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Q: Catholicism fast track ( No Answer,   20 Comments )
Subject: Catholicism fast track
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: in_for_a_penny-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 11 Apr 2006 11:23 PDT
Expires: 11 May 2006 11:23 PDT
Question ID: 717883
What's the quickest and easiest way to convert to Catholicism? I'm
"Christian" and baptized; however, my girlfriend's family is very
Catholic. The two of us getting married in a Catholic church would
mean a lot to them. I don't have to partake of Catholic communion. At
this stage in my life, I view most religion as a cultural, not
spiritual, choice. They live in the DC region and the wedding would
take place there.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: berkeleyseminarian-ga on 11 Apr 2006 11:57 PDT
First, if your girlfriend has a priest she is close to, he would be
the best person to talk to about this. He might be okay officiating
the ceremony even if you are not Catholic.

Unfortunately, there is no "quick" way to convert to Catholicism. The
church takes its membership fairly seriously and asks that adults
wishing to become Catholic go through the Rite of Christian Initiation
for Adults (RCIA) (described below). Another option--there might be
the chance that you could find a Protestant minister to co-officiate
the wedding or even a Catholic priest who will celebrate the service
without requiring you to be Catholic.

(information below taken from (
Another way--you could become baptized (again) in the Catholic church,
which would essentially initaite you into the church. From there,
since you have received your basic initiation by virtue of your
Catholic baptism, what you need now is to learn the Church's teachings
(which you are already doing) and make your first confession and first
Communion and to be confirmed.

Under canon law, you as an adult do not need to undergo formal
instruction in order to make your first confession or first Communion;
informal instruction is sufficient. In fact, &quotSacred ministers may
not deny the sacraments to whose who opportunely ask for them, are
properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them"
(CIC 843).

You must know, understand, and accept the Church's teachings
concerning confession and the Holy Eucharist. The person who teaches
these to you does not need to be a priest or catechist, just someone
who knows and will give you the straight story concerning the Church's
teachings on these sacraments as found, for example, in the Catechism
of the Catholic Church (see numbers 1322-1498 in the Catechism, about
40 pages of material to study).

Once you understand and accept these teachings, you can go to
confession--anonymously if you wish--and explain to the priest that
you were raised outside the Church and that this is your first
confession. You will need to confess all the post-baptismal mortal
sins that you can remember, indicating to the degree possible the
number of times or the frequency with which these were committed. This
needs to be done before going to first Communion.

Because you will have learned and accepted the Church's teaching
concerning the Eucharist, you can begin going to Communion like any
other Catholic. No special permission is necessary. &quotAny baptized
person who is not forbidden by law may and must be admitted to Holy
Communion" (CIC 912). Basically, those forbidden by law are children
who are too young, uninstructed, or improperly disposed (CIC 913-4),
people under a penalty of excommunication or interdict (CIC 915),
those who have committed a mortal sin since their last confession (CIC
916), those who have already received the Eucharist that day (unless
they take an active part in a second Mass or if special circumstances
apply [CIC 918, 921:2]), and those who have not fasted for an hour
before going to Communion (CIC 919).

To receive confirmation, which you should do as soon as possible (CIC
890-1), you will need more instruction: &quotApart from the danger of
death, to receive confirmation lawfully a person who has the use of
reason must be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to
renew the baptismal promises" (CIC 889:2). For this instruction your
parish may put you in an RCIA class for the sake of convenience.

You do not need to receive confirmation before beginning to go to
confession and beginning to receive the Eucharist. Nothing in canon
law requires that, and you may begin practicing those parts of a
Catholic's sacramental life as soon as you have understood and
accepted the Church's teachings concerning them.
If that doesn't work, RCIA is your only bet.

(the information below is about RCIA and is taken from

Most Catholic parishes have classes to prepare people to convert to
Catholicism. These classes are called Rite of Christian Initiation of
Adults or RCIA. The conversion of Catholicism is a gradual one.

Students are asked to pray and study scriptures. Also, they learn the catechism.

The RCIA classes are usually held every week. At these classes, you
will learn the fundamentals of Catholicism. As you learn, you will see
there is much to learn about being a Catholic. RCIA contains five

The Period of Inquiry ? This is when people can ask questions to get
an idea about Catholicism. They learn about scriptures and Jesus
Christ. This period takes as long as it needs to. When the person is
ready to go to the next phase, sometimes they need to write a letter
saying why they feel they want to convert.

Period of the Catechumenate ? For this phase to begin, people need to
accept Jesus Christ is their savior. They begin going to Mass on
Sunday and further their commitment to the faith. They reflect more
deeply, about how Catholicism will affect your life. This phase also
lasts as long as it needs to for individuals.

Period of Purification or Illumination ? This period corresponds with
the time of Lent. It is the six-week preparation time for Easter. It
becomes the praying time for those who are to become Catholic known as
the Elect. The period is begun by the Rite of election, usually
celebrated at the Cathedral Church with the Diocesan Bishop. This rite
accepts them accepted as candidates for the Sacraments by the Bishop,
representing the fact that this decision is not theirs alone. Normally
this rite takes place on the first Sunday of Lent. Special prayers are
offered to support the Elect.

Celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation ? The Sacraments of
Initiation is celebrated at the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil is an
extended night watch of prayer, singing, and hearing the Word of God.
By the waters of baptism, a person passes into the new life of grace
and becomes a member of the Body of Christ. Those who are all ready
baptized, have the Sacrament of the Reconciliation prior, are given
Holy Communion, and are confirmed. Anointing with Holy oil called
chrism seals the initiation by the power of the Holy Spirit and
participation at the Table of the Lord in the Eucharist marks full
membership in the church.

The Period of Mystagogy ? This period lasts from Easter Sunday until
the completion of the Easter season. That is fifty days later on
Pentecost Sunday and completes the initiation process. Those who have
just shared in the sacraments of initiation are now called Neophytes
and during this period of Easter joy they reflect on what they have
just gone through and look to the future as to how they can now share
in the mission of Christ who came to bring salvation and life to the
whole world. This period reminds the whole church that life in Christ
constantly calls us to grow and to look for new ways to live the life
of grace, personally and together.

If you were already baptized, you probably won?t need to be baptized
again. You will need to the Sacraments Reconciliation, Holy Communion,
and Confirmation. Most RCIA programs last about a year. This varies
where you are from and whatever that particular parish chooses to do.
In most cases, people who all ready had their Holy Communion are
confirmed in June with others from the diocese.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: pinkfreud-ga on 11 Apr 2006 12:15 PDT
A friend of mine who is not Catholic married a Catholic woman in a
Catholic ceremony. The only hitch was that my friend was required to
promise that any children born of the union would be baptized and
raised as Catholics. I suggest that you discuss the situation with
your fiancee's priest.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: pugwashjw65-ga on 11 Apr 2006 12:58 PDT
That is a whole lot of instruction. But is it TRUE. Catholicism is
built on the teaching of the 'Trinity' concept. Something that
'Trinitarians' find very hard to explain. First, there is Almighty
God, then his son, Jesus Christ, and then an un-named third ' entity'
the Holy Ghost. Actually, the Holy Spirit, but Catholics refer to it
as a ghost, which implies a separate personality. All are co=equal and
co-powerful. But does the Bible say this?. Here are some basic
scriptures. Proverbs 8; 22-31.  ?Jehovah himself produced me as the
beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. 23
From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times
earlier than the earth. 24 When there were no watery deeps I was
brought forth as with labor pains, when there were no springs heavily
charged with water. 25 Before the mountains themselves had been
settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labor
pains, 26 when as yet he had not made the earth and the open spaces
and the first part of the dust masses of the productive land. 27 When
he prepared the heavens I was there; when he decreed a circle upon the
face of the watery deep, 28 when he made firm the cloud masses above,
when he caused the fountains of the watery deep to be strong, 29 when
he set for the sea his decree that the waters themselves should not
pass beyond his order, when he decreed the foundations of the earth,
30 then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be
the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him
all the time, 31 being glad at the productive land of his earth, and
the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.

Who is this ' Jehovah'? 
Exodus 3;13-15 & 6;313 Nevertheless, Moses said to the [true] God:
?Suppose I am now come to the sons of Israel and I do say to them,
?The God of YOUR forefathers has sent me to YOU,? and they do say to
me, ?What is his name?? What shall I say to them?? 14 At this God said
added: ?This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ?I SHALL
PROVE TO BE has sent me to YOU.?? 15 Then God said once more to Moses:

?This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ?Jehovah the God
of YOUR forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God
of Jacob, has sent me to YOU.? This is my name to time indefinite, and
this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.
Exodus 6;3 3 And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God
Almighty, but as respects my name Jehovah I did not make myself known
to them.
Is Jesus co=equal and co-powerful with Jehovah God? John 5;19
Therefore, in answer, Jesus went on to say to them: ?Most truly I say
to YOU, The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but
only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One
does, these things the Son also does in like manner. Also John 5;30,
7;28, 8;28,42 and 10;18.
According to John 1;18, [ No man has seen God at any time; the
only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is
the one that has explained him. Jehovah God has NEVER been seen. Jesus
WAS, by thousands. So, is Jesus Jehovah God? In this scripture, Jesus
is referred to as 'a god' someone who was originally a spirit being in
heaven, not "the" God, Almighty God. A fine point.
Further to this is John 3;16 [16 ?For God loved the world so much that
he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith
in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life". God GAVE his
son, not himself.
The whole point of this Bible lesson is to point out that we should
STUDY all the scriptures and use commonsense to learn just what IS the
truth before committing ourselves to learning things that are simply

John 4;34 "34 Jesus said to them: ?My food is for me to do the will of
him that sent me and to finish his work.

John 5;22 ". 22 For the Father judges no one at all, but he has
committed all the judging to the Son,

Statuary in any form? Exodus 20; 4,5 "4 ?You must not make for
yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens
above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters
under the earth. 5 You must not bow down to them nor be induced to
serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive
devotion, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons, upon
the third generation and upon the fourth generation, in the case of
those who hate me". LIKE ANYTHING.... Even Jesus himself....

For you to ' take on' Catholicism, your girlfriend must be very special.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: pinkfreud-ga on 11 Apr 2006 13:02 PDT
This may be of interest to you:

"The Church tolerates mixed marriages on three conditions:  

Both parties must promise that their children shall be brought up as Catholics;  

The Catholic must promise to endeavour to bring the non-Catholic to
the knowledge of the truth;

The non-Catholic must promise to allow the Catholic liberty for the
free exercise of his or her religion. Without these three conditions
the Church will not sanction a mixed marriage."
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: nelson-ga on 11 Apr 2006 17:37 PDT
Holy Ghost?  God, no.  Although the term is heard, it is antiquated. 
Catholics (at least in the U.S.) call it the Holy Spirit.

Catholicism isn't that odd of a choice (although I no longer
practice).  Now, if he wanted to become a Jehovah's Witness, that
would be weird.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: pugwashjw65-ga on 12 Apr 2006 03:46 PDT
Hi Nelson, What aspects do you find weird. Maybe the door to door
work. Jesus did exactly that. Really nothing has changed. People still
live in houses. Houses have doors. Maybe the use of God's personal
name [ Exodus 3;13-15 and 6;3.] Nowhere in the Bible does it say NOT
to use it, but to PRAISE IT AND MAKE IT KNOWN. I'm keenly awaiting
your response.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: frde-ga on 12 Apr 2006 05:30 PDT
Sounds to me as if you don't give a toss about religion
- probably you've worked out your ethics - and probably they are Ok

The family may be rabid Catholics, but if you get on with them Ok,
then the chances are that ... you are Ok in their eyes.

Personally I would not bother becoming a hypocrite, your 'beliefs' are
probably pretty well set - and those don't change that easily.

If you like the lass as a friend, and fancy her rotten, then you are
onto a good thing.

Just in case you go for the conversion thing, look up the real meaning
of 'catholic' - it is not 'Catholic'
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: nelson-ga on 12 Apr 2006 11:00 PDT
pugwashjw65-ga, I was really just attacking your immaturity with some
of my own.  I don't need provide good reasons, just as you don't
provide any good reasons for attacking Catholicism.  Although I do not
practice, it is still a part of my heritage and identity (much as with
non-religious Jews).
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: pugwashjw65-ga on 13 Apr 2006 06:02 PDT
NELSON. I was pointing out what the Catholic religion is teaching, and
comparing that teaching to just what the Bible says. In the copntext
of the main  question. Should In for a Penny take up the religion to
get the girl? A marriage built on false facts will surely fail. And if
quoting Bible scripture is 'immature', I suppose the opposite IS
mature. Ignoring the Bible altogether.
This I will not do. The scriptures attack the religion by what they say.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: frde-ga on 13 Apr 2006 06:20 PDT

Many times I have told you what 'Pug Wash' means
- you seem incapable of understanding 1960's (rather vulgar) humour

Perhaps you don't understand 'Muffin the Mule'
- even older sarcasm

You also don't realize that just because some old git wrote something in 
  2000 BC ( or 2000 CE in Newspeak )
that it is /not/ automatically correct - or factual.

Have you read Herodotus ?
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: pugwashjw65-ga on 14 Apr 2006 06:14 PDT
frde. My username is taken from a fifties english cartoon of a sea
captain. Look it up on the I do not mind arguing religious
points, but your effort does you no credit. this forum is not for
insults. And for your information, the bible was written by forty men
over 1500 years, not by ' an old git', 2,000 years ago. I take it you
mean the apostle John who wrote Revelation. Your own comments confirm
your intelligence.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: frde-ga on 15 Apr 2006 02:45 PDT
Being British, there is a very good chance that I know more about that than you.

I'm actually not trying to insult you, I'm actually trying to prevent
you looking rather silly - your British friend had a cruel sense of

As for the bible, just because something is very old, it does not mean
that it is 'true'.
For a start the Old Testament has little to do with Christianity, it
is actually rather unpleasant, whereas JC's teachings were pretty
tolerant, if slightly impractical.

We also have the slight problem that a lot of 'Catholicism' was made
up on the hoof by some rather dubious characters.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: myoarin-ga on 15 Apr 2006 03:19 PDT
One shouldn't make fun of a person's name.  Knowing that our Pugwash
is a sailor, the user name has its appropriateness, regardless of what
others infer.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: frde-ga on 15 Apr 2006 04:54 PDT
I really am not making fun of his name.
- just trying to convince him that his British friend had a rather
unpleasant sense of humour

- you would understand that a name like 'Colonel Mistkopf' does not
exactly mean the same to a German as it does to an English only

|Trivia for 
"Captain Pugwash" (1957) 
On 13 September 1991 national British newspaper 'The Guardian' claimed
that certain characters names could be viewed in a vulgar context
(e.g. Master Bates and Seaman Staines). Such character names did not
form any part of the series and creator John Ryan successfully won
retractions and settlements from both 'The Guardian' and another
British newspaper, 'The Sunday Correspondent', which also printed a
similar story.|

Since the 'joke' was common knowledge back in the 1960's, I can only
assume that the Guardian was doing JR a favour in dredging it up, and
that the 'settlement' was a long and liquid lunch.

While I find his literal belief in the 'scriptures' slightly bemusing,
I am not taking a dig at him, just pointing out that someone has
pinned a note on his back.

It is a bit annoying that he does not know what any British urchin
would understand - and refuses to believe it when I point it out.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: pugwashjw65-ga on 18 Apr 2006 00:23 PDT
FOR MYOARIN. Thanks for standing up for me. for FRDE. Apologies
accepted. I am well aware of the sexual connotations that were
levelled at the cartoon at the time. I choose to ignore them as an '
urban myth'. The name was given to me by a friend, another ' boatie',
and regardless of what misguided meanings others in the world attach
to the name, just what the "POMS" thinks doesn't matter. I'm never
ever going in that direction. I'm sticking in "OZ" where if you are a
' barstad' , such as " You lucky barstad", is a compliment. Please
note the spelling. A slightly different connotation would be " That
bloo....POMMY barstad wouldn't work in an iron lung", Now THAT is a
proper insult. Now lets get back to rescuing our friend who, in my
opinion, could be ' shoving his hand into the fire to rescue what he
thinks to be, the last marshmallow'. There are many marshmallows but
he only has ONE hand.
And, my friend, FRDE, not ALL the scriptures are literal. It takes
discernment to sort them out.
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: frde-ga on 18 Apr 2006 01:09 PDT

Fair enough, as long as you know, then that's fine
- I was just concerned that you did not know

Actually, we Poms don't mind being called 'Poms'
- we like Australians - and most Brits would like to emigrate

Interesting that you don't take all scriptures literally 
... food for thought there ... I need to mull that over.

You are right about the hand, I don't see much wrong with a little
benign hypocracy, provided it does not hurt anyone, but there are two
big stumbling blocks that I can see - the first is handling
'confession' and the second is the fact that the kids have to be
brought up Catholic.

I suppose there is a third problem, Catholic wedding services and
funerals are incredibly tedious. Hmm ... and family planning becomes

The real question is the lass, most Catholic lasses that I've known,
tended to be pretty pragmatic, rather good sports, if he is just doing
this to please her parents then it could be Ok.
From personal experience (I've been there) the situation is a bit peculiar.

On balance, I think his best bet is to find a sensible and influential
priest to smooth the path for a 'mixed marriage'
- as berkeleyseminarian-ga suggested

- the last wedding I went to was conducted by a C of E vicar with a
Catholic priest doing a follow up 'blessing' - they made a pretty good
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: gf_of_in_for_a_penny-ga on 27 Apr 2006 12:10 PDT
I am in_for_a_penny's girlfriend and as a matter of fact, yes, I AM
that special. :p

All kidding aside, I have told my boyfriend that I do not expect or
require him to become Catholic.  He is looking into it of his own

I was an informal apostate for about a decade but returned to the
family faith for a variety of reasons.  I have issues with the
Vatican, of course, but decided that I didn't want the last, dying
wish of my aging parents to be that I return to the Catholic faith.  I
figure I owe them that much and philosophically, I do believe in
Christianity and have a great respect for the Jesuits so as long as
the Jesuits can stand the Vatican, so can I. :)

That said, my family has been Catholic for many generations, starting
with my immigrant grand and great grandparents.  It is intricately
woven into all of my family's history and traditions.  While at one
point I struggled with what I saw as extreme hypocrisy in Catholicism
and my Catholic peers, that is not something I have ever seen in my
parents.  They not only take their religion seriously in terms of
honoring all of its rituals, holy and feast days, but they
consistently devote time and effort to helping the poor.  My family is
a standard large Catholic family with many kids and was far from
wealthy growing up but every Thanskgiving, we provided a Thanksgiving
meal to a poor family.  Every Christmas, we provided presents for the
kids of a poor family.  Every month, my Mom helps cook meals for
battered women at a shelter and my Dad counsels inmates at a
correctional facility.  They are active members of their church and
just very genuine people.  They do not seek to impose their religion
on anyone except their children because for them, family and religion
are so intertwined that they cannot be separated.  It took me some
time to really understand and accept this, something with which I
credit my boyfriend, in_for_a_penny.

My boyfriend and I are both divorced and neither of us has wished to
repeat our respective, first failed marriages.  If we are to marry, I
do wish to be married in the Catholic Church and take the Pre-Cana
counseling it requires, (I did neither for my first marriage).  My
parents currently administer Pre-Cana in their parish and having been
married for 45+ years, I think that says much about its value.

To reiterate, I do not require in_for_a_penny to be Catholic for us to
marry but he feels, as do I, that family is important and marriage
means marrying the other person's family. He thinks him becoming
Catholic will help him understand and relate to my family more which
is not really something I can argue with since it's true.

Anyway, thanks for the lively discussion.

(girlfriend of in_for_a_penny)
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: frde-ga on 28 Apr 2006 00:01 PDT
Very interesting
- rather good that you are both so open with each other

I suggest that he takes the 'slow track'
- from what you have said, it sounds as if you should have no problems
finding a Catholic priest to officiate at the wedding.

Best Wishes
Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: guillermo-ga on 28 Apr 2006 06:01 PDT
Hello Girlfriend of in_for_a_penny,

First, let me congratulate your boyfriend, you do sound very special
:) -- and we who have a special spouse know how much that means to

Yours is the post that makes most sense to me in this whole thread. If
one's going to change or stand by a religious conviction, I can't
imagine a better motive than family and marital love.

I'm and outsider of all religions, and might have some critics about
Catholicism (like about others). But a few things I can tell for them:

- It's the root of all Christianities, what makes it venerable for
*any* Christian -- like Judaism should be for them all;
- It is by far the most enduring institution ever -- while not the
oldest religion; I mean the institution Catholic Church -- and, in a
world of permanent change, that means something;
- It has evolved from a strong fundamentalism (the most dangerous
illness of any religion or ideology) centuries ago, to very little in
our days, and that is really much to say.

As to the polemic about Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, while the latter is
indeed use by Catholics, the former is overwhelmingly more used. Just
compare a Google search for each expression plus the word "catholic"
-- 6.35 million results for the former, 1.43 million for the latter.

Best wishes for you both,

Subject: Re: Catholicism fast track
From: phatcatholic-ga on 22 Jun 2006 23:57 PDT
go to this link:

it tells you everything you need to do to become a Catholic.

pax christi,

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