Switch to another RCIA program?

Hi,

I am currently in RCIA. I have attended every class since the program started a couple of months ago.

The problem is those classes are not helpful and often quite alienating. The person teaching the class a) focuses much of the class on a single moral issue, b) spends much of the time criticizing Protestantism, “rebellion” against the church, and how other parishes aren’t doing things correctly as opposed to discussing what Catholicism believes, and c) worst of all in my opinion, will give (at best) the briefest of answers to questions either in class or by email, and then tell the questioner to not ask anymore because “all will be answered” or “it’s not relevant”. The guy is abrasive in how he deals with questions.

The substantial majority of the class is already Catholic/heavily familiar with Catholicism, and I think that influences the focus, but us potential catechumens are out in the cold. I’m learning from the book and online, but I would like to have a teacher who will be helpful.

My question is this: is it too late/considered unacceptable to try another parish? As I said, I’ve been to every class and I’ve kept up with the reading so it’s not like I’ve not been “doing my homework.” I feel as though it’s “quitting” but I think attending these classes in this parish is actually detrimental at this point as it’s just increasingly frustrating.

Try another Parish. The teacher seems to be out-of-touch with what Catholicism is really all about.

Have you tried speaking to an RCIA team member, the RCIA director, or the Pastor of the parish? If not, I would suggest that is the appropriate first choice. Part of being charitable in the Catholic tradition is having the courage to speak what one believes to be the truth, even a truth they may not want to hear. If other persons going through the process with you feel the same way, that could be a big help if they are willing to state their opinions with you rather than you being a lone ranger.

If you have tried that and gotten nowhere, I suggest speaking to the Pastor of another parish close by to see if you can switch.

Peace,

It is absolutely not unacceptable to try another parish. Please do not have your faith journey be tarnished by this experience. I remember my RCIA classes so fondly and my fellow catechumens were so “bonded” by the Easter Vigil we were bereft at the thought of not spending this special time together.

As a member of my parish’s RCIA team I cringed at your description of your classes. We stress that questions are welcome and we want all of our catechumens and candidates to feel confident in our sincere desire to answer them correctly and thoroughly.

In fairness to your fellow class members and future class members, if you are willing to do so, it would be a positive act to thoughtfully and diplomatically let the RCIA leader know about your concerns. It may very well be that with a tight schedule the RCIA leader is more focused on pushing through the material than in making this faith journey a true opportunity to learn about the heart of our Catholic faith. If you are reluctant to confront him about this, please let the priest know about your concerns. Sometimes being part of the RCIA team is simply not the best place for that person, no matter how sincere their desire to share their faith.

Best wishes for you and your future Tiber swim! Mine was in 2005 and I remember it with great joy.
Lisa A

Same here. My experience just last year with RCIA was incredible. I hate to hear of someone having a bad experience since mine was so great.

Peace,

I wouldn’t stick around in that program. It sounds awful. I’m sure you want to get the most you can out of RCIA, and it sounds like this program just isn’t cutting it. Your instructor should be answering questions and shouldn’t be criticizing other religions. I can understand why he might spend a long time on moral questions, but overall, he sounds bad.

Good luck.

A horrible introduction :frowning: Whether you decide to stick it out, or to find a better program, there is a book that will greatly help you now, and for some time to come. It is called Catholicism for Dummies and is written in an easily understood stlye, by two very well qualified Priests. I learn something each time I look through it.

Thanks all. I’ll probably stick it out with this parish for RCIA. I’ve met a couple of people in the class who I like.

Criticizing other religions to me is OK…when it doesn’t take over a substantial chunk of class :frowning: .

Maybe drop a little note to the teacher, as the class is intended to be positive in nature, and not judgmental. It should contrast rather than condemn. The truth sells itself - if we allow it to.

Think about getting a copy of Catholicism for Dummies - it will be a great help.

To me it sounds like he is teaching an apologetics course (defense of the faith), not an RCIA course (here’s what the faith is all about). Of course there is overlap between the two kinds of classes, but from what you describe, your course isn’t fulfilling it’s intended purpose. It would be a shame for you to quit, have to start over elsewhere and delay your entrance into the church.

I’d speak up. If nothing else, he’s missing out on a volutneer opportunity that may be more to his liking --as an apologetics teacher, not RCIA teacher. If he can’t or won’t change his approach, then I’d explore switching classes.

Definitely agree with both suggestions. We have to speak the truth in love. It may be that the instructor is unaware of how certain extraneous discussions take up too much of your time and don’t allow for questions or followup which IMO are very important.

Catholicism for Dummies was recommended by the head of the RCIA program at another parish. It looks very valuable and was very helpful to a friend who’s going through the process and coming from an evangelical background.

Best wishes for your faith journey!
Lisa

If you feel this way, you are probably not alone. Would you feel comfortable asking the education director or parish priest about this? The team that taught our class shared giving the lessons, & I never recall any lesson that were discussions on why other churches were wrong. There was maybe one lecture that got a little “political” on social justice, but the guy who gave it, I thought, didn’t realize he was coming across in that way.
If you like the parish, then maybe sticking it out is good. It is so strange to me that there is such variation. I recommend getting the big green catechism book as a reference.
This is an exciting time for you!

You may want to consider taking your new-found friends with you to your new class. My experience with the church has been that they are open to working with an individual who is interested in joining the faith. You may be able to switch classes without interrupting your faith path. In short, you may be able to continue the class in another parish. Sort of like transferring to another class during the college semester.

I think you should stick with the class. I think he is doing a good job. He loves the Faith and is trying to teach others to do the same. what you dont want is someone who doesnt teach teh Faith and water down most of it. be patient all will come to you in due time. I know you want answers now, but the teachings take time. It is a lot to learn and you must exercise patience. God bless

My situation was the opposite- I only needed confirmation and was put in catechumen classes. I went through three programs trying to find a teacher who would put up with my background and questions. Learning about the faith is supposed to be fun, and it really can be, if you find the right place. The program I ended up in was well worth all the frustration, and the wait solidified my desire to become a catechist (which was maybe the Plan all along). I’d switch, if possible. Get your questions answered- the basics aren’t things to fool around with. What are you using as a text?

“My situation was the opposite- I only needed confirmation and was put in catechumen classes. I went through three programs trying to find a teacher who would put up with my background and questions. Learning about the faith is supposed to be fun, and it really can be, if you find the right place. The program I ended up in was well worth all the frustration, and the wait solidified my desire to become a catechist (which was maybe the Plan all along). I’d switch, if possible. Get your questions answered- the basics aren’t things to fool around with. What are you using as a text?”

Thanks for the reply. We’re using The Essential Catholic Catechism, which has been a great book. I think it’s probably too late at this point for me to switch, but I’m going online and in a group outside of RCIA to try to learn. Maybe after Easter when I find a permanent parish I’ll talk to the priests there about learning what I’m not learning in class, if I still need some instruction.

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