Splitting apart RCIA sacraments?

I know that RCIA participants usually receive all three sacraments – baptism, confirmation and communion, in that order – all at the same time at Easter Vigil.

I’m curious as to whether anyone has ever heard of these being split up into multiple steps as they are for children (in which case I would assume they’d also adopt the normal childhood order – baptism, communion, confirmation)

My priest hinted in passing that it might at least be possible to separate off baptism for an adult. But several months later we still haven’t had a chance to really discuss it.

My issue is that I’m perfectly comfortable professing what’s required for baptism, and marginally OK with communion (the whole “real presence” thing still doesn’t set well with me as both a skeptical person in general and as someone with a Protestant background, but I’ve at least conceded that it’s possible), but I do not believe I will ever be able to profess that I agree with EVERYTHING the church teaches (I mean let’s face it, something like 50% of the cradle Catholics couldn’t even make that statement without their fingers crossed) and that makes confirmation impossible.

Lots of kids receive the first two sacraments and not the third. Is there any reason an adult couldn’t?

It sound as if you are under the impression that there is a higher standard (of belief) required for receiving the sacrament of Confirmation than for entering the Church through the sacrament of Baptism and receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist. That is not the case.

What other Catholics may or may not believe is not relevant. The issue is what you believe.

Fortunately you have at least another eight months (even more if necessary) of prayer and reflection to discern where the Holy Spirit is leading you. Whereever that may be, I pray that you will find Christ’s peace.

I’m “under the impression” because I’m pretty sure that’s what the Church itself teaches.

First, there are specific statements that are made at each step. The statements made at baptism are only an acceptance of the Apostle’s Creed and are in fact pretty much the same across any Christian denomination, which is why baptisms aren’t repeated when you switch churches. It’s all the same animal. The statements made at confirmation are a public declaration of specific agreement with the Catholic church.

Second, even the Catechism shows them as hierarchical steps:

1253: "The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop… 1254: “For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism”

also

1285: “For ‘by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit.’”

Finally, just the fact that traditionally we baptize babies, give communion to second graders and wait until high school for confirmation should make it pretty obvious that a higher level of understanding and commitment is expected at each step.

As an adult, even if you were to “split apart” the Sacraments, you would be Baptized, then Confirmed and then receive the Eucharist.

Why? Why is it the other way around for kids?

Not necessarily. Its depends on where you are.

Where I went through RCIA our first Confession was on Easter Saturday, we became Catholics on Easter Sunday and received our first Communion. Then 6 months later we were Confirmed.

First the bolded part is an anomaly that only exists since 1910.

You have a wrong understanding of the sacrament of Confirmation. Confirmation is not something you do, it’s something that is done to you.

While the Latin Rite Church ordinarily calls for the age of reason for Confirmation, if an infant is baptized in danger of death he/she is supposed to be confirmed at the same time, thus proving that it’s not a sacrament of ‘mature understanding’ and ‘personal commitment’.

You make the same profession of faith at Confirmation as your parents made for you at Baptism. As an adult, you are making that profession of faith when you are baptized and you are asking to be baptized specifically into the Catholic Church, not just any Church. You should not be baptized until you are ready to accept everything the Church teaches…

From the sounds of this, you were already Baptized so that’s a different situation than the OPs. Even so, that order is unusual. Were you confirmed by the Bishop?

The main reason children are confirmed later is that they are confirmed by the Bishop. For adults, most priests have been given the authority to Confirm. If the priest has that authority, he should not delay the Sacrament for those coming into the Church.

For the unbaptized, even children over the age of discretion, the order is the traditional one Baptism, Confirmation, then First Communion. I have seen FHC delayed for children over the age of discretion in order for them to participate in a “regular” FHC Mass with classmates. But not a delay of Confirmation.

Because when Pope Pius X reduced the age of Holy Communion from 15 to 7 in 1910, he did not also reduce the age of Confirmation from 11 to something earlier than age 7.

But for adults, the order remains the traditional order, and normally it all takes place at the Easter Vigil, at the appropriate times in the ceremony, in that order.

If a priest does it in a different order, or at separate ceremonies, he is doing so for pastoral reasons unique to the individuals and/or the parish community involved. This is not the ordinary custom of the Church as a whole.

That’s not true. The profession of faith at baptism reads as follows:

*Celebrant: Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
Parents and Godparents: I do.
Celebrant: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
Parents and Godparents: I do.
Celebrant: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
Parents and Godparents: I do.
*
That is the creed, which is almost universal across denominations.
The profession of faith at confirmation is: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” That is a very different statement.

As an adult, you are making that profession of faith when you are baptized and you are asking to be baptized specifically into the Catholic Church, not just any Church.

Again, not true. You are baptized into Christian faith. If you were baptized specifically into a certain church, you would have to redo it when you switched churches. Again the creed (which is universal) states that there is ONE BAPTISM for the forgiveness of sins. Not multiple baptisms for each piece of the church. This universality is further illustrated in the fact that anyone can perform a baptism in an emergency, that the form for baptizing someone in an emergency – being a bit more concise than the full-blown rite – makes no mention of the Catholic church whatsoever, and that baptisms administered by protestant ministers are considered valid, while other sacraments administered by non-Catholic priests (such as the Episcopal Eucharist) are not considered valid.

It follows a recitation of either the Apostles’ or the Nicene Creed (option to the priest); it doesn’t stand alone.

Again, not true. You are baptized into Christian faith. If you were baptized specifically into a certain church, you would have to redo it when you switched churches. Again the creed (which is universal) states that there is ONE BAPTISM for the forgiveness of sins. Not multiple baptisms for each piece of the church. This universality is further illustrated in the fact that anyone can perform a baptism in an emergency, that the form for baptizing someone in an emergency – being a bit more concise than the full-blown rite – makes no mention of the Catholic church whatsoever, and that baptisms administered by protestant ministers are considered valid, while other sacraments administered by non-Catholic priests (such as the Episcopal Eucharist) are not considered valid.

When you make your First Reconciliation and Profession of Faith in the Catholic Church (which stands in place of the Rite of Baptism for those who are already baptized) anything lacking in your non-Catholic baptism is taken care of at that time.

Can you provide an official source to back up that claim? I have never seen anything anywhere suggesting that non-Catholic baptisms are somehow “lacking”

Non-catholic Baptisms are “lacking” in that they do not completely join the baptized to the Church. That’s why a profession of faith is needed before the person may receive other Sacraments.

Well with that explanation, Catholic baptisms are lacking, too. Didn’t we just discuss that communion traditionally came after confirmation and that it didn’t switch around until fairly recently? And that for adults who are baptized into the Catholic church – with a Catholic baptism – confirmation still has to come next?

That’s the profession of faith made by a baptized person being received into full communion with the Catholic Church. A Catholic being confirmed just renews his/her baptismal promises, same as we do every Easter (and each time there’s a Baptism at Mass).

Again, not true. You are baptized into Christian faith. If you were baptized specifically into a certain church, you would have to redo it when you switched churches. Again the creed (which is universal) states that there is ONE BAPTISM for the forgiveness of sins. Not multiple baptisms for each piece of the church. This universality is further illustrated in the fact that anyone can perform a baptism in an emergency, that the form for baptizing someone in an emergency – being a bit more concise than the full-blown rite – makes no mention of the Catholic church whatsoever, and that baptisms administered by protestant ministers are considered valid, while other sacraments administered by non-Catholic priests (such as the Episcopal Eucharist) are not considered valid.

True you that by baptism you become a Christian, but you also become a member of a specific community. Baptism in the Catholic Church makes you a Catholic Christian with obligations that the child baptized in the Anglican Church doesn’t have.

Barring the unavailability of a priest, I doubt you’ll find an Anglican minister who will baptize a healthy child if his parents want to raise him in the Catholic Church. Just like you won’t find a priest who will baptize a healthy child if he knows the parents want to raise him in the Anglican Church.

Again, I would challenge you to provide any kind of official source that says that you make that promise at baptism. I’ve looked up all these rites on multiple sites and I haven’t found anything that mentions that statement outside of reception/confirmation. But maybe I’m looking in the wrong place … prove me wrong.

You can’t baptize yourself.

Wait, I just realized that we’re arguing at cross purposes.

My original comment was to say that Catholic kids made the exact same Profession of Faith at their Confirmation that their parents and godparents had made for them at Baptism. In fact, it’s called 'Renewal of Baptismal Promises" and for most it’s not the first time they’ve renewed them, we do it every Easter and each time there’s a Baptism during Mass. Catholics being confirmed don’t use the “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God” profession of faith.

Just before you are baptized as an adult you make the same Profession of Faith as parents do for their infants. There is no further profession of faith before you’re confirmed since it happens just after the Baptism.

Only if you’re a Christian being received into full communion do you make the “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God” profession of faith and you make that immediately after you recite the Nicene Creed with the entire community.

Who says you can’t baptize yourself in an emergency?

The only rules I see on the matter are that 1) anyone, even a non-baptized person, can baptize someone in an emergency and that 2) if you wish to be baptized but haven’t quite gotten around to it yet your desire alone counts – in fact it’s called “a baptism of desire.”

So if desire alone would be sufficient, and you don’t have to be baptized to be the baptizer, why couldn’t you baptize yourself? Just make the baptism of desire a little more official?

But even if you can’t baptize yourself, my question still stands. What church would you belong to if a non-baptized person baptized you?

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