For the past few months, a friend of mine has been participating in the RCIA program at a local parish. I tagged along for the first meeting and decided to stick around; the leaders are providing solid, orthodox catechesis—a welcome change from what is, at least to my knowledge, standard fare in American parishes—and their lectures have given me a refresher course in basic Catholic theology. (Personally, I’m glad for the opportunity. Where faith is concerned, I often find myself getting lost in the details of doctrine and orthopraxy and forget the larger truths.)
Last night our discussion centered on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. Obviously, we couldn’t spend a whole lot of time on any particular subject. Nevertheless, I was pleased with how the team handled a rather difficult topic.
Naturally, the conversation touched upon Purgatory and its place in salvation as well. Unlike the Last Things, Purgatory is not taken for granted as truth by most Protestants; RCIA usually has one or two curious products of the Reformation in attendance, so I was hardly surprised when the discussion of Purgatory, and its accompanying handout, took the form of an apologetic.