Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The pitfalls of RCIA

~Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP has a post on the RCIA process and the pitfalls that an inquirer might face with parish RCIA programs. Perhaps the most common is the "faith sharing" focus that some programs have.
But RCIA is meant to be an introduction to the CATHOLIC faith not a year-long process of sharing feelings, impressions, and opinions about bullet-point theology and ecclesial politics. Many converts are left with the impression that the Catholic faith is simply a matter of joining a parish, signing up for duty as communion ministers, and occasionally going to Mass on Sunday. When the emphasis is placed on the subjective experience of the individual, the whole of the faith is lost in personal reflection and opinion. The strongest/weakest link in any RCIA program is the dedication of the teachers to the magisterium of the Church. Often these teachers are reluctant to present the more controversial elements of the faith for fear of being confronted by disagreement or disparagement. Tough. Teach the faith or find another ministry in the parish. [emphasis mine]
Fr. Powell has a three-year formation plan that you may view here. First year is Scripture and Patristics. Second year is the Medieval Period. Third year is Trent, Vatican I & II. So if you are in an RCIA program where the subjective reigns and are starving for something more substantive, do check out Fr. Powell's three-year plan. Actually, it's a good plan for all of us. We don't stop growing in our faith once we've completed the RCIA requirements. In addition, even cradle Catholics need to grow out of the ten-year-old's understanding of God and the Church. The book list is essential for any Catholic's library. Check it out.

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