Q: In our diocese, the number of catechumens who participate in the ROE is significantly smaller than the number of adults & children of catechetical age who are baptized at Easter. We hold one ROE for the whole diocese. Our diocesan Faith Formation office strongly encourages attendance, but I’ve been told by a canon lawyer that we can not present the ROE as mandatory. What happens if a catechumen does not attend the ROE, and thus is not formally admitted to Election? Many in this situation go on to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. I suspect we’re not alone in this. Thank you for your insight.
A: I guess you could argue that the Rite of Election is optional, but tolerating its omission does not seem like a good long-range policy. The RCIA permits the bishop to assign a delegate to celebrate this rite. It need not take place in the cathedral. A better strategy would be for the bishop to give broader delegation for the celebration of the rite in parishes.