RCIA troubles

Here is the situation: My dear wife and I have been married for just over a year and a half, and when we first got married one of the issues in our marriage was the Catholic Church. The reason for this is that she was raised Catholic, but by a “Cultural” Catholic pre-Vatican II family (her mother is 73 and she is 30).

Her parents taught her all sorts of bizarre teachings, such as “you must behave for 15 minutes after you take the Eucharist because Jesus is inside of you and he would not be pleased,” and “If you cross your legs in church, you will go to hell.” Now I know that some of this may have been used by her parents to keep her in line during church, but she also didn’t get the truth from her years in CCD either.

So, when I came into the picture she had sought God in other places, and finally in an Evangelical Church. This proved to be a great experience for her, and did ground her in the basic beliefs true to all Orthodox Christianity. When we met, and later got married, I tried to help her see that the Catholic Church held the full meaning of the Christian faith.

But there was a problem: She did not want to return to the Church of her youth because she had such trouble finding God there. I then tried to show her that the things she was taught were not in fact true Catholic teaching at all, but “made up” teachings that did not reflect the truth of the faith. This went on for over a year until about three or four months ago.

At that time, she opened up her heart again and she enrolled (unknown to me) in the RCIA program at our local parish. .

This program is run by two women in the parish and meets every Sunday after Mass. About three or four weeks ago, one of the instructors brought in a book, “Meeting Jesus for the First Time,” by Marcus Borg. If you know Borg, you know that he denies the physical/bodily Resurrection of Jesus. She mentioned this and stated that, while he does hold views that the Church does not agree with, he is nonetheless a great author and one that has influenced her greatly – even to the point of going to hear him speak in a local mainline church. She did try to cover herself by bringing out another book with a debate between Borg and N.T. Wright about the true Jesus, but this seemed only a side note.

Also, in our last meeting, the issue of evolution was brought up during a study of the Nicene Creed, and, although the Catholic Church takes no definitive stand on the issue, the instructors went on to say that most Catholics believe in evolution and that the story of Genesis is just a myth that was used to instruct our primitive ancestors about God creating the heavens and the earth. It also should be said that in previous meetings, this issue of the trustworthiness of the Old Testament was brought up and taught that most, if not all, of it is not true and just stories that relate “truths” to us.

My wife originally left the Church because she felt that she was given half-truths and misinformation, and now that her heart is open to the truth of the Catholic Church she is again given half-truths and misinformation. We have thought of informing our Archbishop, Timothy Dolan, on the issue, as well as the pastor of the church. But is this too harsh? We are going to go to another church this weekend, but my wife is also concerned for the other people in the class who don’t know they are being taught mistruths. What of them? This is not just an issue of belonging to a social club, but of people’s souls. What should we do?

My wife has a similar story as yours. She is currently in an RCIA class that is bad, to say the least. I thought of personally getting involved. Maybe you could try the same. I have the dangerous problem of pride though so I am extremely wary of getting involved.

Try another parish. Examine the way Mass is celebrated in the parishes you’re considering. Lex orandi, lex credendi, after all.

To prevent another surprise, call the RCIA coordinator and/or the pastor beforehand and explain your expectations, specifically the faithfulness to Catholic orthodoxy. Ask how documents like the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Humanae Vitae are received by the RCIA catechists. Ask what material is used in teaching classes.

Perhaps folks in this forum can suggest parishes for you to consider.

My wife and I are going to another parish this weekend. But what about the others? Should we contact our bishop? He is a very Orthodox man and should know what is going on in his archdiocese. Is our experience unique?

In the military we always followed the idea of handling the problem at the lowest level. Talk to the RCIA instructor, fully expecting them to justify their teachings. Then go to the Religious Education Director. Then the Parish priest then keep going up until you get a satisified answer. If nothing changes, KEEP GOING TO RCIA. Graduate and then volunteer to teach RCIA for the church.

In the military we always followed the idea of handling the problem at the lowest level. Talk to the RCIA instructor, fully expecting them to justify their teachings. Then go to the Religious Education Director. Then the Parish priest then keep going up until you get a satisified answer. If nothing changes, KEEP GOING TO RCIA. Graduate and then volunteer to teach RCIA for the church.

:thumbsup: I agree. Good answer. Not the easiest way, but the best way.

Graduate like I did keeping fairly quiet and remember how bad it was taught and do it right when you get your turn. That is exactly what happen with me, it only took one year for me to be in the new rcia teaching group. It is amazing how many new Catholics like I am are now helping teach rcia as we really want the true faith, soon it is going to be your turn.

The King of Heaven just happens to be on our side

John

Shouldn’t the bishop know this is going on? I was a Youth Minister/DRE in Iowa and I was amazed when discussing Catholic teaching with the Director of Youth Ministry for that Archdiocese. When we discussed teaching that we didn’t agree on (her not me) she said that when the issue came up she just didn’t focus on the things she disagreed with. To me that is the same as teaching what is false, because by not teaching one thing you disagree with and teaching another thing you agree with you are in essence misleading people. To be a instuctor in the faith is to be true to that faith. Personal opinion and picking a choosing do not belong.

Dennis,
I agree w/ you. It’s rotten to see those classes taught by people who dissent. It’s terribly unfair to the folks in the class, who count on them to teach the truth. The chain of command is a good suggestion, & if necessary, go all the way to the top.

This site amm.org/chss/chss.htm
has terrific, & orthodox courses that are free. I’ve completed them all, & in fact it was their course on the Blessed Virgin that brought me home. Deo Gratias! Check it out.

It would be really great if the U.S. Bishops would come out w/ a course that everyone followed. So far it seems to be pretty much whatever the parish people wanna use. It makes me fear for my wife & sons who want to take RCIA & come into the church too. I might get really hot w/ some weinie who chose to steer them wrong.

If there is an RCIA program that definitely not orthodox, I don’t suggest hanging in there; I have found from experience with DRE’s and other religious education or adult education people that their views are hard and fast - you are not going to persuade them to orthodoxy, they may possibly convert you to something less than orthodoxy. You may feel that by remaining there you have an influence for change, but really you are just adding to their numbers. Look for another program and parish that is orthodox. Find one that does not use the word “process” at least once in every sentence. Make sure it is influenced by the Catechism, without an overwelming emphasis on personal, psychological experiences. Pray, and I’m sure you’ll find a good program, whether it is RCIA or some other orthodox formation program.

My wife and I are going to go to another parish, but what of those left behind? Many of them are not well formed to begin with, and the only real “Catholic” influence in their lives are those who teach half-truths. One question for those interested–It was stated in our last RCIA class that most Catholics believe in evolution. Is this true? I myself don’t have a difinitive position on it, but what I do believe is that there are some major theological problems with it. For example, what do we make of original sin and the original nature of man if death reigned throughout the earth as man was “evolving” and this 'evolved" man (Adam) had as part of his nature such a violent past?

[quote=dennisknapp]My wife and I are going to go to another parish, but what of those left behind? Many of them are not well formed to begin with, and the only real “Catholic” influence in their lives are those who teach half-truths. One question for those interested–It was stated in our last RCIA class that most Catholics believe in evolution. Is this true? I myself don’t have a difinitive position on it, but what I do believe is that there are some major theological problems with it. For example, what do we make of original sin and the original nature of man if death reigned throughout the earth as man was “evolving” and this 'evolved" man (Adam) had as part of his nature such a violent past?
[/quote]

My wife and stepson are also studying in rcia in a neighboring parish. They have already told them that a lot of the old testemant is just stories, and not always the truth. Such as the story about Noah’s ark. (See another thread) This is what happens when the church allows personal opinion to prevail over church teachings. All the rcia classes should reflect official church teachings. If they don’t, find another church that does.

What of the others in the class?

I would stay if it were just me and try to counter the negative influence the teacher, but for my wife sake we have to go somewhere else. I want her to be in a environment where she will be challenged to know the truth and the one Who is the Truth, but this can’t be done at our current RCIA class.

We both are concerned for those left behind.

I believe that our bishops must be made aware of the problem and the extent of the problem. We have a very orthodox bishop and even he has been surprised by the lack of Truth in the RCIA program locally. He has had his eyes opened by those of us who make a point of reporting things that too often just get swept under the rug. He is instituting changes.

A person’s soul is too important to just sit idly by and wait for the dissidents to give up the power they wield in many RCIA classes across this country.
While you may feel it necessary and just to go elsewhere for instruction, please don’t forget about those who are left behind, perhaps unwittingly.
Those of us who know the Truth are responsible for it and must find our voices.

[quote=dennisknapp]My wife and I are going to another parish this weekend. But what about the others? Should we contact our bishop? He is a very Orthodox man and should know what is going on in his archdiocese. Is our experience unique?
[/quote]

BINGO !!! Your bishop needs to take action. Anyone who wishes to teach RCIA should be qualified, and approved by the bishop. If the teachers of the RCIA program can’t produce the credentials, then first go to the pastor of the parish, and if no results, write the bishop. He needs to know when a parish isn’t being faithful to the faith.

YES you should contact your Bishop.

And, I would suggest something other than RCIA (or if RCIA is really what she wants try another parish). If your wife has all her Sacraments, then find something either on-line (there’s lots of good info at Catholic Distance University or Catholic Exchange) or in an orthodox parish, something in adult education. If she lacks Confirmation, try going through adult confirmation classes instead.

[quote=dennisknapp]What of the others in the class?

I would stay if it were just me and try to counter the negative influence the teacher, but for my wife sake we have to go somewhere else. I want her to be in a environment where she will be challenged to know the truth and the one Who is the Truth, but this can’t be done at our current RCIA class.

We both are concerned for those left behind.
[/quote]

It is right for you to be concerned for them, but at the same time, we are only called to do what is possible for us to do. Your first priority is you and your wife – please go elsewhere, and do not hang back to “help” the others along.

Go and learn the faith correctly, and learn how to defend it against the attacks of those of the likes of Borg and the Jesus Seminar people (that’s who Borg is – one of those folks who throw marbles around to decide which passages attributed to Jesus in the Bible they will choose to believe He really said :eek: ) Thank God that your wife has you at her side, and thank God that she has listened to His grace whispering to her and is agreeing to go elsewhere!

I would guess that most of the other people in that group do not have a strong person standing by them to show them the errs they are being taught, and perhaps would not be open to finding another RCIA program even if they did have someone like you by them.

*After *your wife is on firmer ground spiritually, and especially if this is your local parish, you might return to see what you can do as a volunteer RCIA sponsor. Our local parish’s RCIA program is being transformed after a few years of orthodox people stepping up to the plate to be volunteer sponsors – now I would say that most of the sponsors are orthodox and real change is happening in the group. The RCIA leader may be stepping down soon, and chances are great that one of these fine people who braved the storm and cast out “into the deep” will take her place. It is the longer-term plan, and it will not help the current “crop” of possible converts, but it is the surer one I feel.

The one thing you might do, if you can afford it, is buy a bunch of copies of Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s book “Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching & Practice” and bring them to your wife’s group, giving a copy directly to each one of the other candidates/catechumans and telling them what a wonderful reference and conversion aid it has been for your family. :smiley: That little book is wonderfully readable for those desiring to learn the basics of the faith, if you can just get it into their hands…

+veritas+

I am an RCIA sponsor, and i would recommend going tot he parish pastor with this. We just had an RCIA candidate from a nearby parish transfer to our RCIA program. It happens often times.
So if you cannot get your pastor to help you out, maybe try other RCIA programs.

There are good ones and bad ones out there, and i cringe when one of the youth directors at our parish gives the adult RCIA lesson because she has a masters degree in pastoral ministries but really doesn’t know a thing about the bible, and she usually gives the talks on the OT and NT.
Some people who are in positions of authority just really aren’t that good or aren’t orthodox.

Thankfully, the woman who is the RCIA director at our parish is wonderful and holds to the teaching of the Church in a very pastoral way.

**We have thought of informing our Archbishop, Timothy Dolan, on the issue, as well as the pastor of the church. But is this too harsh? **

No, it is not too harsh. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, it is the right of the lay people, according to the Code of Canon Law, to report liturgical abuses (and I’m assuming other types of abuses like bad RCIA teachers) to the diocesian bishop.You should first start with the pastor though. If he does nothing, then you can report directly to the bishop.

Maybe one of the experts could find the exact quote from the Code of Canon Law, and paste it here?

It was stated in our last RCIA class that most Catholics believe in evolution. Is this true?

I’m taking John Hardon’s Marian Catechist’s Course. These courses lean toward orthodoxy and are EXCELLENT!

According to Father Hardon, Catholics are allowed to believe in evolution of the human body, but not of the soul. Catholics are allowed to believe that humans evolved from apes to a physical body capable of containng an immortal soul, the part of us made in the image and likeness of God. I presume this means that humanoids did not have immortal souls until their bodies evolved to the level of Homo Sapiens.

We are not allowed, however, to believe that the soul evolved. When existing in lower primate forms, humanoids had animal souls, which are not immortal.

We are allowed to believe in evolution as long as it does not contradict the fact that the immortal soul can only be contained in a vessel capable of supporting that soul. That is, the brain, must be one in which the higher functions of reason, logic, and free will are capable of dominating the lower brain functions of animal instinct.

What do I believe?

I am a scientist AND a Creationist. After taking a Biochemistry course in college, I came to the conclusion that there was NO WAY, no possible way that animal or plant biochemistry evolved from “fit” chance mutations. The biochemistry is simply too perfect to have evolved from chance.

If one compares the way sugars are processed in plants and animals, Calvin Cycle and Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle, respectively, one finds parallels in these systems. How can two distinct lifeforms, plants and animals, have absolutely parallel ways of processing and producing energy (ATP)? Aside from a few small chemicals, the Calvin an TCA Cycles are the same.

Not only that, but the internal workings of these cells are in parallel: mitochondria versus chloroplasts. etc…

Aside from the parallel biochemistry, if one examines the chemistry itself, one finds that the chemistry is actually delicate. Change one tiny thing … like change one protein into its enantiomer form (mirror image) then the whole energy cycle ceases to function. These biochemical systems, it seemed to me, were both delicate and strong. It’s like … the whole system of Calvin Cycle and TCA cycle is inherently impervious, impenetrable to change, for if there is change, the whole thing ceases to function, causing death to the organism.

Plus, if biological systems are inherently resistant to change, then how can they evolve, for evolution IS change!

Plus, there are HUGE problems with Darwinianism, and if you really probe the scientific community about it, many scientists out there think Darwin was full-of-it. One of the biggest problems is this: Darwinianism is based upon spontaeous chance mutations being able to reproduce, but most sponaneous mutations are sterile. (in fact, I think they ALL are, but I’m not sure). So Pop goes the theory!

The only logical explanation for the specific, beautiful, and elegant biochemistry is that someone created it … GOD! In fact, my studies of science led me to believe in the existence of God in the first place, for I was raised an Aethist.

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