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April 10, 2011

Remnants of the old world…

Friday we sat down with our Parish priest to discuss some issues that caused us to question our going through the final ceremonies to join the Catholic church. The Father was very kind, and had some great advice that we have taken to heart. We decided based on the conversation, that going forward and joining the Church is the right thing for us to do. So a little less than two weeks and we will finally be able to partake in the Eucharist, we are very excited. It will be good to finally be through the RCIA process.

We spent friday evening eating a meal prepared by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization of men who honorably serve the Church and their community. Everything was going fine, until I was approached to join the KofC. Not once, but over the period of a few short hours, multiple times. It was incredibly uncomfortable, to the point that I had a very negative reaction to being so aggressively sold on membership. Because there’s nothing more pitiful than a man, sharing a friday dinner with his wife and not being part of a fraternal organization. I have nothing against the KofC, like it was pointed out to me multiple times, they do great work for their community.

But here’s the thing… So do the Mormons, and all the other faiths. The KofC has no proprietary claim on doing good for the community, or their Church. Any good christian person (Catholic or not), can do the same deeds, membership isn’t required.

The whole experience felt so ‘antiquated’, from the aggressive nature of the KofC member who sat at our table. To the shiny badge he and others wore, to just the way they carried themselves. If I didn’t know any better I would have assumed they were masons!, and they do some great work as well.

But I have never seen the need to be part of a fraternal order, or any society that keeps secrets to deepen my faith. Both Michelle’s Father and Grandfather where masons, and to be honest the whole thing seemed like a bunch of men who felt the need to part of something important (and wear silly hats). Membership made you a better person, and unfortunately fed a sense of false pride. I was doing a little research today on the KofC and the one thing that I heard over and over from KofC members. Was all the good that they did, as if that cleared them of any wrong doing, and made them pure and untouchable.No doubt they are a great organization of men, but they do have their secrets no matter how much they deny it. They make the same exact argument that the masons and other groups make for the secrecy of their ceremonies, that is to say that if the information is publicly known. Then it detracts from the impact of said ceremonies. One can find all kinds of straw man arguments, begging the question, and inductive reasoning to defend the secret parts of their ceremonies.

For me, as a protestant converting to Catholicism. The last thing I’m going to do is join *any* group, no matter how much good they do, if they can’t openly and honestly share what they do. The argument from my side is not about the content of the secret, it may be just 4 little ceremonies. It is the fact that in our modern world, we are surrounded by groups who spend all their time doing good. While harboring secrets like this. Like it or not, that doesn’t bode well for groups like the KofC. In my view it is unwise to simply trust that the ceremony is a good thing, if you can’t explain it to me in detail before I get there, then I want nothing to do with you.

The same thing applies to the RCIA process, in our discussion with the Father friday he shared the reasoning behind some of the things the RCIA does. Why we had to find that out at the very end, is simply beyond me!. We have grown increasingly frustrated with lack of information about the RCIA process, and at times we have both felt like the RCIA leaders where keeping us in the dark for our own good. I have learned more researching online about the RCIA, than I ever learned going through the process.

And that is something that the Church is going to have to address, there is a whole generation of people out there who have been hurt by ‘Christianity’. They no longer trust any organized religion, they still believe but they don’t want to be hurt again. Catholics for the most part seem blind to this movement, and that’s a shame. Because we have found the depth, and reverence we so desperately needed in the Mass and teachings of the church. There have certainly been some sticking points, and there will always be. But the Catholic Church has so much to offer, it just needs to wake and realize whats going on.

I think our single biggest frustration has been just how inane some of the RCIA process has been, at time we have honestly just gone through the motions to avoid causing problems. At some point the current process needs to be revisited, more than once I was ashamed at how bad it was. If you take a group of protestants, who are already nervous about Marian theology. And instead of actually making a biblical and historical case for it (which one can do), have a member of the Marian admiration society talk who has no idea what to say, other than to prattle on about Fatima. And your going to start losing people, I’m surprised more people haven’t abandoned the process.

Pope John Paul II, in his last cyclical talked about bringing the church into the modern age of communications. Pope Ratzinger is meeting with a group of bloggers, the day after John Paul II’s beatification (fitting). And I for one think both John Paul and the Holy See understand that the Catholic Church needs to start adapting to the modern age. Not compromise the message, but like the current Pope is doing, reach across the table and show the love of Christ to the rest of the Christian world. Groups like the KofC are going to have a hard time as we move into this new age, there are a lot more like me who don’t want anything to do with secrets or silly ceremonies anymore. We want the real thing, give me the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Or go away…

Hmmm, that sounds like a good idea for a T-Shirt!!!.


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