CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE CONDEMNS ALPHA PROGRAM
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • December 6, 2017
“I must make it clear that the program may not be used, in any form”
As the international director of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, Cdl. Burke was asked in December of 2015 to review the Alpha program for its possible use by Catholics. After doing so, the cardinal issued this sobering warning: “Having studied the program, both from the perspective of doctrine and methodology, I must make it clear that the program may not be used, in any form, in the Marian Catechist Apostolate and that Marian Catechists are not to become involved with it.”
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Cardinal Burke, former head of the Apostolic Signatura, added that gimmicks and new-fangled programs aren’t what’s needed in drawing souls to Christ. “While, like so many similar programs,” said the cardinal, “Alpha may seem to offer a more attractive and effective form of evangelization and catechesis, it does not have the doctrinal and methodological foundations required for the teaching of the Catholic Faith.” He also recalled that Pope St. John Paul II had warned against trying to make converts or reverts by using new programs that don’t rely on the inspiring power of Christ’s teachings.
The cardinal was referring to the 2001 Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte in which John Paul II wrote, “We are certainly not seduced by the naive expectation that, faced with the great challenges of our time, we shall find some magic formula. No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person and the assurance which he gives us: I am with you!”
The sainted pope added:
It is not, therefore, a matter of inventing a “new programme”. The programme already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition, it is the same as ever. Ultimately, it has its centre in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated, so that in Him we may live the life of the Trinity and with him transform history until its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem. This is a programme which does not change with shifts of times and cultures … This programme for all times is our programme for the Third Millennium.
Watch the panel discuss the dangers of using the Alpha program in The Download—Dumbed-Down Catholicism.
THE DOWNLOAD: DUMBED-DOWN CATHOLICISM
Exploring the Alpha program.
December 6, 2017
Exploring the Alpha program.
ALPHA PROGRAM TURNS CATHOLICS INTO PROTESTANTS
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • December 7, 2017
P.A. Quintiliani: “This program has changed her life … but not for the better”
The Alpha Program, now used in thousands of Catholic parishes in 70 countries as a tool for evangelization, is turning Catholics weak in their faith into Protestants.
Published material from Catholic Alpha informs pastors that those attending the Alpha program in their parishes will be woefully ignorant of the Catholic faith. Besides reaching out to those who are “unchurched,” Catholic Alpha says the program is meant for non-practicing Catholics.
“[W]e often find many people in our pews who have been sacramentalized without ever having been evangelized. If you are running Alpha in the context of a Catholic parish, such individuals may very well be a part of your initial audience,” says the manual.
One viewer, Patricia Anthony Quintiliani, told Church Militant that her friend lost her faith by attending the Alpha program: “I have a friend,” wrote Quintiliani, “who loves this program, but now she thinks it’s wrong to pray to the Blessed Mother or the saints. She is adamant that this program has changed her life. It has, but not for the better.”
No mention is made of needing an infallible teaching authority to know what is “bad stuff.” Private interpretation of Scripture leaves most Protestants OK with contraception, divorce and remarriage, and even homosexual relationships.
There is no mention made either of the necessity of the priesthood established by Christ, through which He absolves people of their sins. The “personal relationship with Jesus” mentality doesn’t move anyone to the realization that Christ founded One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which is the Mediatrix of all graces.
Little wonder that Cdl. Raymond Burke, as the international director of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, in December of 2015 said of Alpha: “Having studied the program, both from the perspective of doctrine and methodology, I must make it clear that the program may not be used in any form in the Marian Catechist Apostolate and that Marian Catechists are not to become involved with it.”
Watch the panel discuss how Catholics are being turned into Protestants in The Download—More on Alpha.
THE DOWNLOAD: MORE ON ALPHA
Error upon error.
December 7, 2017
Error upon error.
THE DOWNLOAD: ALPHA EXPOSED – Wrong on the Bible
December 8, 2017
Wrong on the Bible.
FORMER DETROIT AUXILIARY BISHOP: ALPHA DEVOID OF ‘CATHOLIC ESSENTIALS’
Maintains Protestant-inspired course “a marvelous tool” for evangelization
In a 2016 address to Catholics, Alpha advocate Bp. Michael Byrnes told his audience, “We haven’t heard much about Mary, we haven’t heard much about the saints, we haven’t heard anything really about the sacraments, except for maybe baptism … we haven’t heard anything about the Magisterium, about bishops.”
“So why haven’t we heard about this?” Byrnes asked, rhetorically. “Because it’s Alpha.”
Still, Byrnes supports the Protestant-inspired course.
The bishop applauded the Faith for containing “so much richness” but likened it to “a firehose,” suggesting that the fullness of Catholic truth is too much for uncatechized Catholics or the unchurched to swallow.
Painting Alpha as “a cup of water,” he insinuated the program is a superior means of reaching seekers.
“What Alpha is really for is to reach the people who are furthest away from Jesus,” Byrnes said, and “that’s ultimately what Alpha is. … And it’s a marvelous tool in that respect. … It’s almost like pre-evangelizing in a certain sense.”
To support his contention, Byrnes lifted a quote from Pope Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel): “When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion,” Francis advised, “the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary.”
“The message is simplified while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing,” the pontiff added.
“This,” Byrnes asserted, “really reflects the genius of something like Alpha … We’re giving really just the essentials, and it’s not Protestant essentials, it’s not even Orthodox essentials, it’s not Catholic essentials — it’s the essentials of being a Christian.”
In other words, Catholic essentials are not “the essentials of being a Christian.”
The Magisterial teaching authority of the Church is not essential. The Sacraments — “except for maybe baptism” — are not essential. The Eucharist — the source and summit of the Faith — is not essential.
This is protestantism. It is why Cdl. Raymond Burke has thoroughly condemned the Alpha program.
As international director of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, in December 2015 Burke was asked to review Alpha’s suitability for Catholics.
Burke concluded his investigation with a stark warning: “Having studied the program, both from the perspective of doctrine and methodology, I must make it clear that the program may not be used, in any form, in the Marian Catechist Apostolate and that Marian Catechists are not to become involved with it.”
“While, like so many similar programs Alpha may seem to offer a more attractive and effective form of evangelization and catechesis,” he added, “it does not have the doctrinal and methodological foundations required for the teaching of the Catholic faith.”
And yet, Alpha is used as a primary catechetical tool in diocese after diocese — in thousands of Catholic parishes — across the United States and in dozens of countries around the world.
In his 2001 apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), Pope St. John Paul II warned against taking up theological novelties to reach the uncatechized and unchurched:
It is not, therefore, a matter of inventing a “new program.” The program already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition, it is the same as ever. Ultimately, it has its center in Christ Himself who is to be known, loved and imitated so that in Him we may live the life of the Trinity and with Him transform history until its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem. This is a program which does not change with shifts of times and cultures … This program for all times is our program for the Third Millennium.
Likewise, in his 1975 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World), Bl. Pope Paul VI wrote, “[T]he Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the message she proclaims.”
The pontiff reiterated the Catholic Church is tasked with the commission to evangelize and that evangelization is ineffective apart from her, “This mandate is not accomplished without her and still less against her.”
He sorrowfully recalls those “well-intentioned” but “certainly misguided” people who are “continually claiming to love Christ but without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but outside the Church. The absurdity of this dichotomy is clearly evident in this phrase of the Gospel: ‘Anyone who rejects you rejects me.'”
Almost in anticipation of novelties like Alpha, Paul VI also warned:
In the Church’s evangelizing activity there are of course certain elements and aspects to be specially insisted on. … Any partial and fragmentary definition which attempts to render the reality of evangelization in all its richness, complexity and dynamism does so only at the risk of impoverishing it and even of distorting it. It is impossible to grasp the concept of evangelization unless one tries to keep in view all its essential elements.
Alpha is blind to these “essential elements” or stated another way the “Catholic essentials” — essentials like the Magisterium, the sacraments, and above all, the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Faith.