Celebrating the RCIA scrutinies outside the usual times

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10 thoughts on “Celebrating the RCIA scrutinies outside the usual times”

  1. Thank you for your knowledgeable insight into the RCIA!
    We have received a dispensation for two of the scrutinies from our bishop. Do you know if the bishop can give a dispensation for the third? I thought I had heard that he could only dispense from two. But we are in a unique time in history!
    My preference would be to celebrate the scrutiny with them if I can work it in. We have not yet returned to the celebration of Mass, but are hoping for Pentecost weekend,( with only 25% capacity of the church allowed). I am not yet certain when our priest is planning to celebrate the sacraments for RCIA. I am hoping that our deacon will help with the celebration of the scrutiny outside of Mass, but he has other commitments.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Dianna. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults only permits the bishop to dispense from two scrutinies. See RCIA 20.

  2. Mariola Gozdek

    The Scrutinies are sometimes underestimated by parishes/Pastors. Sometimes leaders skip them.
    Could someone explain/ or should we dwell collectively on the huge, huge, huge spiritual benefits of Scrutinies?
    (I agree with the benefits)

      1. Mariola Gozdek

        Basically, I believe parishes do not understand Scrutinies well enough and in many cases do not celebrate them at all, even in non pandemic year.

  3. The Prayer of Exorcism and Laying on of Hands given in “Christian Initiation of Adults in Exceptional Circumstances (Abbreviated Form),” nos. 351-352 seems to accomplish the same work as the Scrutinies. Obviously it would be best to have three distinct celebrations of the Scrutinies but it seems to me that, with one’s bishop’s permission, this might be the prudent choice for many in light of current circumstances?

  4. Hi Andrew. In this age of COVID-time, I think we can be as flexible with the rites as we need to be. Even so, I’m not sure I’d use the Exceptional Circumstances section. The rite defines extraordinary circumstances as “sickness, old age, change of residence, long absence for travel” (332).

    The issue caused by the pandemic is not that the personal circumstances of the candidates have caused them to need to hurry up with the rites. So I think it is more appropriate to turn to the “outside usual times” provisions (26-30).

    If the local community feels it is safer to only gather once for a scrutiny and they do not feel it is pastorally beneficial to wait until there is a safer time to gather, the normal celebration of the rites allow for the dispensation of up to two of the scrutinies (20). In that case, I would prefer to celebrate one “normal” scrutiny and not use the exceptional circumstances ritual.

  5. We are starting RCIA late this year and trying to change how we do the scrutinizes since we only have 3 people involved who are not baptized. Just curious how other RCIA teams celebrate it. Any input would be appreciated

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