Children entering the Catholic Church

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: In my parish I have two boys, ages 12 and 10. The 10 year old has never been baptized. The 12 year old has been baptized in a Baptist church. They have been learning the Catholic Faith very well. I have interviewed the 10 year old twice, and he is certainly ready on the knowledge base to enter the Church. I just interviewed the 12 year old and he is even more ready than the 10 year old to enter the Catholic Church. I do not see a need for these boys to go through any form of RCIA for children for them to enter the Catholic Church. 

Since this is the case, should I use the section from the RCIA book labeled for kids who are a catechetical age, and apply the appropriate Sacraments to each child in having them enter the Church? Or am I to do something entirely different? 

When I am bringing these kids into the Faith, I’m not required to have them receive Confirmation at the same time am I?

Do I need my bishop’s permission for anything for these two boys?


A: The boys are to be handled differently because of their baptismal status. You may receive the twelve-year old into the full communion of the Catholic Church at any time you deem him ready. He is exactly in the same situation as an adult validly baptized in another denomination. He does not have to wait for the Easter Vigil. You may conduct the ceremony on any Sunday—even next week—without special permission. You are indeed obliged to confirm him at that time. See Code of Canon Law 883 §2 and 885 §2. He receives his first communion at that same Mass.

The ten-year old should be admitted into the order of catechumens as soon as possible. See Part II, Section 1, RCIA 260-276. He should attend the Rite of Election at the cathedral on the first weekend of Lent. He is to celebrate one scrutiny sometime during Lent (291ff), and you give him all three sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. Again, because of the canons cited above, you are obliged to confirm him on that occasion. You will not need your bishop’s permission for either case.