Questions from Pope Benedict for RCIA Teams

9 thoughts on “Questions from Pope Benedict for RCIA Teams”

  1. The idea of “sound teaching” always catches my attention. I’m pretty sure what “unsound teaching” is. Sound teaching is a little hard to figure. One thing I’m pretty certain of. It can’t be found in books. Or not only in books. People today learn by watching and doing. The catechumens have to see me doing gospel things and, then they have to imitate me doing it. (And not just me, thank God. The whole community is their witness.)

  2. Very thought-provoking questions. Not only trying to figure out what sound teaching is but “doing gospel things” and your examples are what we all encounter. We evangelize by actions and do they speak louder than the words we put forth? We are called to wear our faith on our sleeves. One thing I would add is by living our lives this way, we put forth an attractive alternative that draws others to Christ.

  3. Great topic! One challenging aspect that is raised by catechumens and sponsors is the labeling of “sound teaching” as conservative or liberal, often by the media.

    Is “sound teaching” a return to Roman Catholicism in the 18th or 19th century? If you’re a catechumen and read a Washington Post story that ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today, you might think so:

    “Traditional Catholics have been over the moon since Benedict was installed and started reviving ancient aspects of church life, including making it easier for priests to say the Latin mass and encouraging the wider use of Gregorian chants and renaissance music for worship, as opposed to contemporary spiritual genres such as jazz or gospel. They see his clothing choices as a powerful symbolic message saying one thing to a contemprorary world: The Catholic Church isn’t changing–not on clothes, and certainly not on abortion or gay marriage or priestly celibacy.”

    With this type of media coverage–on the news analysis pages, no less–it’s no wonder catechumens and Roman Catholics alike are left scratching their heads.

    I’m in complete agreement with the previous comments. The fruits of “sound teaching” are harvested when catechumens and all Roman Catholics live and act as Christ taught–to love one another.

  4. Speaking of “walking the walk”…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103544.html?hpid=topnews

    “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

    The medieval guilds were on to something when they set up the structure for training future tradesmen. Christianity is not something we can learn from a textbook, or even a lecture. We must learn by doing. Those seeking full membership in the church are the apprentices, catechists (and all the faithful, for that matter) are the journeymen. While we have grasped the basic skills of our craft, we still have much to learn from the Master!

  5. I wish I could take credit. Better minds than mine are responsible…

    “this comprehensive formation includes more than instruction: it is an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life” (GDC #67)

  6. Another Quote from B16 (At St. Patrick’s Mass)I think it is certainly germane to this topic:

    “I would like to draw your attention to a few aspects of this beautiful structure which I think can serve as a starting point for a reflection on our particular vocations within the unity of the Mystical Body.

    “The first has to do with the stained glass windows, which flood the interior with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor. Many writers — here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne — have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself. It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit. It follows that we, who live the life of grace within the Church’s communion, are called to draw all people into this mystery of light.

    “This is no easy task in a world which can tend to look at the Church, like those stained glass windows, “from the outside”: a world which deeply senses a need for spirituality, yet finds it difficult to “enter into” the mystery of the Church. Even for those of us within, the light of faith can be dimmed by routine, and the splendor of the Church obscured by the sins and weaknesses of her members. It can be dimmed too, by the obstacles encountered in a society which sometimes seems to have forgotten God and to resent even the most elementary demands of Christian morality. You, who have devoted your lives to bearing witness to the love of Christ and the building up of his Body, know from your daily contact with the world around us how tempting it is at times to give way to frustration, disappointment and even pessimism about the future. In a word, it is not always easy to see the light of the Spirit all about us, the splendor of the Risen Lord illuminating our lives and instilling renewed hope in his victory over the world (cf. Jn 16:33).”

  7. Thanks for the quote Joe. I like the very last line the best. I think we can sometimes forget the Light of Christ is everywhere, not just inside the church.

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