Sacraments of Initiation
Part 5  Selected Pastoral Issues

Chapter i51 Initiation in Particular Circumstances

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Overview of the RCIA Document

Chapter 1. Initiation of Children

Chapter 2. Exceptional Circumstances

Chapter 3. Danger of Death

Chapter 4. Uncatechized (Baptized) Adults

Chapter 5. Full Communion

Appendix: Combined Rites

Valid and Licit

The Profession of Faith

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

What would you consider "exceptional circumstances" which would warrant modification of the RCIA?

Are most of the people who are received into the Church at the Easter Vigil in your parish a) true catechumens or are they b) already baptized?

Have you ever been a member of an ecclesial communion other than the Roman Catholic Church? If so, how would you describe your reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church? Do you have a friend who was in this situation? How would they describe their becoming a Catholic? What liturgical rites were used? How did it feel?

Imagine these four people becoming Roman Catholics: a) a woman baptized Roman Catholic as an infant but raised in a completely non-religious environment and who hears of Jesus for the first time in College; b) a Jew; c) a Byzantine Catholic; d) a Lutheran. How do these cases differ? What liturgical rites should be used in each of these four cases? Why is it important to distinguish between these cases?

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Bibliography

The Rites pp 285-304.

Code of Canon Law cc 204-207. James H. Provost. "The People of God," Commentary pp 117-134.

Code of Canon Law c 844. 1985 Commentary pp 609.

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 Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has 2 parts and 3 appendix.  An outline of the document is presented here:

Part I -- "Christian Initiation of Adults" [This is the material we have studied at length in Part 3 of these notes,  Initiation of Adults and Children.]

Part II -- "Rites for Particular Circumstances" [Five "particular circumstances" are given.]

1. Christian Initiation of Children who Have Reached Catechetical Age
2. Christian Initiation of Adults in Exceptional Circumstances
3. Christian Initiation of a Person in Danger of Death
4. Preparation of Uncatechized Adults for Confirmation and Eucharist
5. Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church

The Rite concludes with three appendix.

Appendix I: Additional (Combined) Rites

Rite 1. Celebration of the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens and of the Rite of Welcoming Baptized But Previously Uncatechized Adults who are Preparing Confirmation and/or Eucharist or Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.

Rite 2. Parish Celebration for Sending Catechumens for Election and Candidates for Recognition by the Bishop [Optional]

Rite 3. Celebration of the Rite of Election of Catechumens and of the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates who are Preparing for Confirmation and/or Eucharist or Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.

Rite 4. Celebration at the Easter Vigil of the Sacraments of Initiation and of the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church

Appendix II: Acclamations, Hymns, and Songs

Acclamations from Sacred Scripture (595)
Hymns in the Style of the New Testament (596)
Songs from Ancient Liturgies (597)

Appendix III: National Statutes for the Catechumenate

Precatechumenate (1)
Catechumenate (2-7)
Catechumens (8-10)
Minister of Baptism and Confirmation (11-13)
Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation (14-17)
Children of Catechetical Age (18-19)
Abbreviated Catechumenate (20-21)
Mystagogy (22-24)
Uncatechized Adult Catholics (25-29)
Reception into Full Catholic Communion (30-37)

Documentation

A.  Conciliar Constitution and Decrees

B.  Code of Canon Law

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Chapter 1. Initiation of Children

Part II Chapter 1: Christian Initiation of Children who have Reached Catechetical Age.

1. RCIC (RCIT)
        a. No such thing as RCIC or RCIT
        b. but adaptation of the RCIA.
2. From "Age of Discretion"
3. Receive all three sacraments of initiation at the same time: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist.
4. Note: The Rite for Reception of Previously Baptized Children
5. Forthcoming Revision of the Rite -- ICEL
Consultation on the Revision of Christian Initiation of Children. The consultation was scheduled to be over January 1, 1994, but responses are still (as of May 1994) being accepted. The results of the consultation are just starting to be examined but this is how things look so far. When the Rites for the Initiation of Children are put into one book there will be five chapters:

Chapter 1. Rite for Initiation of Children of Catechetical Age will be placed first. It will be a unified rite with Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

Chapter 2. Rite for the reception of children who are already validly baptized (e.g. in a Protestant Church).  In January 2006 there was an interesting discussion on the web between several knowledgeable liturgist regarding this issue ( published here without anyone's permission and edited by me to fit this site) follows:

Someone asks: "Every year we have a few children in the First Eucharist program who were baptized in non-Catholic Christian communities.
What precisely is necessary for them to be received into full communion with the Catholic church?"

If the child is younger than seven, a parent should declare to the pastor or his delegate that they intend to raise their child in the Catholic faith.
The recording of the child's baptismal information in the baptismal constitutes an act of reception.

Children seven and older with the use of reason normally should be received through the celebration of the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.

For the Christian child, baptized in a denomination other than the Roman Church, Rite of Reception-Confirmation-Eucharist [is required].

The point I was making, not clearly enough, is that the liturgical rite of reception, with confirmation, is required for liceity, but the juridic act of reception may be validly accomplished in other ways.

For someone with the use of reason, it is minimally required:

1) That they knowingly and willingly want to be received into full communion. [Thus, they must know that they are not yet Catholic. Someone who thinks he/she is already Catholic, but has not been received into full communion, is not Catholic and does not become Catholic by making first communion alone.]

2) Some formal act of reception is necessary, typically, a profession of Catholic faith made before the local ordinary, pastor, parochial vicar, or chaplain who has the faculties of a pastor (for military, migrants).

If the pastor or his delegate merely transcribes the person's name and baptismal information in the parish register and writes, "received into full communion on [date],"
that in itself is a valid act of reception. I'm not arguing in favor of minimalism. I wholeheartedly agree with Paul's approach, which is the observance of the law in its completeness. But I want also to respond to people concerned whether what they do in their parishes is bringing about reception into full communion, or not.

Regarding the confirmation conferred in schismatic churches. Since their ministers have valid orders, confirmation celebrated by their bishops is always valid and recognized as such by the Catholic Church.

Regarding a child baptized as a Lutheran:

There must be a formal act of reception for a baptized non-Catholic to become a Catholic. This is done, for Protestants, through the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.

Conformation constitutes a valid act of reception because: (1) Proof of baptism is necessary, which demonstrates the person is not a Catholic. (2) The person is practicing as a Catholic and seeks confirmation, which is an implicit declaration of their intention to be a Catholic. (3) The confirmation is an act of reception by the local ordinary, pastor, or parochial vicar, because only Catholics and those being received into full communion are confirmed.

Reception of first holy communion is not, a valid act of reception into full communion, because non-Catholic Christians may be given holy communion (canon 844).

In this case it appears the woman was never confirmed in the Polish National Church, which has valid confirmation.

A profession of faith is required for the liceity of reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church, but it can be effected validly without it. She need only declare before the pastor or parochial vicar (or local ordinary) that she wants to be a Roman Catholic (which she already has done at least implicitly), and he in turn records the information in the register for reception, or in the baptismal register. If thought necessary, the bishop can dispense from the profession of faith to allow this procedure which accomplishes the reception juridically. There is good reason to dispense, namely, to facilitate this woman's reception into full communion, since in conscience she believes she already professes the Catholic faith.

Also, the confirmation itself may effect reception into full communion, in that confirmation is a sacrament administered only to those who are Catholic or who are being received into full communion. The woman would manifest her intention to be a Roman Catholic by seeking confirmation, and the confirmation would bring about the reception.

As for a confirmation sponsor, there are two ways to handle her request. Option One:
Ask her to name two sponsors, one Catholic and the other the PNC person she has in mind. The latter would be recorded as a witness, the former as the official sponsor. Both could be present at the confirmation, or the actual sponsor could designate the witness to act as his/her proxy during the celebration.

Option Two: Don't record any sponsor, as one is not absolutely required (canon 892).
The PNC person could be recorded as witness.
 

Chapter 3. Rite for Baptism of Infants

Chapter 4. Rite for Confirmation

Chapter 5. Rite for First Communion

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Chapter 2. Exceptional Circumstances

Part II Chapter 2: Christian Initiation of Adults in Exceptional Circumstances

331.  Exceptional circumstances may arise in which the local bishop, in individual cases, can allow the use of a form of Christian initiation that is simpler that the usual, complete rite (see no. 34.4).

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Chapter 3. Danger of Death

Part II Chapter 3: Christian Initiation of a Person in Danger of Death

1. General Liturgical Principle: Less is more

2. General Liturgical principle: Do what you do well. e.g. To celebrate with the dying person the rite of entry into the Catechumenate, the solemn rite of Baptism, the rite of Confirmation, First Eucharist as Viaticum, First Reconciliation, Solemn Profession, Ordination to the Deaconate and Presbyterate, the Anointing the Sick, the Apostolic Blessing and Plenary Indulgence for the Dying is, perhaps, too much liturgy for someone in danger of death.

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Chapter 4. Uncatechized (Baptized) Adults

Part II Chapter 4: Preparation of Uncatechized Adults for Confirmation and Eucharist

Optional Rites for Baptized but Uncatechized Adults.

4a Rite of Welcoming the Candidates

4b Rite of Sending the Candidates for Recognition by the Bishop and for the Call to Continuing Conversion

4c Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion

4d Penitential Rite (Scrutiny)

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Chapter 5. Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians
into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church

1.  "The Rite for Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church" was originally published in Rome as its own ritual book. It is a separate rite. It is not part of the RCIA.

In the USA in 1988, the USCCB decided to publish it with the RCIA as "Chapter 5" (#473 ff). The advantage of this decision is that you only have to buy one book. The disadvantage is that many catechist and RCIA directors do not even know that the rite exists – perhaps they didn’t read all the way to paragraph 473! From talking with DRE’s in various parishes it has become evident to me that they do not know that this ritual exists!

2.  When baptized Christians wish to come into full communion with the Catholic Church the proper ritual is "The Rite for Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church" – not "The Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults”– These Christians are already initiated.  This means that they are already a child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, with all of their sins taken away, marked with an indelible mark that can never be removed or repeated, members of the Church of Christ, etc. etc. TThese Christians are very different from Converts – whether they know it or not. – And more importantly, whether WE know it or not.

3.  The "key" factors lie, I believe, in the subconscious understanding of faith of the pastor and/or catechist.  The underlying issue is ecumenism. This is an area where Roman Catholic attitudes have changed radically during the fast 50 years. This radical change in the magisterium of the "official" Church has not yet reached all of our pastors and catechists.

Ecumenism and Initiation

1960  Priests were instructed that Protestants were in error. Error is an evil. Cooperation in evil is always forbidden. Consequently it was strictly forbidden for any Catholic to take part in any way in prayer, liturgical or nonliturgical, with a baptized non-Catholic Christian. For example if your sister was marrying a Protestant in his church without a dispensation from form, if you attended out of loyalty to your sister, you were strictly forbidden to participate in any way.

This understanding was embodied in the 1917 Code of Canon Law (canon 1258)
1258,1.  It is illicit for the faithful to assist at or participate in any way in non-Catholic religious functions.
1258,2.  For a serious reason requiring, in case of doubt, the Bishop's approval, passive or merely material presence at non-Catholic funerals, weddings and similar occasions because of holding a civil office or as a courtesy can be tolerated, provided there is no danger of perversion or scandal.
(Note:  There is no similar provision in the current 1983 Code.)

All this changes radically with the second Vatican Council.

A recollection from 1966. Before ordination in 1966 I, along with my classmates, was required to take the "Cura Animarum" examination before we were given faculties to hear confessions. This was a major exam by a board of examiners, which covered all 4 years of theology. In preparation for this exam a classmate and I were helping each other  review the various subjects. One night we were quizzing each other on First Year Moral theology.  At one point I asked my friend: "Morris, can we pray with Protestants?" Morris responded: "It is forbidden by the divine law and recommended by the Second Vatican Council."   This was the situation we found ourselves in as seminarians in 1966!  

1964, November 21:  Second Vatican Council, Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio)

1. The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but differ in mind and go their different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided.(1) Such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.

8. ... Witness to the unity of the Church very generally forbids common worship to Christians, but the grace to be had from it sometimes commends this practice.

22. Whenever the Sacrament of Baptism is duly administered as Our Lord instituted it, and is received with the right dispositions, a person is truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ, and reborn to a sharing of the divine life, as the Apostle says: "You were buried together with Him in Baptism, and in Him also rose again - through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead". ... Baptism therefore establishes a sacramental bond of unity which links all who have been reborn by it. ...”

22 ... Though the ecclesial Communities which are separated from us lack the fullness of unity with us flowing from Baptism, and though we believe they have not retained the proper reality of the eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Orders, nevertheless when they commemorate His death and resurrection in the Lord's Supper, they profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and look forward to His coming in glory. ...

24 (the final article). Now that we have briefly set out the conditions for ecumenical action and the principles by which it is to be directed, we look with confidence to the future. This Sacred Council exhorts the faithful to refrain from superficiality and imprudent zeal, which can hinder real progress toward unity. Their ecumenical action must be fully and sincerely Catholic, that is to say, faithful to the truth which we have received from the apostles and Fathers of the Church, in harmony with the faith which the Catholic Church has always professed, and at the same time directed toward that fullness to which Our Lord wills His Body to grow in the course of time.

1967 & 1970  Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (SPCU), Ecumenical Directory, Ad Totam Ecclesiam, AAS 1967, 574-592; AAS 1970, 705-724.

1972  full communion

1993, March 25. Pontificium Consilium Ad Christianorum Unitatem Fovendam. Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism

Baptism

92. By the sacrament of baptism a person is truly incorporated into Christ and into his Church and is reborn to a sharing of the divine life. Baptism, therefore, constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn. Baptism, of itself, is the beginning, for it is directed towards the acquiring of fullness of life in Christ. It is thus ordered to the profession of faith, to the full integration into the economy of salvation, and to Eucharistic communion.

99d.  If, even after careful investigation, a serious doubt persists about the proper administration of the baptism and it is judged necessary to baptize conditionally, the Catholic minister should show proper regard for the doctrine that baptism may be conferred only once by explaining to the person involved, both why in this case he is baptizing conditionally and what is the significance of the rite of conditional baptism. Furthermore, the rite of conditional baptism is to be carried out in private and not in public. 101. In the present state of our relations with the ecclesial Communities of the Reformation of the 16th century, we have not yet reached agreement about the significance or sacramental nature or even of the administration of the sacrament of Confirmation. Therefore, under present circumstances, persons entering into full communion with the Catholic Church from one of these Communities are to receive the sacrament of Confirmation according to the doctrine and rite of the Catholic Church before being admitted to Eucharistic communion.

Confirmation

101. In the present state of our relations with the ecclesial Communities of the Reformation of the 16th century, we have not yet reached agreement about the significance or sacramental nature or even of the administration of the sacrament of Confirmation. Therefore, under present circumstances, persons entering into full communion with the Catholic Church from one of these Communities are to receive the sacrament of Confirmation according to the doctrine and rite of the Catholic Church before being admitted to Eucharistic communion.

Eucharist

129. A sacrament is an act of Christ and of the Church through the Spirit. Its celebration in a concrete community is the sign of the reality of its unity in faith, worship and community life. As well as being signs, sacraments—most specially the Eucharist—are sources of the unity of the Christian community and of spiritual life, and are means for building them up. Thus Eucharistic communion is inseparably linked to full ecclesial communion and its visible expression.

The Eucharist is, for the baptized, a spiritual food which enables them to overcome sin and to live the very life of Christ, to be incorporated more profoundly in Him and share more intensely in the whole economy of the Mystery of Christ.

It is in the light of these two basic principles [sign of unity / source of unity], which must always be taken into account together, that in general the Catholic Church permits access to its Eucharistic communion and to the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick, only to those who share its oneness in faith, worship and ecclesial life. For the same reasons, it also recognizes that in certain circumstances, by way of exception, and under certain conditions, access to these sacraments may be permitted, or even commended, for Christians of other Churches and ecclesial Communities.

130. In case of danger of death, Catholic ministers may administer these sacraments when the conditions given below (n. 131) are present. ... Catholic ministers will judge individual cases and administer these sacraments only in accord with these established norms, where they exist. Otherwise they will judge according to the norms of this Directory.

131. The conditions under which a Catholic minister may administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, of penance and of the anointing of the sick to a baptized person... are 1) that the person be unable to have recourse for the sacrament desired to a minister of his or her own Church or ecclesial Community, 2) ask for the sacrament of his or her own initiative, 3) manifest Catholic faith in this sacrament and 4) be properly disposed.

132. On the basis of the Catholic doctrine concerning the sacraments and their validity, a Catholic who finds himself or herself in the circumstances mentioned above may ask for these sacraments only from a minister in whose Church these sacraments are valid or from one who is known to be validly ordained according to the Catholic teaching on ordination.

Marrage

159. Because of problems concerning Eucharistic sharing which may arise from the presence of non-Catholic witnesses and guests, a mixed marriage celebrated according to the Catholic form ordinarily takes place outside the Eucharistic liturgy. For a just cause, however, the diocesan Bishop may permit the celebration of the Eucharist. In the latter case, the decision as to whether the non-Catholic party of the marriage may be admitted to Eucharistic communion is to be made in keeping with the general norms existing in the matter both for Eastern Christians and for other Christians, taking into account the particular situation of the reception of the sacrament of Christian marriage by two baptized Christians.

160. Although the spouses in a mixed marriage share the sacraments of baptism and marriage, Eucharistic sharing can only be exceptional and in each case the norms stated above concerning the admission of a non-Catholic Christian to Eucharistic communion,as well as those concerning the participation of a Catholic in Eucharistic communion in another Church, must be observed.

Interpretation of the Directory

We know (from the Council and other sources) that Catholic Doctrine is not a static body of truths. "The Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness [pleroma] of divine truth." (Constitution on Divine Revelation, #8). And as the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness [pleroma] of divine truth, we might ask: "How is this legislation to be interpreted?" The Catholic Church has given norms for interpretation of law within the law itself. For example in the current 1983 Code, Canon 18 states: "laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exemption from the law are subject to strict interpretation." 

This is the current statement of a very ancient legal principle:  "Odia restringi, et favores convenit ampliari, (Odious matters are to be restricted and favors amplified)" which is found in Regulae Iuris  of Boniface VIII, Liber Sextus (1298) in Corpus Iuris Canonici.  The principle states that broad interpretation is normative when a law is favorable; strict interpretation is required when a law is "odious". (John Huels, The New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, p 73). The axiom is frequently quoted as "favors are to be broadened and odious things are to be restricted."

In this regard we should also keep in mind the final Canon (c.1752) in our current Code which, in a sense, sums up the entire Code:  " .... the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one's eyes."

1995 May 24:  Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Ut Unum Sint

 

...Full Communion

And is baptized Christians they have a right to the Eucharist. Once they state their intention to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, they have a right to receive the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church.

But what if they are not catechized? It seems rather presumptuous on my part to depriving them of the Eucharist for several weeks, or years, so that they can receive instruction. Will this instruction do them more good than the graces they would receive by participating fully in the Eucharistic body and blood of Christ and being filled with his Holy Spirit, the Spirit we invoke at each Eucharistic epiclesis. Does not preventing them from receiving the Eucharist because they need my catechesis imply that what I do is more important than God’s grace? Why not give the catechesis after they are in full communion?

[This is also true, perhaps more so, for the baptized but un-catechized Roman Catholic.]

I want to see “The Rite for Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church” used as the Church intends, namely for the reception of baptized Christians into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Note that the very first paragraph of the Rite states that “the rite is so arranged that no greater burden than necessary (see Acts 15:28) is required for the establishment of communion and unity.” I am afraid that many parishes do not observe this rule and impose a much greater burden than necessary! Sacred Scripture notwithstanding!

This is not an arbitrary decision but finds its origin in the revealed word. In the Acts of the Apostles (15:1-29 NRSV) we read of the “Council of Jerusalem” which discussed a similar problem: how much do Gentiles need to know about Judaism if they wish to follow Jesus–in particular, did they need to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic law?

“Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’ And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders. ... When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, "It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses." The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers.
And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. ... Therefore it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well." (E.g. It is NOT necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.)

3) How much catechesis is necessary in these situations? How much does one need to know to be in communion with the Catholic Church? When I read the Christian Scriptures, especially St. Paul, the Gospels, and Acts, I don’t find very much that Christians are required to know. Certainly the Gospels do not record a list of dogmas that Jesus required everyone to believe. In fact it seems that Jesus is much more concerned about DOING rather than KNOWING. He doesn’t say “know the answer to the following 10 questions” but he does say “feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, forgive the sinner, treat everyone as your brother/sister, etc.”

That said, we still might ask just how many things does one have to know to be in full communion with the Catholic Church? Surely the person wishing to come into full communion should not be required to “know” more than the average person in the pew. And it has been my experience during the past 50 years of pastoral ministry that the average person in the pew knows much less than what we expect of those coming into full communion.

4) Baptized Christians who want to come into full communion with the Catholic Church should be received into the Catholic Church as it is today. And the Church today is different from the pre-Vatican Church (believe me it is). In the pre-Vatican Church the liturgy was the work of the priest; the people were content with popular devotions. Now that the liturgy has been restored to all the baptized, how much knowledge of pre-Vatican piety should these people be required to know?

5) We all know that there are people out there who have been baptized (Roman Catholics and Protestants, though they are more likely to be Roman Catholic) but who have not been catechized or brought up in the way of Christian living. There are many possible reasons for this but the basic problem is our many years of INDISCRIMINATE BAPTISM. We baptized people, often simply to take away original sin, even though there was no probability of their living a Christian life. Baptism is not something like being vaccinated against a disease –something we should do for every infant whether they need it or not.

6) In conclusion: reading these essays and considering carefully all you have said I find that I now would make the following 3 statements:

6a) I wonder if we seriously realize what baptism does. Perhaps it is because we are teachers that we put a lot more stock in what we do (instruction) than what God does (baptism). Perhaps we don’t actually believe that God “does anything” and a sacramental celebration!

6b) I am more convinced than ever that the "Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults” is over-used and the Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church" is under-used!

6c) I am also becoming more and more convinced that we do an injustice when we deprive baptized Christians of the graces available to them in the reception of the Holy Eucharist.

1. Subject of the Rite: Catechized Christians who wish to come into full communion with the Roman Catholic.

2. Different classes of people:

 

Part II Chapter 5: Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church

1. Subject of the Rite: Catechized Christians who wish to come into full communion with the Roman Catholic.

2. Different classes of people:

a. An infant baptized at birth and brought up Catholic.
b. An infant baptized at birth but no follow up.
c. An unbaptized adult hears of Christ and wishes to become a Christian.
d. An adult who had been baptized Catholic at birth but had received no catechesis, now hears of Christ and wishes to become a Christian. (Note the special situation of Confirmation in this case in 1986 legislation.
e. An practicing non-Catholic Christian wishes to come into Full Communion with the Catholic Church.

3. The Use of the Word "Convert"   Review:  National Statutes for the Catechumenate

a. Reserve the word "convert" for a real convert.
b. GENERAL LITURGICAL PRINCIPLE: Authenticity.
c. Conversion = turn around

i. sarx to pneuma
ii. from self to Christ as the meaning of life

4. Changing vocabulary reflects a shift in ecclesiology:

a. "Outside the Church there is no Salvation"
b. Constitution on the Church, 8: This [the sole] Church [of Christ], constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists [subsistit] in the Catholic Church. (Flannery, p 357.)

5. See RCIA, Part II Chapter 5: Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.

6.  Parishes continue to debate "the distinction made between the candidates and the catechumens (or elect)." On the one hand, the rite says that "no more burden than necessary be placed on them" and many parishes simply receive them into full communion at Sunday Mass during the year at which they simply stand up, agree to the creed, and everybody claps, and then they receive communion with the parish. On the other hand, many feel it is a wonderful opportunity for them to receive "adult ed" with the catechumens, an opportunity they might not receive again. (Of course, this often results in Baptized Christians coming into full communion with the Catholic Church knowing much more about the Catholic Church than Cradle Catholics do!)

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Appendix: Combined Rites

Rite 1. Celebration of the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens and of the Rite of Welcoming Baptized But Previously Uncatechized Adults who are Preparing Confirmation and/or Eucharist or Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.

Rite 2. Parish Celebration for Sending Catechumens for Election and Candidates for Recognition by the Bishop (optional)

Rite 3. Celebration of the Rite of Election of Catechumens and of the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates who are Preparing for Confirmation and/or Eucharist or Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.

Rite 4. Celebration at the Easter Vigil of the Sacraments of Initiation and of the Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church

GENERAL PRINCIPLE: Every effort must be made so as not to confuse the catechumens with the candidates for full communion. These are two distinct groups; the first are unbaptized and the second are baptized. Integrate the following into the schema given above, page 274.

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Valid and Licit

1.  Review the meaning of Valid / Invalid in the Glossary

2. Requirements for Valid Baptism

Worded sign.

Words: Trinity. God of Jesus Christ

Water bath

Intention: Do what Church does. Initiation into community.

a. intention of minister
b WITH ADULTS ONLY -- intention of recipient
c. [Does the person feel and think they are baptized?]

3.  Conditional Baptism

1. Exceptional situations
2. Private always

4.  Valid Confirmation

1. Confirmation: the completion of Baptism
2. No proof text (not in Christian Scriptures)
3. High point of the rite is Full
Communion
4. In those cases were the person has been communicating, extending the hand of fellowship / kiss of peace.

5.  Diocesan Guidelines for Valid Baptism

An helpful list of baptisms that are valid is given by John Huels in The Pastoral Companion (1986 edition), pp 50-51.

Many archdioceses and dioceses publish guidelines for ecumenical affairs. Often these Diocesan Guidelines contain information concerning the validity of non-catholic baptism. The following is an example of such a list. It would, of course, be modified by a diocese to include those ecclesial communities which were present in the local church. Some guidelines (e.g. the Archdioceses of Hartford, Cincinnati, and Chicago) contain actual baptismal rites and give the reasons for the validity or invalidity.

Adventist--infant dedication, invalid; baptism, valid
African Methodist Episcopal--valid
Amish--valid
Anglican--valid
Apostolic Church--invalid
Assembly of God--valid
Bahai--no baptism used
Baptists--valid
Bohemian Free Thinkers--no baptism used
Christadelphians--invalid
Christian Scientists--no baptism used
Christian and Missionary Alliance--valid
Christian Church--valid
Church of the Nazarine--valid
Church of God--valid
Church of the Brethren--valid
Church of Divine Science--dedication service only
Congregation Church--valid
Disciples of Christ--valid
Doukhobors--no baptism used
Eastern Orthodox--valid
Episcopalians--valid
Evangelical Churches--valid
Evangelical United Brethren--valid
Jehovah's Witnesses--invalid
Liberal Catholic Church--valid
Lutherans--valid
Masons--no baptism used
Methodist Church--valid
Later Day Saints (Mormon)-- Invalid [see below]
Old Catholic--valid
Pentecostal Assembly Churches--invalid
People Church of Chicago--dedication service only
Polish National Church--valid
Presbyterian Church--valid
Quakers--valid
Reformed Church--valid
Salvation Army--no baptism used
United Church of Christ--valid
Universalists--invalid
 

Note regarding Latter Day Saints Baptism:  On July 13, 2001, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, regarding Mormon Baptism: Utrum baptismus collatus apud communitatem "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" vulgo dictam "Mormons" validus est. R: Negative.

Formerly (before 2001)  1) With regard to the Pauline Privilege Mormon Baptism is "quasi-valid" -- Regarding the Pauline Privilege, A letter from the Cong. for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 28, 1998, Prot. No. 39/90-06018, states: " The Holy Father approved the findings of this Congregation's study of the question [February 15, 1991], which concluded that there are insufficient grounds to change the current practice of not contesting the validity of Mormon baptism." It should be carefully noted that this decision does not indicate simple confirmation of the validity of Mormon Baptism. Rather it points to the lack of reasons which would warrant a declaration of the invalidity. Therefore, Mormon baptism should continue to be considered valid with respect to the application of the Pauline Privilege and the Favor Fidei. Moreover, the practice of conditionally baptizing converts from Mormonism to Catholicism is to continue. ... Reply to a CLSA question by Frank Morrisey, OMI. May 10, 1998.

2) The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on the other hand, does not consider Mormon baptism valid, thus necessitating dispensation from disparity of worship for a marriage between a baptized Catholic and a Mormon--and at least conditional re-baptism in an RCIA situation. This is also a reply to a CLSA question. May 10, 1998

3) Another CLSA response to the observation that the Church's position is 'schizophrenic.' "I guess I do not see the position as schizophrenic at all. (I wonder what that says about me?) As I see it there remains a doubt about Mormon baptism. Like so many others (obviously) I too was charged with researching this question at one point. Because there is a doubt, we always take the 'safer' course of action. The safer course regarding baptism is to baptize at least conditionally since they may not be validly baptized. The safer course for marriage cases is to respect the presumption of the inviolability of the bond. That seems completely consistent to me."

4) Another CLSA response (from the diocese of Salt Lake) -- In reply to the issue of the validity of LDS baptism (by the way, members of this denomination do not appreciate being called "Mormon" these days) -- The four replies from the Roman congregations make clear that LDS baptism is presumed valid for marriage purposes. Therefore, marriages involving two LDS or an LDS and a non-baptized cannot be processed as Pauline cases but as formal cases. The divergent 1989 Sacraments comment was essentially negated by the two later CDF replies. For RCIA purposes LDS may be (but don't necessarily have to be) baptized conditionally. It does not seem correct to me to baptize LDS converts absolutely (this is not to say that such baptisms do not happen even in this diocese). Our practice in the Diocese of Salt Lake City is to grant a dispensation for disparity of cult as a caution in cases of interfaith marriages involving LDS. In reflecting on the CDF replies, especially the last one, it seems clear to me that the congregation is more concerned about correct matter and form rather than the intention of the minister and subscribing to orthodox belief. If the intention of the minister relative to correct belief forms part of the standard by which the validity of LDS baptism is evaluated, then it seems to me that the same standard must be applied to every baptism, even those performed by traditional Protestant denominations. It becomes a very slippery slope. Just a few thoughts from the land of Zion where 44% of our formal cases involve at least one LDS. -- Fr. Robert Moriarty -- Adj. Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Salt Lake City, May 14, 1998.

Philippine Baptisms

For those of you who deal with parishioners or Christifideles of Philippine origin, this information might be of some help in dealing with marriage cases. The following Churches in the Philippines administer a valid baptism:

Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP)
Philippine Episcopal Church (PEC)
United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)
Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF)
United Methodist Church in the Philippines (UMCP)
Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC)
Presbyterian Church
Seventh-Day Adventist Church (Note:  on July 13, 2001, declared invalid)

The baptism administered by these Churches is to be considered valid and is not to be repeated even conditionally. The official baptismal certificate should be nough proof of its validity. As for other Churches or religious groups, each case is to be examined individually.

Baptism Administerd by the vaious Aglipayan groups (Iglesia Filipina Independiente or Philippine Independent Church): The problem of the validity of the baptism administered by various Aglipayan groups is a particularly difficult one. The main group, the Philippine Independent Church (PIC), is juridically and officially the "Iglesia Filipina Independiente". The official Rite of Baptism of the Philippine Independent Church is in itself valid. However, the practical implementation of its official baptismal liturgy is not universally certain. Hence, the validity of the baptism administered by all Aglipayan groups, including the Philippine Independent Church, is still to be examined individually. Source: Canon Law Digest of the Philippine Catholic Church: A Text and Commentary, F. TESTERA, O.P., Manila: 1995.

 

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Tridentine Profession of Faith

From the time of the council of Trent until the publication of the RCIA the following formula for the 'Profession of Faith" was required for adult for entering the Catholic Church it is reprinted here from the Collectio Rituum (Benziger Brothers, New York, 1964, pp. 151-155)  which I received as a gift a my ordination.

The Reception of Converts

In the conversion of heretics an inquiry is first to be made concerning the validity of a former baptism received in heresy. If, after careful investigation, it si discovered that no baptism was conferred or that baptism was conferred invalidly, they are to be baptized absolutely. But if afer investigation a probable doubt still remains concerning the validity of the baptism, then it shall be repeated conditionally. Finally , if it is established that the baptism, was valid, the converts are to be received only upon abjuration or profession of faith. In the reconciliation of heretics, therefore, a threefold method of proceeding is distinguished.

1. If baptism is conferred absolutely, no abjuration or absolution follows, since the sacrament of rebirth washes away all sins.

2. If baptism is to be repeated conditionally, the following order is followed:

(a) abjuration or profession of faith,

(b) conditional baptism,

(c) sacramental confession with conditional absolution.

3. Finally, when the baptism is judged to be valid, the abjuration or profession of faith alone is received, followed by absolution for censures.

Manner of receiving the Profession of Catholic Faith from Converts

The priest vests in surplice and violet stole and sits at the epistle side if the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in tabernacle, otherwise tin the center of the altar. The convert kneels before the priest, touches the book of gospels with his right hand, and makes the profession of faith, according to one of the formulas below. If the convert is unable to read, the priest reads the profession of faith to him slowly, so that he may understand it and pronounce the words after the priest.

I, N. N., .... years of age, born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors contrary to her teaching. Now, enlightened by divine grace, I kneel before you, Reverend Father N. N., having before my eyes and touching with my hands the holy gospels; and with a firm faith I believe and profess each and all the articles that are contained in the Apostles' Creed, that is:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried. He descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

I admit and embrace most firmly the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and prescriptions of the Church.

I admit the sacred Scriptures according to the sense which has been held and is still held by Holy Mother Church, whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of the sacred Scriptures, and I shall never accept or interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

I profess that the sacraments of the New Law are, truly and precisely, seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: baptism, confirmation, and holy orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege.

I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic church in the solemn administration of all the above mentioned sacraments.

I accept and hold, in each and every part, all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. I profess that in the Mass is offered to God a true, real, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and dead; that in the holy sacrament f the eucharist is really, truly, and substantially the Body and Blood together with the Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that there takes place what the Church calls transubstantiation, that is, the change of all the substance of the bread into the Body and of all the substance of the wine into the Blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ, whole and entire.

I firmly hold that purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful. Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.

I profess firmly that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever Virgin, as well as of all the saints, should be given due honor and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognize the holy, Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the Churches and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

Besides I accept, without hesitation, and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils especially by the Sacred council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in a special manner concerning the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic faith, outside of which I truly adhere, the same I promise and swear to maintain and profess, the help of God, entire, inviolate, and with firm constancy until the last breath of life; and I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and publicly professed by all those who depend on me and by those of whom I shall have charge. So help me God and these holy gospels.

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Profession of Faith--Alternative Form

The following shorter formula is for the uneducated and for those who do not have the religious development to understand the longer formula.

I, N. N., touching with my hands God's holy gospels, enlightened by divine grace, profess the faith which the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church teaches. I believe that Church to be the one true Church which Jesus Christ founded on earth, to which I submit with all my heart.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth; and Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead, he ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of Gad, the Father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

I believe that seven sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, namely, baptism, confirmation, holy eucharist, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and matrimony.

I believe that the pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, that he is the supreme visible head of the whole Church, and that he teaches infallibly what we mush believe and do to be saved.

I also believe everything in which the holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church defines and declares we must believe. I adhere to her with all my heart, and I reject every error and schism which she condemns.

So help me God and these holy gospels which I touch with my hand.

After the profession of faith, the convert remains kneeling and the priest, seated, recites the psalm Have mercy on me or the psalm Out of the depths, with Glory be to the Father at the end.

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To Think About

The current Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Part II is titled "Rites for Particular Circumstances." For which "particular circumstances" are rites provided?

Who is a convert and who is not? What theological reasons suggest the limited application of the term "convert"?

List four important things to remember about "The Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into Full Communion with the Catholic Church."

State the structure and elements of "The Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into Full Communion with the Catholic Church." Which elements are primary and which are secondary? What is the climax of the rite?

Should a parish catechumenate program be restricted to true catechumens? What are the positive and negative things to be said for joining those who are not converts with the catechumens for the RCIA process? What ritual distinctions should be made?

When a person is received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, what norms determine whether or not the person is to receive water baptism?  That is, when is a water baptism considered valid by the Catholic Church?

When a person is received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, what norms determine whether or not the person is to be Confirmed?  Is Confirmation necessary for salvation?

Why is baptism never repeated? What is "Sacramental Character?" Talk about the un-repeatability of baptism-confirmation-eucharist. 

When and how would you celebrate "conditional" baptism?

What was meant by sacraments of the living and sacrament of the dead?  For what purpose is this terminology used?

What is excommunication?

Does your diocese publish ecumenical guidelines or directives? Do these guidelines contain information concerning the validity of non-Catholic Baptism?

Give an examples of acts which are, valid and licit, valid but illicit, invalid and illicit, invalid but licit.

Know where each of the combined rites would fit in the general plan of the RCIA with its 4 periods and 3 transitional rites. 

Who composed these Rites for the Candidates? Are they a part of the RCIA? Why were they composed?

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Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 06/12/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org