Sunday, December 23, 2007

Compare and Contrast

The current formula for the Rite of Reception of an Adult into Full Communion with the Catholic Church run as follows:

After the Profession of Faith (the Creed)
“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

The profession of faith in the 1962 rituale Romanum is:

I, N.N., .... years of age, born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors contrary to her teaching. Now, enlightened by divine grace, I kneel before you, Reverend Father ...., having before my eyes and touching with my hand the holy Gospels. And with firm faith I believe and profess each and all the articles contained in the Apostles' Creed, that is: (The Apostles Creed is recited).

I firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and ordinances of the Church.

I admit the Sacred Scriptures in the sense which has been held and is still held by holy Mother Church, whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and I shall never accept or interpret them in a sense contrary to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

I profess that the sacraments of the New Law are truly and precisely seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: baptism, confirmation, holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. I profess that all confer grace, and that baptism, confirmation, and holy orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the aforementioned sacraments.

I accept and hold in each and every part all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. I profess that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, real, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, and that there takes place in the Mass what the Church calls transubstantiation, which is the change of all the substance of bread into the body of Christ and of all substance of wine into His blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ whole and entire.

I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful.

Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.

I firmly profess that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honor and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences, and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognize the holy, Roman, Catholic, and apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, without hesitation I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in special manner all that concerns the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, I now freely profess and I truly adhere to it. With the help of God, I promise and swear to maintain and profess this faith entirely, inviolately, and with firm constancy until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and publicly professed by all who depend on me and over whom I shall have charge.

So help me God and these holy Gospels.

The convert remains kneeling, and the priest, still seated, says psalm 50, or psalm 129, concluding with "Glory be to the Father."

After this the priest stands and says:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Save your servant.

All: Who trusts in you, my God.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that this servant of yours, bound by the fetters of sin, may be pardoned by your loving kindness: through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

The priest again sits down, and facing the convert pronounces the absolution from excommunication, inserting the word perhaps if in doubt as to whether it has been incurred:

By the authority of the Holy See which I exercise here, I release you from the bond of excommunication which you have (perhaps) incurred; and I restore you to communion and union with the faithful, as well as to the holy sacraments of the Church; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lastly the priest imposes some salutary penance, such as prayers, visits to a church, or the equivalent.


Anonymous said...

Think i'd go for the second one Fr!

Anonymous said...

i borrowed your picture if that's OK? i put you as our no 2 blogger can guess who is no 1! Many blessings this Christmas Fr & thanks for a magnificent blog!

gemoftheocean said...

"Lastly the priest imposes some salutary penance, such as prayers, visits to a church, or the equivalent."

....resignation from the Labour Party...

Sounds fun for the priest especially!

Though seriously, I am assuming that this is the rite for someone baptized into another faith? The "perhaps" option seems to imply that in some cases there remains the question of whether or not a person had a valid Trinitarian baptizism in the first place -- in which case, if a person has committed mortal sin(s) this doesn't really seem to allow for private confession.

I can't say I much like the receptions en masse at Eastertime. It seems to me that too often the RCIA process takes a "one size fits all" approach.

The old Roman Ritual was certainly clearer as far as to what the person was signing on to.


Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't know about the States but here in the UK people speak about RCIA when they really mean convert instruction.
RCIA is actually a ritual or liturgical process that is about gradually putting of sin and putting on Christ.
In our diocese it seems that the "Rite" is essentially becoming a Catechumen at the beginning of Lent, initiation at Easter, and possibly something at Penetecost.
The documents seem to suggest that the process should follow the lectionaries 3 year cycle. The Rites are essentually about repentance, renunciation of Satan and sin, a whole process of excorcism, annointing and strengthening. The giving of the Creeds, the gradual incorporation into a community of prayer and faith.
It is a process and not a programme.
I think it is, in theory, one of the most exciting developments of the Council.
Unfortunately most people, myself included, do convert instruction, with a few knobs added on rather than what was envisioned.
Indeed, I am seriously thinking of returning to individual instruction, so at least people get spiritual direction, and are invited to conversion.

Mulier Fortis said...

Wow... I can see that we were short-changed in the New Rite yet again...

I especially like the idea of doing penance for being a member of another Christian denomination...

Augustus Minimus said...

Just presenting the two options says it all. No need for comment.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I presume you meant your comment for me only.

Anonymous said...

I really missed out there when I was received 26 years ago! Can I do it again using the 1962 rite?

Physiocrat said...

I feel as if I was short-changed? Can I do it again too?

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

How interesting that converts and others are feeling short-changed when given the chance to compare and contrast the old and new rites. I must admit to having the
same feelings whenever I read one of Fr. Z's comparisons of the ICEL translations with what the prayer really means in Latin.

It reminds me of the hilarious description of the collapse of Boris Yeltsin's marxist faith in Michael Dobbs' book about the fall of communism, "Down With Big Brother." Here's a little sample for those who don't know the book:

"A turning point in Yeltsin's intellectual development occurred during his first visit to the United States in September 1989, more specifically his first visit to an American supermarket, in Houston, Texas. The sight of aisle after aisle of shelves neatly stacked with every conceivable type of foodstuff and household item both amazed and depressed him. A cornucopia of consumer goods beyond the imagination of most Soviets was within the reach of ordinary citizens without standing in line for hours. And it was all so attractively displayed. For someone brought up in the drab conditions of communism, a visit to a Western supermarket involved a full-scale assault on the senses. Every aisle was an eye-opener for the visitors from Moscow. Scarcely had they recovered from the shock of the cheese section than they were literally shaken by the quality of produce in the vegetable section. They were particularly struck by the radishes, which were as large as good-sized potatoes back home."

"On the plane, Yeltsin seemed lost in his thoughts for a long time. He clutched his head in his hands. Eventually he broke his silence. 'It is now clear why they made it so difficult for the average Soviet citizen to go abroad. They were afraid that people's eyes would open.'"

Could this be the real reason why many bishops are wary of Summorum Pontificum and want to obstruct it? Are they afraid Catholics might realize that, in some respects, they have been cheated of their spiritual heritage?

Anonymous said...

I'm another recent convert who feels shortchanged. I found the RCIA very poor - no instruction, just a censored 'sharing' of how we felt about passages of scripture.

Even though all of us were adult candidates and not catechumens there was no mention that we should approach the Sacrament of Confession before being received into the Church and receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist. But, of course, no-one ever commits mortal sin and so there is no need for that...

Shortchanged indeed.

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