Extraordinary path for being received into the Church


Can someone help direct me to documents which speak of priests being allowed to receive someone into Full Communion with the Church through extraordinary (non-RCIA) paths? I know it exists, just can’t find the documents to prove it :slight_smile: Thanks in advance!


Every path is some form of RCIA. It is up to the priest to discern if you are ready to receive the Sacraments.

If you were baptized validly, there are no issues with your marriage, and you have been living “as if Catholic” and coming weekly to Sunday Mass for at least one year, they will consider shortening your RCIA process, and bringing you in to the Church early.

What’s the rush? :slight_smile:


I was all of the above, and was granted the grace of coming into the Church in a much shorter time than most. I’m receiving some disagreement from a cradle Catholic that it wasn’t correct, that the rules were broken, and I can’t find the documentation that backs up the priests decision (that is was ok! lol). Hope that makes sense! Thank you for your reply!


The cradle Catholic is making a statement and so he has the burden of proof.


She’s fallen away from the Church. Hoping that our relationship might be a way the Holy Spirit draws her back Home, so I want to do this in love :slight_smile: I get what you’re saying though, I promise I do!


Oh, I see. Well, just remind your friend that it is up to the discretion of the priest to discern whether the candidate is ready. If the priest says “yes” then the answer is “yes.” :slight_smile:


Pretty much word for word what I said :smiley: Thank you for the confirmation! :thumbsup:


Most FSSP priests do one on one instruction and when the person is judged ready, they are received into the church using the Extraordinary form.


Having read you last post, all she would need is to go to confession. Then she can receive communion.

I have several kids that have fallen away and a couple are working on returning.


I pray that she returns. However, her disagreement was with MY reception into the Church :slight_smile: Thanks for your info on FSSP priests!


Has she read the rite, or is she simply basing it on what “everyone knows?”

The rite says that a baptized Christian should not be under any greater burden than necessary to be received into the Church. This could potentially be weeks or months depending on a person’s background. Not a lot of parishes actually follow this – they have everyone go to “class” for a specified period of time – but it is what the Church envisions.


Hey, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to prove anything to this individual. Sometimes people can be busybodies. You are just fine. I’m a cradel Catholic and pretty well educated in the teaching of the Church. If you have a Baptismal cirtificate and a Confirmation certificate that is all the proof you need, but, as I say, you don’t have to prove anything to this person. It is really none of their business.



Thank you :slight_smile:


THAT is where I need to go, the rite (a duh moment for me, lol)!!! I don’t believe she has read it, that she’s just going by what she’s always seen (or thought she always saw). Thank you!!! :thumbsup:

A big thank you to everyone for your time in responding and for your support!


Better you than me. I probably would have said something to the effect that if she is so concerned about others following the rules of the Church, perhaps she should start paying attention to those rules in her own life.

Sometimes a quick poke in the ribs with a sharp stick only results in being told to quit poking.:shrug:


This is from the Canadian Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The RCIA is country specific so the numbers don’t always match up, but here goes:

[FONT=Georgia]**Receiving the Baptized Into Full Communion


  1. This is the liturgical rite by which a person born and baptized in a separated ecclesial Community is received, according to the Latin rite, into the full communion of the Catholic Church. **The rite is so arranged that no greater burden then necessary (see Acts 15:28) is required for the establishment of communion and unity. **[/FONT]


Perhaps this isn’t adding too much to the conversation, but I’m pretty sure the Catholic Church was receiving folks long, long before there was a thing called RCIA. To be honest, I’ve always thought that RCIA was the “extraordinary” method; the one-on-one instruction and discernment with and by a priest seems much more in keeping with… I don’t know, little-t tradition?

Then again, I attended an FSSP parish for a long time. Maybe that’s just me, but RCIA seems to be vastly inferior to the depth and complexity of study that a person who is truly interested in the Faith can get on their own in a much shorter period of time.


I do agree with you Satiaru (for what it’s worth). I ate drank and slept the faith during the months of formation outside of the parish (fortunately I have some very dear friends that are lay missionaries that educated me well beyond any RCIA progam!). St Teresa Avila once said, “In the measure you desire Him, you will find Him.”

I understand there are some practical reasons for RCIA, but I’m thankful that the Church allows a priest to discern where a person is and adjust his/her path accordingly (without any additional burden).

Thanks for your input!


When there are 20-30 or in some cases up to a hundred people wanting to be received into the Church at any given parish, and only one or two priests working in the parish, it isn’t feasible for each and every one of them to do one-on-one instruction with a priest - it’s a far better use of time to instruct them as a group, and to have a systematic process for bringing them into the life and practice of the Church.

Also, the one-on-one with a priest actually took longer than the current model of RCIA - typically, one year to be baptized and receive First Holy Communion, and then a second year to prepare for Confirmation, which was done as a group at the Cathedral with the Bishop, at his convenience (not at the demand of the convert), and then it was expected that the newly Confirmed adult would join a society for new converts, with weekly meetings for a third full year. There was nothing “quicker” about the one-on-one instruction with the priest - at least, not according to my reading. (The Parish Priest’s Guide to Inquiry Classes, Paulist Press, 1960)

RCIA was the model used for the first five centuries of the Church, until most of Europe was Christianized (meaning, of course, Catholic). The one-on-one model was used from that time (to pick up the strays who’d missed the memo for whatever reason) until the early 1970s, when (possibly as a result of Vatican II) a lot more people became interested in becoming Catholic, and it was no longer a matter of one or two people about once every three years, but dozens of people, year after year.


Definitely as a result of Vatican II.

From Sacrosanctum Concilium:

  1. The catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps, is to be restored and to be taken into use at the discretion of the local ordinary. By this, means the time of the catechumenate, which is intended as a period of suitable instruction, may be sanctified by sacred rites to be celebrated at successive intervals of time.

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