When do converts' responsibilities begin?


#1

Particularly, I am thinking about previously-baptized Protestants who attend RCIA. When do their canonical, Catholic responsibilities, such as fasting, abstinence from meat, and marriage in the Church begin? Is it when they make their first confession prior to the Easter Vigil? Or is it after the sacrament of Confirmation?


#2

Hi there,
My husband, who was baptized Anglican, received Confirmation/First Communion in the Catholic Church in April of 2012.

It was recommended that he begin living his life as a Roman Catholic when he decided that he wished to become one. He had been attending Mass for several months before joining RCIA in September 2011, and lived all of the canonical requirements to the best of his abilities during his preparation time. We were engaged at the time he was in the process to be married in the Church, so it was a little less complex where martial requirements are concerned.

If a person is becoming Catholic and is already married, they should consult their pastor about having their marriage "Blessed" (ie declared valid in the Catholic Church), or, if they are divorced, obtaining a church anulment if they intend to remarry and/or are remarried. If they are single, they are expected to respect the Church requirements surrounding the state of singlehood (i.e. chastity) until they choose to marry or enter a religious vocation etc. These are things that they should explore and learn about during the RCIA process.

My now-husband basically participated in everything except the Sacraments until right before his Confirmation/First Communion, when he made his First Reconciliation.

God Bless!


#3

I can't reply canonically as I don't know.

But I am a baptised Catholic but received neither communion nor a Catholic education and so I am joining RCIA.

As I am planning on being a full Catholic, I am trying to live already by Catholic values (that I know of, anyway). I don't know when people are supposed to fast, but as my Friday penance I fast or abstain for a meal or two to replace my abstinence from meat (as I am a vegetarian). I class the Sunday Mass as obligatory for me. I try to live a Catholic lifestyle.


#4

[quote="Spirithound, post:1, topic:296666"]
Particularly, I am thinking about previously-baptized Protestants who attend RCIA. When do their canonical, Catholic responsibilities, such as fasting, abstinence from meat, and marriage in the Church begin? Is it when they make their first confession prior to the Easter Vigil? Or is it after the sacrament of Confirmation?

[/quote]

When are you canonically (and morally) obligated? At the moment the Priest receives you into the Church (tends to be the Easter Vigil) you are Catholic in the eyes of the Church. However when you begin RCIA (with the intent to enter into the Catholic Church) you should be living as a Catholic, more to fully immerse yourself in the faith so as to know you truly wish to convert :)


#5

[quote="Skeptic92, post:4, topic:296666"]
When are you canonically (and morally) obligated? At the moment the Priest receives you into the Church (tends to be the Easter Vigil) you are Catholic in the eyes of the Church. However when you begin RCIA (with the intent to enter into the Catholic Church) you should be living as a Catholic, more to fully immerse yourself in the faith so as to know you truly wish to convert :)

[/quote]

Right, exactly. :)

Also, it is a very good idea to deal with any issues that cause one's current marriage or baptism to be of doubtful validity as early in the process as possible, so as to have them resolved before making any of the serious promises that are given at various points in the Rite, so as to avoid making them "with fingers crossed" in the hope that you will soon be able to fulfill them, but not yet being able to.


#6

I agree with Skeptic92's answer.

Spirithound also asked about marriage. If someone is validly married before becoming Catholic, then that continues afterward. If someone is not validly married then the situation needs to be rectified before becoming Catholic since it would be a bar to receiving other sacraments.


#7

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:6, topic:296666"]
I agree with Skeptic92's answer.

Spirithound also asked about marriage. If someone is validly married before becoming Catholic, then that continues afterward. If someone is not validly married then the situation needs to be rectified before becoming Catholic since it would be a bar to receiving other sacraments.

[/quote]

Right.

If one of the parties was not baptized at the time of the marriage, they have a natural, non-sacramental marriage. That marriage automatically becomes sacramental when the party is baptized.

In our diocese, catechumens may not be sent to the bishop for the Rite of Acceptance [nor candidates for the Rite of Recognition] until any marriage irregularities have been corrected.


#8

As soon as you decide you are committed to accepting the faith.


#9

[quote="Skeptic92, post:4, topic:296666"]
When are you canonically (and morally) obligated? At the moment the Priest receives you into the Church (tends to be the Easter Vigil) you are Catholic in the eyes of the Church. However when you begin RCIA (with the intent to enter into the Catholic Church) you should be living as a Catholic, more to fully immerse yourself in the faith so as to know you truly wish to convert :)

[/quote]

This ^

Immerse yourself in the Catholic faith throughout the months leading up to your confirmation.


#10

[quote="Nigel7, post:9, topic:296666"]
This ^

Immerse yourself in the Catholic faith throughout the months leading up to your confirmation.

[/quote]

Exactly. That way, it won't be a shock to your system to be getting up earlier on Sunday to go to Mass, or to do Friday penances - and you won't be scrambling at the last second to get your marriage issues straightened out.

I like the policy at Joe's Diocese of not letting them enter the Catechumenate (or join the Catechism classes, if they are previously baptized) until the marriage issues are all straightened out. We're trying it in our parish right now, and although people are frustrated at the beginning by how long it takes them to get through the Inquiry process, it has two effects: 1) Those who are in Catechism classes have excellent attendance, and 2) those who weren't sure whether they wanted to become Catholic in the first place are taking a long hard serious look at it, instead of going through the motions and hoping for the best. :)


#11

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