Varietates Legitimae 56: Christian Initiation

On the inculturation of Christian Initiation:

56. For the rites of Christian initiation, episcopal conferences are “to examine with care and prudence what can properly be admitted from the traditions and character of each people” (GICI 30.2) and “in mission countries to judge whether initiation ceremonies practiced among the people can be adapted into the rite of Christian initiation and to decide whether they should be used.” (GICI 31, SC 65) It is necessary to remember, however, that the term initiation does not have the same meaning or designate the same reality when it is used of social rites of initiation among certain peoples or when it is contrary to the process of Christian initiation, which leads through the rites of the catechumenate to incorporation into Christ in the church by means of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist.

Commentary:

Like Rome I see less need in this area than, say, wedding or funeral customs. Christian initiation isn’t quite on the same plane as the notion of entering adulthood, or a special sub-culture. In fact, it might be good to see the western ties with educational systems loosened. Confirmation in particular has problems being disentangled from the western notion of graduation. Some “uninculturation” might be of benefit.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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