BASIC R.C. BELIEF
The name officially given to the custom known as "churching" is "Blessing
after childbirth." It was suggested by the rite of legal purification of
Jewish law. There has never been a decree from the Holy See stating that
women must undergo this ceremony before being admitted to Holy Communion
after childbirth, but in many Roman Catholic cultures women know this is
expected of them.
POST VATICAN II
Modern Roman Catholics do not think of this as obligatory, and in
progressive parishes it is practiced as an occasion for public thanksgiving
for the birth of the child.
From the PARISHONERS' HANDBOOK, John Fee, received at St. Christopher's
Roman Catholic Church, San Jose, California in 1975, "When mothers attend
Mass for the first time following the child's birth, they should be
`Churched' in a ceremony that takes place at the altar rail."
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