Friday, February 7, 2014

Seven Quick Takes Friday -- RCIA Edition


For those who don't know, I'm going through the RCIA class though my local Catholic Church.  If  you who have never been through one, I encourage you to do so.  You don't need to join the Catholic church afterwards, but most do.   It's a great study of what Catholics believe and we have a few people in our class who have been Catholic their whole lives.  Granted, two of the three of them are sponsors for those joining the church.  Unlike in larger parishes, our priest teaches the classes himself, and I believe this adds a lot to our class.  The first few weeks we were all silent and said nothing, and now our priest can't get us to settle down.  I was talking to a friend this week and she asked who all was in my class (there's less than 10 of us).  When I told her, she commented, "That sounds like a really fun class!"  It is. . . That said,  on with Seven Quick Takes about RCIA this week.


We were discussing Commandments 2 & 8 -- Truth and Honesty.  I want to write a whole blog post about this but our priest mentioned hypocrisy and what it is and isn't.   It isn't being imperfect and fallible.   Everyone is going to make mistakes.  Yes, people will sometimes cuss, or do things they shouldn't.  That doesn't make someone a hypocrite, but what does make them a hypocrite is "Professing beliefs, feelings or virtues that one does not possess."  So an extreme example would be someone who professes in church to believe in God but is an atheist.    I always thought hypocrites were people who go to church and don't live up to a certain standard.


I'd never heard the words before but two things I thought I'd mention are "calumny" and "detraction".  Calumny is saying something about another person that is not true and harms his/her reputation.  Detraction is saying something which is true and harms another's reputation without good reason for doing so (such as in a court of law.)


Next we were told that anything overheard in Confession is never to be revealed.  Someone stated that at times years ago there would be little old ladies hanging out near the Confessional to eavesdrop.  Can you imagine?   This got us into a lively discussion about Confession.  Since our priest is our teacher for the class we were able to get a priest's perspective on it.

It was asked something about the most interesting Confession, and of course our priest couldn't say that, but he did say that he's heard about everything as he has done work in a prison.  He was talking about the confidentiality that surrounds the Sacrament of Reconcilliation and said that at times in a group setting it might be required to stop a prisoner from talking about what he did if he had not yet been to trial.  He said that most in a specific prison had murdered at least one person if not more.  The lady beside me piped up, "Have you ever said, "You've only murdered one person?  Good for you."   This got laughs from most of us, our priest sighed and tried to go on to his next point.  Someone commented on how if there wasn't face to face confession the priest would still recognize voices, and amazingly, he said that many times he can't unless someone has a very unique voice.  I thought that was interesting.


I said I had heard on a podcast I listen to that priests often have a special grace to forget what is said to them, and I asked if that was true.  He said it wasn't that so much with him as most people confess the same sins.   The girl across the table from me said something about Mouth in the Goonies giving confession (I never realized that was what he was doing since I grew up Protestant -- in fact when I went to see the movie it was my best friend's birthday and her father had been a Methodist minister and he nearly whisked us out of the movie theater over the statue scene! But I digress.  .  .)  The lady across the table asked, "Has anyone ever confessed they are a cannibal?"  The room exploded with laughter and she said it was a Silence of the Lambs reference, but we all started joking with her about it.  I commented "I'm never coming to your house for dinner."  She looked at me and stated she can't cook, let alone cook people.  Again there was another general round of laughter.


Once we got settled down, another thing that was stated about truth and honesty was we are not to tell others things they don't need to know about others.  I can't say how many times I've heard gossip spread as prayer requests.  Even the prayer requests where you say "I can't give you details but pray for _____" makes you think all sorts of things about that person, so don't make prayer requests an announcement.  (I once heard a pastor say never to make a prayer request about something you haven't spent a lot of time in prayer for yourself.  I think that's a great rule of thumb because I think it will make you more sensitive to how you ask others to pray about something!)


After class, we often visit and joke around a little.  One week I had mentioned that a guinea pig I know online had a lady across the hall who would get after him with Holy Water.   (I'm planning on writing a blog post just about that discussion, too, so stay tuned.)  I announced as we were filing out of the classroom, "Good news.  The lady across the hall from that guinea pig showed up to preform an exorcism on the guinea pig but instead baptized him with Holy Oil."  My priest questioned a baptism with holy oil forgetting that we were discussing a guinea pig, who of course cannot be baptized.   (I have wanted to take my guinea pig to a blessing of the animals service on the Feast of St. Francis.  I had one guinea pig in particular who would have loved it with the exception of dogs.  And speaking of dogs, the Episcopal priest in the next town once had to go to the hospital and get stitches after a dog bit him during a blessing of the animals service, but again I digress. . .)  As our priest was still contemplating baptism with holy oil,  someone asked about exorcism.  I mentioned I had read the book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist and asked if that was real, and I was told it was.  The youngest member of the class said he had seen that movie.  I asked why when I mention a book everyone talks about a movie that is made from the book.  (And disclaimer -- neither I nor my priest have seen the movie, so I don't know how much it followed the book.) 

So there you have it, at RCIA this week we discussed truth, honesty, hypocrisy, cannibalism, a guinea pig, and exorcism.  A pretty jam packed hour and a half if I do say so myself!


  1. In my church we have growth groups which are similar in that we come together in learning. Thanks for sharing!

  2. It sounds like y'all are having a lot of fun!

  3. Caroline, we are having a blast. It's so neat to learn and have fun as well!
    Heather, in our church we have very few groups, this is kind of a Church 101 class. I've been in other small groups before, and have enjoyed them. :)