26 May 2018

Chevalier Charles Coulombe on the Origins of RCIA (and My Personal Observations on It)

Whilst the Chevalier is undoubtedly correct about the origins of the modern Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and may indeed be correct that the Rite will continue to exist, unless major changes are made in how it is used in many Parishes it will be worse than useless.

I escaped it when I was received into the Church. The Pastor of the Parish in which I was received considered it modernist claptrap and refused to use it. However, a few years later, I went through it in all its heretical glory when I was asked to stand Sponsor to a new convert.

The program was an interparochial one, 'facilitated' by the Pastors of the two Parishes and a modernist nun. It was just run-of-the-mill, feel good, generic, indifferentist Christianity that was presented. Whenever someone asked a question about a specifically Catholic doctrine, invocation of the Saints or indulgences, for example, the response was always, 'that's not important' or 'we'll get to that later' (which never seemed to actually happen).

After each session a group of Catechumens and their Sponsors would go out for coffee. One night, a friend of mine, another Sponsor, who knew that I had originally been a Methodist heretic, turned to me and said, 'You know, Jovan, I've heard this all before and presented better, in Methodist Sunday School'.

I knew one person who went through the program and received the First Sacraments. Later she moved to a Diocese where the Catholic Faith was actually taught. She left the Church, saying that had she actually known what the Church taught, she would never have joined!

The person I was sponsoring had been a stranger to me. He knew no Catholics well enough to ask anyone to be his Sponsor, so I had volunteered. On Holy Saturday Night as we sat in the Church basement waiting to process in, we were chatting. It came out in conversation that he was in a 'second marriage'. Now, I don't know the circumstances of either union. I don't know if the first was invalid and the second an actually subsisting marriage, or if the first was valid and he was living in adultery. What was frightening was that marriage law had not been touched upon in the program, and no one in authority had thought to ask about the marital status of the converts, at least of the man I was sponsoring!

A few years later, I had a good friend go through RCIA in the same Parish. It was 'facilitated' by a laywoman. One night the facilitator told her she was a 'heretic according to Vatican II'. The next session, she brought her copy of the Documents of Vatican II and showed the facilitator the verbatim passage that supported her belief. The response? She was informed by the Pastor that she should find another Parish in which to be received, one where she might 'feel more comfortable'. In other words, if she wanted a Catholic formation, go elsewhere!

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