This section gives us the outline of the entire rite.
3. So that the rite of initiation will be more useful for the work of the Church and for individual, parochial, and missionary circumstances, the rite is first presented in Part I of this book in its complete and usual form (nos. 36-251). This is designed for the preparation of a group of candidates, but by simple adaptation pastors can devise a form suited to one person.
A preview of what is to follow after that:
Nos. 252-330, Christian initiation of children of catechetical age
331-369, Rite for adults in exceptional circumstances
370-399, Short form for those in danger of death
400-410, Guidelines for preparing uncatechized adults for confirmation and Eucharist–these would include both Catholics who have not received First Communion and non-Catholic Christians.
411-472, optional rites for the above group
473-504, rite of receiving baptized Christians
505-594, combined rites for the unbaptized and for baptized Christians
595-597, hymns and songs
An appendix with national statutes. Since I’m from the US, we’ll look at the USCCB legislation on RCIA in my country. Other nations have their own.
RCIA 1 through 251 contains the core of the rite, and the basis not only for catechumenal ministry but also the springboard for all the adaptations that follow in 252-594. Note that many contingencies are provided for, but that the hallmark of the rite is to adapt to the spiritual needs of the newcomers. This is a different approach from the pre-conciliar, which would emphasize the ritual as a static entity to which individuals and groups would adapt.
This would be one of the areas in which we see retrenchment against Vatican II. In other words, the post-conciliar approach would be that of Jesus: the sabbath made for people, rather than the other way around.