Protestant attending RCIA??

I am a protestant attending a non-denominational church. I have become interested in catholicism recently and am interested in attending RCIA. However, I do have, several significant doctrinal objections to catholicism as I understand it. (I think the catholic position on works/grace is scripturally sound however I’m leery of abandoning sola scriptura, and I’m extremely uncomfortable with the position Mary seems to play in the Catholic Church).

On the other hand, on Christmas Eve I actually felt compelled to attend a midnight Mass and felt a connection with a body of believers and with the Lord there that I don’t always feel at my home church. The Mass beautiful. (Although when I got home, I looked up the Church on line and found that the Bishop who presided at the Mass doesn’t believe that the Gospels are necessarily historical accounts–that’s problematic).

Hence, I am interested in perhaps attending RCIA. However, I don’t know that I would ever necessarily “cross the tiber” because of my issues with Mary and praying through/to saints.

Would I be welcome in an RCIA under these circumstances?

felt a need to worship the Lord Hence, I’m not

Absolutely you would be welcome. Give it a shot! :slight_smile:

RCIA is for learning about the Catholic Faith FROM the Catholic Church. They should put NO pressure on you whatsoever to convert, as they recognize that it is a work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life and we all have our own timetables.

You would absolutely be welcome to attend RCIA - I’ve never known of anyone getting kicked out! :smiley:

As a convert, I can promise you that Mary’s emphasis seems MUCH bigger from outside the Church than she actually is once you’re inside. Yes, Mary is honored as the Mother of our Lord. Yes, Catholics (and Orthodox) believe certain things about Mary that are not commonly taught in Protestant churches anymore, even though Luther and Calvin both believed and proclaimed those dogmas even after they separated from the Church. Everything that Catholics believe about Mary has more to do with Who Christ is than anything about her personally.

You aren’t the first Protestant to have issues with Marian dogma and the “Communion of Saints.” Here are a couple of resources that might help you:

On Saints
On Mary

The Bible Christian Society has a section called 2-Minute Apologetics, as well as free audio downloads on various topics that might help with your issues as well.

By all means. Please let me make one slight request. Please try to clear up major issues outside of class. Talk to a priest before or do some research. The reason for these classes is to help people learn, but sometimes they can end up more of a debate.

If you decide to convert, welcome. If not, I commend you on learning more. Either way, I pray God blesses you in every way.

p.s. The fact that the bishop does not think that the Gospels are historically accurate bothers me as well, but I know that the Church teaches something different. We are a family, and that means we don;t always hide our goofball relatives.

You would absolutely be welcome! RCIA is not for preaching to the choir - it is for educating those who which to learn more about the Faith.

I would also suggest going HERE and listening to some of these podcasts. They can, in the mean time, answer a lot of your questions about the Catholic Faith.

Oh - and when you are looking for an RCIA program, please ensure that you are going to a good conservative parish where you will be sure to learn the TRUTH, and not some liberal ideas about what some people think might be the TRUTH. Sadly, as someone said above, we can hide all the crazy family members in the attic. :rolleyes: There are some bad RCIA programs out there. If you need help - I’m sure some members here can help you find a good parish in your area.

I wish you a blessed and grace filled journey into your discernment. :slight_smile:


YES, i know this because i am going throught it right now. My husband is southern baptist, i am a cradle catholic. I am taking RCIA to learn more about my faith and my husband is coming because he would like to become catholic with me and my son, but he still holds strong to his baptist beliefs. He is most likely not going to switch, but he is learning what catholics truly believe. One of which is that we DO NOT worship Mary. :smiley:
Hope this helps, i encourage you to go, it is really interesting and you get to hear testomonials from other protestants and why they are converting. Peace:thumbsup:

For what it is worth, khutcheson, I am currently attending RCIA and Mass weekly, after many years of not practicing any form of Christianity at all. My experience so far agrees with what other posters in the thread are saying: that the level of attention given to the saints and Mary in particular is not as intense in practice as it seems on the outside. All prayers in the Masses I have attended have been addressed to God the Father/Jesus. Opening and closing prayers at RCIA meetings are to God, not to God through Mary.

Of course, I have no problem with the idea of praying to Mary for intercession, and it gives me a good, warm feeling when I do it. Praying for the intercession of other saints feels a little stranger to me, but at this point it is simply the unfamiliarity of it, rather than a problem I have with the practice itself. I feel certain that this will work itself out in time.

Absolutely. In fact, the majority of people who come to RCIA don’t actually become Catholic at the end of it - and no one expects them to.

There are several “decision points” along the way, and you can drop out at any time, once you’ve received the answers to your questions.

The idea is that one learns what the Catholic Faith is about. You “need” to go through it, if you want to convert. But there is no need to convert, after attending it.

I’ve seen RCIA announcements that were sent to organizations that are decidedly non-Christian in theology. When the parish was questioned about it, the response was along the lines of “You can still attend, despite your non-Catholic beliefs, practices, and theology.”



Yes, RCIA is a very good way to discern if you’re being called to the Catholic Faith. Pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to the Pillar and Foundation of Truth so that you will know that you are receiving the teaching that Jesus gave to the Apostles.

As for Mary, you don’t need to do more than love her as Jesus loved His mother.

Grace and peace to you.

Your servant in Christ.

I’m not Catholic, but I read the Catechism, and I found it to make a lot of sense that is good advice for not only Catholics. In fact I’ld advocate any church to issue it in their Sunday schools. I also see no problem with asking Saints or Mary to intercede, but I have issues with a few of the dogmas though.

In other words, you have issues with ecclesiastical authority. :wink: I know exactly where you are coming from. I’ve been there. Once the authority issue is settled, everything else falls into place. :smiley:

I’m doing RCIA in my local RC church. I’ve been an evangelical/charismatic Christian for 20 years. I like reading, and read several catholic apologetics books before starting RCIA. I actually found my problems had been answered before RCIA as a result.

I strongly recommend Karl Keating’s ‘Catholicism and Fundamentalism’, which is superb at addressing protestant concerns.

Stay blessed!

I converted in 2000 from the Lutheran Church. I began going to RCIA because I became frustrated with how the stuff I heard about Catholics at church didn’t mesh with what I knew of Catholic friends. After a vicar made some very disrespectful remards about JPII I decided it was time to go to the source instead of listening to outsiders speculate about Catholics. I had some hangups too but I learned to love the Faith in RCIA. It is better to go in with your questions and get them answered than to always wonder. You are under no obligation to convert if you go to RCIA and you will at least come out with a greater understanding. I highly encourage you to go and also to find some devout Catholics you can talk to. I found that I was actually correcting some of the things in my class because I had read enough to know when they were fudging on doctrine. I highly recommend Karl Keating’s Catholicism vs. Fundamentalism. It was pivotal in my own faith journey.


I’m curious. What sort of decision points? Could you please elaborate?

The RCIA is divided into four Periods: Inquiry, Catechesis, Enlightenment and Mystagogia.

Between each of these Periods is a decision point. When you have completed the Inquiry period, you choose whether or not to receive the Rite of Acceptance/Rite of Welcome. If you choose not to receive these Rites, then you remain in the Period of Inquiry (if your parish permits this), or else you drop out.

Between the period of Catechesis and the period of Enlightenment there is the Rite of Election/Call to Lenten Renewal - if you choose not to receive these, then you either remain in the Period of Catechesis (if your parish permits this), or else you drop out.

At the end of the Period of Enlightenment, there are the Sacraments of Initiation. This is the final decision point; if you decide against receiving the Sacraments of Initiation, then you drop out. (There is no option to remain in the Period of Enlightenment. The person could drop back to the Period of Catechesis, though, if they wanted to remain in the process.)

Much thanks. What takes place during these various stages?

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is an ongoing process of conversion to Christ. You would be welcomed and should not feel pressure from anyone to do anything. I encourage you to ask all the tough questions. The setting should be one of charitable dialogue and not combative. You should encounter a community of believers who are living the faith and want to share. All of us are at different points of conversion and therefore since this is continual, RCIA has no time frame. You can stay in the RCIA discussion process as long as you like without any commitments and that should be no problem. Hope you come in…we need you.

Howdy. I am in the same boat with you. The idea of sola scriptura has been drilled in my head since I was a youngin by my Baptist faith. A good book to read on that subject (sola scriptura, and authority/Tradition) is ‘By What Authority: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition’ by Mark Shea.

I, too, am a bit wary of the idea of putting Mary on such a high pedestal. I don’t have the book in front of me, but Shea’s book might have that topic in there. 'Prove It: Church" by Amy Welborn is an easy-read (aimed at Catholic teens) about what Catholics believe. I actually like reading stuff like that, because I am like a child or teenager in my understanding of Catholic faith. Speaking of basics, ‘Catholicism for Dummies’ is also a good book.

RCIA is a welcoming place, with no pressure to join. I made it through the Catechumen stage, but due to family problems and location changes, I won’t be joining the Church yet. The RCIA coordinator understood completely. Good luck and God bless in your spiritual journeys. Be open to the truth and wherever it may take you, whether it be inside or outside of the Church.


Think of Mary as a tour guide. When you go thru a museum on your own you may not have the same appreciation for an item if you would have had the guide with you who knew the item well and could reveal something of it. Very elementary explanation, but the point is to assure you and comfort you. The rosary is a meditative look at the life of Christ…something ALL Christians can easily do to get closer to Him. Have a great day.

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