Cardinal Raymond Burke has condemned the Alpha Program now used in thousands of Catholic parishes in 70 countries as a tool for evangelization and catechesis.
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."
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.