This Week’s Ask Alice: “RCIA Issues” and “Trouble With Bible Interpretation”

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Kimberly writes: I started my RCIA in September and have been enjoying learning about God. I have run into the fact that I don’t believe in everything they are teaching and the fact that I’m feeling judged. They even went as far as to tell me I should leave my boyfriend because he was married and has not been granted a annulment yet.

I’m going through some major pain and am starting to resent the church I really want to baptized in to Jesus name and I have worked very hard to do so. I love the church and most of what they stand for but there are some things I just don’t know about.Also I believe God is ever loving and forgiving and as long as your trying your best to be a good person and follow him he will be with you and forgive you for the mistakes you have made.

Please help me. I’m very torn. Do I look into other churches, or do I get baptized Catholic even know I don’t believe all their teachings??

Alice answers: Your RCIA struggles deeply touch my heart. In 1999, my 69-year-old neighbor, Bob, was dying from lung cancer. Although he lived next door for 22 years, I never knew that Bob, his wife and foster daughter never were baptized. After learning that they did not know the Lord, I began praying with my 8th Religious Education students that Bob would be baptized before he died.

At the start of every class, my 8th graders would ask, “Did Bob get baptized yet?” Every week I’d bake cake, pie or cookies for Bob in the hopes that my frequent visits would help bring him to the Lord. One evening Bob confided to me that he was in RCIA classes when he was 27 years old. Gently, I asked what happened. “The priest called to ask me why I stopped coming. I quit going to RCIA because I was afraid I couldn’t obey all the commandments. I had some doubts,” Bob answered with tears in his eyes.

I explained to Bob that none of us obeys the 10 commandments all of the time. All of us struggle with doubts and weaknesses. “All men have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) That’s why Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Ours is a God of love and mercy. Each day we fail in many ways. But the Lord is always waiting with His arms wide open to forgive us.

Back to Bob…….. My students kept praying, and I began calling priests to come to Bob’s house since he was too weak to get out of bed. No priest would visit Bob. At the end of November my 8th graders asked, “Did Bob get baptized yet?” That night I went home and sobbed wondering how I ever could face my 8th graders if Bob died without Baptism. The next morning I brought a bottle of Holy Water and baptized Bob, who died 10 days later. In 1999, my 8th graders taught me an unforgettable lesson about the power of prayer. Bob’s wife and daughter attended RCIA and became Catholics in 2004.

Kimberly, please, please stay in RCIA! God knows that you and I are not perfect. Don’t concern yourself with what people in RCIA think of you. All that matters is what God thinks of you. Kimberly, God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Do not seek baptism in another faith. The Catholic religion is the one true faith, founded by Jesus Christ Himself in 33 A.D. Don’t settle for another religion because it seems easier.

You still can see your boyfriend if you don’t have sex with him. Easy? Not at all. Why not ask for God’s grace to make this sacrifice? If your boyfriend really loves you, he will be understanding and seek an annulment.

Easter Vigil is just one month away. You are so close to becoming a Catholic. Remember my neighbor, Bob. Don’t run away and risk missing all of the sacraments and graces God has waiting for you. Kimberly, I’m praying that you will stay with RCIA and become a Catholic at Easter Vigil. Please let me know what happens.

In Christ’s Love,



A.P. Asks: In the Bible under Genesis 2:7, it states: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Within this one verse it says that one is not living until the first breath of the nostrils. I have always been taught by the Catholic church says life starts at conception. If you could please inform me of some resources as to why the Church teaches one way when it clearly states the opposite in the Bible. In what law of the church does it state that life begins at conception? I also understand that a lot of the church’s teachings are implied from the Bible. What can you say to something written so clearly?

Alice Responds: Actually, the Bible does teach us that life begins at conception. However, we must read more than the first two chapters of the Bible (Genesis 2:7) to discern God’s gift of human life. Here are three Scripture passages which describe the beginning of human life at conception:

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made. My soul, also, you knew full well; nor was my frame unknown to you when I was made in secret, when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.” (Psalm 139:13-15)

“Oh, remember that you fashioned me from clay! Did you not pour me out as milk and thicken me like cheese? With skin and flesh you clothed me, with bones and sinews knit me together.” (Job 10:9-11)

Like the creation account in Genesis 2:7, these Scripture verses reveal God’s creation of each person in his/her mother’s womb.

Scientific evidence supports these Biblical truths, since a human embryo has its first heartbeat at the age of 3 weeks. At 6 weeks gestation, an embryo’s heartbeat is visible on an ultrasound. Although an embryo can’t breathe on its own, the umbilical cord gives the baby a constant supply of oxygenated and nutrient-filled blood from the placenta.

Clearly, science complements Scripture in illuminating God’s precious gift of life!

In Christ’s Love,


Doug Lawrence adds: Genesis records a series of unique, one-time events at the very beginning of man’s creation, where God literally hand-crafted Adam, the first man, from dirt. Then, as you point out, God brought him to life.

Prior to that seminal, life-giving event, Adam was no more than a piece of clay. It was also much the same with Eve (except for that rib). But shortly afterwards, the normative, procreative, human reproductive process would proceed in a totally different way.

All future “souls” would be created by God with man’s cooperation, as the result of a two-into-one flesh union. The little children who resulted from that flesh union would all be truly human … not clay … from the moment of their conception.

The Catholic Church clearly understands and appreciates the profound difference between creation and procreation, so the Church infallibly teaches that a new human life begins when the sperm and the egg meet and become one … at conception. Based on all the scientific evidence in existence, the Church is absolutely right!

It’s always important to read the Bible in the proper context … and that context is always in accordance with the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church … since it is the Catholic Church … not the Bible  … which was given the awesome power and authority to teach, govern, and sanctify in Jesus’ name … for the purpose of our salvation.  

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