Each year, many adults who have never been baptized become Catholic. In the United States, these adults are outnumbered by baptized Christians of other denominations who seek to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church. In the minds of many Catholics'indeed, in many parish preparation programs'there is little difference between the two groups. Baptized and catechized Christians are often placed in programs with those who have not been baptized. Just as often, the two groups are welcomed into full membership alongside one another during the Easter Vigil, thereby obscuring further the distinction between them. Imagine that a high school senior transfers schools and is subsequently placed in middle school classes. Imagine no one thinking this change in status odd.
Turner seeks to clarify and confirm the status of baptized persons who enter into full communion of the Catholic Church. In addition, he explores the rites of reception in the early church and the Second Vatican Council's call for ecumenical dialogue and looks to the reception rites of other Christian communities to gain added perspective. Turner's historical and ecumenically sensitive analysis will help members of catechumenate teams think more carefully about the baptismal unity of all Christians. Drawing on that foundation of unity, they will find cause for rejoicing and restlessness and will learn steps to avoid and steps to take'so that communion becomes both easier to achieve and a reality in their midst.
Paul Turner, STD, is pastor of Saint Munchin Parish in Cameron, Missouri, and its mission, Saint Aloysius in Maysville. He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, which he served as president in 2006. Turner is also author of Let Us Pray: A Guide to the Rubrics of Sunday Mass published by Liturgical Press.