coming back to the church


Hi Sue!

Welcome home! I’ve just recently come back home too! It’s an awsome feeling, isn’t it! Because I hadn’t taken CCD as a kid, I did have to take RCIA classes before I could be confirmed. Additionally, I’ve done alot of checking into doctrine and cannon law on the issues you’ve mentioned. I’m not an expert, but I’ve already bugged plenty of them in order to get a good grip on it!

Just in case you haven’t been able to get your questions answered yet….

1) All first marriages are presumed to be valid under cannon law (unless/until proven otherwise in a nulification process). This includes even civil unions where no church is involved. So the answer to your concern about living in a state of sin, that would only be the case if one of you had previously been married. Since you had not been confirmed, issues of being married outside the church, or being in less than good standing, shouldn’t apply. You may find yourselves simply wanting to have your marriage convalidated, as a confirmation of this great new chapter in your life together and to receive the blessings it bestows!

2) Your husband will definitely need to take RCIA classes. If you yourself had completed your pre-confirmation classes, you might only need a brief brush-up. I personally recommend taking RCIA with your husband. At the very least, it’ll refresh your memory and it can help your marriage grow in faith! A definite win/win!

3) “We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sin…” Baptisms performed in other Christian denominations are nearly always valid, especially in more conventional churches. The only ones that aren’t recognized, that I am aware of are the LDS (or Mormon churches) and some of the splinter groups of the Baptist faith. The key things are that the person was baptized by water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit or Ghost. “Baptized by water” includes sprinkling, pouring and immersion. I’m not well versed in the Methodist church, but I believe that your son’s baptism is valid.

4)Do you have to wait until you’ve been confirmed before your daughter can be baptized? According to doctrine and cannon law, no. (The prefernces and practices of your local diocese and parish may differ at the bishops discretion.) What is absolutely required is that there is at least one Godparent who is a confirmed Catholic in good standing. In the case of my children, because I was a registered member of the parish, already taking various Adult Ed classes and demonstrating a sincere devotion to the faith, my children were able to be baptized before my RCIA classes officially began!! (Note that their father has no affiliation to the church whatsoever.) I did have to attend a pre-baptism parents’ class that explained the doctrine and laws regarding the Sacrament.

If your preist is over-extended, like far too many are these days, your RCIA co-ordinator or DRE (Director of Religious Ed) can be great sources of information! I also recommend getting your hands on a copy of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, it is THE best comprehensive source on the official Doctrines. A good easier reading overview of it is “The Cathechism Handbook” by Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

I hope that this helps answer your questions, but really I hope that all I’ve done is reiterate what you’ve already learned from your preist!

Congrats and God bless you!