Why only Easter for baptism?

Why since Vatican II can one only be baptized on Easter, and must have participated in RCIA from September-to-Easter?

What happens to non-baptized people like myself if I fall ill, or dire before next Easter? We’re just out of luck and doomed?

This is beginning to really bother me, and perhaps I should look into baptism outside the CC.

Your thoughts are most welcome.

Great question!

As an RCIA sponsor and Faith Formation teacher, if I were asked this question, off the top of my head I would say our Lord knows your intentions, desires and beliefs. A hypothetical does not change one’s heart.

One sinner’s perspective.


A traditional priest will baptize your baby in Lent.

Some goofy liturgist somewhere decided to empty the holy water fonts at the OF Masses and the craze caught on. They did this so that people could get the feeling they’re “walking through the desert” for forty days during Lent. That’s why. Some places even put sand in there instead of water.

In danger of death someone can be baptized immediately.

You might also want to look up baptism of desire.

Thanks. This is what the website(here) reads: catholic.com/library/Necessity_of_Baptism.asp

*Yet Christians have also always realized that the necessity of water baptism is a normative rather than an absolute necessity. There are exceptions to water baptism: It is possible to be saved through “baptism of blood,” martyrdom for Christ, or through “baptism of desire”, that is, an explicit or even implicit desire for baptism.

Thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized” (CCC 1281; the salvation of unbaptized infants is also possible under this system; cf. CCC 1260–1, 1283). *

I am not a Catechumen yet. I am still in Inquiry stage as I have not participated in any rites yet. This leaves me in mortal danger then?

I guess the only answer for me is to seek baptism outside the Catholic Church, and skip the Catechumen rite next Easter.

Do you think the Catholic Church teaches the truth? If you do, then trust in the process.

If you think the Catholic Church is just one choice among many and it makes no difference where you belong, then go join another Christian community and be baptized there.

If you want to be Catholic then don’t lie to some other community and ask to be baptized if you have no intention of actually wanting to be a part of it. Have some integrity.

Thanks for the helpful post.

My concern is that since I am not a Catechumen, the Catechism states that I am in mortal danger until I am baptized. It’s a simple question, and a valid concern of mine I think.

If you are an Inquirer then you are already expressing a desire for baptism. Trust in God’s mercy. (This is actually the same thing we say about babies that die without baptism. We entrust them to the mercy of God.) That doesn’t mean that someone should put off baptism unnecessarily, but that we have been given every reason to trust in God’s love and understanding of our intentions.

When will you have your Rite of Acceptance?

Not until next year I guess since I have missed this year, even though I have been involved in RCIA since November 2009. I will call my RCIA director for a more specific answer on when, but I’ve been told not to expect any rites for up to 2 years.

Also, if you read the catechism, it’s pretty apparent that I am in mortal danger, as I am aware of the Church and her teachings and not a Catechumen.

Wow that is news to me

and must have participated in RCIA from September-to-Easter?

RCIA is for some not all prior to VII it was a 6-7 week process participants were simply not learning enough in that short period

What happens to non-baptized people like myself if I fall ill, or dire before next Easter? We’re just out of luck and doomed?

it is not a luck based system

This is beginning to really bother me, and perhaps I should look into baptism outside the CC.

Your thoughts are most welcome.

'um do you think your in better care outside the catholic church?

Why not ask the Priest to baptize you?

There isn’t a specific date for the Rite of Acceptance. You might ask your RCIA director if the rite can be scheduled for you. Considering the timing it will probably have to be after Easter (there are rites already scheduled for the weeks of Lent) but you shouldn’t have to wait two years to become a catechumen.

Consult a traditional priest. You will probably get a better answer.

Pascha (or Easter) has ever and anon been the principal feast of Baptism, especially for adults.

It is customary in Orthodox Churches to plan for the baptism of adults (or their reception by Chrismation) to be celebrated on Pascha or another great feast of the Lord, such as Nativity.

It adds to the joy of the feast for the entire parish.

RCIA classes are NOT required and one does not have to be baptized at the Easter Vigil; these are usually left to the discression of the pastor.

It is usually easier for the pastor to hold classes once a year, instead of several times per year. Also Easter is the most appropriate time to enter the church. The pastor just has to be sure that one is properly catechized and ready and willing, to enter the Church.

It’s not that one can be only baptized at this time. The Easter time has always been the main season to do baptism because of the great symbolism Easter carries for baptism - e.g. dying and rising to a new life. And thus, in antiquity , people were baptized at Easter and Lent became a period of preparation for those who wanted ot be baptized.

Why is the RCIA so long? Simply because one must know the obligations that comes with being baptized. It is a greater obligation after baptism than it would be if one were not baptized. In addition, it is necessary to know about the faith before being baptized into it - both generally, so that (a) you know what you are getting into (b) you are able to begin living a life rooted in Christ and his teaching, and specifically, to receive the grace of baptism. In adults, for the grace of justification there are some minimal credal requirements that one must believe in (such as the principal mysteries of the faith and the nature of God)- and theologians have debated whether they are absolutely necessary or necessary by precept . Without it, unless in danger of death you cant be baptized.

Of course, the period of RCIA is not set in stone and can be waived, depending on how your priest judges. And in the danger of death, you can be baptized immediately. If you fall seriously ill, and ask for baptism, the priest isn’t going to say “No”.

It would also be a mistake to be baptized outside of the Catholic Church. Because the Church accepts the baptisms of other denominations is not a freedom to be baptized there. That is a very narrow view that sees things only in terms of validity and “I must get to heaven and its valid so this fulfils it” . Baptism is an act which Christ left to the Church and which incorporates us into the Body of Christ and joins us in communion with others in the Church. Those who are not visibly part of the Catholic Church are joined to the Mystical Body of Christ in spite of that fact. All baptisms are not completely equal - and once one believes that the Catholic Church is established by Christ, then to go to somewhere else would be wrong. Only within the Church is the fullness of the experience of the baptized - joined to the Bride of Christ as He intended, united in one Body with the the Pope and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, and the fullness of grace that comes from the sacraments.

This is why it is taking so long.

Your baptism – your being brought into the Catholic Church is based on your conversion.

We already have way too many Cafeteria Catholics — we don’t need any more.

RCIA is a rite – and the priest can defer this rite until he feels you are ready.

There is no set time period.

It is and should be based on your conversion.


A few quotes from the CCC with my comments in blue:

1257 …God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. So here we see that God is not limited to the sacraments even though he created them for our benefit. He can still work “outside” of them.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament IMO, this is where you may be having a hiccup, since it doesn’t explicitly say “inquirers” as well. However, we already know from 1257 above that God can work outside the sacraments. So I think it is reasonable to feel confident that this would include inquirers as well.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.Lufty, if God can save someone who was ignorant of the Gospel, but seeks truth and desires the will of God to the best of their understanding, I believe he can (and will) save an inquirer who is on the path to baptism.

My own experience with RCIA has been touch and go. It took me 2 1/2 years of trying out (and withdrawing from) various RCIA programs and going splat before I finally found an RCIA program that is a good fit for me. I got baptized as an adult after a LOT of study about Christianity, and in all honesty, I found these RCIA classes to be too basic for the level of learning I already had done on my own. But even if I had found my beloved RCIA class the first time around, I am not sure that I would have been ready to join the CC.

I feel that I have a lot more patience and maturity now than I did when I was initially dipped my toe into the RCIA pool. I know that I will appreciate entering the CC more now than I would have back then.

I am not trying to say, nor imply, that you lack maturity. Afterall, I don’t know you at all but for a few of the threads that you have writter here on CAF. However, I do sense an air of restlessness and impatience when I read your posts. I am not saying that it is a bad thing, just that it does seem to be present.

And this reminds me of my own RCIA experience when I first tried it. Back then, I wanted things on my terms. I wanted to enter the Church when I wanted to, and I thought it was silly/annoying that I had to wait. And I was really impatient, sitting through classes that were too basic for me.

This isn’t the exact same thing as your situation, of course, but I do see some similarities. The RCIA program’s timing may not be your timing. Like me, I can see that you are struggling to find an RCIA program that is a good fit for you, and that you either have done or are considering independent study with a priest (I looked into this as well.)

I sense a lot of struggling when I read your posts. I cannot say where this is coming from, nor why this is happening. I just hope/pray that you can find a process to enter the Church (either thru independent study or thru RCIA) that will give you some peace in your heart. To that end I have prayed for you already.

Just know that you are not alone. I can really relate to the struggles you have written about!

I’m in RCIA right now and have been since January, and I will be baptized and confirmed on Easter. No one said that I couldn’t because I wasn’t there in September and I was told there isn’t a “Baptism ONLY on Easter” rule either. :confused:

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