Monday, 10 March 2008

A question I should love someone to answer...

Although the Council of Trent declares baptism should only be conferred upon those adults who are instructed and declare understanding and belief in its nature and the teachings of church, with a repentance for past sins and a firm desire of amendment - what of judging the worth of the candidate for Baptism ?

Well although it says this in Session 7 on baptism :
"The faithful are also to be instructed in the necessary dispositions for Baptism. In the first place they must desire and intend to receive it; for as in Baptism we all die to sin and resolve to live a new life, it is fit that it be administered to those only who receive it of their own free will and accord; it is to be forced upon none. ... Besides a wish to be baptised, in order to obtain the grace of the Sacrament, faith is also necessary. ... Another necessary condition is repentance for past sins, and a fixed determination to avoid all sin in the future. ... he who purposes to continue in sin should justly be repelled from the sacred font, particularly since none of those things which belong to Christ and His Church are to be received in vain, and since we well understand that, as far as regards sanctifying and saving grace, Baptism is received in vain by him who purposes to live according to the flesh, and not according to the spirit. As far, however, as the Sacrament is concerned, if the person who is rightly baptised intends to receive what the Church administers, he without doubt validly receives the Sacrament."

It also states this during its commentary/teaching on the sacrament of Penance:

Council of Trent : Session 14, Chapter 2:

Besides, it is clear that this sacrament is in many respects different from baptism.11 For apart from the fact that in matter and form, which constitute the essence of a sacrament, it differs very widely, it is beyond question that the minister of baptism need not be a judge, since the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not entered it through the gate of baptism.

Now should anyone care to read the history of the Catechumenate regarding the rites of scrutinies there is absolutely no indication of any adjudication regarding the worth of the candidate by anyone; no analysis of the sincerity, no investigation into past misdemeanours or transgressions....merely instruction, asking if they understand and believe, and do they repent and resolve amendment -NOTHING MORE !!!

So could somebody please inform me why the RCIA process has inserted a rite of 'affirmation by sponsor' and various forms of character assessment and judgment by sponsor, community AND bishop during the scrutinies [contrary to previous practice and the teaching of Trent] - rather than a mere questioning/declaration that the catechumen both understands and believes in that which they have been instructed ; no, at present in RCIA they are being 'judged' !!!!???

I should love some expert on the matter to tell me what I'm missing ; but isn't the RCIA wrong ?

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