Catholics need organized religious education

So I’m in the military and am stationed at Pearl Harbor. Last week I went to the chapel to gather information about Catholic services as I am fairly new, and I was disappointed to find that Protestants have their little weekly Bible study sessions and that the Catholic parish there on base doesn’t do any kind of religious education for adults outside of RCIA.

I feel like this is the #1 problem in the Church right now. Catholics are leaving in droves because they don’t know the faith and almost all of that can be blamed on the lack of apologetic studies courses/classes offered by the Church outside of RCIA and outside of their private education institutions.

I really want to try to set up a religious education class here but I am not sure how to go about doing it.

Just do it. Don’t worry about not knowing how.

Talk to the chaplain, pick a bible study, and put out a flyer. And don’t be afraid to ask for a budget. the worst that he can say is no. Then you just ask for $20/person to cover cost of materials and rotate who brings snacks.

Ascension Press has some good video based group bible studies. Little Rock Scripture Study has an easy to use method.

My Parish has an Adult Faith Formation Program led by the Deacon. It is very well attended. This is in addition the the Bible Study Program led by the Priest which is also well attended.

I second 1ke’s suggestion.

A dearth of resources is not the whole problem, though. Indeed, there are many really fine Catholic resources that are available. The problem in some places is that they plan a program, advertise it…and then no one shows up. So then they stop trying.

The reasons can vary from place to place, but I think the solution is for us to roll up our sleeves and do our part (however large or small) to be part of the solution. It seems that you have that desire, which is great! :thumbsup:

In addition to the aforementioned Ascension Press titles, Scott Hahn’s St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology has some free online Bible study programs on their website (salvationhistory.com). That is an easy place to start if you are looking to do things for free.

Another new Catholic resource is Formed.org. It’s sort of like a Catholic Netflix. You subscribe and then you can stream their videos from wherever you can get on the internet. There are many programs in their (e.g. Symbolon, Bishop Barron’s Catholicism series, etc.) that make for great small group studies. They even have pdf documents of the study guides available.

Good luck, Tide! :smiley:

I’ve run Bible study in my home for many years. Jeff Cavins/Great Adventure are excellent.

biblestudyforcatholics.com/
Phone: (800) 376-0520
Email: info@biblestudyforcatholics.com

Call them. They will help you start a study.

I felt the same way after reverting and prayed earnestly for something between Sunday Masses. Our parish is small and not exactly active or welcoming. The years passed and I stopped praying (I had given up on the parish). Cutting the story short - at the end of a Bible course at the Cathedral, the Holy Spirit got working on 3 of us - a short moan about how dead our parish was, suddenly rocketed into 3 excited people who planned monthly faith-based evenings. We began in July. We put all our hearts, souls and prayers into it and offered all for God and the parish (and still are).

We even gave people a questionnaire asking what they wanted/would like the parish to offer - only 12 out of 300+ people could spend a few seconds just ticking the box “Not ready” or suggest something (but quite a few made off with the pens - it is okay, they stole from me and not God). Most of the 12 wanted us to continue but only 2 actually turn up every month (God bless them), sometimes we get a stray or two from another parish. We will try to discern God’s will later in the year, bearing in mind that it isn’t always about the number of occupied seats but equally there is no point flogging a dead horse.

Unfortunately, that is a huge problem in our Catholic Churches. All the well known converts have written so many books on how Catholics should know the Bible as well as the Protestants. Somehow, they think converting to Catholicism gives them the right to change us, as they haven’t completely entered Catholicism and want it to be just like the faith communities they came from.

Wake up Bishops & priests!!! We are Catholics, the Bible is read to us every time we attend Mass. When we live our lives according to Church Teachings, we live the Bible.

Therefore, we don’t need to know the Bible chapter & verse like the Protestants. What we need is to have ongoing Catechism classes so we know what’s expected of us & how to live our lives as Catholics, we don’t need Bible studies.

If we don’t know what our Church teaches, how can we evangelize? The Bible came from our Church, did you forget that? We have Jesus present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in our Tabernacles, Protestants only have the Word of God, yet they are so much more fervent about that Book they have, how sad for us.

There used to be a saying, “How goes Rome, so goes the World,” the World is in shambles, so is our Church.

Let’s organize more Catechism classes, our Church is a Living Being we need to grow with her. People are leaving because they have no idea what our church is all about, this is on the clergy, especially our Bishops. NO MORE BIBLE STUDIES . . . . . CATECHISM! CATECHISM! CATECHISM!

If you google for ‘adult formation’ you will find tons of resources

It is good to think of each belonging to one category:

Prayer
Study
Service
Evangelism

We have an active adult formation program at our church and many folks attend.

You just need to be a facilitator and set it up. Just get a room where you can show videos Just help connect people to something in each of the 4 categories.

But also let folks know that they can do it online by themselves. Just give them a pointer to it.

Don’t make people feel uncomfortable like they will have to take a test or have to talk about their faith if they don’t want to. For many Catholics their faith is private and they don’t all want to talk about it in groups.

But keep in mind,only 7% of people will actually actively get involved. That is the average.

Prayer is best done alone and with God. So keep in mind that the tools you are giving folks might just be things to help them in their prayer life. But service can be a great group effort. Study, you need legit resources for this one. And evangelism, make sure you have events for non-Catholics too.

I totally agree. But good luck trying. Any spiritual education of adults in Catholic parishes by anyone who is not directly appointed and trained by the diocese to do it is almost impossible to bring about according to my life experiences.

The Church isn’t a spiritual welfare state where we can just demand Bible study or catechism class. The primary place for teaching is in the home, in a family setting.

Moses commanded parents to teach their children. Doing so was part of God’s law.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Bishop Timothy learned the faith from his family.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

We can complain about lack of teaching in the Church and demand it from our Bishops but they are going to ask us if we are teaching it to our children in our homes. If the answer is no, well then that’s the real problem right there.

-Tim-

:nope:

Nope, not true. As Catholics, we need to know what the Bible says! It’s the Word of God, for crying out loud!

Do we need to know it in the way that other Christians groups know it (that is, as something memorized and something understood piecemeal rather than in its integral entirety)? No, of course not. But, we need to know it in a Catholic way – in the way that demonstrates that the Deposit of Faith teaches what the Catholic Church teaches!

What we need is to have ongoing Catechism classes so we know what’s expected of us & how to live our lives as Catholics

Now, this is true. Adult faith formation is critical these days, since many (most?) adult Catholics do not know the content of their faith.

Let’s organize more Catechism classes, our Church is a Living Being we need to grow with her. People are leaving because they have no idea what our church is all about, this is on the clergy, especially our Bishops. NO MORE BIBLE STUDIES . . . . . CATECHISM! CATECHISM! CATECHISM!

OK, here’s my question: do you really think that those who are leaving would make the time to attend Catholic Adult Education programs? Generally, no. But, programs on the content of the faith are a good thing, and some (who are interested in their faith) would attend.

Of course, the answer isn’t “hey bishops! hey priests! start a program for me!” … the answer is for you to talk to your pastor, and volunteer to help start a program…! :wink:

One way to get Catholics interested in Catholicism is to teach or study how we are different from the various Protestant denominations. Catholics might be interested in classes which will help them understand Evangelicals, Main Stream Protestants, Mormons, JWs, etc. By studying these aberrations, one becomes more knowledgeable in Catholicism. :wink:

I’m not asking Bishops or clergy to start a Catechism class per se. Instead of a Bible study, let’s teach what out church says about the Bible in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”. ISt. John Paul II saw the need for it & that’s why it was written, don’t you think?

If we were more well versed in our faith, we’d be able to converse about it better, defend it & answer questions of our friends & family who are weak in their faith.

We don’t only have the Bible, we have so many beautiful rituals and customs that are being lost, why? I’ve been to Benediction where the priest doesn’t know how to pray a proper Benediction. They take so many short cuts & their excuse is its an option so we chose not to do it anymore.

Where is the continuity of our Traditions, traditions, devotions, customs and, as I’ve said, rituals. Then again we’re in California guess that’s the explanation.

Remember when you could speak to Father after Mass? Now you have to make an appointment! By the time your appointment comes around, you’re no longer remember what you wanted to discuss or interested anymore. Please don’t tell me about needing time off, Jesus barely slept, Holy Father Francis said, “If a priest has a hobby or collection of things, he’s not living his vocation”.

In the “good 'ol days”, Father was always available, sometimes he was so exhausted he’d say, “when I hit my pillow last night I was out”, those were loving Fathers.

The primary place to teach is the home.

If you are not teaching your children then you have no right to ask the Church for resources to teach you or your children apart from Mass.

-Tim-

Actually, you might do well to read the introductions to the CCC. The desire was to have a single point of reference for doctrine & dogma in faith and morals. In addition, it was geared toward bishops and theologians, who were expected to utilize it in order to develop local compendia and catechisms. In fact, the bishops of the United States did exactly that: the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults (which can be accessed in its entirety online at the USCCB site) is a catechism that’s actually readable and accessible to the average Catholic in America.

We don’t only have the Bible, we have so many beautiful rituals and customs that are being lost, why? I’ve been to Benediction where the priest doesn’t know how to pray a proper Benediction. They take so many short cuts & their excuse is its an option so we chose not to do it anymore.

That’s an entirely different question, and speaks to seminary formation over the past 30-50 years. These days, however, many of these deficiencies have been addressed – at least in the States – and you’d be surprised to see how many young seminarians are well-versed in the traditions of the Church and hold to orthodox beliefs and practice. Be patient. :wink:

Remember when you could speak to Father after Mass? Now you have to make an appointment!

And this, too, is a whole different subject! The reason you can’t speak to Father after Mass is that, generally, he has to high-tail it out of there, in order to get to the parish down the street or across town, so that he’ll be on time to celebrate Mass there! So, this speaks to the way in which we, the faithful, have failed to encourage our sons, nephews and grandsons to become priests!

Please don’t tell me about needing time off, Jesus barely slept

A couple of thoughts:[list]*]Jesus is God Incarnate. Your priest ain’t.
*]Even Jesus needed to get away – if you knew your Bible well, you’d know that he often told his disciples “let’s get away to this deserted place” so that He could rest and pray and retool
*]A priest who doesn’t take time to keep himself healthy (and yes, this includes down time) is a priest who soon burns out. We have precious few priests as it is – let’s let them stay healthy, ok?
[/list]

Holy Father Francis said, “If a priest has a hobby or collection of things, he’s not living his vocation”.

I tried looking for this quote, but couldn’t find it. Could you please give me a citation for the quote?

In the “good 'ol days”, Father was always available, sometimes he was so exhausted he’d say, “when I hit my pillow last night I was out”, those were loving Fathers.

Talk to your priest; I’m betting he’ll tell you the same thing today… :wink:

It doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario. Any Catholic Bible study should connect to the Catechism and any good study of the Catechism cannot help but be rooted in Scripture. We need both, not just one or the other.

Thank you all for your posts. I’m not DEMANDING that Bishops & Priests hold Catechism classes it was a request.

Here’s my point:

Why do Catholics always have a Crucifix? It’s not easy to look at.

Why bless yourself with Holy Water? What’s so special about it?

Why should we genuflect or bow before entering the pew?

Just a few examples, where is all this in the Bible? We are read or read the Bible every time we attend Mass, Father tells us what God wants to tell us in those readings. Each one of us, if we are listening, gets the message meant for us. You “don’t get anything out of the Mass”, because you’re not listening.

Who answers the above questions for us? If parents don’t know themselves, how can they answer their kids’ questions or pass on the faith by practicing what our Church teaches?

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, complied by St. John Paul II, is where all these answers are found, umh! think he was trying to tell us something?

I agree with you 100% that such Catechism lessons are necessary. But I don’t think we need to downplay Bible studies in order to do so. We can do both.

There’s no reason to leave it all up to the priest or the bishop. Lay people participate in the mission of the Church, too. Today (in the U.S.) we have less priests serving a larger number of Catholics. It’s easy for us to volunteer them to do everything for us to the point where they are completely exhausted. But we need to pray about what we can do. I have no control over my priest’s schedule. And, frankly, he owes obedience to the bishop, not to me. But I can certainly step up and volunteer my own time to help out.

Congratulations on spotting the #1 problem in the Church today and wanting to do something about it. Unfortunately seminarians are being taught that they must preach on the readings of the day which effectively leads to no catechesis being preached on Sunday but rather, in general, a running commentary on the readings. A priest may be very holy but if he is not taught what the Popes teach regarding preaching then the Church as a whole suffers.

What I would definitely NOT do is attempt to teach the Catholic faith by primarily using a bible study or any other bible-centric venue. The bible teaches us salvation history, how God saved man after the fall. It does not teach the Catholic Faith in an organic and systematic manner as that is not its purpose. It is the written word of God which is quite distinct from the oral word of God which Jesus Himself taught the Apostles and is carried down in Apostolic Tradition. One can read the whole bible front to back and still be clueless as to what the basics of the Catholic Faith are. Proof of the fallacy of using the written word of God as the primary means of teaching the faith is that Protestants use that method with the result of thousands of different denominations and disagreement on almost every singly scripture verse. The Church has never used the bible as the primary means of evangelization.

Only catechisms approved by the Pope, e.g., the Roman Catechism (1566) and the newer Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), are guaranteed to explain the faith without error. These catechisms are written summaries of the oral word of God, received directly from Jesus, which is why we are under obligation to obey the teachings contained within. The teachings contained within these catechisms are not only without error but they are presented in an organic and systematic manner which is the very definition of catechesis. St. John Paul II specifically states in the CCC, as well as the General Directory of Catechesis, that catechesis should be exercised by the bishops and the priests as without it the Church cannot grow internally or geographically. (cont’d)

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