Unsure about Rite of Acceptance

So I’ve been attending RCIA since september 09, and things have been going well.

We’ve come to the point now where we are asked to decide whether we want to make a commitment to continue, and enter (is that the right word) the rite of acceptance.

How does one know if this is right for them or not?

I’m of Christian (not Catholic) background, and I’ve never been baptized but am 100% sure I want to be baptized. The only thing I’m still unsure about is whether or not God is calling me to the Catholic church.

How do I assess myself here? I don’t doubt God, but I think I go through cycles where I:

  • find something troubling,
  • begin to doubt the Catholic church,
  • talk to someone in the Catholic church and usually something is clarified and
  • my doubt is relieved.
  • rinse/repeat

(I hope this was the right forum, it feels like it has to do with vocations somewhat.)

I’m not sure what “state of mind” you are supposed to be in when you enter the rite of acceptance.

Are you talking about the Rite of Acceptance or the Rite of Election? In my mind they’re very different things.

The Rite of Acceptance is the means by which someone becomes a catechumen. Catechumens are those people seeking baptism. Since you list yourself as Baptist it seems likely you are already baptized, so you would not go through the Rite of Acceptance. In any case, in my mind the bar for the Rite of Acceptance is quite low. You are stating that you wish to continue to learn about the Catholic Church and discern whether you should be baptized.

The parallel rite for someone who is already baptized is the Rite of Welcoming. The situation is very much the same – someone commits to learning about the Church and discerning whether they should come into full communion.

For catechumens, the next rite coming up is the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent. This is where the catechumens are presented to the bishop. Following this rite they are the Elect and are heading toward baptism at the Easter Vigil. I question my catechumens very carefully before the Rite of Election. It is at this point that they should know what it means to be baptized and know that this is what they want.

If you are already baptized you will not go through the Rite of Election. Again, there is a parallel rite called the Call to Continuing Conversion. And again, you should think and pray about whether you want to go through this rite at this time.

There are several questions the godparents are asked at the Rite of Election. I also ask them of my candidates and catechumens to assess their readiness. You might consider your own answers and whether you are ready:

  1. Have they taken their formation in the Gospel and in the Catholic way of life seriously?
  2. Have they given evidence of their conversion by the example of their lives?
  3. Have they faithfully listened to God’s word proclaimed by the Church?
  4. Have they responded to that word and begun to walk in God’s presence?

The Holy Spirit is calling you into the Catholic Church, and it sounds like you are where you should be in the process. You are on a faith JOURNEY and you will not get there or understand everything all at once. The only thing that should prevent you from taking the next step is a totally unresolved issue, something that you positively cannot accept, no matter how hard you try. There will be doubts and misunderstandings along the way, this is normal and why you are in RCIA. If you are having severe doubts about being ready, you should have a chat with your sponsor or an RCIA team member; they are there to help. Welcome Home! Jesus is waiting for you in the Eucharist. :yup:

You know you’d like to be baptized but don’t know if you want to be Catholic. OK.

The Rite of Acceptance enrolls you in the Catechumenate. You can stay in the Catechumenate as long as you need to be sure of your decision. That could take a little time or several years. During that time you learn more and more about the Catholic Church.

I hope that at the end you decide to be baptized into the Catholic community but take as long as you need to decide what is right for you.

I was in the same boat as you (and I’m in RCIA now). After a certain number of times of this process playing out, I realized that I need to act on faith and let go and let God lead me. After 15 or so times of having doubts, and then finding the answers to my doubts, I realized that I need to have faith that whatever questions I will have in the future, someone else has asked in the last 2000 years, and that I will find my answer. But in the meantime, I needed to stop looking for every crack in the wall and just make a decision to trust God.

The Church has been around for 2000 years, every single doubt you have had or will have, someone else has experienced it. And the Church has been able to answer that doubt.

Go through the Rite of Acceptance, and pay attention and fully soak in everything. Then talk more with the RCIA director and your Sponsor. That is what they are there for!

Isn’t it the Rite of Acceptance where the blessing of body parts takes place?

One main thing I am concerned about is that my whole family is Protestant. They are not all Baptist, but nobody really cares about denominations in my family, as long as its not Catholic…:shrug:

It’s not that I would let this stop me, but my father and I particularly have pretty heated discussions on the matter, which usually leave him very concerned and offended. He sees me going to a Catholic church as walking away from Christianity. Once way I like to help alleviate this is being able to worship with him, and go to church with him too.

Once I go through the Rite of Acceptance, am I still allowed to attend my father’s church at Christmas time and when we have visits? Or is that considered abandoning my commitment to pursue baptism?

I don’t see a problem with visiting your father’s church any more than there would be a problem with him visiting yours. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Catholics must attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. It would be a problem to go to his church INSTEAD of yours…but would be OK, and would certainly show your commitment, to go with him AND go to Mass. Fortunately, there are usually several choices of Mass times, including an anticipated Mass on Saturday evening or the eve of holy days.

Yes, the signing of the senses.

I was a baptised Methodist but in RCIA I went through all the Rites.

The only thing different for me was at the Easter when those not baptised were baptised whereas I did not have to be baptised but went through a formal acceptance into the Church.

No. You’re thinking of the Ephatha Rite, which typically takes place on Holy Saturday during the morning. (Those who have already been baptized make their First Confession at this time.)

The Rites for the Candidates are very similar to the Rites for the Catechumens, and if they took place at the same time, it would be very easy to mistake them for each other.

The Rite of Acceptance does not place any binding expectation on you. Whether or not you celebrate it is ultimately up to you, and the most helpful insights you will get imho are from those you know and those you are involved with at the parish. As a catechumen, you should participate in the Church’s liturgy, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t also worship with your father (not instead of Catholic liturgy, but in addition to).

From the liturgical book, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, about the Rite of Acceptance:

“42 The prerequisite for making this first step is that the beginnings of the spiritual life and the fundamentals of Christian teaching have taken root in the candidates. Thus there must be evidence of the first faith that was conceived during the period of evangelization and precatechumenate and of an initial conversion and intention to change their lives and to enter into a relationship with God in Christ. Consequently, there must also be evidence of the first stirrings of repentance, a start to the practice of calling upon God in prayer, a sense of the Church, and some experience of the company and spirit of Christians through contact with a priest or with members of the community.The candidate should also be instructed about the celebration of the liturgical rite of acceptance.
43 Before the rite is celebrated, therefore, sufficient and necessary time, as required in each case, should be set aside to evaluate and, if necessary, to purify the candidates’ motives and dispositions. With the help of the sponsors (see no. 10), catechists, and deacons, parish priests (pastors) have the responsibility for judging the outward indications of such dispositions. …”

(The RCIA introductions for England and Wales are at catholic-ew.org.uk/liturgy/Resources/Rites/RiteRitual.html#RCIA . The USA edition has different paragraph numbers.)

OK thanks everyone for your helpful explanations.

I’m gonna go for it.

This is call growing in your Faith!! Welcome Home!! :smiley:


Since you have been in RCIA since september 09 it is quite certain that they are asking if you are sure you wanna continue with the Rite of Election, when the bishop writes your name in a book and gives his permission for you to be baptized into the catholic church.

Usually there are no rites of acceptances at this time of the year, except for me, i had mine last lent on the sunday before palmsunday.

But that was due to circumstances and is not usual.

I’m positive it’s the Rite of Acceptance.

I know exactly what you’re going through. I was fortunate to go through a shorter “Summer Intensive” RCIA program at my parish since I was already baptized, and entered the Church in August '07. As you can see above - I, too, was a Baptist. And not just a Baptist, but the very fundamentalist anti-Catholic sort of Baptist. The last few weeks before my Confirmation I had those same types of doubts, but in my case I’d already done the homework and knew the Catholic answer. I was just freaking myself out for no reason, and everytime those niggling doubts would surface, I’d remember Peter’s words to Jesus in John 6, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” By that point I was definitely NOT a Protestant and knew that no Protestant church of any stripe was going to give me the peace that entering the Catholic Church has given me.

If it helps, the Saturday OF Easter Vigil when that Vigil Mass starts is your “point of no return.” ANYtime before that, if you feel you’re not ready, just say so to your RCIA director and/sponsor. Nobody will force you to enter the Church before you’re ready.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this resource, but the Bible Christian Society has some excellent CDs that explain where Catholic teachings are found in the Bible. You can also download them in MP3 format free of charge. With the CDs you only pay a minimal shipping charge. Listening to “One Church” was what ultimately pushed me towards the Catholic Church. I suggest that one first, then whatever others you think you need. :thumbsup: I mention this resource a lot because it had a huge impact on me- I’m beginning to think John Martignoni should pay me a commission. :wink: The Catholic Answers Library is another rich resource, as is the Catholic Bridge. Immerse yourself in the richness of the Catholic Faith and your doubts won’t have a leg to stand on.

I’d remember Peter’s words to Jesus in John 6, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” By that point I was definitely NOT a Protestant and knew that no Protestant church of any stripe was going to give me the peace that entering the Catholic Church has given me.

Thanks for sharing. :slight_smile: That is an eloquent way of putting it. I feel that way too. Now I have a verse to meditate on when I think those thoughts.

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