Monday, February 05, 2007

Confused about the order of things

I added a chat box through Meebo... If you see me online, don't be shy! I appreciate the private messages I've received when I've been off-line as well... I thank those of you who've left messages, for your kind words of encouragement and your much needed prayers!

Based on the fact that I have no record of baptism, that the church I was baptized in no longer exists and the fact that my mom is terribly reluctant, if not unwilling, to sign a piece of paper stating that I was validly baptized, it has been decided that I will be conditionally baptized. What troubles me is that I was told I would not need to attend First Reconciliation prior to the Easter Vigil. And from what I can tell, they expect to conditionally baptize me AT the Easter Vigil Mass. From what I've read, this is contrary to the way it's supposed to be done.

For one, if my first baptism was valid, then I think this conditional baptism will have no effect, which means, I will still have sin on my soul and should not partake in communion until I have gone to reconciliation. (If this takes place at Easter Vigil, I won't have TIME to go to reconciliation beforehand!) I have also read that conditional baptisms are to take place in private. When I talked to my RCIA Director about this, she seemed surprised. She is bringing the following questions to the parish priest:

What are the effects of a conditional baptism if the first baptism WAS valid? (I believe I know the answer but I wanted the RCIA Director to ask since she wasn't sure.)

Does the conditional baptism need to be done in private prior to the Easter Vigil Mass?

Is reconciliation required before (or after) the conditional baptism and prior to receiving First Communion?

Based on what I've read, I should be going to reconciliation BEFORE First Communion. Some say I should receive a conditional absolution. Some say there is no such thing.

I'm a bit confused by everything at this point. I am 99.9% certain that my first baptism was valid and I would not be comfortable NOT going to reconciliation. If I am told something that conflicts with this, I'm going to make an appointment to meet with the parish priest.

It seems the RCIA Director doesn't have a clear understanding of the National Statutes for RCIA. It also seems, according to these statutes that while I'm permitted to go through RCIA, I could actually have been received into the Church at any time since I have lived my life as a Christian and have an understanding of Catholic teaching etc. I have also read that there are certain rites I am not, as a baptized Christian, supposed to be doing in the same way that catechumens are, such as the scrutinies. My RCIA Director talks of these things as if we will all be doing the same thing. I'm not sure, at this point, if I should just go with the flow and follow their directions or what?

At this point, I certainly don't mind waiting until Easter, since I believe the anticipation has been good for my growth, but I don't want to be taking part in the aspects of certain rites that are supposed to be reserved for those who are unbaptized... and actually, I'm not even sure if there ARE any in my class who are not baptized already. I supposed I'm just going to have to talk with the RCIA Director about what I've read... but I have a feeling that anything I say will be trumped.

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