Help with RCIA questions

I’m a team member of my Catholic Parish’s RCIA: have been for a few years. We have a couple who are attending because the husband wants to enter the Church his wife is a member of. He came willingly, not coerced. He has a few questions which I want to present here to gather some ideas. I know the answers but I need ideas for apologetically presenting them to him. You don’t have to answer them all if you can’t, but just take one or two and give me your ideas. I will see them next Monday to reply to their question(s). Thanks

  1. I wake up every day and thank God. Why do I have to come to Church?
    
  2. I've tryed different churches over the years, what's the difference in churches? What's makes Catholic Church different?
    
  3. I'm a good person, why do I need to be better?
    
  4. If God is love and we are going to be saved anyway, why so many rules?
    
  5. Why do we have to be married in the church?  (They have a civil marriage.)
    
  6. Are we going to hell if we aren't? (I presume this referrs to #5)
  1. I wake up every day and thank God. Why do I have to come to Church?
    
  2. I've tryed different churches over the years, what's the difference in churches? What's makes Catholic Church different?
    
  3. I'm a good person, why do I need to be better?
    
  4. If God is love and we are going to be saved anyway, why so many rules?
    
  5. Why do we have to be married in the church?  (They have a civil marriage.)
    
  6. Are we going to hell if we aren't? (I presume this referrs to #5)
    
  1. The same reason a car need to be taken to a garage from time to time. Maintenance, proper care etc. It is a chance to be reminded of what we believe, and helps prevent drifting away from our beliefs. As CS Lewis remarked, “people need to be reminded more than instructed.” Probably for reasons like this Jesus said to “do this in memory of me.”
  2. The Catholic Church traces its hierarchy back through the ages to the commission Jesus’ gave the apostle Peter, “feed my sheep,” and also "on this rock I will build my Church.
  3. Jesus said “be ye perfect.” He meant it. At any rate, the best of us still sins, and those sins need to be repented and made right. And if you really are a good person, you will naturally want to be better anyway.
    4). There are not many rules. There are two. Love God. Love your neighbor. The problem is people are slow on the uptake so God has to add clarifications. For example, “don’t committ adultery.” Simple enough, except, then people said “ummm, what about looking, does that count?” So Jesus has to add another rule and say “yes, looking counts” (whoever looks at a woman with lust in his heart etc.). But the extra rule is only because of human stubbornness.
    5). As a civil marriage, marriage automatically has a certain dignity, but as a Christian marriage immediately becomes a powerful symbol of the union between Christ and the Church, and a sacrament and channel of divine grace. As such it becomes indissoluble. By having your marriage validated as a Christian ceremony, you proclaim not only before man, but before God and the Church your acceptance of this gift and symbol, as well as the enormous responsibility in entails
    6). I suspect not, but why would you want to reject all the sacrament entails?

Obviously, my answer to 5 is pretty brief. Marriage is a pretty big subject, but here at least are my brief thoughts.

God says to. If you are grateful to God, you ought to obey him as a concrete sign of your gratitude.

  1. I've tryed different churches over the years, what's the difference in churches? What's makes Catholic Church different?
    

It’s Catholic (universal), it’s the one, i.e., the visible source of unity and guarantor of the deposit of the faith.

  1. I'm a good person, why do I need to be better?
    

So as to be able to know better than to ask this question.

  1. If God is love and we are going to be saved anyway, why so many rules?
    

Rules provide guidance by which to counter our sinful inclinations. (We aren’t going to be saved ‘anyway’.)

  1. Why do we have to be married in the church?  (They have a civil marriage.)
    

Because marriage is a sacrament, in the Church.

  1. Are we going to hell if we aren't? (I presume this referrs to #5)
    

Certainly not necessarily. That depends on your state of knowledge and will and the circumstantial reasons for not doing so.

Let me try my hand at two of these, numbers 1 and 4.

Why bother to go to Church? The Christian life was never meant to be undertaken as a solitary endeavour. We need to go to church to fellowship with other believers and more importantly to connect with God through proper worship in the liturgy. The Holy Eucharist is both the source and summit of our faith and the only way to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist is during the sacrifice of the Mass. Skipping church limits our Christian walk in so many ways and disconnects us from the ordinary means the Church gives us.

Why so many rules? The rules aren’t meant to restrict us or constrain our movements. It’s not that the Church is against fun or excitement, but these things need to be properly oriented and understood or they can become destructive or create more problems than they solve. One obvious example is the prohibition against pre-marital intercourse. The range of emotions a person can through runs the gamut from elation, to joy to feeling shame and regret. Without the bonds of matrimony a person can feel used, especially if the other partner moves on to another partner. Diseases can be spread quite easily. Pregnancies can occur when neither partner is ready or a commitment hasn’t been made yet. Of course marriage isn’t a magic cure-all, but when intercourse is properly understood in that bond the other worries and concerns become non-existent or diminish significantly.

I hope this helps, if not feel free to ignore.

ChadS

  1. Like the prior post, we are a community. Jesus started a Church with a community of believers, not an infinite assortment of Jesus-and-me relationships. Yes, those relationships exist and are indeed essential, but the authority and proper shepherding of those relationships lies in the Church.

  2. The Catholic Church is the true Church started by Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit and offers the gift of the Eucharist, necessary for our spirtual life. All other c©hurches are splinters of the Catholic one.

  3. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” - Jesus

  4. We are not all going to be saved. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do as I command?” - Jesus

  5. Because your marriage is invalid and you are currently living in a serious state of sin assuming you are having relations. Why? Because your wife married outside the Church. Why does that matter? Because she disobeyed God’s authority given to the Church (“What you hold bound on earth…”) and also declined receiving a sacrament. A sacrament, as a holy thing, is typically conveyed in a holy place.

  6. This decision is the Lord’s; however, you are living in a dangerous and objectively sinful condition. See #5.

I feel most of these questions (and many Catholics pose them as well) are rooted in a refusal to submit to God’s will and a desire to be one’s own arbiter of right and wrong. If this were acceptable to the Lord, He would not have bothered coming at all, or even spoken to Abraham. In fact, we would all still be in the Garden doing as we pleased and being our own version of “good”.

Very interesting questions! Here is my $0.02 worth.

First of all, there is the commandment to set aside one day a week in honor of God. Secondly, the church is the entire body of believers. As a body of believers, we should come together to support each other whenever any one of us is sick or in distress. Gathering together once a week serves both these purposes. In addition, it provides a channel for further the kingdom of God. Remember, the church building is a hospital for sinners and not a haven for saints. If one got up every morning and said, “I FEEL GREAT!”, would that prevent physical illness?

The Catholic Church can trace its roots all the way back to Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church exercises its authority via apostolic succession. The apostles received their authority from Jesus. Jesus received His authority from God. All other Christian churches were founded by men with large disregard for the first 1,500 - 2,000 years of practice and history.

Because we are all sinners - every one of us. Therefore, we all need to do better so we can, “Be perfect, as my father in heaven is perfect.”

Despite what may be taught in other communities, there are very few instances of a 100% assurance of salvation while here on earth. Left to ourselves, we would all determine our own rules from which to live (see “moral relativism”). As humans, we work best once the rules are clearly defined and understood. Some people take the stance of, “Give me the rules and I will figure out a way around them.” Hence, more rules to add clarification. Remember, when we do reach our own personal judgment day, we are not going to be judged on how well we followed the rules, but how well we served Him. If that is our everyday focus, we will follow all the rules without even knowing it.

Marriage is an institution created by God for his people. It is a sacramental bond between one man, one woman, and God. As disciples of Him, we should yearn to receive a blessing from His church for the bond to be in effect. To be within His church and be married outside His church is a grave violation of His authority over this part of our lives.

Eternal judgment is up to God and not for us to presume this side of heaven. The church, in its authority, instructs the faithful on points like this. Remember, the church received its authority from Jesus. To ignore the church’s instructions is tantamount to not recognizing the church’s authority. Nevertheless, the intention should be to follow the church’s guidance out of obedience and not out of fear of going to hell. Again, stay focused on God and work to align your will with His. If that is achieved, the rest is super easy! :thumbsup:

Thank you all. There are some good ideas/ reminders.

Remember, these people came willingly. I need to be compassionate, not blunt. (e.g. God said so.) I understand the teaching and there are many different way to “teach” the truth. But thanks. Keep them coming.

To participate in liturgical feast, and share in the body, blood, soul and divinity of your Lord and Saviour. You are a member of the one body of Christ.

The Catholic Church is the Church established by Jesus upon Peter, and will be the last and only Church standing at the end of time. Because Jesus loves His Church, and is it’s bridegroom. I don’t know what the differences are in other Churches, but the main difference is that with a couple of exceptions, such as the Eastern Orthodox, it is the only place you will find Jesus the Christ in Body, blood, soul and divinity, and will hear the fullness of truth itself.

So that you’re always becoming perfect, as you father in heaven is perfect. Christ demands this of us in his sermons. We can’t be perfect because of our wounded nature, but we are to lives towards that perfection, and Christ is the model. When you say you’re a good person, and then look at Jesus as your model, you may be a little bit surprised at how much room there is for growth between now and your physical death, and entrance into the kingdom, wherein you will achieve perfection.

There really AREN’T that many rules. And they aren’t given in the spirit of rules. Jesus shared with his apostles, what a person needs to do to achieve the kingdom of heaven. God loves us, and wants us all to be with him for eternity. You have a much better chance of doing that if you live towards Christian perfection, and the Lord has even graciously given us some tried and true methods of amendment for our lives, which will lessen purgation after death, and give you a better, and richer life on earth as well.

(They have a civil marriage.) Civil marriage isn’t a 3 way contract with the Lord. And therefore not an outward sacramental sign of the vocation of marriage ordained by God.

We all have a vocation. The vocation of marriage is one of those, but not everyone is called to it. St. Paul recommended it to those who are filled with sexuality, so that they have less chance of becoming fornicators. It is also a blessed sacrament, and the vessel which the Lord uses to create new human beings to share in the joy of heaven. If you don’t get married, but still don’t live as a fornicator, idoloter, drunkard, pervert, etc., and you do pray for your vocation to be made clear to you, and you follow your vocation once it is clear, and keep your chastity and moral values in the meantime, then there’s no reason why you would go to hell simply for being unmarried. Are you speaking of cohabitation in a sexual union, without the sacrament of marriage? Then yes, that would be fornications, and if unrepented, could lead to the loss of ones soul.

Do any of these help? I tend to be pretty simplistic.

That’s a false dichotomy. There are other good reasons for doing so, but the truth is that you only really need to go to church on Sundays because God says so. You aren’t being compassionate by pretending that’s not the real reason.

That’s really arrogant and out of touch. Tell me how many converts do you get with that approach? How many non-practicing Catholics do you get to return to Mass with that approach? Remember, Christ walked with the two before he started evangelizing to them. The road to Emmas.(sp?)

Heaven is not a lonely place. Its not going to be you and God alone. God has always have a community. Noah had his family in the ark. Abraham was granted a multitude of descendants. Jesus had 12 Apostles and many more disciples. Liturgical life is a preview of the live to come. Mass is the connection between this world and the next, as all the angels and saints praise God, we join them as a community in worship.

We all will make up the One Body of Christ. This of this as Biology, each person is a living cell that will make up the Body of Christ. If we are not in harmony with the other cells, we’re cancerous and should be taken out. Worship of God is not to be exclusive to each person. There’s a time for private prayer and a time for public worship. Thats why we go to church.

The four marks of a true Church.
One. There is One Church as there is One Body of Christ.
Holy. Established by Christ himself to accomplish His mission on earth.
Catholic. Universal, for all. The Church was established for Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles.
Apostolic. The Church originates from the Apostles through an unbroken line of succession to today’s Bishops who are true Apostolic successors

Because Christ asks us to be perfect as the Father is perfect. To strive for holiness is to strive for perfection, which means we always strive to be better.

Don’t see them as rules but see the reason behind the rule. Think of a Stop sign. The rule is to make a full stop at the sign and check if its clear before going. That is the rule. The reason is to control traffic so that accidents will be avoided, its purpose is to save lives. Same with the Church. The rules are just simple ways to guide us but each rule has an underlying reason which is to lead us to holiness and salvation.

To bestow the grace of God upon their marital union.

This is a complicated issue. If they aren’t Christians (validly baptized in any denomination) then they have a valid natural marriage. God does not expect a Sacramental marriage from those who aren’t Christians. But those who are aware of God’s graces through the Church and wilfully rejects it will be condemned.

You’re calling ME arrogant? Check the mirror, buddy. Then read the Gospels and epistles. You’ll find that by your standards Jesus and the apostles were pretty ‘arrogant’ too. They too insisted on the truth and that includes obedience to God. You really want to propose to convert someone while hiding that from them? Maybe you’re not aware of it yourself?

If that is your belief, then use your method and tell me how many people you bring into the Church, or even Mass with. The apostles brought in thousands while being, as you proclaim, arrogant. How many have you brought in using your method? Proof is in the pudding. How many? Don’t lecture me, just give me the numbers.

Not simply arrogant; ‘arrogant,’ as you are using the term. Do you know what scare quotes are?

“Proof is in the pudding” - so by your construal of this notion, Joseph Smith was a great prophet and many Mormon missionaries are great preachers of the gospel - “just look at the numbers.” Many Muslims too. (And Oprah; and Obama; we could go on.) If you make converts, what you’re saying must be true and must bring glory to the living God.

But of course none of that makes sense. You need to learn some respect for truth, friend. That is a more essential part of following Jesus than being charismatic or popular. Caritas in veritate.

I think you are taking this to a whole new level. Using your technique of telling people “God said so” to bring people back to Mass - HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU BROUGHT BACK TO CHURCH USING THAT METHOD?

You still dance around my point. I know the truth, I study the faith. Conveying the truth is unique to many people. What will work with one person won’t work with another. That is not watering down the Gospel, its teaching it anew; not redefining it. Being blunt, telling people they must go to Mass because God said so, probably won’t work. So, I ask again. How many people have you brought back to the Church using your method? I can safely say, NONE. You will not inspire people to go to church by telling them God said so. No matter how true it is.

How to evangelize? Do what Christ did. Walk with them first and understand who they are. Then share the truth with them according to their experiences; their understanding. Bring the Gospel to them as fast or as slow as they can grasp it. Everyone is different.

The ideas expressed here are great. Different ways to express the one truth. Not one way for all. The importance is bring souls to Christ while staying faithful to the Gospel. I believe I do that. Being blunt by tell them they have to go to Mass because God said so, has not and probably never will work. But hey, prove me wrong.

Thank you for your service! :slight_smile:

  1. I wake up every day and thank God. Why do I have to come to Church?
    

Several reasons.

One is, at Mass, we make the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving, by offering the bread and wine on the Altar. We do this under the leadership of the priest. Jesus accepts the offering of bread and wine by transforming it into His body and blood, soul and divinity, and returning it to us under the appearances of the same bread and wine that was offered on the Altar. Even if we can’t yet receive Holy Communion, we can still offer ourselves to Jesus with the bread and wine, in thanksgiving for the many blessings He gives to us in our lives.

Another reason is that, as a community of faith, we uphold one another in love through the prayers that we recite together, we hear the Scriptures read out together, and we affirm one another in our faith. It’s difficult to remain faithful, all by ourselves. It is certainly possible to worship God on the golf course, or in the mountains, but one seldom sees anyone actually doing so - and the reason is that we really do need the support of a worshipping community, to be able to worship regularly and consistently.

Someone once asked a famous preacher this very same question, while sitting in front of a roaring campfire. The preacher said nothing - he just took an ember out of the fire and laid it in the sand, some distance away from the fire. Being isolated, and having used up all of its fuel, the ember went cold in a very few short moments. The lesson? If we want to stay “on fire” for Jesus, then we have to stay “in the fire” of the Church.

  1. I've tryed different churches over the years, what's the difference in churches? What's makes Catholic Church different?
    

The Catholic Church is special because it was established by Christ. It was Jesus Himself who appointed our first Pope - His Apostle, Peter.

  1. I'm a good person, why do I need to be better?
    

Being good is certainly better than being bad, but God created us for greatness. Becoming the best version of ourselves - the most loving, obedient, faithful person we can be - is our mission in life.

  1. If God is love and we are going to be saved anyway, why so many rules?
    

The rules are there to help us become the best version of ourselves. Imagine children playing with chess pieces. I am sure they could invent some games - but chess only becomes really interesting - and it only really becomes possible to compete with other players and win prizes - when you learn the rules, and when you become well-practiced at it. It’s the same with being a Christian. We can play around with it, and make up our own rules - but to really work together and accomplish great things, we all need to be following the same rules.

  1. Why do we have to be married in the church?  (They have a civil marriage.)
    

Most of us grow up believing that marriage is about two people making each other happy in this world. In reality, marriage is about three persons - you, your wife, and God - participating in the Creation together.

  1. Are we going to hell if we aren't? (I presume this referrs to #5)
    

No one can say who will go to Hell, or not. What’s important is to do the will of God, as best we can. The Church provides us with the tools and instructions that we need to do this.

Betterave has been a person who sparked me on to continue to go to Mass, and a person who does not give you a shiny slippery sales pitch, or the same old worn out apologetic.

Betterave understands Philosophy.

Your chastisement in a public forum of a fellow believer is not a good sign to me.

You were inspired to go back to Mass by Betterave telling you God says so? Well, I’m proven wrong. God bless you and welcome to the Catholic Church.

But I explained to you why that was an irrelevant question!

You still dance around my point. I know the truth, I study the faith. Conveying the truth is unique to many people. What will work with one person won’t work with another. That is not watering down the Gospel, its teaching it anew; not redefining it. Being blunt, telling people they must go to Mass because God said so, probably won’t work.

And yet, that IS the reason why we MUST go to church, that is why it is a moral requirement! Do you really care to deny that? Does anyone else care to deny it? If yes, I’d like to hear your reasons.

(You *claim *to know the truth - but maybe you are mistaken? Maybe that claim is YOU being blunt and arrogant? You should at least attempt to address the truth or falsity of my claim in a direct way.)

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