Question 49:

Are Muslims who wish to become Christians given any kind of preferment?


Answer: Christian communities all over the world have the duty to take seriously the wish of adult Muslims to become Christians. At the same time, the Church calls on them to take care to ensure that the decision to become a Christian is wholly free from any external or internal force, and that the motive for this step is solely the wish to follow the teachings of Christ and to become one of his followers within the Church. This also implies that Christian communities may not show any kind of preferment, material or otherwise, to people who ask to be initiated into Christian teaching and to be baptized, as this might contaminate the freedom and purity of their motivation.

Baptism comes at the end of a process of initiation that has several stages. This process of initiation into the faith and the preparation for Baptism is called the Catechumenate.

The time of preparation [i.e. the Catechumenate] shall enable the catechumen to respond to Gods offer of salvation and to mature their conversion and their faith in unity with the Christian community. It is an introduction and practicing of the whole of a Christian life, through which the disciples are being joined with Christ, their Lord. The catechumens thus have to be introduced to the mystery of salvation; through practicing a lifestyle in accordance with the Gospels and through a succession of holy rites they are to be introduced step by step into the life of faith, the liturgy and the loving community of Gods people (Cf. “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, nr. 1247-1248).

"The catechumens are already joined with the Church, they already belong to the House of Christ, and very often they already lead a life of faith, hope and love (Ad Gentes 14). With love and solicitude, Mother Church already embraces them as her own (Lumen Gentium 14) (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1249).”

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