Question About my RCIA


#1

A while ago, one of the RCIA intructers was calling God an “it” to avoid using a term that indicated gender. I know that God doesn’t truly have a gender, but calling him “it” seems wrong; is this a normal way of addressing God?

Also, durring Mass my Parish dissmisses the cadidates along with the Catechumans, after the Liturgy of the Word. After reading on this site I’ve heard that this isn’t permitted. Is this true and are there times where us candidates can be dismissed?

Thanks.


#2

Hi C794,

God should never be addressed as “it”. The Bible refers to God in the masculine, “Him”, “He”, and even Jesus calls God “Father”. This Catechist is in error, regardless of good intentions.

As for dismissal during Mass, Candidates and Catechumens are to be dismissed for “Breaking of the Word”, however, precatechumenites (aka “Inquirers”) are not to be dismissed until they go through the Rite where they accept the continuation of their journey to become Catholic and enter the Catechumenate phase (or stage or journey).

blessings,

CEM


#3

No. Normally, we address God using male pronouns - not because we think He is male (God is a spirit; He doesn’t actually have a body of any kind), but because Jesus called Him “Father.”

In English, we typically refer to non-gendered persons (teddy bears, angels, etc.) as “he” rather than “it” in order to differentiate them from inanimate objects. Although dolls and unborn children are often referred to as “she” so it’s not a hard and fast rule - but God is normally “He.”

Also, durring Mass my Parish dissmisses the cadidates along with the Catechumans, after the Liturgy of the Word. After reading on this site I’ve heard that this isn’t permitted. Is this true and are there times where us candidates can be dismissed?

Actually the Rite assumes that everyone is being dismissed on Sundays; both the catechumens, and the Candidates. I used to think it was forbidden, as well, but then someone pointed out to me that the Rite of Welcome (which can only be given to Candidates) assumes a Sunday dismissal format.


#4

Thanks! It’s good to know that candidates are supposed to be dismissed because I’ve really enjoyed those sessions.

Somewhat realtated to my first question: is there any precident for talking about God as a mother or using the term “God-she” ? These are terms I have also heard.


#5

Jesus talked about God as a mother hen, and there are female images of God throughout the Old Testament.

However, I have never heard the term “God-she.” I can’t even imagine using that in a sentence - it sounds very, very odd. :confused:


#6

God should be referred to in masculine form because that is how it has always been done. Not sure why your priest decided to do something a little different. :stuck_out_tongue:

As for RCIA, I keep reading about people in RCIA being dismissed at a certain time. We were never dismissed when I was in RCIA, everyone just went to class after Mass was completely over, LOL!!


#7

No God should not be referred to as it. How weird.

I’ve always heard that only catechumens should be dismissed.


#8

Surely to be consistent with Trinitarian belief, God in any person should be referred to as ‘they’ or ‘them’? Did Jesus in scripture ever use a pronoun to refer to the Father? (I mean in English translation). incidentally there is a widespread reference to people as ‘it’; at least in Catholic belief: unborn children are often called ‘it’ because the sex is unknown. Why would you not use the same term to refer to God if yu are considering God as a singular entity?


#9

The Rite itself assumes that everyone is being dismissed, as I mentioned above. :slight_smile:


#10

No, since there is only one God. The three Persons of God do not comprise three Gods, but only one.

Did Jesus in scripture ever use a pronoun to refer to the Father? (I mean in English translation).

“Father” is itself about as male as one can get.

incidentally there is a widespread reference to people as ‘it’; at least in Catholic belief: unborn children are often called ‘it’ because the sex is unknown. Why would you not use the same term to refer to God if yu are considering God as a singular entity?

Custom, mostly. And since the purpose of RCIA is to help people get used to Catholic customs, it seems like a no-brainer to teach them to use male pronouns for God. The RCIA is not the place to advance any kind of agenda for change.


#11

Likely he was referring to the holy spirit not God as It.

That would make sense and be correctly stated.

God bless your interest in this question


#12

I don’t call any baby “it”. Before the gender of the baby is known, I would say “he or she” or “little stranger” or “the baby”. I can see the reasoning behind calling God “they”, however, most of the time we are refering to a singer person of the Trinity. Obviously, we would refer to Jesus as “He”. It would be stupid to refer to God the Father as anything other than “He”. The Holy Spirit is the only person of the Trinity that is questionable in regards to gender. I supose one might refer to the Holy Spirit as “it”, but I would just go with “he” for the sake of continuity.


#13

Thanks everyone for the replies.


#14

I am on the RCIA team at my parish and after Rite of Acceptance, we have all the candiates and catachumens stand in front for the prayers but those that are baptized Catholic stay in Mass while everyone else is dismissed and then we all join together for an hour or so after Mass depending on the topic.

We used to dismiss everyone but after a lengthy discussion about this Monsignor decided that we would do it the other way. A baptized Catholic’s obligation is to be at Mass and if they went to another Mass that weekend there are certainly welcome to be dismissed. I am not saying it’s right or wrong, I am just saying this is how we do it.


#15

Note that this is the Canadian Rite we are talking about. Each country has its own and the numbers often don’t correspond. Certainly when we took the course from the North American Forum on the Catechumenate we were told that they shouldn’t be dismissed and that they shouldn’t be received at the Vigil but that Conferences of Bishops set their own rules.


#16

God is clearly presented as our “Father”.

When I went through RCIA, someone was making a comment and said “He” when referring to God. The leader of the RCIA team, a sister, spoke up with a smile and said “or She”.

During this same RCIA cycle, another sister presented a session on Centering Prayer, which is controversial and probably should not be part of an RCIA program.

Presentations given during RCIA imply Church endorsement. The instruction should conform to established and approved doctrine. It’s unfortunate when catechists, especilly the religious, appear to be in need of catechesis themselves. People who are making the effort to go through RCIA deserve to receive a solid footing to grow from.


#17

I agree. There are so many richer alternatives to centering prayer. We have Lectio Divina, we have Ignatian prayer, we have the Divine Office, we have the Rosary, we have Adoration - all of which are far richer in every way than centering prayer. It seems crazy to me that we borrow cheap shallow stuff from other religions, but leave our own rich treasures untouched.

It’s like a housewife who owns beautiful, expensive china borrowing tupperware from her neighbor to serve the Thanksgiving dinner. :shrug:


#18

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