Receiving Orthodox Christians

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  A reader sent me a question about receiving Orthodox Christians, which sent me to your book. And I’m still scratching my head.

In When Other Christians Become Catholic, you write about the reception of an Orthodox Christian:   “No profession of faith is required…” (141). But right before that, you cite RCIA 474, which says “simply a profession of Catholic faith” is required.  What’s the difference?

And also, you indicate that the celebrant “places his hand on the head of the candidate, while proclaiming the act of reception.”  Isn’t that a “liturgical rite,” which RCIA 474 says is not required?

Thanks for your help with this.

A:  It’s confusing indeed. I heard that one diocese does absolutely no ritual at all. They conduct the reception on paper. But the RCIA does indicate that something is done, as you show.

RCIA 474 is an overtranslation of the Latin. A better rendering of the first part is this: “Nothing more is required of Eastern Christians coming to the fullness of Catholic communion, however, than what a simple profession of Catholic faith requires.” The expression “no liturgical rite” has no equivalent in Latin. So I think 491 and 492 still apply. Except that in 491, there would be no recitation of the Creed. Only the declaration of belief in what the Catholic Church teaches. Then the act of reception follows. Confirmation is not administered because the person has already been confirmed validly in the Orthodox Church.