Should I be in RCIA?

I am currently enrolled in RCIA at my parish, but I’m not sure if I belong there. Please advise, as this is really concerning me. I was baptized in a Catholic church as an infant. Based on my reading of the Catholic Answers’ tract How to Become a Catholic, which cites the USCCB, it seems that baptized Catholics who were not raised in the Catholic church do not belong in RCIA, but rather should be accepted into the Church after meeting with the parish priest and receiving whatever instruction he feels is necessary.

The article above goes to great lengths to emphasize the distinction between unbaptized candidates and baptized non-Catholic Christians on the one hand, and baptized Catholics on the other. It states that baptized non-Catholic Christians should not even be received at the Easter Vigil, LET ALONE baptized Catholics. I mentioned this to my parish’s parochial vicar and he told me that it was fine for me to be received according to the regular RCIA process. His point was that since I was raised outside the Church (as a Protestant), that the RCIA instruction is appropriate.

I have no objection to this whatsoever in principle (although I’ve done a lot of studying and preparation and I believe I’m quite well instructed in Catholic theology already, although nobody from the parish has interviewed me to find out for themselves). However, I’m concerned that my participation in the various rites (like going before the bishop in the cathedral, and other rites) would be contrary to Church custom and the intent of the USCCB. Should I bring this up with the head priest in my parish? If he offers the same response, should I just drop it and go along with everything up until I’m received at the Easter Vigil?

Generally speaking, parishes tend to lump together into the RCIA the catechumens, candidates, and Catholics seeking to complete the initiation sacraments, although RCIA is normatively supposed to be for the instruction of unbaptized inquirers (i.e., catechumens). It can be a convenient means for the parish to prepare adults for the sacrament of confirmation, which is often given to adults at the Easter Vigil Mass. While you are a baptized Catholic, if you were raised in a Protestant church, your pastor may feel it appropriate for you to be treated as a candidate rather than as a Catholic completing the initiation sacraments.

If you feel that you have been well-instructed and would rather be received into the Church now, you may ask your pastor to assess your readiness and receive you early if he determines that you are sufficiently instructed and capable of being received into the Church. If the pastor is unwilling to do this, call your local diocese for a recommendation for a priest who will help. If you continue to have difficulty, I suggest contacting the St. Joseph Foundation for further assistance.

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