Give Feedback: New English Edition of the RCIA

From the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship Newsletter, Volume LIV, July 2018:

The Committee on Divine Worship is in the early stages of preparing a new English edition of the RCIA, to be titled the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults. Although the Latin editio typica has not changed, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has completed a new translation of the Latin text. 

The Committee and its consultants have had preliminary discussions on the current ritual book and the RCIA process and have received the results from two surveys on the National Statutes for the Catechumenate, both conducted in 2014: one by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) that looked specifically at how the statutes were being implemented, and the other a consultation conducted by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC) that suggested ways that the statutes could be improved.

As a complement to these discussions and expert consultations, the Secretariat of Divine Worship would also like to hear from others about their experiences with the RCIA, both the process in general and, in particular, the ritual book and the National Statutes. Responses can be e-mailed to or sent by regular mail to: USCCB – Divine Worship, 3211 Fourth Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017, ATTN: RCIA Consultation.

Responses must be received by December 31, 2018.




    1. The is one of those blanket statements that has some truth to it but ignores other aspects of the situation.

      1. There are not one but three sacraments of initiation. For those who have been baptized but uncatechized in any denomination, the preparatory rituals of lent and the celebration of 2 of the 3 sacraments of initiation at Easter Vigil seems to me to make perfectly good sense.

      2. For those who have been both baptized and catechized, the need for them to wait till Vigil not only makes no sense to me but deprives them of a spiritual home which they have every right to enter as soon as they are ready. And there are many celebrations of the liturgical year which would be enhanced by the celebration of Reception and Confirmation as well as Eucharist.

      3. Which gets to the crux of the matter here: why aren’t the already baptized being received and confirmed throughout the year when they are ready? Because the RCIA in that parish is a program and not a process. Deal with that issue, and the question of when to celebrate reception sort of answers itself.

  1. a spiritual home which they have every right to enter as soon as they are ready.

    I really think we need to be careful about blanket statements like this. It is not a question of whether or not they have a right to join the full communion of the Catholic Church, but about whether they are ready, whether it is appropriate. The fact that they are already baptized (and confirmed) is not the issue.

    We all know of numerous instances of people received into the Church who, even many years later, still remain essentially members of the denomination they came from, judging from the language they use to articulate their spirituality and beliefs and indeed their practice of the faith, their attitudes in general and to others of the originating denomination, etc, etc. I can name many ex-Anglicans who are still to all intents and purposes Anglicans. I can also name many who you would never know had not been Catholic all their lives. There are success stories but also many “failures”. We need to exercise proper discernment to ensure that all, not just some, are successes!

    The key point is that in most cases it takes an amount of time to absorb what one might call “the Catholic ethos”. Baptism does not of itself bring about this. Nor does attendance at a Catholic church necessarily do it. I would suggest that, in the same way as we tend to say today that the adult catechumenate should last at least two years if not an entire three-year Lectionary cycle, in many cases those being received should spend a similar amount of time in preparation for reception precisely in order to absorb that Catholic ethos, and in particular its post-conciliar manifestation.

    That ethos has recently been somewhat blurred in the case of members of the Ordinariate, but I still think there is an ideal to be striven for in regular parish life.

    1. What Paul said.

      I would also add this: The organic quality of initiation, which is indeed a gradual process, can be flattened by talking about it in terms of rights of personal volition rather than by a mutual discernment over time undertaken in prayer by a community that knows what it is about. When a gradual process is not undertaken, I’ve seen newly received people leave the following week. They “wanted it” at the time alright, but once subjected to the stress test of reality, that desire evaporated. Respect for the person demands that we do better.

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