At the October national meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions in Illinois, Bishop Mark Seitz (bishop of El Paso TX, alum of St. John’s School of Theology-Seminary) gave reassurance that the U.S. adaptations for the RCIA are not endangered.
To back up a bit: In 1986, the U.S. bishops decreed that the National Statutes for the Catechumenate should govern the catechumenate in the U.S. (The National Statutes can be found in Appendix III of the RCIA Ritual Book.)
These statutes decree, among other things, that
- the catechumenate should extend for at least one year (6);
- the program for the newly-baptized should extend a year after their baptism, including at least monthly meetings of the neophytes (24);
- it is preferable that reception into full communion not take place at the Easter Vigil (33);
- the term “convert” is reserved strictly for those converting from unbelief and is never used of baptized Christians of other traditions becoming Catholic (2);
- those already baptized in another tradition should not be treated as or called catechumens (30);
- for those received into full communion the priest is obliged to confirm them, and they may not be admitted to eucharist before confirmation.
Bishop Seitz said this to the FDLC assembly:
RCIA is not a flash in the pan, because the Christian life is not a flash in the pan…
I understand that there may be some concerns among some individuals that our U.S. adaptations for the RCIA may not be renewed. Let me speak to that briefly. As far as my understanding goes, those concerns are without foundation, and what is more, the U.S. bishops believe firmly in the RCIA model that we have in the United States are are eager to see it ocntinue. Your help in reviewing the National Statutes for the Catechumenate and other aspects of the Rite itself is an important part of ensuring that the good work being done with the RCIA in our country will continue. Thank you in advance for your engagement and consultation during these days. We want to hear your voices on this topic, and I personally look forward to engaging with you over it in the coming days.
From: Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB, October 2014, p. 38.