"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

David Foster Wallace



There's a new film about him.

Did you know he tried to become a Catholic twice but both times 'failed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults?'

Some people aren't good at that type of thing.  How can you flunk out of RCIA?  Why do they do that to people?

See.  I don't like that.  I wonder who the formators were?

Jesus never did stuff like that.


15 comments:

  1. "Jesus never did stuff like that."

    Gospel of John 6:67

    Many other places as well.

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    1. I know. I just meant that he didn't force them to go through RCIA ... the following commenters caught my point I think. If I had to go through RCIA with some of the people I've known who teach it, I would have flunked out as well.

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    2. Jesus didn't have a lot of paper work for them to fill out either. Called and gifted, time and talent profiles, stewardship calculators, and so on. ;)

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  2. I knew a man who was baptized and confirmed into the Catholic Church who should never have been. He did not understand what being a Catholic meant. He did not live as a Catholic then or since. He did not believe he needed confession and thought he knew everything about marriage. He is now divorced (from a marriage I believe was not actually entered into in the Church) and has two children from that failed marriage. Jesus expected us to take up our cross and follow Him. He was not wimp. I don't know David Foster Wallace's story, but a lot of people are attracted to the beauty of our Church. They just don't want to carry that cross that Jesus was so insistent upon.

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    1. Amen. I remember when Father Groushel (spelled wrong I'm sure) would tell us "we are willing to carry our cross as long as our Lord makes it of styrofoam with wheels."
      I used to laugh every time I heard him preach that but now I understand only too well.

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    2. Seriously, I knew two witches, two gay men, who came into the Church through a very liberal RCIA taught by 'women religious' who explained to them that Wicca was completely compatible with Roman Catholicism and homosexual activity was just fine.

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  3. I went through RCIA and almost "failed." I was skipping too many sessions. I've been involved in RCIA at two parishes since then and I'm guessing Mr. Wallace wasn't attending regularly. That's the only way I can think of for "failing" RCIA. Unless bumped up against an aspect of the faith that is required that he couldn't in good conscience hold (and had an honest RCIA director who would say something like "this may not be the right thing right now."). But even then he wouldn't have failed, so much as postponed for reasons of conscience.

    So really, the only ways to fail RCIA are not showing up (because your director and sponsor can't give honest testimony to your readiness then) or rejecting a required element of the faith (and RCIA is full of people who say, "well, I don't really get ______, and my instincts go against it, but I trust the Church and I don't deny it" which is fine).

    RCIA is not the only way into the Church and sometimes it's not the best way. I'm thinking someone like Mr. Wallace would have benefited from one-on-one instruction with a good priest. The RCIA program I'm currently involved in as a sponsor clearly reflects that it is run by middle-aged women (that's an observation, not a criticism). The RCIA program I went through clearly reflected that it was run by a fairly-liberal nun and definitely-liberal grad students (observation and criticism, in this case). So how a program is run can certainly increase or decrease the likelihood that a person completes it.

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    1. I agree - if he had a really good priest to talk to - I bet he could have helped him a lot. I once said that there are a lot of people who sneak into heaven - I hope this guy is one of them.

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  4. During my years as an RCIA teacher I witnessed many people who should have "flunked". When someone is welcomed into the Church while stating that they approve of abortion in the cases of rape or incest and don't give flying fig what the Church teaches, is not ready to become a Catholic. As Joshua said, some one-on-one with a priest would have been beneficial.

    That being said, you just sent me on one of my typical odysseys through the interwebs. First, to see who David Foster Wallace was (Wiki), then to read up on his most famous book (also Wiki), followed closely by Amazon to read reviews of his book, and ending up at our local library to see if they have a copy (they do.)

    I placed in my Amazon Wish List, which is an excellent place to store info on future books I wish to obtain at the library.

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    1. I also meant to say that his story is very, very sad.

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    2. His story is sad - heartbreaking.

      I agree with you - one on one with a priest would have saved this guy. But Christ initiated his search and sometimes church people get in the way.

      I know of a priest - newly ordained - totally gung ho - excellent theology, solid liturgy and so on. He might be rubric bound, he might lack humility, he might flunk someone because he doesn't understand souls.

      I may be naive, or way too liberal at times, but babies are baptized, as are the very simple and unlearned. Just think if many of the Catholics online were formators - the same people who call out a good many for being heretics and want to ban this or that person from communion and so on.

      Oh well.

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  5. I've been on the RCIA team for years. Yes, I am middle aged. But it seems we have the most time for this sort of ministry. Young moms and dads don't. Elderly people don't always want to take part in evening classes for a variety of reasons. So...I am what you get. Anyways...

    We've had a few people come through RCIA that were clearly not 'getting it' including my own god-daughter. I told her - I can't stand in front of the bishop and say you are ready when you have no plans to change your living situation (with her fiance). About 8 years later and many conversations and time spent in prayer helped to get her sorted out.

    We had another lady in RCIA who was...well, unlike anyone I ever met. She'd go up at Communion for a blessing and then touch the priests arm to "give the blessing back to him." It was suggested she take more time to think about her direction in life. She also used the class (until we put a stop to it) as a group therapy session. We had a lot of broken people that year and they seemed to feed off each other. Very challenging.

    We must be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

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    1. Haha! Thanks Ang - I love the woman giving the blessing back to the priest.

      Oh well - what do I know?

      Absolutely nuthin'. ;)

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  6. ....tonight after all things considered there will be a 'reprise' of an interview of Wallace on - Fresh Air -8/14, 6 pm here on the east coast. wish I Were on the coast, at the ocean....my vinca minor ground cover is suffering with the dry cracked earth....

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    1. It's in the mid 90's here with high humidity - and things are dry.

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