Standardized Testing - Needed For The Rcia?

Well, first of all, I’m not really sure if this topic belongs under “Traditional Catholicism”, but it really doesn’t belong anywhere else either.

Anyway, the question is:

Does the Church need some sort of “standardized test” to determine if RCIA candidates and catechumens are learning what they should to make themselves strong Catholics?

I can see how a “test” would really devalue the entrance into the Faith, but, then again, I can see how the RICA program already devalues entrance into the Faith…

Perhaps more strict testing is needed of the catechists? But, given the state of the Church in most places, do you really want your bishop’s staff in charge of deciding just how “strict” to get? They seem to be doing a fairly poor job as it is…

The problem is that, as nice as it would be to get more Catholics more educated about their faith, God didn’t say that only those who know so much can serve Him. You can’t deny someone Baptism or Confirmation because they don’t know enough.

Now if I were pope (which would cause quite a problem right there because I’m what’s technically known as a “woman” :rolleyes: ), I’d be going around everywhere telling people “You don’t know enough about your faith! Do you even care about God? Get out and don’t come back until you know something!” But this is another good reason why I will never be pope.

We have to love our more ignorant brothers and sisters. They’re in a younger stage of their faith, but God works with all of us where we are. And there are probably people way smarter than me who I annoy with my ignorance. But I doubt it. :cool:

:getholy: :heart:

What you ask here can be applied to the entire educational system process. We are losing teachers most qualified to teach. And that applies to almost every subject. What’s the solution? Make parents better teachers perhaps? I don’t know but I’d enjoy hearing some responses to your post.

I think that what’s needed (and speaking as an RCIA candidate last year!) is to emphasize that you cannot learn your faith in 1 hour a week for 6 months, or even 1 hour a week for the rest of your life. Emphasize that, if you really want to be a good Catholic, study the Catechism, find a spiritual author like Scott Hahn, and an educator like Fr. Corapi, and read, pray ,read, pray, read, pray, read some more, pray some more, get involved in your parish. In the year I’ve been a Catholic, I’ve found great listening here at CA, great authors, great books, and not only that, I’ve begun to lector (did my first reading this past Sunday), cooked for our pastor, helped him move into his new rectory, done some landscaping on the parish grounds, attended fund raisers, haven’t missed a daily mass in nearly 1 1/2 years, made friends with at least 50 people, 10 of whom are good friends, joined two groups (Santo Nino de Cebu and San Lorenzo Ruiz, hosted the Santo Nino in our home for a week. For Lent, we’re listening to the complete 48 episodes of Fr. Corapi’s Teachings of Christ. I’ve got a library that includes 3 Scott Hahn books, Catholicism for Dummies, Catholic Encyclopedia, St Jeromes New Bible Commentary, and the list goes on.

Being in RCIA is just the first step in your journey home. Baptism and Confirmation are just the beginning. If RCIA teaches the basics, and suggests places to start such as above, it’s done it’s job.

Catechists should prove that they know the teachings of the Church in all of the different areas. History, Sacraments, Mass, Moral, Fathers, Scriptures, etc.

I guess a good parallelism for this would be US citizenship… An “alien” must pass a test showing they know how the country works. Ones born here MAY have to pass a similar test to advance in school, but are never required to relinquish their citizenship should they fail. The the cradle Catholics are in by birthright…

There of course should be basic understanding and knowledge of what you are doing with the sacraments.But a test? Lie Detectors, too?

But this is all a journey. Some will take longer than others to “get there.” I suppose we could make people wait through 4, 5 10 years of intense study before allowing them to join the church. That should prove it, shouldn’t it?

Then I guess after a while, if there is a minimum to get in, we should have tests like a driver’s license and renew your ability to stay Catholic…And like moving violations… too many sins and you have to reapply!

As you can tell, I take exception to “testing” an RCIA candidate just in case she/he may be an “inferior” Catholic. Bring them in. Love them. Have patience. Inform, don’t nag. Be a role model. It’s been great for me.

I think the above is what is needed…at my parish (St. Joseph’s in Modesto) we are very strict with our requirements for Catechists. The group goes back to Stubbenville once a year, uses the AMC manuals, meets once a month, submist lesson plans, etc etc etc. I, myself, am also a Marian Catechist and that is valued on our RCIA Team. But let me tell you something that jus broke my heart…I went to a ‘networking’ day for our Diocese to meet with other Catechists and the Master Catechists for our Diocese. I was subjected to a prayer aerobics (their term, not mine) that wanted me to touch ‘mother earth’ and open my ‘arms to the cosmos’ (I just kept praying). I listened to a man who has been a convert for 3 years tell us all not to fill our catechumates and candidates with ‘facts’ (he didn’t tell us which ones to leave out). The MASTER Catechist said that no one should tell anyone who is living with someone outside of marriage that they cannot receive the Sacraments…“The Church never requires anyone to be celibate” he told me when I questioned him.

“When did that change?”, I asked him. “My Church tells me that, as an unmarried woman, I am to live a chaste and celibate life.”

He refused to answer me and walked away.

I won’t stop being a member of the team, because St.Joseph’s is a orthodox parish, loyal to the Pope and the Magisterium. However, I felt just depressed after that networking day.

OK, define “strong” Catholic. snort Over in the TraditionaL Catholicism forum, somebody ran a test on the Baltimore Catechism. I got 100% correct on the test. I do not have a copy of the baltimore Catechisn. I do have, and read, the CCC. I know more about the Catechism then my RCIA instructors.

But in defiance of what the USCCB wanted, I am forced to be taught with the Catecumans, and to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil.

No problem. In this day and age of the internet, anyone who wants to keep up with the Catechiam and the daily scripture readings can do so. I choose to do so. We don’t need tests. We need motivation. (OPINION)

Good for you! You are an inspiration.

And some training in adult education!

while it is conceivably useful to test the doctrinal knowledge of those in an RCIA program (or Confirmation, or any CCD program) whether it is useful is debatable. RCIA is about conversion and I don’t know how a standardized test would measure that. Doctrinal knowledge alone, even with 100% on a test, does not equate to conversion of heart or readiness for sacraments.

It is about Conversion, yes. It is about prayer and Faith. It is also about understanding and one cannot understand without knowledge. Somehow we need to measure our skill at imparting knowledge and their understanding of it. If we measure only “Conversion” results are not good long term. When in many RCIA processes 60 or 70 percent of those received or Initiated are no longer attending Sunday Mass two years later! In some RCIA processes that figure is only 10%, yes.

The sponsors are called to attest to the readiness of their candidates / catechumens for reception in the Church. I realize that’s not a test of knowledge. I wonder if any sponsors ever say “no” when asked to affirm the readiness of their sponsored person?

The time to say NO is when the Sponsor interviews with the Team or Pastor generally about two months before Reception or Easter. The Candidate/Catechumen should interview alone and the Sponsor should interview alone.

we interview the candidates well before the rite of Election, with catechists, deacon, sponsors (and parents of children) present. Yes there are time when the candidate himself does not feel ready, or when the parents agree with us that the child is not ready. Doctrinal knowledge however is usually not a factor in this decision, except in the case of an adult who still has a serious issue with some critical point of doctrine. In the case of children in is usually a rebellious youth of middle grades or above who has been attending RCIA at the insistence of parents, and clearly states he does not want the sacraments, has no intention of practicing the faith. In that case we cannot bring this youth to the sacraments. The catechumen should not go the rite of election without the expectation of receiving the sacraments at Easter.\

as catechists, DREs etc. we cannot impose any requirements with regard to sacramental preparation that are not provided in canon law, and in the RCIA rites themselves. Since a standardized test is not provided, we are not free to impose it. What I can do, is test catechists, which to my mind is much more critical. I am compelled to point out that an exhaustive knowledge of doctrine is not a requirement for baptism. What is required is enough understanding of the elements of the Creed to make an informed profession of faith for confirmation, and understanding of the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread and wine and sincere desire to receive Jesus through the sacraments.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit