Baptism and RCIA

I have a question regarding the acceptable norms through which one is baptized and received into the Church.

Suppose the following:

A seeker who was never baptized should approach a priest, and have one or two basic conversations with him about conversion. Over the course of such conversations, the priest should offer to baptize the seeker whenever this seeker may feel they are ready The priest promises that, after baptism, there will be personal, on-going, month-to-month teaching and nurturing in the Faith. Acts 8:26-40 is used to explain the priest’s rationale for such a course.

In this situation, would it be prudent for the seeker to avoid this sort of approach, and instead opt for RCIA and the normal Easter baptism, etc.? Is this priest in this situation exercising pastoral care of the soul of the seeker which the Church would deem as being perfectly acceptable?

Prudence is one of the most difficult of virtues to analyse as it is primarily guided by The Holy Spirit. Personally I think it would be prudent for the seeker to seek Baptism immediatly if the priest (as it appears) is willing to do so; after all the seeker might be run over by a bus the next day!

In my opinion, reading from your text, the priest in this situation if in fact exercising pastoral care of the soul of the seeker.

God Bless

The practice of baptizing converts and then instructing them was abolished before the end of the apostolic age.

There is the baptism of desire for the unbaptized. That is, if you were in RCIA formation and truly wanted to join the Church but died before, your desire would be enough. Or at least, it is something like that. I think if you died before you could receive the sacraments but wanted to receive them, God would understand. He wouldn’t call you to Him and say, “Oops, sorry! You weren’t baptized!” That isn’t just or fair at all.

I have no clue if this is true, but from a TV show I watched, if a person wishes to convert to Judaism there is a practice where the rabbi is to refuse the person three times – to demonstrate the perseverance of the inquirer and their seriousness.

I use this example to demonstrate that prudence is always necessary on the priest’s part and that while we will spend a lifetime understanding the fullness of God’s love, a person’s enthusiasm for the faith has to be tempered with understanding on some level the seriousness of the step.

from the Code of Canon Law

851 The celebration of baptism must be prepared properly; consequently:

1/ an adult who intends to receive baptism is to be admitted to the catechumenate and is to be led insofar as possible through the various stages to sacramental initiation, according to the order of initiation adapted by the conference of bishops and the special norms issued by it…

Can. 865 §1. For an adult to be baptized, the person must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, have been instructed sufficiently about the truths of the faith and Christian obligations, and have been tested in the Christian life through the catechumenate. The adult is also to be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.

§2. An adult in danger of death can be baptized if, having some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, the person has manifested in any way at all the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the commandments of the Christian religion.

Can. 866 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, an adult who is baptized is to be confirmed immediately after baptism and is to participate in the eucharistic celebration also by receiving communion

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

A priest isn’t supposed to make up his own rules.

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