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RCIA - are there any Catholics around to help answer my questions please?

(40 Posts)
therealsquireofwideacre Wed 25-Jan-17 22:05:26

I'm feeling a bit rushed through RCIA and not getting clear answers to some of my questions. Is there anyone here that would have the patience to help me understand a couple of things please?

Eddie900 Wed 25-Jan-17 22:08:17

I can try...? Sorry RCIA is being rushed. That's not good. What do you want to know/ Talk about?...

MrsDustyBusty Wed 25-Jan-17 22:09:36

Most catholics probably won't know what that is but ask any questions. I'm a bit lapsed (so I had to Google rica, it's not something natal catholics come into contact with), but possibly I can recall stuff that may help?

MrsDustyBusty Wed 25-Jan-17 22:10:46

Rica seems to be something like a course for people joining up from what I gather.

therealsquireofwideacre Wed 25-Jan-17 22:24:50

Sorry, yes it's the course for adults who want to be received into the Catholic church and before Christmas it was all very relaxed but now the pressure is on to commit to becoming a member at Easter, and I don't feel ready yet. I don't fully understand purgatory for example, as I come from a Brethren background, and I also thought the priest said that salvation was by faith and good works, but I'm not sure if I have the wrong end of the stick? Thank you for any help!

therealsquireofwideacre Wed 25-Jan-17 22:32:40

We had to give our names in today to meet the bishop and commit to Easter, but as we've only been meeting fortnightly since September, and this is the first meeting since Christmas, I feel pressured.

MrsDustyBusty Wed 25-Jan-17 22:43:53

If you don't feel ready, tell them that you'll consider easter next year. Don't feel under pressure whatever you do. It's not something to be bounced into if you're not ready.

My understanding is that salvation is through faith and good works. Predestination is not a Catholic concept. And I haven't met a Catholic who thinks that faith alone is sufficient but many will tell you that good works alone would lead to heaven.

What's the problem with purgatory specifically?

As a general thing, I would mention that catholics, in my experience, aren't all that into the precise details. The hierarchy tend towards frustration with what they call a large carte catholicism where people pick the stuff they do like and ignore anything they don't. In reality, there's no penalty for doing this. It's a pretty live and let live experience.

MrsDustyBusty Wed 25-Jan-17 22:44:39

A la carte, not a large carte.

therealsquireofwideacre Wed 25-Jan-17 22:52:56

Hmmmm thank you MrsDusty, I need to have a good look at the works bit of that then, because that's a totally new concept to me. I thought I'd misheard.
Regarding purgatory, I am confused about the dead not being "asleep" and ready to be raised at the second coming. The priest said something about two judgements and that the first was a heaven/purgatory outcome - is that right? And the second is....What? And what is everyone in purgatory getting up to? When the sea gives up its dead etc at the final judgment, is that just the bodies? Are the souls separate somewhere else, ie in purgatory? Can you pray someone out of purgatory?

wobblywonderwoman Wed 25-Jan-17 22:58:52

I wouldn't be pressured into easter at all!!

I am a practising (though fairly liberal and have lapsed a little) and I have no answers to any of your questions blush

Gooseygoosey12345 Wed 25-Jan-17 23:04:42

Also a Catholic who can't really answer...
Souls in purgatory can't enter heaven but I don't know how they "get out" of purgatory. Honestly, there's so many ins and outs and we don't seem to be too persnickety about the detail but if you're still looking for answers ask your priest. If you're not ready for Easter then don't be pressured, take your time. There's lots of passages you could read that will help you not feel pressured and that you have to choose for yourself but I can't recall off the top of my head which ones, that's not very helpful is it?

MrsDustyBusty Wed 25-Jan-17 23:05:54

Well the thing about works is, you can, for example, be a believer and yet commit a mortal sin which prevents you from being saved. "Works" would normally be interpreted as broadly living as a catholic rather than doing any specific action.

I must admit, those are no questions that I have thought about regarding purgatory. The understanding I have from my school days is that purgatory houses the souls that don't quite qualify for heaven. But I have no idea what they'd be getting up to. People do pray for the souls in purgatory but you need a lot of prayers, I don't think one person alone could possibly make much of a dentist in it.

The dead bodies pretty much stay where they are, as far as I know. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, soul to soul.

Clickncollect Wed 25-Jan-17 23:09:15

I did the RCIA in 2013 and was received into the Church in Easter 2014. I'm so sorry I can't answer any of your questions either!!
Please don't feel pressurised and you can change your mind at any point, regardless of names going to the bishop.

therealsquireofwideacre Wed 25-Jan-17 23:56:38

Thank you for trying to help, I do appreciate it! My group are all male and all unquestioning so I think the priest and his helper are a bit.....not quite impatient, but they don't seem to see why some of these questions are an issue because if I believe Jesus died for me, that should be enough. But I prefer to understand what I'm potentially committing to, particularly when it involves taking on whole new ideas. MrsDusty what's a mortal sin please?

therealsquireofwideacre Thu 26-Jan-17 00:01:23

I really don't mean this to sound stupid but I thought when we died, we were "asleep in Christ" and then at the second coming Jesus raised everyone up in their bodies and then there was the judgement, so I'm confused by purgatory, because now there has to be a reuniting of soul and body - is that right?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 26-Jan-17 00:27:08

This is why I haven't done RICA. Well not purgatory specifically - my understanding is that this is why we pray for the souls of the dead - if the way to heaven was by faith alone then it would be an in/out vote. Instead we pray for those who have already died to hasten their progress. I can't see how it can be fair because someone who is young with an untimely death is likely to have more prayers said for them than someone who was old and somewhat isolated. I won't start on transubstantiation.

I think as others have said the Catholic Church is broad, my husband believes broadly the same as I do, yet has no concern that there are bits and pieces which he doesn't agree with. I can't though make promises that I don't 100% agree with. I don't know that he would be able to make those as an adult.
I am not sure that my beliefs have substantially shifted from my childhood Brethren upbringing, although the style of church I like best is a low CofE. I have reached a relatively happy peace accompanying my family to mass. Not sure what I will do when they are all old enough to go alone for communion. I am happy for them to be raised Catholic because in so many ways -practically and theologically it is easier to go from Catholic to protestant than the other way so it leaves them options. I wish you well in your journey.

CorporalNobbyNobbs Thu 26-Jan-17 00:33:21

I thought purgatory was kind of a 'waiting room' for heaven where you do time for your sins. So your soul hangs about there and people say prayers for you and buy Mass cards and light candles in the church and then after you've done your time there you can head off to heaven.

Didn't think we had anything about dead being raised out of the sea. But bear in mind this is what i learned when I was a small child so may not be reliable!

CorporalNobbyNobbs Thu 26-Jan-17 00:41:46

The prayers and Mass cards etc might decrease your 'sentence' in purgatory. Think Catholic heaven and hell and purgatory are non corporeal so bodies don't come into it. But not sure what happens at second coming then.

IwannabeanElf Thu 26-Jan-17 01:00:23

Sorry to hear you are felling rushed and pressured, and imo, your priest should be taking the time to explain areas that your are unsure of. Though saying that I know there are some clergy who feel that belive Jesus died for us and will come again is enough...

I can try and answer any questions if I can :-)

Thus might help with the mortal sin question:

Scentofwater Thu 26-Jan-17 01:03:18

Oh crikey I never realised this was something people thought much about.

I can't answer your questions directly. But I do have a little advice that I hope helps in the long term. I have come across several converts who have got themselves stuck by taking it all much too literally. Some things you need to think of as best guess explanations for a pre-science world, some is clearly for cultures that no longer exist, and some is contradictory and confusing.

As pp said, most Catholics pick and choose what they do and don't believe in. Some priests may have an issue with this, some seem to encourage intelligent thinking and making of own choices.

I would strongly recommend speaking to as many different people as possible about your questions. Hopefully you will find the answer that feels right for you. And learn to respect others for their differing beliefs- it all comes to the same thing eventually.

Have you heard of catholic peoples weeks? They were in my experience v welcoming and a good place to safely ask tricky questions. They are also fun!

Good luck. I hope this helps and doesn't offend!

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 26-Jan-17 01:52:02

As pp said, most Catholics pick and choose what they do and don't believe in
And therein lies the problem I feel. As an adult you are kind of saying 'yes I believe this more than any other form of Christianity which is why I am seeking RICA'.
If it were as simple as 'Though saying that I know there are some clergy who feel that belive Jesus died for us and will come again is enough...' then that is no different to what I (and I imagine realsquire) have been brought up to believe. I think that it is probably easier in some ways coming to RICA from a different or no faith than from a protestant position.

therealsquireofwideacre Thu 26-Jan-17 07:32:10

Thank you Elf for that link, much appreciated. And a departure from what I've relied on about there being no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but it does make sense I suppose - faith without works is dead. May I ask how Catholics manage guilt? I know it's a cliché, but sin must weigh heavy? Or do other Christian denominations not take sin seriously enough - are they too caught up in the joy of grace? I do struggle with that balance.

therealsquireofwideacre Thu 26-Jan-17 07:37:36

Scent thank you - I'm glad of your help and I understand that we can get so caught up in the details that we forget the bigger picture. I do see that. But as Stay says, it's a promise and I couldn't in all conscience make it unless I fully understood and embraced what I was doing. Brethren reading of scripture is a bit different and I think Stay is right when she says it would have been easier to come from no faith. If I'm happy to pootle along believing my own version of Christian faith but worshipping in a Catholic church then I could be doing that anywhere, I don't need to be a Catholic, if you see what I mean.

Waterfeature Thu 26-Jan-17 07:43:45

I'm a convert too. For me it was a luxury because I had instruction privately from a priest who took his time to answer my questions. Purgatory was a biggie for me too.

There is loads online to help you. Google Catholic Answers or Scott Hahn. Have you read "Rome Sweet Home" by Scott Hahn. He's a former Protestant minister turned Catholic scholar. He's done loads of talks as well.

junebirthdaygirl Thu 26-Jan-17 07:52:03

Most catholics are catholics because that is the family they were born into. They rarely question stuff. But if you actually get down to question the nitty gritty you will find a lot of stuff that has no basis in Scripture and just got accepted along the way. I was brought up in a Catholic home but when l investigated a lot of the teachings later l moved away from it as it had no correlation with the Bible. Maybe study the Reformation again and see where people broke away and for what reason.
Do not be pressured under any circumstances. It's totally contrary to what should happen. Brethren beliefs seem more Biblical but l wouldn't know the complete teaching.

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