“Fast track” RCIA

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Our parish does a “fast track” RCIA program.  So if you attend Mass with you Catholic spouse, you can become Catholic without going through RCIA. You can choose baptism and Eucharist or Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  Is this something new?


A: First of all, “RCIA” is a book of rites. We often use the acronym as a shorthand for the pertinent catechesis as well. No adult becomes Catholic without going through some of the rites in that book, so it’s impossible for one to “become Catholic without going through RCIA.” 

However, even the RCIA permits flexibility on the catechesis. So a person who has participated at Mass for many years has indeed received important catechesis through that process. Further catechesis that others experience could be abridged in that case. I would not call that “fast track” if it extends over a period of years.

A person wishing to become Catholic may not “choose baptism and Eucharist or Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.” If a priest baptizes an adult or a child of catechetical age, he is required by law to confirm that person immediately. Neither the priest nor the catechumen has the option of delaying confirmation. If baptism does not take place at the Easter Vigil, the priest needs the bishop’s permission to conduct these sacraments at a different time of year.

In rare instances, in the absence of a priest, when a deacon or layperson baptizes an adult, then, of course, confirmation is deferred.