This is a follow-up question for Are those instructed before baptism considered catechumens before entering the catechumenate formally?

In Czech Republic the pre-baptismal formation is often called "preparation for baptism" or something like this, but not "catechumenate" - the Rite of Acceptance or the start of catechumenate start near the end of this period, even as late as the first sunday of Lent, when the Rite of Election should take place. In the light of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, this practice seems to be a misunderstanding of how the Christian initiation should be performed.

While this practice may be fine for those hesitating, why should those desiring to be baptised wait months or even years until they will be allowed to express this desire publicly? Why do they have to be called "inquirers" and denied of catechumens' rights, while they are effectively catechumens except for that they are not recognized as such? I understand there are some practical reasons for this, but I feel some important aspect of Christian intiation is missing in those "preparation for baptism" groups.

My question is: is there any canon law/ liturgical rule saying that postponing the Rite of Acceptance when the inquirer is determined they want to be baptised is OK/ forbidded/ tolerated, but discouraged? And why?

  • 1
    Good question. I think in the US, we approach RCIA like we approach communion and confirmation of teenagers; If you show up for class you're going to get a degree.
    – Peter Turner
    Apr 20, 2013 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


It appears that the difference between the usage in English speaking countries of "Chatechumenate", is the same as the Czech phrase "preparation for Baptism". I note that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says

1247 Since the beginning of the Church, adult Baptism is the common practice where the proclamation of the Gospel is still new. The catechumenate (preparation for Baptism) therefore occupies an important place. This initiation into Christian faith and life should dispose the catechumen to receive the gift of God in Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

So, I would say the answer to your question about a about a liturgical rule delaying baptism is a modified "yes". The need for an adult candidate for Baptism to be properly prepared for the Sacrament, and understand what it means to him, and requires from him, in most cases necessitates a delay to permit that to occur. But it also appears from the Catechism that there is an expectation that the delay be as short as possible, and I understand that it can be waived in some circumstances, for example, in the case of a person who is very near to death who has not been, and desires to be baptized.

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