Saturday, March 15, 2008

RCIA in a dissenting parish – Heterodoxy, and Heresy, and, High jinks Oh My!!

Hubby had always wanted to be Catholic. As a child, he had gone to Mass a few times with his Nonny when he visited Arkansas in the summers. His Mother claims that Nonny had him baptized in the Church as a baby, but the Little Rock Archdiocese has no records of that.

I was not so keen on the idea. The 70s style Kumbaya catechism I received as a child did nothing to teach me the faith. When I was post 9/11 church shopping I didn’t even consider the Catholic Church. We were taught in strict Kumbaya tradition that all religions were basically alike so what difference would it make to go to the Catholic Church?

When I began to recognize the sacraments, the whole structure of the Church, the fullness of the faith in scripture I realized that if the Church is not what Jesus says she is then he must not be who he says he is. Because I accept Jesus’ claim that he is God, I accept his claim that the church is his body. Because I trust Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary for my salvation, I place my trust in the Holy Spirit to guide the Church, and I trust Jesus’ promise to be with us until the end of the age. Home to Rome meant RCIA for Hubby, convalidation of our 14 year marriage, and confession for me. Jesus made it so easy for me to come home and I am so grateful.

Babe in the woods that I was, shocked to discover the truths of the Catholic faith, I was even more shocked to find them attacked from within the Church. The Protestant jabs at the Church got me asking questions about Catholic teaching, Catholic heretics got me asking questions about what the heck is going on here.

My town is a tale of two parishes, one Heterodox, and the other Roman Catholic. We, knowing nothing of the state of American Catholicism, chose the heterodox parish. It was shocking. We went from a solidly Christian Evangelical church, with a healthy fear of the Lord to RCIA where we were taught that Mary may not have been a virgin and that it’s OK to take communion outside the Catholic Church. Which begs the question why be Catholic at all, I’m sure if this is where we had started our journey back to the Lord, in this RCIA, we may have stopped right there. Kumbaya catechism does not inspire one to sainthood. We had a nice social club at the Evangelical church, why be Catholic? It’s harder work, not as friendly, lot of cotton tops, Clergy who are all over the place doctrinally, laity who are ignorant and confused cafeteria Catholics often simply because they don’t know any better. Kumbaya catechism does not inspire period.

Why be Catholic? Well as Peter Kreft says, it’s the truth. Because even amidst all the dissent and heterodoxy, and heresy the truth lives, because he who is truth is there. Even when a priest tells you to take a hike when you ask him to pray the Creed on Sundays you can check out the GIRM and see that, yes Annie, the Creed is required. Even when nuns tell you that some of Joseph’s “matter” may have impregnated Our Lady, you can look up the Church’s official teaching in the Catechism and see that Sister is wrong. The deposit of faith is available to anyone who cares to look it up.

Through the RCIA extravaganza I learned that the Church has fought heresy in every age, it’s nothing new. In every age Christ has raised up great Saints to strengthen his Church. And so he has and will continue to do so in our age. He will raise up saints in our midst clergy and laity who love the Lord and are faithful to him. Look at Mother Angelica as one super obvious example. Hubby and I received much of our formation during the RCIA process from EWTN and continue to do so today.

Lord teach us to pray for our Priests, Bishops, and all religious, that they may teach us in your ways fearlessly, clinging to you, hanging on your every word, speaking only as you instruct them. Lord send forth your spirit and we shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth. We put all out trust in you, in your name, in the Holy Name of Jesus. Amen.

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