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Catholic FHC question


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#51 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:10 AM

That really is not their reason. They do work crazy hours, often weekends, and they send him to Catholic school so he has a chance to go to Mass. They are not rich people so this school is a sacrifice for them. They are not Catholic but want to do RCIA but can't commit to the crazy number of weeknight classes.


Wait!!

Neither of the child's parents are actually catholic? Is this correct?

If I'm right then the following likely applies. If not, disregard.

No, the child will likely not get FHC. Nor should s/he. It would likely be harmful to his future faith development and is usually not done unless a child is near death. Just attending a catholic school does not confer any rights to non Catholics to the sacraments. He will not be the only child to not receive FHC. Pending the school, anywhere from 10-80% of the students are likely not catholic and thus not getting FHC either.

It took me years to get through RCIA due to life conflicts but my kids couldn't receive sacraments until I did. Not even baptism. When I finished RCIA and officially entered the church, all my five kids at the time entered via baptism. The following week my oldest received FHC.

They should have spoken to their priest over a year ago at least about their situation and how to remedy this. But if they never attend church themselves, they are going to have a difficult time convincing him of their ardent desire to join and their understanding of the faith.
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#52 wintermom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:20 AM

The church we attend have a FHC preparation program that involves the child and their parents. If the parents complete the program together with their child, then they can receive FHC. There are special activities/meetings as well as a curriculum. It goes way beyond simply attending Sunday mass.

 

For this family in particular, I think that the family needs to work together with the parish priest to come up with a solution. The church would want to support this family in bringing their child into full communion with the church, but every family has different circumstances. Legalism and rigid rules should not get in the way of a child receiving communion and the religious education that goes along with it.


Edited by wintermom, 18 May 2017 - 09:26 AM.

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#53 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:23 AM

The child will be in second grade next year.

I just think it is nuts to punish a young family with a checkered past who are doing the best they know how. They don't understand it yet. Telling them that they MUST go to Mass every Sunday is like me telling you you MUST wash your car at midnight every Thursday. Huh? Why?
Could they try harder to get to Mass? Sure.
I talked to one of our more well-to-do families after Easter last year. They had a great Easter! They went to the local mega church for "Mass" (she called it that) because they had a bounce castle for the kids. Not kidding!! No one batted an eye at her daughter making FHC.


If they don't understand it yet, then they aren't ready to convert to the Catholic faith yet either. And if that's the case, then it would be wise of the priest to not allow such.

This is not a competition of comparison.

A catholic practicing Catholicism badly is no reason to perpetuate such as the standard for being catholic in the first place.

From the other side of this coin, how much of a hardship can it possibly be for them to not have their child do FHC when they never go to church anyways? It can't be that big a deal to not do something they already never do anyways.
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#54 RootAnn

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:36 AM

Yes! They are very young in their spiritual journey. They are doing everything they know how to do. I imagine they have no clue what a mortal sin is. To them, weekly school Mass is the best they can do.

What are the chances that this kid will later seek out the sacraments?? Near zero, I'd guess. And missing Sunday Mass is not his fault.

 

One of the parts of the Catholic faith is Sunday (or Saturday night, when Sunday isn't possible) Mass. That's one of the Precepts of the Church. Some baptised Catholics don't know this. Some don't follow it. That doesn't make it any less wrong (from a Catholic perspective) to be lax about.

 

IMO, the Church/School needs to help the parents & child understand why they aren't allowing the child to receive Penance/Holy Communion. It will go along way toward the family understanding Catholic doctrine and help the parish understand the needs of this family. If the family understood that to be Catholic is to go to Mass on Sunday (or Sat night if their work schedules absolutely don't allow them to go on Sunday), they might be able to go more often.

 

I do understand crazy work schedules. My DH works rotating shifts (day/night & different days of the week depending on the week). There are always at least two weekends out of five (and sometimes more) that he can't make Mass without jeopardizing the health & safety of the public. Because he can't go, it isn't a mortal sin. The rest of us still go without him & he does go when he is able to. It is just that important. 



#55 barnwife

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:36 AM

I don't think it is right.  The religious Ed teacher should not be withholding the Eucharist because the parents aren't helping him fulfill his Sunday obligation.  At such a young age he can not be held responsible for not fulfilling it so he is still in good standing with the Church and should be able to receive his first communion.  This sounds like a bullying tactic to force the parents to take him to Mass.  While I think he should be taken to Mass, I think they are wrong to punish him for his parents' mistakes.  If I were his family I would take this issue up with the pastor of the parish.

 

How do they even know he doesn't go to Mass on Sunday?

 

This is where our current DRE falls on the spectrum. 

Here's the question: Does the child have a serious reason for not attending Mass? If he wants to go and nobody will take him, then it's not his sin and he ought to be admitted to communion. You cannot hold the sin of the parents against the child. If he has no desire to attend Mass regularly either, then he really is not in the correct mindset for communion. To be prepared properly for communion, at least the child ought to know that missing Sunday Mass without a grave reason is a mortal sin.

Canon 912: Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.

914: It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion.


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The canon law quoted above seems to support that view imo.
 

Another thought.

My diocese requires TWO years of RE classes before FHC. If the child just started at the school he'd only have 1 and would therefore be out of phase.

That may be the requirement on paper, but they can't really enforce that. Parents are a child's first, most important teachers. Technically, parents can do all religious ed, including sacrament prep, at home. As far as I know, every case where a diocese has tried to say no to parent HS sacrament prep which has then been appealed all the way to the Vatican has been decided in favor of the parents. So, any child who enters a school in such a system shouldn't be denied a sacrament.


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#56 HTRMom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:49 AM

This is where our current DRE falls on the spectrum.

The canon law quoted above seems to support that view imo.

That may be the requirement on paper, but they can't really enforce that. Parents are a child's first, most important teachers. Technically, parents can do all religious ed, including sacrament prep, at home. As far as I know, every case where a diocese has tried to say no to parent HS sacrament prep which has then been appealed all the way to the Vatican has been decided in favor of the parents. So, any child who enters a school in such a system shouldn't be denied a sacrament.


True, but when the parents aren't even Catholic, you shouldn't trust them for any part of his faith formation without a specific knowledge that they're using a CCD book or something. I suppose his teacher could just do an informal oral test to decide whether he understands the basics of the faith (who is Jesus? What is the Church?) and understands what holy communion is, and how one ought to receive it. She should probably do that for all the kids, regardless of who their parents are.

I just can't decide what I think about this. Can a child who is not living a Catholic life (no Sunday Mass means no Catholic life) and has no Catholic parents or relatives really be properly disposed to be further initiated into the Catholic Church? Children whose parents are not Catholic only receive the sacraments in exceptional situations. It seems like it might be better to wait a year or two until the whole family is prepared to actually join and participate in the Church, rather than rush things so that he's included with his class.
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#57 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:51 AM

True, but when the parents aren't even Catholic, you shouldn't trust them for any part of his faith formation without a specific knowledge that they're using a CCD book or something. I suppose his teacher could just do an informal oral test to decide whether he understands the basics of the faith (who is Jesus? What is the Church?) and understands what holy communion is, and how one ought to receive it. She should probably do that for all the kids, regardless of who their parents are.

I just can't decide what I think about this. Can a child who is not living a Catholic life (no Sunday Mass means no Catholic life) and has no Catholic parents or relatives really be properly disposed to be further initiated into the Catholic Church? Children whose parents are not Catholic only receive the sacraments in exceptional situations. It seems like it might be better to wait a year or two until the whole family is prepared to actually join and participate in the Church, rather than rush things so that he's included with his class.

 

:iagree:

 

And like I said upthread, what if the parents don't even send him to Catholic school in the future? And what if they never get around to their RCIA classes?



#58 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:09 PM

Aren't the parents cradle Catholics?  I interpreted their having baptized him that way.

 

If he is going to Catholic school, he's probably getting a better religious education than many cradle Catholic adults have had, ironically enough.  When my daughter when to a Catholic high school, there were lots of kids who were considered Catholic but had never been to church regularly, although most of them were baptized.  They didn't even know the liturgy or the stories of Easter and Christmas.  They knew less than this child probably does about their faith.  The school had a special religion track to prepare them for confirmation, if they so desired.  It was nice to see several dozen of them get confirmed together toward the end of the school year.

 

It's a difficult situation for sure.



#59 ktgrok

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:12 PM

And what I'm just catching on to is the child isn't even eligible until NEXT year, right? So the school is telling the parents now, a year in advance, "hey, you need to get your kids to Mass on Sundays this year, if you want him to receive FHC with his classmates, a year from now."  

 

That seems reasonable! They are giving them warning, and telling them what they need to do. Attend Mass as often as you can,bringing the child. This is your warning. If the parents say, "No, we are too tired, Mass isn't important enough, we don't want to go and we aren't going to take the child" well, sounds like being Catholic isn't important. 


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#60 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:20 PM

Aren't the parents cradle Catholics?  I interpreted their having baptized him that way.

 

If he is going to Catholic school, he's probably getting a better religious education than many cradle Catholic adults have had, ironically enough.  When my daughter when to a Catholic high school, there were lots of kids who were considered Catholic but had never been to church regularly, although most of them were baptized.  They didn't even know the liturgy or the stories of Easter and Christmas.  They knew less than this child probably does about their faith.  The school had a special religion track to prepare them for confirmation, if they so desired.  It was nice to see several dozen of them get confirmed together toward the end of the school year.

 

It's a difficult situation for sure.

 

Neither of the parents is Catholic. I don't know what religion they are. It's implied in this thread he was baptized Catholic but I'm not even certain of that. He might have been baptized another faith and thus not have Catholic godparents.
 


Edited by heartlikealion, 18 May 2017 - 12:20 PM.


#61 RootAnn

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:24 PM

If he is going to Catholic school, he's probably getting a better religious education than many cradle Catholic adults have had, ironically enough. 

 

While I agree that many cradle Catholics are ill-informed about their faith, some (most?) Catholic schools aren't helping this situation. I'm a cradle Catholic who went to a Catholic grade school. My mother pulled me from that school specifically because they WEREN'T teaching the faith. (Well, they were mis-teaching some aspects & completely leaving out others.) Anecdotally, most cradle Catholics I know who attended Catholic schools don't really know the tenets of the faith.

 

CCD in my parish doesn't have time to teach much, either, and is considered "free babysitting" so the parents can have a quiet dinner out together or get errands run without kids in tow.

 

I think the parish priest should sit down & have a talk with the family ASAP, listening twice as much as he talks. It could be the first of many such meetings over time to help the family with their understanding of Catholicism and serve as the first part of education needed to join the Church if they so desire.


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#62 RootAnn

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:29 PM

Yes because weekday Mass is not a substitute for weekend Mass. Sunday (or Saturday vigil) is an obligation. If you miss weekend Mass it's considered a mortal sin unless there's a reason like illness. Actually even travel is considered an excuse but I try not to be too loose with that. If I know I'm traveling I look up Masses on masstimes.org.

 

I wanted to chime in on this a bit. In order for an act (or omission) to be a mortal sin, it has to be serious (as missing Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation is), the person has to know it is serious (which the parents might not & the kid may or may not, depending on the religious education he is receiving), and they must do it (or not do it, in the case of an omission) anyway.

 

In this case, the child is probably not committing a mortal sin, only venial (and some may debate that), because there may be no way for him or her to make it to Mass without the parent's support. The parents, since they are not Catholic, probably don't understand this very important tenet of the faith. They are not yet Catholic, and thus are also not committing a mortal sin in missing Sunday Mass.


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#63 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:51 PM

I wanted to chime in on this a bit. In order for an act (or omission) to be a mortal sin, it has to be serious (as missing Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation is), the person has to know it is serious (which the parents might not & the kid may or may not, depending on the religious education he is receiving), and they must do it (or not do it, in the case of an omission) anyway.

 

In this case, the child is probably not committing a mortal sin, only venial (and some may debate that), because there may be no way for him or her to make it to Mass without the parent's support. The parents, since they are not Catholic, probably don't understand this very important tenet of the faith. They are not yet Catholic, and thus are also not committing a mortal sin in missing Sunday Mass.

 

Yeah. I didn't know at the beginning of the thread that the parents weren't even Catholic. Either way it's not the child's fault, but I see a problem with the teaching a child the importance of attending Mass only to not take him.


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#64 speedmom4

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:21 PM

I'm torn with this situation. On the one hand the Church shouldn't be handing out Sacraments like completion certificates. But the child receiving FHC could be a gateway for the parents to learn about the faith. Last year I was an employee of my parish in the Religious Education Department. The DREs are hounded by parents who want their children to receive Sacraments without the proper formation. They feel like the Church is demanding already busy families to jump through hoops. Our parish feels very strongly that a child's spiritual formation is extremely important. 

 

My husband has a very very busy career. He travels for his job and is gone more than he is home. We also have four children, one being special needs. He's one of the busiest individuals I know. He decided four years ago to convert to Catholicism and made great sacrifices to attend RCIA. There were instances he couldn't make it and the Church bent over backwards to make sure his missed classes were made up. I find it hard to believe that this family cannot, under any circumstances, attend RCIA. The Church likely will work with them individually to help. 

 

My own experience leads me to believe that the family truly doesn't understand Catholicism. They aren't Catholic but yet want their child to have FHC because the other kids and families are excited. That's not a reason to receive FHC, IMHO. 

 

I hope for their sake they sit down with the priest and truly understand the situation. 


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#65 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:40 PM

This is not a question of placing fault in a child.

This is a question of spiritual guidance.

An adult cannot enter the church without a sponsor for a reason. Faith as a catholic is hard even on he most ardent and pious. To ask anyone, especially a child, to enter into that spiritual battle knowing they will have little to no support in living it is just cruel bc usually it is spiritually damaging in the long run.

Just going to a school is not enough. It's great and good. But it does not replace having a home foundation to rest and build upon. If it were that amazing, everyone who enters catholic school would come out catholic but this is obviously not the case.

The family has a year to find a way to resolve the issue and I believe if they want to, they can do so.

If the family is talking to their child as though the child is being punished by this, then that's just another reason they aren't ready to do this. They lack even a very basic understanding of the faith required for conversion. I hope they can learn more and find more to the church. But if they aren't going to church and they aren't going through religious instruction themselves, it's simply unreasonable to expect the child to manage to do what they won't. That's not the fault of the child or the church.
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#66 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:45 PM

Can two non Catholics approach the church and ask for a Catholic baptism? Because that in itself sounds odd to me. Is this child Catholic?


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#67 wintermom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:54 PM

Yes! They are very young in their spiritual journey. They are doing everything they know how to do. I imagine they have no clue what a mortal sin is. To them, weekly school Mass is the best they can do.

What are the chances that this kid will later seek out the sacraments?? Near zero, I'd guess. And missing Sunday Mass is not his fault.

 

If you know this family, I'd encourage them to talk directly to their parish priest and see if some family RCIA education can be organized. They could all be going through this together, and receive their FHC next year at Easter Vigil. If your parish won't do this, pleasehelp them find one that will. 

 

The Catholic church and all it's lay directors should be helping people enter and stay in the church, not forcing them away. 


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#68 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:59 PM

Can two non Catholics approach the church and ask for a Catholic baptism? Because that in itself sounds odd to me. Is this child Catholic?

No. At least one parent has to be catholic and the other, if not catholic, has to agree to raising the child catholic and that's usually explained to them as including attending mass and religious instruction both at home and at church as a the base minimum.

Eta: There's a few rare exceptions. Such as death being near for the child. But it is very much not okay otherwise. A priest who did so could be reprimanded by his bishop.

Edited by Murphy101, 18 May 2017 - 02:01 PM.


#69 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:08 PM

If you know this family, I'd encourage them to talk directly to their parish priest and see if some family RCIA education can be organized. They could all be going through this together, and receive their FHC next year at Easter Vigil. If your parish won't do this, pleasehelp them find one that will.

The Catholic church and all it's lay directors should be helping people enter and stay in the church, not forcing them away.


Not getting what they want is not forcing them away. The family has choices. Anyone who thinks or expects being catholic or becoming catholic is going to be easy or even convienent should seriously reconsider. Don't get me wrong. I have my quibbles like anyone else. But this is not one of them. There's good cause for these rules that have developed over many centuries of experience with converts and despite the hardship, it really is usually with great care and concern for these souls.
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#70 Twolittleboys

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:12 PM

Hm, here it is quite different...

Only my mother was Catholic, my father Protestant and neither really attended church. Pretty sure that I only went to church with them three times in my life - for my baptism, first communion and for confirmation. We have religious education as part of regular school here (probably similar to what you would have at a Catholic school) and I took part in that but I was the only child in my grade not taking part in the special classes before first communion. Sounds pretty bad but I actually turned out much more Catholic than almost anyone else (with which I mean that I never left the church, am still pretty happy with it, and do attend church regularly).

Here very few people go regularly to mass. Even people who are fairly involved in the church don't show up every week (by far). If they made the parents' regular attendance a criteria they probably would have one or two children a year for first communion (instead of 30 or so). There is a list of special church services (maybe once a month) and other activities kids have to attend in the year leading up to first communion. Some do require parents. However, I am pretty sure they would let kids go to communion even if they missed some/ if parents missed some as long as they really wanted to.

But around here the church really can't afford losing any more members. And the idea is to get kids through communion and confirmation and hope that they will stay with the church at least somewhat (or return later).

My feelings about this are a bit mixed BUT it really is hard to predict. I am sure my priest when I was in third grade never expected that I would be one of the most frequent church goers of my class (I don't mean to imply that I am a better Catholic/Christian than others. Just speaking about attending/positive relationship to church). So on one hand I am always a bit surprisedabout all the lapsed Catholics sending their kids to first communion, but who is to say for which kids it "will take"?
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#71 Bluegoat

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:15 PM

Not getting what they want is not forcing them away. The family has choices. Anyone who thinks or expects being catholic or becoming catholic is going to be easy or even convienent should seriously reconsider. Don't get me wrong. I have my quibbles like anyone else. But this is not one of them. There's good cause for these rules that have developed over many centuries of experience with converts and despite the hardship, it really is usually with great care and concern for these souls.

 

There is something seriously wrong with making entrance into the Church a beaurocratic exersize.  I find it almost impossible to imagine a family being told they need to accomodate themselves to the parish scedual for classes and that is the only way.  That is not a Church reaching out for lost sheep nor is it reflecting the sacramental life.

 

It sounds like a parish where noone is overseeing what is going on very well.


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#72 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:52 PM

No. At least one parent has to be catholic and the other, if not catholic, has to agree to raising the child catholic and that's usually explained to them as including attending mass and religious instruction both at home and at church as a the base minimum.

Eta: There's a few rare exceptions. Such as death being near for the child. But it is very much not okay otherwise. A priest who did so could be reprimanded by his bishop.

 

So this child has been baptized, but probably not in the Catholic church. I know you don't get re-baptized, but isn't there some other step he'd need to complete before receiving Communion? Some step to becoming Catholic? I don't know. Like right now it sounds like two non Catholic parents are complaining that their non Catholic child can't go to Communion. Umm what??
 



#73 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:55 PM

There is something seriously wrong with making entrance into the Church a beaurocratic exersize.  I find it almost impossible to imagine a family being told they need to accomodate themselves to the parish scedual for classes and that is the only way.  That is not a Church reaching out for lost sheep nor is it reflecting the sacramental life.

 

It sounds like a parish where noone is overseeing what is going on very well.

 

Churches make rules like this all the time! I had to go to the protection of children class before I worked with any children in the church. They don't have the classes all the time. I couldn't do it in time for one event but I did it in the future in time for another.

 

Should churches be more flexible? Yes. But the parishioners have to be flexible, too. You want to be part of the church, then make time for the church. It's not just the classes they aren't able to attend. It's Mass, too.



#74 ktgrok

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:50 PM

So this child has been baptized, but probably not in the Catholic church. I know you don't get re-baptized, but isn't there some other step he'd need to complete before receiving Communion? Some step to becoming Catholic? I don't know. Like right now it sounds like two non Catholic parents are complaining that their non Catholic child can't go to Communion. Umm what??
 

 

Yes. Two years of instruction (generally 1st and 2nd grade) plus regular attendance at Mass and attending whatever other special events they have (like a family session or whatever...usually a few a year for kids preparing for first communion). Oh, and first reconciliation, usually done the same year, a few months before first communion. 

 

These are the rules for everyone. They are not being singled out. 


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#75 Moxie

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:01 PM

Yes. Two years of instruction (generally 1st and 2nd grade) plus regular attendance at Mass and attending whatever other special events they have (like a family session or whatever...usually a few a year for kids preparing for first communion). Oh, and first reconciliation, usually done the same year, a few months before first communion.

These are the rules for everyone. They are not being singled out.


Except they kind of are because they asked the question. There are tons of Easter and Christmas Catholics at school the no one bats an eye at.
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#76 scholastica

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:06 PM

There is something seriously wrong with making entrance into the Church a beaurocratic exersize. I find it almost impossible to imagine a family being told they need to accomodate themselves to the parish scedual for classes and that is the only way. That is not a Church reaching out for lost sheep nor is it reflecting the sacramental life.

It sounds like a parish where noone is overseeing what is going on very well.


RCIA is not a bureaucratic exercise and neither is receiving a sacrament. The Church takes the sacramental life very seriously. As Paul says you condemn yourself if you eat and drink the body and blood of the Lord without discerning His presence. You also condemn yourself if you eat and drink it unworthily. So, the child must be prepared and there must be evidence that the parents intend to continue to bring him/her. Everyone who is received into the Catholic Church has to affirm, out loud verbally that they believe and affirm what the Catholic Church teaches to be true. You can't possibly do that without serious instruction. That said, in most parishes, accommodation is made for people who cannot make it to RCIA. There are online versions and many people receive one on one personal instruction, as well. If this parish isn't making that available, that's a shame. But they also maybe seriously short-staffed and underfunded. The parents may also not have explored all the options available with the priest and/or the staff. Who knows? Either way, it should be possible to work this all out.
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#77 winterbaby

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:15 PM

I share others' curiosity about how these folks are both not Catholic, but have a Catholic child. Also some things OP has said (e.g. "checkered past") are making me wonder if the family are being perceived prejudicially.

 

There is no question of sin on the child's part and btw the conditions of mortal sin were misstated by a PP. The third condition is not simply that you do the thing but that you do it with "complete consent... a personal choice." (CCC 1857, 1859) Venial sin means "disobey[ing] the moral law." (CCC 1862) Disobedience is an act and the parents' choice not to take the child to Mass is not the child's act. Somewhat disconcerting to see that so much as raised. [No longer a Catholic, just relying on my graduate level education in Catholic theology for the sake of discussion.]


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#78 Patty Joanna

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:22 PM

Orthodox, and NOT piping up about the Roman Catholic Church.  

 

My priest has said that he often gets calls from (specific country) immigrants who want to have their children baptized.  He has never met them, he has never seen them in church.  So he invites them to come to church for three Sundays and then they can have a talk.  One in ten will come to church at all.  Very few make it three Sundays.  The last such couple came for two Sundays, hit it off with young parents in the parish, identified godparents and everything.  The Thursday before the third Sunday, they called the priest and said they had decided they didn't want this much God in their lives and they bowed out.  (How can one demand the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist but not want God LITERALLY in their lives?--my aside).   The priest asked why they had wanted their child baptized and basically, it amounted to superstition, which is not an acceptable approach to a sacrament.  That's one story.

 

Another one:  Faithful foster parents had to wait until they could adopt the foster child before having him baptized.  The reason: when a child is baptized and communed (they happen at almost the same time in Orthodoxy), the parents and godparents make vows to raise the child in the Church, which includes regular access to sacraments (not only the Eucharist) .  Unntil things were settled and finalized, they could not reasonably assume these vows for this child.  To do so would bind on them loads too heavy for them to carry--and which no one could help them lift.  (How can you bring a child up in the faith when you don't even know where the child lives anymore?)

 

Third and last story:  A mom was baptized with her children but stopped coming to church and practicing the faith.  She had another child and wanted her baptized, but did not want to resume the faith.  The priest asked the mom's grandparents, who ARE faithful, if they would be sure to bring the child to church and do as much as they could (not living in the same house) to bring the child up in the faith.  They were willing to do this, and so the child was baptized, and the grandparents and godparents bring her to church, church school, and so on.  

 

Like I said, not commenting on the particular situation, but as both Roman Catholics believe that communion is a sacrament and that it is life-giving and the center of life, there might be some bit of understanding that can be conveyed in a few short stories.  

 

 


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#79 Moxie

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:24 PM

Sometimes it feels like Internet Catholics and IRL Catholics are two very different animals.
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#80 Bluegoat

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:29 PM

Churches make rules like this all the time! I had to go to the protection of children class before I worked with any children in the church. They don't have the classes all the time. I couldn't do it in time for one event but I did it in the future in time for another.

 

Should churches be more flexible? Yes. But the parishioners have to be flexible, too. You want to be part of the church, then make time for the church. It's not just the classes they aren't able to attend. It's Mass, too.

 

 

It doesn't sound like anyone has even made an effort to find out how they can get these people what they need.  They've inquired, and were just told a particular time was the only option.  They also went so far as to enroll their child for Catholic education whivch is not doing nothing.

 

They've reached out and pretty much been left hanging, not knowing how to persue it.

 

A certification for a civil course like food safety or protection of children is just in no way comparable to church membership and sacraments.  Though, given the lack of effort to help this couple navigate the latter two, they might conclude that is how the Church sees them.


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#81 Bluegoat

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:39 PM

RCIA is not a bureaucratic exercise and neither is receiving a sacrament. The Church takes the sacramental life very seriously. As Paul says you condemn yourself if you eat and drink the body and blood of the Lord without discerning His presence. You also condemn yourself if you eat and drink it unworthily. So, the child must be prepared and there must be evidence that the parents intend to continue to bring him/her. Everyone who is received into the Catholic Church has to affirm, out loud verbally that they believe and affirm what the Catholic Church teaches to be true. You can't possibly do that without serious instruction. That said, in most parishes, accommodation is made for people who cannot make it to RCIA. There are online versions and many people receive one on one personal instruction, as well. If this parish isn't making that available, that's a shame. But they also maybe seriously short-staffed and underfunded. The parents may also not have explored all the options available with the priest and/or the staff. Who knows? Either way, it should be possible to work this all out.

 

It's a bureaucratic process in order to make sure people get the instruction they need.  That isn't a bad thing, bureaucracy exists because it is useful.  But one of the failings of bureaucratic systems is that they can easily overlook the ends and get very caught up in the means, and they become inflexible and unable to manage elements that don't quite fit their processes.

 

There are a great many ways that people can learn what they need to know in order to be ready for confirmation. 

 

It sounds from the OP-poster that no one gave this couple much direction - they were told when the classes were but not given any further direction.  It sounds to me like they are going through the motions of following the processes, with no one really doing the managing that ensures they are actually getting the job done. In my experience, that requires someone who is in charge and accountable for the program, and having some authority to to deal with these kinds of problems.  Unfortunately this is the sort of thing that falls to the wayside when there are leadership gaps.  But I also think it helps if parishes keep in mind that the process set out to accomplish the task is only a means to an end.


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#82 scholastica

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:40 PM

Sometimes it feels like Internet Catholics and IRL Catholics are two very different animals.




Well, what are the IRL Catholics close to this couple and aware of their situation doing to facilitate this with the parish?

I assure I am an IRL Catholic. Actually I'm a convert who has been through RCIA and then reached out and facilitated others along the journey. It's the responsibility of the parishioners to help this couple. That's the point of Vatican II. The laity take the gospel to the world. Instead of handwringing about how awful the DRE is being, why don't the IRL Catholics nearby help?

#83 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:53 PM

It doesn't sound like anyone has even made an effort to find out how they can get these people what they need.  They've inquired, and were just told a particular time was the only option.  They also went so far as to enroll their child for Catholic education whivch is not doing nothing.

 

They've reached out and pretty much been left hanging, not knowing how to persue it.

 

A certification for a civil course like food safety or protection of children is just in no way comparable to church membership and sacraments.  Though, given the lack of effort to help this couple navigate the latter two, they might conclude that is how the Church sees them.

 

We don't know if they enrolled the child in that school because of the religion or because of the education in general.
 


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#84 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:57 PM

Except they kind of are because they asked the question. There are tons of Easter and Christmas Catholics at school the no one bats an eye at.

 

They are probably cradle Catholics that were baptized Catholic as babies. This child doesn't sound like they are actually Catholic, why would they receive Sacraments?

 

ETA: if they are going to Mass at school weekly and their parents only take them on Sundays at Easter/Christmas, that seems like a problem but one that has no bearing on this family's situation because two wrongs don't make a right.
 


Edited by heartlikealion, 18 May 2017 - 04:59 PM.

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#85 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:03 PM

There is something seriously wrong with making entrance into the Church a beaurocratic exersize. I find it almost impossible to imagine a family being told they need to accomodate themselves to the parish scedual for classes and that is the only way. That is not a Church reaching out for lost sheep nor is it reflecting the sacramental life.

It sounds like a parish where noone is overseeing what is going on very well.


The parish might be that way bc sure some people are but it sure doesn't sound like it. One, yes, we confirm to Christ, He does not conform to us and the RCC in many ways reflects that. Two, they have a YEAR to speak to their priest and DRE to figure out how to manage getting done what needs done. There's likely many options but I have yet to read that this couple has done anything to try to being themselves into the RCC. The church isn't dragging people in without telling them what it means to be Catholic and that's a good thing. If this couple is not catholic and seems to lack even basic knowledge of the RCC, then they are not ready to convert. How could they be expected to keep the faith if they don't even know what it is?

Wanting at least one parent to be a full member of the RCC before giving their children sacraments they cannot be reasonably expected to keep. Frankly, it's bizarre to me that the parents want this under these circumstances.

#86 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:12 PM

So this child has been baptized, but probably not in the Catholic church. I know you don't get re-baptized, but isn't there some other step he'd need to complete before receiving Communion? Some step to becoming Catholic? I don't know. Like right now it sounds like two non Catholic parents are complaining that their non Catholic child can't go to Communion. Umm what??


It depends on whether his baptism is considered legitimate or not. Usually it is though there's some weird stuff that isn't. For a wild card example being baptised in the name of Hera with tomato juice would not be considered legit.

It has to use living water and in the name of the trinity iirc.

Then there is penance and Eucharist and confirmation. Sometimes confirmation is before the other two, usually in the states it is after though.

FHC is after either a couple years FHC prep and or passing a "test". For my kids the test was sitting down with the priest 1:1 and he would talk to them about FHC and the RCC to determine it they understood the main precepts of the church, the Beatitudes, the commandments, the works of mercy and the most common prayers.

Confirmation entailed some time volunteering and understanding those previous topics more in depth.

#87 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:21 PM

It depends on whether his baptism is considered legitimate or not. Usually it is though there's some weird stuff that isn't. For a wild card example being baptised in the name of Hera with tomato juice would not be considered legit.

It has to use living water and in the name of the trinity iirc.

Then there is penance and Eucharist and confirmation. Sometimes confirmation is before the other two, usually in the states it is after though.

FHC is after either a couple years FHC prep and or passing a "test". For my kids the test was sitting down with the priest 1:1 and he would talk to them about FHC and the RCC to determine it they understood the main precepts of the church, the Beatitudes, the commandments, the works of mercy and the most common prayers.

Confirmation entailed some time volunteering and understanding those previous topics more in depth.

 

At what point is the child considered Catholic? A young child can be Catholic and not ready for any of those other things (like a first grader for example). Sounds like the test or prep you describe are steps for receiving Communion, not specifically for becoming Catholic. ktgrok said something about two years of religious instruction plus regular attendance of Mass.


Edited by heartlikealion, 18 May 2017 - 05:23 PM.


#88 HTRMom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:24 PM

Sometimes it feels like Internet Catholics and IRL Catholics are two very different animals.


You do tend to get a high concentration of the more zealous Catholics on the internet, compared to your parish cross-section. For instance, many Catholics may be on this forum because their devotion to the faith has lead them to homeschool their children. When I think of homeschoolers, "for religious reasons" is one of a few major categories. So the homeschool Catholic population would not be at all representative of the parish Catholic population. Just saying.

#89 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:28 PM

You do tend to get a high concentration of the more zealous Catholics on the internet, compared to your parish cross-section. For instance, many Catholics may be on this forum because their devotion to the faith has lead them to homeschool their children. When I think of homeschoolers, "for religious reasons" is one of a few major categories. So the homeschool Catholic population would not be at all representative of the parish Catholic population. Just saying.

 

Religion had nothing to do our with homeschooling choice. Dh is not Catholic so I have to tell him things sometimes like, "I don't want ds eating right before Mass" and he met another Catholic and somehow that came up and she was like, "whoa, your wife is really Catholic." As if I'm some over the top Catholic. But on the other hand I wasn't surprised at all. I often see food in CCD class which is held between the Masses and I scratch my head at that since I don't know when they serve the food but know we're supposed to wait an hour before Communion. I tell ds that most of the families probably attend the earlier Mass so it doesn't matter when they eat it.



#90 wintermom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:29 PM

The fact that the parents have been paying for their child to attend a private, Catholic school speaks HUGE volumes to me. In Canada, most Catholic schools are funded by the provincial governments and are free. Putting your child in a Catholic school doesn't take any financial commitment. When a young family, struggling with work commitments, pays for their child to have a chance to live and grow in a faith the parents are interested in, why turn them away for scheduling issues? I just don't get it. Is this a mandate from the parish priest or bishop? It's certainly NOT a universal practice among Catholic churches. 

 

And now this poor child will be in a classroom for a year, learning all about the sacraments, but will be refused them himself while he watches his classmates participate. Surely someone can help out this family by directing them to talk to their priest. 

 


Edited by wintermom, 18 May 2017 - 05:57 PM.

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#91 HTRMom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:31 PM

About the mortal sin issue. No. The child is not in a state of mortal sin. But the precepts of the Church, of which Sunday Mass is one, are the really bare minimum the Church thinks every member should be doing to be living a basic Christian life, so she orders every Christian to do those things, under pain of mortal sin. So, no, it's not a mortal sin for a young child to miss Mass. But he's not living the bare minimum Christian life and his family may have no intention of doing so. First Communion is a holy initiation into Christian life. Why should he be solemnly initiated into something that he is not properly participating in, cannot participate in and does not intend to participate in? Because it would be cute to wear a suit for the ceremony? Because his classmates might notice if he doesn't? Because his parents, who have not been initiated and do not participate, want the child initiated? These ceremonies are supposed to be the beginning of a lifelong commitment to a way of life, community and relationship, and he is not able to make that commitment at this time.
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#92 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:36 PM

I want to know if this family has actually looked at the Mass times in their area. There very well be one Mass they can attend, but maybe in a different parish. Saturday night. Sunday morning. Late Sunday morning/afternoon. Sunday night. Something.


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#93 wintermom

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:37 PM

Not getting what they want is not forcing them away. The family has choices. Anyone who thinks or expects being catholic or becoming catholic is going to be easy or even convienent should seriously reconsider. Don't get me wrong. I have my quibbles like anyone else. But this is not one of them. There's good cause for these rules that have developed over many centuries of experience with converts and despite the hardship, it really is usually with great care and concern for these souls.

 

It really sounds like people - the lay people scheduling RCIA courses and HFC rules - are getting in the way of this young family coming into the church. What are all the good reasons for holding RCIA courses in the evening when it's convenient for the lay-person already part of the church, but impossible for a young family working evenings?  Who are the RCIA courses actually for? 

 

I'm astonished that a group of homeschool women, who didn't jump through the hoops of their local school boards, are so insistent on others jumping through the "right hoops."  

 

Legalistic and rigid thinking is exactly why so many people left the church in the first place. 

 

Praise the Lord my priest has been more understanding and flexible in bringing new families into our parish. 


Edited by wintermom, 18 May 2017 - 05:39 PM.

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#94 heartlikealion

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:44 PM

Saying they need to attend RCIA is not the same as saying the RCIA classes shouldn't be offered at other times.


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#95 winterbaby

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:00 PM

Based on the information given there is no basis to say that the family is just in it for a cute ceremony and fitting in with classmates, nor that the church is cruelly barring their path with arbitrary limitations. It's too bad there isn't more info - otherwise people are just projecting their own attitudes toward the Catholic church.

#96 Where's Toto?

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:02 PM

I read most of the thread. If I'm understanding you, the parents are not even Catholic yet? How is it that the second grader is Catholic but the parents aren't? Am I missing something?

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

 

I was wondering this too.  

 

 

I will preface this by saying that I used to be Catholic and both of my kids were raised Catholic for a time.

If they can't commit to attending mass with heir child, are they really ready to commit to the child being Catholic. It sounds more like they just want this as a rite of passage like an 8th grade graduation or something.

What is the point of First Communion if they will never be taking the kid to mass outside of school?


My daughter attended Catholic school through third grade. Although the majority of RE was done as part of school, First Communion required monthly parent/child classes outside of school that all families in the parish attended not just kids from the school.

 

My oldest attended Catholic school for K through 3rd grade.  Her father was Catholic (not anymore), I never have been.   Her school was probably only 50% Catholic since it was in an area of poor schools and it offered a better education and full day kindergarten, which was uncommon back then in the public schools.   They attended Mass as a class during the week.  The had RE classes.   But in order to do her FHC, we had to attend additional classes as a family (offered at a couple different times), and Mass at least once a week as a family.  She had to sign in a book that was available at Mass to show her attendance.   Most of the parishes around here have at least 3 or 4 Masses a week - usually a Wednesday evening, a Saturday afternoon, a Saturday evening, and 2 or 3 different times on Sunday.   It shouldn't be too hard to find a time that works.  It was only a requirement for the 4 or 5 months leading up to the sacrament.



#97 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:32 PM

This is where our current DRE falls on the spectrum.

The canon law quoted above seems to support that view imo.

That may be the requirement on paper, but they can't really enforce that. Parents are a child's first, most important teachers. Technically, parents can do all religious ed, including sacrament prep, at home. As far as I know, every case where a diocese has tried to say no to parent HS sacrament prep which has then been appealed all the way to the Vatican has been decided in favor of the parents. So, any child who enters a school in such a system shouldn't be denied a sacrament.


This is by far an over simplification.

Parents are the first and primary educators.
But the priest decides who is or is not disposed to receive a sacrament.. Priests can and do turn down baptism, FHC, confirmation (if the bishop has given his that dispensation.) and marriages. He is under no obligation to dispense sacraments to the children of total strangers who aren't catholic. One could argue he would be remiss in his duties if he did.

Even if both parents were catholic, they can't demand the priest give them something which he feels they or their children are not properly disposed to receive. Well they can demand I suppose, but it won't go far.
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#98 Murphy101

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:51 PM

At what point is the child considered Catholic? A young child can be Catholic and not ready for any of those other things (like a first grader for example). Sounds like the test or prep you describe are steps for receiving Communion, not specifically for becoming Catholic. ktgrok said something about two years of religious instruction plus regular attendance of Mass.


A person is catholic when they are baptized into the RCC.

However being baptized does not automatic mean they can get whatever in the church.

It does not mean they should get very sacrament. Each sacrament has its own prerequisites.
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#99 scholastica

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:56 PM

It really sounds like people - the lay people scheduling RCIA courses and HFC rules - are getting in the way of this young family coming into the church. What are all the good reasons for holding RCIA courses in the evening when it's convenient for the lay-person already part of the church, but impossible for a young family working evenings? Who are the RCIA courses actually for?

I'm astonished that a group of homeschool women, who didn't jump through the hoops of their local school boards, are so insistent on others jumping through the "right hoops."

Legalistic and rigid thinking is exactly why so many people left the church in the first place.

Praise the Lord my priest has been more understanding and flexible in bringing new families into our parish.


You must not have read the whole thread. Many posters have said that the parish should work with them and make it more accessible for them to be received into the Church. Following proper channels and working with the local parish is not being legalistic or rigid. Nobody is saying they must do RCIA at all costs.

Edited by scholastica, 18 May 2017 - 06:59 PM.

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#100 ktgrok

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 07:14 PM

It really sounds like people - the lay people scheduling RCIA courses and HFC rules - are getting in the way of this young family coming into the church. What are all the good reasons for holding RCIA courses in the evening when it's convenient for the lay-person already part of the church, but impossible for a young family working evenings?  Who are the RCIA courses actually for? 

 

I'm astonished that a group of homeschool women, who didn't jump through the hoops of their local school boards, are so insistent on others jumping through the "right hoops."  

 

Legalistic and rigid thinking is exactly why so many people left the church in the first place. 

 

Praise the Lord my priest has been more understanding and flexible in bringing new families into our parish. 

 

We don't know that the parish is being inflexible. Did this couple ask for other options and were denied, or did they just see that RCIA is normally tuesdays at 6pm, they are busy then, so just didn't look into more? Our parish says that is when classes are, but if you contact them they will work with you and figure something out. You do have to put some effort into it though. 

 

same with First Communion. Attendance at religious ed classes are mandatory but this year I was dealing with depression and other pregnancy issues and wasn't up to driving an hour round trip to get her there, so we missed a bunch. The religious ed person contacted me and asked what was going on and reminded me it was mandatory. I explained my situation and she arranged for me to pick up the book they use from the parish office and finish up the year at home. Not something advertised, but if you reach out they work with you. 


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