THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: PARALLELS IN ECCLESIOLOGY AND INITIATION
Throughout the ages Christian initiation rites have reflected the Church's vision of itself in response to the needs and demands of its times. By studying the historical environment in which the Church lives and by following the initiation trajectory in a particular era, one can examine both the ecclesial structure and vision of that era.^ The pattern for this correlation between ecclesial vision and initiation practices is established by examining the Church, its environment, and its initiation practices in the beginning centuries when ecclesial growth was most dramatic and also most threatened by external forces. When the community's growth dynamic was seen as essential, incorporation into the community was approached seriously and given time to develop fully.^ The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council articulated their understanding of the Church as a dynamic community of believers in the closing years of the twentieth century. Their discussions and documentation likewise flowed from an understanding and appreciation of their historical circumstances. The reality of the early centuries and the vision of the contemporary age possess the same dynamic principle, and find themselves manifested in their proper initiation practices.^ The purpose of this dissertation is to delineate the manner in which the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults actualizes that vision of Church enunciated in the documents of Vatican II, as responding to the needs of contemporary society.^ This work begins by isolating the principles of ecclesial dynamism found in the ecclesiastical documents. While these principles have been operative in some areas of ecclesial life, they could be most effectively put into practice in the process of sacramental incorporation. This is demonstrated by analyzing the rite as well as its implementation in some American communities.^ In addition to responding to the needs of contemporary society and to reflecting the vision of the Fathers of Vatican II, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults also establishes a developmental pattern for addressing many of the issues that affect the Roman Catholic community today. ^
UPTON, JULIA ANN, "THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: PARALLELS IN ECCLESIOLOGY AND INITIATION" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8111322.