Post Baptismal Catechesis

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Fr Allen Morris
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Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:19 pm
Parish / Diocese: Westminster

Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by Fr Allen Morris » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:17 pm

I promised to provide a link to the RCIA network's blog for those interested in learning more about work being done with RCIA in England and Wales. The link ishttp://www.rcia.org.uk/blog/

I wonder what others present at yesterday's talk by Fr Francesco made of the emphasis on post-baptismal catechesis, and whether they have any alternative strategies to present that have been helpful?

For me the thing that was most provocative was the enthusiasm for deepening conversion and the relationship with Christ that he spoke of in those choosing to follow the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and the way in which their intentional communities foster that.

In our sometimes much larger parish communities it is quite challenging to sustain that sort of support (as many of those who have completed an RCIA 'programme' , and those who strive to make that 'programme' more authentically process, so often find.)

Allen Morris

Ian Coleman
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Re: Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by Ian Coleman » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:48 pm

Well, I will shoot my mouth off - not having heard Francesco Donega's talk and all... But, it seems to me it's time to step back a bit from the whole RCIA model, which is itself somewhat 'neo-catechumenal'. Yes, I know that's a 'cart-before-horse' characterisation, but I am mindful of a point made by Paul Bradshaw in (if I'm not mistaken) a previous SSG lecture. The gist of his approach was that the 'Early Church' precedent for the revival of the catechumenate as it was envisaged in the RCIA was, in fact, a strategy for dealing with the mass-conversions of the post-Constantinian institution of Christianity as a state religion in the 4th century and after. We should ask ourselves how realistic a model this really is for the 21st century, and then reflect on whether, in fact, it is a process 'designed to fail' in the context of the ordinary life of the Church. Clearly, since it is a central pillar of the present approach to catechesis, it cannot be abandoned (not yet, at least), but some reinterpretation and adaptation is probably judicious (along the lines of 'soft-pedalling' the cult-like elements). Otherwise we will continue to experience the sort of divisive 'bumpy ride' that many communities have already encountered (Churches within churches, 'bolt-on' liturgical elements, post-catechumenal 'cold turkey' et cetera, et cetera. OK, now I'll run and hide...

Fr Allen Morris
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Parish / Diocese: Westminster

Re: Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by Fr Allen Morris » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:23 am

An interesting phrase used by Francesco re POST baptismal catechesis, was that it provided the form for the continuing conversion of the initiates - a mode for engaging with their experience of renewal in Christ.
But whether pre or post baptism,the important thing, and I am sure that Ian agrees, is that both catechetical experience and liturgical celebration is authentic and grounded.
Allen
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alan29
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Location: Wirral

Re: Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by alan29 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:51 am

The provision of quality ongoing formation for all adult members of the church should be a priority in any case. It it was in place, it would be there for new christians to slot into.

JW
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Location: Kent

Re: Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by JW » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:08 am

Sorry to widen the scope of this debate but why are so many of our children so ignorant of the faith despite having been baptized and having attended a Catholic school? Catechesis of the young seems to have gone very wrong. Young people even seem to gain GCSE's in RE without really connecting and identifying with their faith. And I speak as a former primary teacher in a Catholic school.

Whilst continued catechesis for people who have been through the RCIA process is very important, surely the catechesis of so many young people is even more important.

I have no answers (except that, in my opinion, the 'Here I Am' scheme was of limited use - in practice it focused too much on the individual even thought it's intention was always to use the individual experience to lead into the Christian life. Big issues of faith were always skirted around).
JW

John Ainslie
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Re: Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by John Ainslie » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:00 pm

JW may be right about the ignorance of some supposedly-educated youngsters. But to keep the debate at the adult level, I have to ask: how many adults, "fully initiated" as children, come to faith - almost as a conversion experience - later on? For them much of the RCIA process is indeed relevant. In theory the neo-catechumenal way should be appropriate, but why does this approach seem to result too often in a divisiveness in the local community which is not encountered in the preparation of those who are catechumens or the already-baptised being received into full Communion?

Southern Comfort
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Re: Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by Southern Comfort » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:15 pm

John Ainslie wrote:In theory the neo-catechumenal way should be appropriate, but why does this approach seem to result too often in a divisiveness in the local community which is not encountered in the preparation of those who are catechumens or the already-baptised being received into full Communion?


The answer to this came in the very last seconds of the session on Saturday, when Fr Donega admitted that the key for the Neo-Catechumenal Way is the community that surrounds those being catechized. It must be small, and embosoming (the last was not his word, but that is what he meant). It is quite clear that they have not tackled, or even wanted to tackle, the whole question of how you relate smaller communities to the larger community, which is the secret of the success of base communities in South and Latin America. They prefer to play safe with their own little community and not to integrate with anyone else. It is a shame there was no time to ask Fr D about why the neo-cats insist on having their own Easter Vigil, separate from everyone else. That, to my mind, is a more important problem than having separate Masses, which he admitted and tried to justify.

Fr Allen Morris
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Parish / Diocese: Westminster

Re: Post Baptismal Catechesis

Post by Fr Allen Morris » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:42 pm

I think it would be more true to say that they see the importance of maintaining the small community as well as integrating. But the small community is experienced in the wider context too - especially in its relationship to local parish, bishop, and N-C family.

Clearly they are not alone, as SC says, in having a strong small group ethos. In our parishes though most Catholics do not belong to an intentional small Christian community, and maybe we are the worse for that.

I think the 'separate' Vigil is bit of a red-herring these days. In my own limited experience, the presence of N-C communities has led to renewal of Vigil practice in parish leading to a fuller form of celebration being acceptable to N-C and wider parish community alike. But I'd not be surprised if there were not still tensions elsewhere - like those between different music groups trying to cooperate! It is a great counter sign when those tensions cannot be resolved and a single parish celebration of the triduum be achieved. But N-CSS are not sole offenders in that, more's the pity.
Allen

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