Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Seeker Insensitive RC?

I just found this on onionboy's blog. I found it a super post and had to 'steal it.' I hadn't been to his blog in a while, and it's a delightful place to take a cuppa joe and pause. What do you think about this topic? I found it very interesting. I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts.


So how easy is too easy and how hard too hard for people to become Catholic as adults? I was thinking on this today as I read Making it easy at Si Fractus Fortis. An anecdotal story to illustrate:

Two of eight RCIA candidates will not be welcomed home this Easter. At Christmas they had it very,very rough and received tremendous support in acts of charity such as gifts of food, of money, of presents for their children from fellow candidates, sponsors and leaders of their parish. Kind words and prayer support was also given.

However, in the new year they began to miss more sessions than previously, including four Sacraments lessons. Leadership spoke with them all along, supporting and exhorting them but eventually had to say, sadly, sorry, but you cannot be confirmed and received this year. The door was not closed but its full opening was postponed until the couple might make the commitment to themselves and the Church that is essential to being Catholic.

Is that punitive? Hardly. Unkind? No. It is to help them be the very best Catholics they can be. It is to affirm the truths of teaching and practice in the Catholic Church, the local church and the Universal Church. I pastored seeker-sensitive and the last thing I want is to see the RC go down that road, though at times, with liberal priests and wacky celebrants I wonder what is going on in some corners of the universal Church.

This precious couple (precious souls for whom Jesus' Mercy flows) now attend an Eastern Orthodox church nearby. Statement of this simple fact in no way implies anything disparaging of our Eastern Rite brothers and sisters. I know very little about how they bring people into their church. I am sure they are not in the least capricious and my suspicion is that they are not aware of the full story. At least, I hope that is so.

Sadly what is being expressed by the couple is that the Catholic, meaning Roman Catholic, Church makes it too hard for people to join and that this particular parish was not welcoming. And what of their sponsors? Those people deeply invested in their candidates and have a sense of loss even as they may agree that the couple was not ready to become Catholic. Could it not be argued that the couple has not treated well the people who showed such love and care for them? I wonder how those people can be tossed off.

Nine months is not an easy commitment for anyone to make and keep and that includes all the people it takes to help one soul into the Church. But nine months is not long when one looks with the eyes of eternity.

As for me, I am glad the RC is not 'easy' on bringing people in and will be so bold as to add that one day in the not too distant future we may well be looking at a remnant Church that many will take for dead...but they will be wrong.



Tiber Jumper said...

The RCIA period can be considered a time of discernment for some and a cheap and quick decison to become Catholic can't be made, which is good. In the early days of the Church, it took 3 years to come in, and that was when they were killing Christians for their beliefs.
Being Catholic and living "the Catholic Life" is a great blessing but certainly shouldn't be jumped into. The Church welcomes all, but protects them too making sure they understand what they are getting into.
Sadly at our RCIA class three years ago, there is only one or two out of 10 that still come to Church regularly. My fear is that we don't do enough to keep them once their in!

Joyful Catholics said...

I concur, TJ.

That's what RECON's about. And that's why your SEEKERS group and other groups are starting, to help the seekers and hopefully new converts come in and stay.

"Come on in, the water's fine!" but remember, it's always clearest closest to the "SOURCE." I know the Holy Spirit never led us out of the CC back in the 80's, for He'd never take the Children of Holy Mother Church out of Her safety. Thankfully and we're so very thankful, He kept us from going completely adrift and into a whirlpool.