From a reader:
I’m curious about traditional parishes (both those which exclusively use the 1962 liturgical books and those which would self-identify as a traditional parish) and adult converts in the US. I don’t have the official documents ready at hand, but it would seem that, as of September 1, 1988, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults with American adaptations has, by particular law, become mandated. Yet, anecdotally, it doesn’t seem that many traditional parishes have implemented the RCIA.
I’m well aware of many of the liturgical arguments against the RCIA – and I’m not quite sure how the liturgical rites of the RCIA would be implements within the structure of the Tridentine Mass. I’m also aware that the RCIA itself is not to be used for the reception of adult converts who are already baptized, even though many parishes do so. We all know full well that in many places, the people involved in the RCIA are heterodox at best, and I’d hate to open the door to endless griping about how bad this program was, or that director was…
What I’m really curious about is what canonical arguments parishes have used for failing to implement the RCIA, and how adult catechumens are handled in traditional parishes.
Is this something that might, perchance, be blogworthy? It would seem that making people aware of the issues surrounding adult converts at traditional parishes might open the door to discussion of how our traditional parishes are (hopefully) evangelizing the culture, and not just serving as refuges for disgruntled Catholics.
I think there could be a way to integrate the main points of RCIA together with the older form of Mass, especially since in the texts of Masses for Sundays of Lent there are vestiges of the very ancient Roman formularies used at the time when the Roman Church was bringing in converts.
I think whatever would be done, care should be taken to recognize that many adult converts are actually already baptized.
Surely some RCIA program could be developed in conjunction with the celebration of the older forms of sacraments whereby converts could get a good and healthy grounding both in the faith in which we believe and a sound approach to the mainstream Church.
I think my Rules of Engagement apply to this question, especially #4:
4) Be engaged in the whole life of your parishes, especially in works of mercy organized by the same. If you want the whole Church to benefit from the use of the older liturgy, then you who are shaped by the older form of Mass should be of benefit to the whole Church in concrete terms.