Dioknox Catholic Q&A

David Oatney Blog: Life at 25, Diocese of Knoxville

RCIAIt is the middle of August and for many of our parishes in the Diocese of Knoxville that means that the formation process for those who are participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has begun, and it has begun in my own parish. As I wrote last year, people participating in the RCIA are coming to the Church on a journey, and in our part of the country it isn’t always an easy one. Many of those who are making the decision to inquire into the Catholic Church, or who’ve made the decision to enter the Church are doing so with a great deal of resistance from their friends, family, and peers. It isn’t always an easy journey, and I know that from personal experience because it is a journey that I’ve been through myself. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes, people come to the RCIA group with a lot of questions. Sometimes they are brave enough or bold enough to ask them in class, and sometimes they don’t feel their question merits the time of the team or the group. As we repeatedly tell our inquirers, catechumens, and visitors, there is no such thing as a “stupid question.” Indeed, frequently enough, I’ve been stumped and had to go research an answer!

question-markEach year, we not only have new people who come with an interest in the Church, but we have spouses and family members who come to RCIA to learn about the faith of their husband, wife, or family member who is being received into the Church or perhaps has already come to the Church. Very often, lifelong Catholics will visit an RCIA group in order to learn more about the faith they were brought up in and be enriched by the faith journeys of people who have chosen Christ and his Church as adults. Sometimes people just come to RCIA during the initial inquiry phase just to have their curiosities about Catholicism answered, and that’s not only okay, it is to be encouraged. As any of us who are Catholic  and who live in our part of the country are often made aware, some very well-meaning people are often very ignorant of our faith, and rather than simply condemn the problem, we are here to open wide our doors in welcome and, in friendship and peace, inform and educate anyone who is willing to learn. I know this happens at nearly every RCIA program in our diocese, and perhaps in many other places as well.

Nevertheless, there is always that question that doesn’t get asked but should have been, and the reason isn’t always fear, very often the class discussion is just moving in a particular direction, and then the clock tells us it is time to lock up for the night. In the virtual world of the internet, however, we don’t need to be afraid of what others will think of us, nor do we have to worry about remembering a question after the group meets and then forgetting it before next week. We can even ask as many questions as we like, so long as we keep it reasonable. So for the sake of everyone (including Catholics) who has ever had a question about the Catholic faith that they were afraid to ask, Life At 25 humbly presents Dioknox Catholic Q&A.

your-questions-answered2The rules are simple: Our readers can ask whatever question about the Catholic faith they like, so long as it is a serious question asked in a genuine spirit of inquiry about the faith. There is no such thing as a “stupid question.” Questions can be about anything from serious theological issues to the name of that red hat you sometimes see Cardinal Rigali wear when he is at Mass but not vested, or you sometimes see priests wear a black hat that is like it at a traditional Latin Mass (it is called a biretta). There are two ways you may pose a question. The first way is by responding in the comment thread below. Our comments are moderated, so no vulgarities and no foolishness (and I trust our readers to know what foolishness might be) will make it through the queue. Your questions asked in this way will be public and so will my answer, and that means your questions submitted in this way are a part of this blog and the Q&A may be reused in a future post, so be aware of that.

mailbagThe second way you may submit a question is by e-mail. If you submit a question by e-mail it will be answered by e-mail in return. If you don’t want your question used as the subject of a future post, be sure and make note of it, because we may want to use your question to benefit others. However, we respect your privacy and we are here to help and to serve you first, so if you don’t want any part of your question made public, be sure and note that in your e-mail. If we do use your question here for the benefit of other readers, we will never use your name-we might say “An enquirer asks” or “a reader from Knoxville wonders…” Questions will be answered in the order in which they come, whether in the public comment box or in electronic mail. For now, you can send e-mail Catholic faith questions to my personal e-mail at oatney@gmail.com.

Keep in mind that I am not the bishop and not a priest, I’m not even a deacon yet (with your prayers and God’s help I’ll get there)…I’m just a lector, catechist, and your diocesan blogger for now, so you might stump me, and I may need to research the answer for you, and I will. If I can’t find the answer, I’ll even do my best to find someone who can lead me in the right direction, or answer the question for you. Prayerfully consider submitting a question if you have one, because you may not only get the answer you seek, you may help many others as well. God Love You.