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Here's a tricky question for the experts:  A friend of a friend was baptized Catholic but then raised Lutheran, so he never received his First Communion or Confession growing up.  He's recently decided he wants to be Catholic, but since kids normally have some classes before those things, he didn't know whether he could just walk in and make a Confession and receive Communion like a revert who grew up Catholic can.  He talked to a traditional priest who spent time going through the Creed with him, especially focusing on the areas where Catholic and Lutheran beliefs differ, like transubstantiation versus consubstantiation, until he was satisfied the guy knew what he was asking for (at least as well as any eight-year-old, certainly), and then heard his Confession. 

But now that he's back in his home parish, the priest there (who says he's a canon lawyer) is telling him that he can't receive any Sacraments, that he has to go through five years of RCIA like any convert, and that his Catholic baptism isn't recognized by the Church because he was raised Lutheran.  Granting that I'm getting this information third-hand so it may not be perfectly accurate, does anyone know if that's correct?  The last part doesn't seem right to me; a valid baptism is a valid baptism, and I wouldn't think anything that happened after it would prevent it from being recognized.  And does it really make sense that you'd have to go through years of RCIA because you missed one year of First Communion classes when you were eight?

I guess the question is:  at what point do you become Catholic enough that lapsing and coming back makes you a revert and not a convert?  After baptism, or after First Communion?  Anyone know the actual rules on this?
I think revert.
Most protestant baptism is valid.

In the old practice the described short instruction was required but nothing more (regardless weather the convert was baptized or not, naturally unbaptized were baptized first)

The recent practice requires a half year+ RCIA (usually from September to Easter) with sponsor. During the Lent there are several Masses for those in the RCIA. (I believe 5 years are urban legend) . RCIA is for 'reverts'  too, for those he did not received confirmation.

(08-24-2010, 02:37 PM)Mhoram Wrote: [ -> ]Here's a tricky question for the experts:  A friend of a friend was baptized Catholic but then raised Lutheran, so he never received his First Communion or Confession growing up.  He's recently decided he wants to be Catholic, but since kids normally have some classes before those things, he didn't know whether he could just walk in and make a Confession and receive Communion like a revert who grew up Catholic can.  He talked to a traditional priest who spent time going through the Creed with him, especially focusing on the areas where Catholic and Lutheran beliefs differ, like transubstantiation versus consubstantiation, until he was satisfied the guy knew what he was asking for (at least as well as any eight-year-old, certainly), and then heard his Confession. 

But now that he's back in his home parish, the priest there (who says he's a canon lawyer) is telling him that he can't receive any Sacraments, that he has to go through five years of RCIA like any convert, and that his Catholic baptism isn't recognized by the Church because he was raised Lutheran.  Granting that I'm getting this information third-hand so it may not be perfectly accurate, does anyone know if that's correct?  The last part doesn't seem right to me; a valid baptism is a valid baptism, and I wouldn't think anything that happened after it would prevent it from being recognized.  And does it really make sense that you'd have to go through years of RCIA because you missed one year of First Communion classes when you were eight?

I guess the question is:  at what point do you become Catholic enough that lapsing and coming back makes you a revert and not a convert?  After baptism, or after First Communion?  Anyone know the actual rules on this?
Five years of RCIA! Wow.

Forgive me for saying, but I wonder if it's possible that this Parish Priest has a bone to pick because your friend went to a traditional priest? I guess he can implement a five year(!) RCIA if he wants to, being the pastor there, I don't know about that one, but the baptism part is just plain silliness. Unless there is reason to believe that the church that baptized him was doing something amazingly goofy at the time, a Baptismal certificate from a Catholic Church should absolutely be sufficient. If he wants to go to that parish, though, he should probably just sign up for the RCIA (or find another traditional parish and arrange the rest of the Sacraments of Initiation there.)

eta, in my opinion, he'd technically be a convert and need RCIA (in the NO).
(08-24-2010, 02:37 PM)Mhoram Wrote: [ -> ]But now that he's back in his home parish, the priest there (who says he's a canon lawyer) is telling him that he can't receive any Sacraments, that he has to go through five years of RCIA like any convert,

My boyfriend was baptized in the Catholic Church but was raised in the Episcopal Church. He never received any Catholic sacraments outside of baptism. Last summer he decided he wanted to convert, so he attended a few months of informal inquiry sessions followed by 6-ish months of formal RCIA classes at his parish. He made his first confession about a week before Easter and was confirmed and received his first Communion at the Easter Vigil Mass this year. There was none of this five years of RCIA business. Never, ever in my life have I heard that before now. I know that every parish does things slightly differently, but I'm sure there are some standards, and five years is not the standard.

The RCIA process is different for Catechumens (unbaptized, non-Christian folks wanting to convert) and Candidates (those already baptized into any Christian faith). The Wikipedia article about RCIA has a lot of good information on this whole process.

Anyway, never have I known a convert who had to go through five years of RCIA. That's simply false information.

Mhoram Wrote:I guess the question is:  at what point do you become Catholic enough that lapsing and coming back makes you a revert and not a convert?  After baptism, or after First Communion?  Anyone know the actual rules on this?

I don't know the actual rules about it, but I always thought it might be after Confirmation--after you've become a full, adult member of the Church and are responsible for your weekly Mass attendance and regular reception of the sacraments, etc.
(08-24-2010, 02:37 PM)Mhoram Wrote: [ -> ]But now that he's back in his home parish, the priest there (who says he's a canon lawyer) is telling him that he can't receive any Sacraments, that he has to go through five years of RCIA like any convert, and that his Catholic baptism isn't recognized by the Church because he was raised Lutheran.  Granting that I'm getting this information third-hand so it may not be perfectly accurate, does anyone know if that's correct?  The last part doesn't seem right to me; a valid baptism is a valid baptism, and I wouldn't think anything that happened after it would prevent it from being recognized.  And does it really make sense that you'd have to go through years of RCIA because you missed one year of First Communion classes when you were eight?

I guess the question is:  at what point do you become Catholic enough that lapsing and coming back makes you a revert and not a convert?  After baptism, or after First Communion?  Anyone know the actual rules on this?

If he was baptized Catholic, but not raised Catholic and was not confirmed, then at our parish we would make him go through RCIA. He would be considered a "candidate" coming into "full communion." He would receive his confirmation and first Eucharist at the Easter Vigil -  or before, if it is determined he has enough catechesis and understanding of the Catholic Faith to do so.

RCIA isn't just for converts (catechumens). It's for people like your Lutheran friend.
That said, I wouldn't call him a revert. Not if he wasn't raised in the Faith.
(08-24-2010, 03:51 PM)ResiduumRevertetur Wrote: [ -> ]Five years of RCIA! Wow.

Forgive me for saying, but I wonder if it's possible that this Parish Priest has a bone to pick because your friend went to a traditional priest?

Well, I didn't want to say it, but that's what some of us were wondering too.  Again, I'm getting this third-hand, but there seemed to be a whiff of, "those crazy trads don't know anything, and I'm a canon lawyer, and this is how it's gonna be."

I can see requiring some instruction, and he did spend several days in discussion with a priest and a seminarian, until they were satisfied that he was ready.  Maybe that's not enough time, but five years seems pretty extreme on the other end.  I don't like the idea of 'parish shopping,' but I don't think he'd have much trouble finding a parish where the priest would be more reasonable -- as long as he doesn't tell them he's been to a traditional priest already.

Thanks, I didn't figure he was the first person who'd ever been in that situation.
I don't know why your friend even discussed the matter with his current parish priest.  He's already received instructions from a priest, made his confession, and, presumably, received Holy Communion.  He was baptized Catholic, and he's a Catholic.  Catholics don't have to go to RCIA. 
Embarrassed  Yeah. I'm sorry, Mhoram. It seems to me at second glance that he shouldn't have to go through RCIA. And certainly not for 5 years! He should need some instruction and a confession, which he already received. There's nothing keeping him from Holy Communion. The thing is, he should be confirmed. They will want him to be confirmed. Even those of us raised in the Church had special instruction before Confirmation. Also, I find it hard to believe that a Canon Lawyer wouldn't recognize his Catholic baptism as "valid." Something sounds fishy.