…How well could I have been spiritually formed given that we’re dealing primarily with the years 1975-1981? This is sort of like being eighteen years old in 1941 isn’t it? You’re pretty much doomed. By 1975 I think even Ohio (where everything other than puberty is delayed ten years) was infected by the whole “spirit of Vatican II” thing, where "spirit" is defined by "whatever the hell I want the document to say".
He also talks about the books used and the "infamous “Christ Among Us”" and is tempted to read it just to be able to judge it. I picked up that book in a used book store early in my conversion. I am not sure why I read the whole book and even as I was reading it I knew there was something wrong with it. I hardly ever quit a book and heck I even finished reading Fr. O’Brien’s Catholicism which should have been called "My Catholicism."
Not surprisingly the book relatives the Eucharist and even talks about the real presence in terms of non-Catholic celebrations. This was of course the trend at the time to downplay the Sacrament of the Eucharist in favor of Christ present in the congregation. Though with the increase of Eucharistic celebration thankfully that trend is fading .Anthony Wilhelm, the author, even makes the mistake of equivocating the reality of Christ’s presence with the fervor of the people.
Wilhelm even goes on to write that premarital sex is okay for the engaged, so I guess you can commit a retroactive sin if the engagement breaks off. Of course as you would expect contraception and women’s ordination is also endorsed. Even though my understanding of Catholicism was definitely at its infancy this book sounded klaxons of alarm to me throughout.
Unfortunately this book is still used in RCIAs throughout the country. Sean Roberts who was RCIA blogger, a former atheist, and is now a monk detailed how the book was used in his RCIA class. The book also had an imprimatur at one time though then-Cardinal Ratzinger later ordered that it be removed. Also unfortunately since over 2 million copies of the book have been printed it will continue to have a negative impact.
I have wondered at times if it might be good for the bishops conference to set the curriculum for RCIA, but at the minimum it should be set by the local bishop. I was quite fortunate in the RCIA that I went to was filled with people faithful to the Church and who didn’t play fast and loose with the doctrines of the Church. Though I have heard and read plenty of horror stories of what have been taught in these classes. Right now RCIA classes vary from parish to parish. I have read that there have been recidivism rates in RCIA in the area of 70% to 80% throughout the country. While of course there can be plenty of factors leading to this – watered down Catholicism is not exactly the elixir to help Catholics maintain their faith.
The Bishop’s conference as it currently stands could probably even produce a fairly good curriculum based on the CCC or the new Adult Catechism. This ability might have been in question 10 or 20 years ago, though it would probably been better then those relying heavily on Christ among us. Though I am quite open to ideas why the USCCB doing this might not be a good thing. But each parish doing there own thing will certainly insure varied results depending on the parish. The fact is also that regardless of how good a curriculum is it can be subverted
I would be interested to hear others experience in RCIA.