Q: I continue to appreciate your posts and wisdom, but I have a question about your last sentence in this response:
“Even though the RCIA likes the idea of having [baptized, uncatechized] Catholics receive both [confirmation and communion] at the Easter Vigil, a bishop could fittingly give the permission for the confirmation to take place on another occasion.”
We have been operating under the presumption that the Rite itself was looking at the Christian Candidates as possibly being received into Full Communion at the Vigil, then celebrating Confirmation and First Eucharist at that same liturgy. The Catholic Candidates have been, here and elsewhere in our Diocese, always reserved for Confirmation with the Bishop closer to Pentecost (though there are options), and the Catholic Candidates prepare for Reconciliation and their First Communion whenever they are ready. I may have been misreading the text and intent. How far off the mark are we?
However, thankfully, the National Statutes recommend that all Candidates celebrate their respective rites at a time other than the Vigil.
A: In Latin, the RCIA indeed likes the idea of having uncatechized adults who were baptized Catholic as infants – and who have now completed their catechetical formation – receive confirmation and first communion at the Easter Vigil. However, this is hard to read in the English translation. Part II section 4 in Latin was dealing solely with this category of Christians – not at all with those validly baptized in other Christian denominations. Paragraph 400 includes these words in English: “either as Roman Catholics or as members of another Christian community”. They’re not in Latin. This entire section dealt only with uncatechized Catholic adults. So when paragraph 409 says, “The high point of their entire formation will normally be the Easter Vigil,” it is speaking about Catholics. That’s why the sentence that follows refers to their profession of faith (creed), but not to their reception into the Catholic Church – they’re already Catholics – and why it presumes that “the bishop or another authorized minister” has to be present for the confirmation – the priest does not have authority from canon law. Because the bishop is the ordinary minister of confirmation in that case, he may confirm when he pleases. But the RCIA was hoping it could be done at the Vigil or at least during Easter Time. Personally, I’m more of a purist, and I wish that they had left the Vigil for baptism alone. But this is what they decided. I’ve treated this more extensively in my book, When Other Christians Become Catholic.