that price!


#14

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