Confirmation and Eucharist

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  There seems to be an inconsistency between the RCIA (409) and the National Statutes (26) regarding the time of celebration of Confirmation and Eucharist for baptized Catholics. 409 says they “normally” will receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil.  NS 26 implies that it is “not recommended” that they complete their initiation on the same occasion of the full initiation of unbaptized persons (which would usually be the Easter Vigil).

My question arises because I have been asked if a baptized Catholic who has been preparing for full initiation, but whose family will be out of town on the Easter Vigil, can complete her initiation at another time. My thought is that it could be appropriate for her to receive the sacraments during the Easter season.

Also, my understanding is that a baptized Catholic does not make a profession of faith when they complete sacramental initiation.

I echo the thanks of your many readers for your excellent commentary on canonical and liturgical matters!


A:  Thanks for your comments on my blog.

The discrepancy you cite is correct. All I can guess is that the RCIA was so new in 1986 that the bishops did not catch the problem before passing statute 26. Today they would certainly bow to RCIA 409.

As you point out, 409 says that baptized, uncatechized Catholics “normally” receive confirmation and first communion at the Easter Vigil. Although it is not normal to receive them at other times, they may.  Your plan for Easter Time is a good solution in this case.

A baptized Catholic does make “a profession of faith” according to 409, but that basically means reciting the creed or renewing baptismal promises with the community. That person does not make the additional profession of faith made by a person validly baptized in another Christian community being received into the full communion of the Catholic Church (491). The Catholic is already a Catholic, so the Catholic is not being received into the Catholic Church.

And don’t forget, a priest is not the ordinary minister of confirmation in this case. He needs permission from the bishop if he intends to confirm, no matter what day he wants to do it.