For some reason, God knows, people like to ask me questions about the Catholic Faith, and in particular about the Tradition of the Church. I would like to start a series of FAQ’s and please if anyone would like to ask any questions, please use the comments box.
An important note about CatholicScout Answers: CatholicScout is not the Pope. Therefore, I can and frequently am, be totally erroneous regarding Faith and Morals. In addition I can and frequently am, totally erroneous regarding everything else too. I will try my best to answer questions, but I always encourage answer-seekers to go to source documents, and proper authorities.
So, disclaimer out of the way, on to Question 1.
Question 1: “I’m a new Catholic, what should I read?”
Explanations: Monsignor Gilbey was one of the greatest Priests of the 20th Century and passed on to his eternal reward in 1998. He served 33 years as Chaplain to Cambridge university, and his book We Believe is a transcription of private instruction classes that he gave to a gentleman interested in the Catholic Faith (it convinced him). I am yet to find a book as accessible and informative for the newcomer, than that of Monsignor Gilbey.
The Latin Mass Explained, to some may think as a blatant attempt to steer newcomers towards the “Trad Mass”, to them I would respond, read the book. I am yet to find a book that so clearly outlines exactly what the Catholic Church teaches and believes about the Mass. The book guides the reader through the Mass, explaining where things came from, why things are said or done. Vital for the newcomer.
Having read those two books the newcomer is ready for two books placed in deliberate order. Firstly, the Secret of the Rosary, then the Secret of Mary. Our Blessed Lady is a big hurdle for a lot of people, and St Louis de Montfort, better than any other writer, writes beautifully, succinctly and devoutly on the subject. The Secret of the Rosary, guides the newcomer through this exterior devotion, explaining what it is, why it is said, and indeed how to say it properly.
Naturally the Secret of the Rosary leads on to the Secret of Mary, which talks more profoundly about devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and speaks of the beauties and riches thereof. It is an incredible boost for someone who is on their way in to the Church.
Question 2: “I want to become a Catholic, what should I do?”
Answer: Don’t go to RCIA. Look for a Roman Catholic Priest who wears a Cassock most, if not all the time, and tell him “I want to become a Catholic, please may I have private instruction”. Ask for “Baptism in the Extraordinary Form” and don’t be swayed – for more information please read my article on The Traditional Rite of Baptism side by side with the Novus Ordo.
Explanations: RCIA – the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (or Rite of Catholic Inoculation for Adults) – RCIA was the fruit of the 1977 synod of Bishops which discussed the new catechetics. By this time the errors of modernism, anthropocentrism and liberation theology had heavily infected all of the members of that synod. Catechism was redefined, no longer being “doctrine”, but is “unleashed by the existential experience of believers”. This fundamental concept became the basis of RCIA, which denies the fact that Catechisis is doctrine to be taught, not discussed. This of course is false, because Catechesis has a supernatural content that the experience of a new convert (or anyone else for that matter) does not encompass. Catechesis comes down from divine teaching and is not produced by religious experience. RCIA is the other way around, and therefore leaves people fundamentally undernourished.
Roman Catholic Priests who wear cassocks will generally have a better understanding of what a Priest is and his teaching authority, than those that do not. I.e. They wear the Cassock for a reason.
Private instruction is one-to-one private tuition which all education experts agree has the best results for educating. Don’t settle for second-rate.
If you have any Catholic or scouting questions please write in the comments box below.