Lay Catholics; Do you feel the need to re-catechize other Catholics?


#1

As we all Catholics know. Many Catholics who were brought up Catholic were not properly catechize in their faith. Do you sometimes feel the need to re-catechize Catholics, or perhaps form a lay Catholic sponsored by the local diocese to re-educate adult Catholics?


#2

Personally, I wish catholicism had something for adults along the lines of the sunday school model that protestant chuches have.

I really miss the RCIA class. The instruction in mass is of course invaluable, put it would be nice to have a class as a supplement. Even just a QA session with the priest or a deacon occassionally. As a side benefit, it would be a great way to get to know your fellow parishoners. About the only people I know in our parish are the folks in met in the RCIA class and the people I know in the Church before we converted.


#3

I used to assist at RCIA and for kid’s catechism classes.

In the kids classes, the parents who were often cradle Catholics would show up and sit in the back of the class with their noses up in the air. But you could tell that they were hungry for the Gospel and hung on every word.

I think that many cradle Catholics who were poorly or insensitively catechized are too proud to say that they need something more. However, I feel confident that, if they were offered more they would snap it up in an instant.

I have met cradle Catholics whose ignorance of Catholic teaching or even of the instinct to read the source documents is shocking. Many of them speak loudly about things they no nothing about. I say this not to put them down, but to draw attention to their need for strengthening in the faith.


#4

I don’t have to form anything…all I have to do is be myself and talk to the people I eat with in my parish. There’s always someone to share with. :slight_smile:

Catechesis is an ongoing endeavor. There will always be someone to encourage or help get a handle on their faith.


#5

Yes, most Catholics don’t know what they don’t know. Lack of knowledge about the faith is the biggest reason for dissension IMO. We, as lay people, can help improve this situation by recommending books, forming home study groups, or (the best way like CM said) by being ourselves and making friends and talking to the people in our parishes.


#6

Our parish does. Faith formation for all age levels occurs at the same time Sunday evenings. We all meet in the Church, pray a decade of the Rosary, and then split up into groups from the Good Shephard program (pre-schoolers) to Adults (childcare provided for the very young). It is the best way I have seen any parish handle it.


#7

Some folks who attended parts of an eight part quick once over of Catholic teaching invited a Deacon from a neighboring parish to put on a two year course on the CCC. He covers the 4 sections in a half year semester each. I believe this school year will cover the last half. He holds the class on one day of the week in his parish and on a different day in ours. People can move back and forth so the never have to miss a lesson because of a conflict.

I believe somewhere in the neighborhood of eighty people from our parish took part. I am uncertain as to whether he is remunerated in any way.

And yes I think we need to re-catechize more than a few including both young and old. A few join our RCIA class for the basics, but in a nine month time period that is what it is, basic.


#8

Yes. I’m on our parish ecumenism committee and we’ll probably be devoting some portion of our time to Catholics who want to know a bit more about their own faith.

This may be a generational thing—it certainly seems that folks who went through Catholic schools in the late 70s and 80s feel like they didn’t get the fulness of catechism. That might be an interesting followup question to ask.


#9

you know… I knew I wasn’t catechized well because my kids knew more than I did… so my sorry soul got online and found CA and when my parish offered the Jeff Cavins Bible studies… I have faithfully attended… I have shared with many other parishioners how much I have gotten out of the classes… and also with my Lutheran friend. As a result, my friend, while still Protestant, and I have had some awesome talks about her bible study vs mine… and the funny thing is that her’s was the fluffy feel good class…actually pretty funny…

My boss’s wife goes to the class too… many of our colleagues have heard us talking and were amazed at how much we enjoyed 26 weeks on the gospel of Matthew…or 26 weeks of OT study.

I suggest anyone who thinks Catholics don’t study the Bible sit in my class… and I also think it is about time those Catholics who like to whine about bad catechesis take responsibility for their own salvation and education. Almost every parish around here offers these classes and they are available for purchase if you don’t want community… so where does that leave the excuses?


#10

I think the word “re-catechize” is very negative, because it implies that we were improperly catechized in the first place. The fact of the matter is that Catholics worshipped, lived, worked, and died content in their faith for centuries without knowing all the ins and outs of their faith. Just because lay people back then didn’t know all of the intimate details of our faith doesn’t make them any less holy.

It is only in modern times that our faith seems to be under constant attack that the traditional method of catechism seems lacking to some. Let’s face it, we are now facing organized attacks from the secular media and even our fellow Christians. I think people were sufficiently catechized back when Catholics could be left alone to follow their beliefs, but now it’s necessary for more explanation in the Biblical foundations of our Church traditions.

For example, do you think St. Joan of Arc knew all the ins and outs of Papal infallibility or transubstantiation? No, she just obeyed the Church and lived a holy life.

I think the answer is not to run around “re-catechizing” people, but instead to provide them with reading and thought provoking discussion to help them defend themselves against the modern threats we are facing. If you think you’re worthy to “re-catechize” others, you probably need a lesson in humility. :rolleyes:


#11

Do you really think that the ex-Catholics who post here were properly catechized in the first place? Many of them have posted things that are completely opposite of Catholic teaching. When they are asked to explain, they do not give accurate explanations of what the Church really teaches.


#12

I think you make an assumption about Manny’s motives in asking that you shouldn’t.

You don’t know him like I do. How far he’s come in the knowledge of our most holy faith and his capacity to share it with others in love.

I don’t know about you but I was always taught, and continue to read even now, that the Church teaches that we have a duty to the catechesis of ourselves, our families, and other Catholics first of all, and then to those outside the church.

The whole idea behind Catholic Answers is to help people learn about the Catholic faith, and a great many of us have been drafted or volunteered into religious education opportunities within our respective parishes. The task can be daunting, but it’s what we are called to.

[SIGN][size=]Rock on Manny![/SIGN]
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#13

The problem is, you are throwing people’s ignorance of their own faith into the laps of their catechism teachers when the blame should lie with the individuals themselves. Most of the ex-Catholics you are referring to were the ones sleeping through catechism class and having little to do with the Church after Confirmation!

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In other words, just because you throw all kinds of effort into trying to educate kids in catechism class, it doesn’t mean it will always work. As I stated above, the Church has obviously been sufficiently catechizing people for 2000 years now since Catholocism is still here. :rolleyes:

I agree that we have an obligation to each other to promote learning and growth in the faith, but I guarantee that most practicing Catholics would be greatly offended(and rightly so) if you told them they need to be re-catechized. Also, there’s an air of arrogance to the whole thing, as though someone needs to be an amateur theologian or they can’t live a holy life in keeping with the tenets of the Catholic Church.

There’s also the old “preaching to the choir” dilemma - Most ex-Catholics were not attending mass every Sunday and not participating in any faith formation programs(retreats, Bible study, etc) before their conversion. So unfortunately, those who need this re-catechizing the most(because the first one obviously didn’t take) won’t benefit anyway.

I think it’s important that we don’t fall into the trap our separated brothers and sisters have, beating each other over the head with scripture passages, getting too hung up on specifics, and requiring attendance at additional programs. Some adults just want to go to Mass each week, raise a family, work, and die content - we need to respect that.


#14

I used to talk to every Catholic I could, but finally realized it was out of my pride. Now I let God send them to me. I have found that is much more fruitful and a lot less work.


#15

You’re right, I don’t know Manny and I should have given him the benefit of the doubt. :o
I guess my post was targeted at the nosy know-it-all types who run around “re-educating” those that don’t need it just to “show off” and make themselves feel more important(I’m sure you’ve met the type).

I guess in my own experience, I haven’t felt the need to “re-catechize” any Catholics in my parish. They all seem to have a sufficient working knowledge of what it means to be Catholic and live a holy life. It seems like most Catholics should own or have access to their own copy of the Catechism, and everything they need to know is right in there.

Let me say that I wholly support the mission of Catholic Answers, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t! :slight_smile: It just seems like unless these fellow Catholics are way off base on important issues(like not conforming to the CCC), that time could be better spent working with people of other faiths to bring them into the Church.

I think it’s great to have lots of faith formation programs, and the Q&A with the parish priest or deacon sounds like a really great idea for those who would like to attend. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to help those in need within your local parish, so long as you’re not forcing this “re-education” on people who are already good, practicing Catholics.

My parish is considering the implementation of a retention program to contact fallen away parishioners that have not been attending and try to persuade them to come back. I’m considering volunteering for this program because it may be an excellent way to grow as an amateur apologist. The type of people I would encounter in that program would probably be in need of some re-educating, especially since they could stand to benefit the most from it. :thumbsup:


#16

I agree that it’s largely their own fault, but the fact remains that those people are the very ones that we are called to help bring home. They are lost sheep, and as the Holy Spirit gives us opportunity and grace we need to be about it.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In other words, just because you throw all kinds of effort into trying to educate kids in catechism class, it doesn’t mean it will always work. As I stated above, the Church has obviously been sufficiently catechizing people for 2000 years now since Catholicism is still here. :rolleyes:

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t lead that “horse” to the water though, right?

Certainly there is always the parable of the sower, the seed, and the soils but that by no means makes us arrogant or unrighteous to sow. (Matthew 13, Mark 4, & Luke 8)

Granted the Church is (as you say), “still here”, however, to sit back and ignore the people who need to better know their faith even when they are faithful is about tantamount to not doing whatever part I have to build up the Body of Christ.

I agree that we have an obligation to each other to promote learning and growth in the faith, but I guarantee that most practicing Catholics would be greatly offended(and rightly so) if you told them they need to be re-catechized.

Then they would be wrong. Where has the Church ever taught that we can kick back and coast in our knowledge of the faith or in our capacity to evangelize? Some Catholics have tried that and then been surprised and distressed when their kids come home and begin to question their faith or want to join some fundamentalist church because they make their propaganda sound more Biblical than the truths of the Catholic faith.

Also, there’s an air of arrogance to the whole thing, as though someone needs to be an amateur theologian or they can’t live a holy life in keeping with the tenets of the Catholic Church.

I’m sorry, but I have yet to infer that in anything that I have ever said to another Catholic, and I don’t think that I have ever heard any such thing proposed by anyone else here at CAF. I don’t think that is what you were implying either though. :slight_smile:

Frankly, I think most of us are just so very happy to have found that our most holy faith has all these great answers that we are more like giddy kids who want to share something great with all our friends.

There’s also the old “preaching to the choir” dilemma - Most ex-Catholics were not attending mass every Sunday and not participating in any faith formation programs(retreats, Bible study, etc) before their conversion. So unfortunately, those who need this re-catechizing the most(because the first one obviously didn’t take) won’t benefit anyway.

In helping to equip others to provide good answers to those fallen away Catholics, (at least) two good things occur.

  1. The fallen away person finally gets accurate information as to what they were supposed to have believed all along and either didn’t pick up on, or misunderstood.

  2. It provides a defense against those fallen away Catholics (and others) who actively seek to proselytize others out of our most holy faith. A situation that is totally unacceptable to a faithful Catholic.

I think it’s important that we don’t fall into the trap our separated brothers and sisters have, beating each other over the head with scripture passages, getting too hung up on specifics, and requiring attendance at additional programs.

I can agree with that. I saw it all the time outside of the Church and we referred to it as “ripping the young plant up by the roots to check to see that it is growing properly”, a practice that will readily kill the plant in question, (in reality a believer young in the faith).

Some adults just want to go to Mass each week, raise a family, work, and die content - we need to respect that.

There are pew warmers in every church, and though I don’t intend to assert here that these people are unfaithful, these folks are also not necessarily doing their part per what the church asks of us with respect to their time, talent, and treasure. There really is no reason to overly “respect that”, especially since the New Testament tells us, “[24] and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” (Hebrews 10)

Sorry, but I see very little of what you describe as problematic among the folks here at CAF and the others I know who are into apologetics and catechesis.


#17

Yes I have. Thankfully they are few and far between. :wink:

I guess in my own experience, I haven’t felt the need to “re-catechize” any Catholics in my parish. They all seem to have a sufficient working knowledge of what it means to be Catholic and live a holy life. It seems like most Catholics should own or have access to their own copy of the Catechism, and everything they need to know is right in there.

An interesting thought. I will create a poll to see if I can determine how many do have one. I completely agree that everyone should have one or at least the new Compendium Catechism.

Let me say that I wholly support the mission of Catholic Answers, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t! :slight_smile: It just seems like unless these fellow Catholics are way off base on important issues(like not conforming to the CCC), that time could be better spent working with people of other faiths to bring them into the Church.

I can agree with this as well, though if you ask your pastor or DRE you may find they feel differently. (Ask and PM me with what they say if you like. It will make an interesting experiment.)

I think it’s great to have lots of faith formation programs, and the Q&A with the parish priest or deacon sounds like a really great idea for those who would like to attend. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to help those in need within your local parish, so long as you’re not forcing this “re-education” on people who are already good, practicing Catholics.

I understand. God forbid that we should ever “force” anything on anyone. I do think that parishes can well afford to push opportunities for either personal study or classes in the church that will interest and strengthen even faithful Catholics.

My parish is considering the implementation of a retention program to contact fallen away parishioners that have not been attending and try to persuade them to come back. I’m considering volunteering for this program because it may be an excellent way to grow as an amateur apologist. The type of people I would encounter in that program would probably be in need of some re-educating, especially since they could stand to benefit the most from it. :thumbsup:

As the Brits would say, “Brilliant”! Be prepared for anything though. People come up with some amazing reasons not to practice their faith.

You might get a supply of John Martignoni’s CDs to carry on your visits as you may find some folks have been proselytized and John’s studies are spot on on many of the things that I often encounter in such folks.

Moral issues may also be brought up, so you’ll want to be prepared.

That sounds like a GREAT program! Please let us know how it progresses.:thumbsup:


#18

We are called upon to correct our brothers as necessary; it is an act of charity and love to do so. If they misunderstand Church teachings, it is important to do so lest they stray into heresy.

I don’t think “re-catechize” is derogatory; Tradition and Scripture are HUGE; we are all as the Ethiopian in that we require teaching. It is not a one-time thing, but a lifetime thing.

I don’t know anyone who can even claim to be a know-it-all when it comes to the Church. If anyone could make such a claim today, it would probably be Pope Benedict XVI, given the depth and breadth of his knowledge of the Church, but in reading him I don’t see the “know-it-all” tone apparent in so much non-Catholic theology. “The Spirit of the Liturgy” and “Jesus of Nazareth” are good examples of the Pope’s writings.

It is also true that one need not be a Catholic “expert” to be a good Catholic. That’s one of the great things about having Tradition and Magisterium.


#19

IMO, it is more important to educate/catechize other Catholics than it is to evangelize Protestants and other non-Catholics. Evangelizing non-Catholics is important too–just not as important as educating our fellow Catholics.

Maybe in times past, Catholics could live their lives simply and raise their children without giving much serious thought to theological issues. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy any more. The reason why is that our culture not only does not support the Catholic faith, but it also tries to trivialize it. Think of the amount of time we are all “catechized” by the anti-Christian Gospel we get on television, radio, and at the movies. A lot of Catholics spend hours and hours watching television and little time learning about the faith, and it shows. I think we all know Catholics who see nothing wrong with euthanasia, artificial birth control, abortion, etc. I think the reason for this dissension from Church teaching is a basic lack of knowledge. I don’t think it would be a bad idea for us Catholics to spend at least an equal amount of time learning some authentic Catholic teaching to counteract the secular influences we see on television and at the movies.

I’m not saying there was a “golden” time in history when things were perfect. Clearly every generation has had its errors and heresies. But there were times in the past when the culture did support at least the basics of Christianity–the sanctity of human life and the importance of family and marriage. It’s not that way any more.


#20

Another faction formed : The newbies vs the oldies.

Perhaps a test on basics and those that fail to be excommunicated.

It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me !


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