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Sigh – Looks like RCL Benzinger is associated with Call to Action

January 12, 2012

My RCIA director uses the RCL Benzinger RCIA workbooks  for our dismissal sessions. Over the years I have felt that some of the content is “flaky”, and thanks to the search terms that show up in the status page with WordPress I see there is a connection with said company and the Call to Action group. According to CatholicCulture.org “RCL Enterprises is favorably mentioned on the Call to Action site.” A quick search of the CTA site and I couldn’t find Benziger mentioned there, but I did find a critique of a Benziger homeschooling book at EWTN.com.

There are substantive objections because of its lack of precision in expression, misstatement of Catholic teaching, factual errors, decision making derived from a psychologism of “rights,” feeling, and extreme feminism.

Moral of the story – know the source of your sources. And, I think I have to pull all of my RCIA posts here. Sorry.

UPDATE: Based on Joyce’s comments below and those of a priest that I asked about this, it appears that the Foundations in Faith series are orthodox. I have restored all of my RCIA posts.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2012 9:16 am

    This is silly – and somewhat out of date. My diocesan office duties include textbook reviews – and I work with all the national publishers. RCL Enterprises no longer exists as a separate entity. It was purchased by Benziger several years ago – along with Silver Burdett Ginn Religion Division. The combined company is now called RCL/Benziger. I am betting this was an old reference to when RCL was on its own…

    RCL originally was founded by Bill Huebsch and a number of other committed Catholic writers… in the 90’s it had a slightly “liberal” flavor – one that probably appealed to CTA. However, since all catechetical materials now have to be approved by the Bishops’ Committee on the Catechism, their materials are as orthodox as everyone else’s. However, even before that, their materials were solid and based on the Catechism and I never encountered anything more “liberal” than a predilection to refer to Vatican II as a good thing.

    Besides, just because a group likes you doesn’t mean you have anything to do with that group.

  2. January 12, 2012 9:19 am

    P.S., the Family Life book is a sexuality teaching program, and was approved by USCCB. The one referred to is the old, out of print version… which has been revised since to conform to the USCCB Guidelines for Catechetical Instruction for Chaste Living, which are based on the current Vatican document. Again, this information is out of date.

    • catholicwideweb permalink*
      January 12, 2012 11:13 am

      thanks, Joyce. I still am leery of some of the info that I came across in the outlines as I prepared my sessions. I’ll have to go back and find my concerns. I do think tho that being endorsed by someone sheds a lot of light on a product.

  3. Joyce Donahue permalink
    January 12, 2012 2:43 pm

    The RCIA material was originally published by Tabor – which was bought out in the ’90’s by RCL. The USCCB does not require conformity for adult catechetical materials, although there would certainly be an imprimatur. If this is the Foundations in Faith resource, the authors are all prominent longtime members of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate – and this is long-respected material in the RCIA world. That being said, the copyright I have on mine is 1997, before conformity to the Catechism was a desireable thing.

    As you can see from what I have said here – this is a more complex issue than who loves or hates some of their children’s resources. It may not apply to the series you are looking at because of its history. When EWTN is looking at a children’s family life/sexuality program, it may have little to do with the authors of an adult program that has a history of coming from another source.

    • catholicwideweb permalink*
      January 12, 2012 3:20 pm

      Yes, I believe it is the foundations in faith. There is a great deal of “how does this passage make you feel” in the outlines, and church doctrine isn’t about feelings, its about truths. so that right there was unsettling for me. is the north american forum on the catechumenate an orthodox group?

      • Joyce Donahue permalink
        January 12, 2012 4:18 pm

        The Forum was set up originally to support the implementation of the RCIA – it is an independent organization with an episcopal advisor. They have national conventions for leaders. They are considered the experts.

        The reason this is about “feelings” is that adult faith formation methodology assumes that adults have life experience – and valid opinions- unlike children. It is a common format to reflect on how scripture and doctrine interface with a person’s real life. That methodology is called theological reflection. We don’t tell adults what things mean. We help them discover that. It helps people “own” their faith.

        That being said, this is a lectionary- based program – and if you are using it for dismissal, that should not be the only catechesis the adults have. Many parishes have a Sunday dismissal session to reflect on the readings plus another session – usually on a weeknight to catechize on doctrine, to connect people to the community and to accomplish the rest of what is needed for RCIA. A good tool for this, if you want something more “doctrine-based” is the United States Catechism for Adults. If you are not the person in charge of RCIA, and don’t have the ability to change it – I suggest you take seriously the references Foundations in the Faith makes to the Catechism… and have the folks read the paragraphs that are referenced.

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