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Tyler wrote:

Hi, guys —

Let me give you some background. I was baptized Presbyterian. My parents divorced. My mother remarried, after an annulment, into the Catholic Church. I began my grade school education in first grade. I went through the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion but I was never confirmed in the Church, as I left the school in sixth grade and did not continue via CCD. I continued to attend Mass, and carried my beliefs with me. I have always considered myself Catholic.

I have gotten engaged and we signed my fiancée up for RCIA classes so we could get married in the Catholic Church; I was going to be her sponsor. I told this to the Director for Adult Faith and he said:

  • I was not Catholic, and that I must go through the entire course, just as much as my fiancée needed to, and
  • that we both needed sponsors.

My questions are:

  • Am I a Catholic?
  • Must I go through RCIA?

Tyler

  { If I was baptized Presbyterian, yet always considered myself a Catholic, do I have to attend RCIA? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Tyler —

You are indeed Catholic. However, you still need the fullness of Sacramental Initiation, which comes with Confirmation. Some parishes want adult confirmands to do RCIA, others have adult confirmation classes.

Since you are her sponsor, it would be wonderful to go through it with her — sponsors often do. RCIA is not just education, which you may need, it is a communal experience of Christian life.

God bless.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Mary Ann —

I was a little confused about your answer.

Maybe it has to do with Tyler's statement:

My mother remarried, after an annulment, into the Catholic Church.

Remarriage into the Catholic Church does not mean joining the Church; since non-Catholic Christians can marry in the Church if:

  • the couple receive a dispensation from the bishop, and
  • the non-Catholic promises not to interfere with the children of their marriage being raised Catholic.

My assumption was that Tyler's mother remained a Presbyterian when she married again, so certainly he is a Christian and a Catholic in heart.

Maybe Tyler can elaborate on whether her mother became Catholic when she remarried.
If she did, I would guess that during the marriage process, the parish would confirm and get a copy of Tyler's baptismal certificate from his former Presbyterian congregation, which I assume would keep records.

The Director for Adult Faith could then easily confirm this and proceed with Confirmation instructions.

Mike

Tyler replied:

Mary Ann and Mike —

I thank you both for your responses. I should have been a little more clear, but didn't want to write too long of an e-mail.

Add this to the evaluation if you would like:

My mother went through the Catholic annulment process, while going through RCIA. She was confirmed and, some time later, had a Catholic marriage to my stepfather.

My grade school education from first through sixth grade was at a Catholic school, which is where my religious education came from. My school and the parish, both have my Presbyterian baptismal record which [is/was] recognized by the Catholic Church prior to my First Reconciliation and my First Communion. I also made a profession of faith prior to my First Communion.

I really appreciate your input.

Tyler

Mary Ann replied:

Tyler,

My answer stands. You are Catholic. Your mother's marriage has nothing to do with it, nor even the religion of your parents.

If you have received the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation, the Catholic Church has already approved your Baptism.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Thanks for the reply Tyler.

If your mother when through RCIA, obviously she and you are Catholic. As Mary Ann said, you still need the fullness of Sacramental Initiation, which comes with Confirmation.

The important sacrament of Confirmation is when we publicly accept Jesus as our Personal Lord and Savior, something we could not do when we were an infant, though the love of our parents ensured original sin was removed from our soul at Baptism.

Thanks for the clarification.

Mike

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