Adult Confirmation

I recently returned to the Church last April. I had been Baptized as a Catholic and made my Holy Communion. I elected to take the RCIA even though I had been a practicing Episcopalian for many years.

Last Saturday my parish priest confirmed me. He said the Bishop need not be present and because of my age it was deemed an “emergency” and he could act on the Bishop’s behalf. (I’m 59).

I am worried that my confirmation is not valid. The other candidates will be confirmed in May and they ARE all much younger than I.

Can you offer your opinion (I won’t hold you to it…i’m just curious). Thanks.

In certain circumstances, your parish priest does have the faculty/ability/authority to confirm you. And, if you fail to meet those, he can apply to the bishop to get permission. And, even if he was in error about something and was supposed to ask the bishop and didn’t, if the error falls within certain parameters, the authority would have been supplied anyway, according to canon law.

Since you were baptized Catholic, but were in another Christian group for awhile, you could fall into a category that is automatically covered, but you might not. It depends on how you got to be Episcopalian, as crazy as that sounds. If your parish priest did his job, he took all of that into account, and he also took into account what his bishop wants.

If it concerns you, go talk to your priest and ask him under what precise category he thought he had the ability to confirm. He might have just given a short explanation to you, one he thought you would understand, but that wasn’t really as descriptive as it ought to have been. Parish priests have to confirm people every year, so it seems very probable that they get this right, overall.

Oh, if you were in danger of death at the time, he had the authority, also. Even if you recovered, it would still be valid. I don’t typically think of my 59 year old friends as dying, though. :slight_smile: They seem quite alive and kicking to me.

Hi Violetta30,

I think “Pug” is on target. For confirmation, yes, the priest needs a faculty to administer it validly. Frankly, the reason you say he gave (an emergency because you’re “old”) is rather dubious. It is true that baptized Catholics who then become “apostates” can be confirmed by the pastor upon their return to the Church. Catholics who become episcopalians, though, are not apostates. Did you yourself choose to be Episcopalian? Or, did your family start going in that direction when you were still an adolescent?

There are many other ways a priest can acquire the faculty. I can’t say for sure whether or not he had it or not…

As Pug said, if you are still troubled, go and talk to the priest.


Priests are authorized by the Bishop to licitly Baptize the adults (those over 7 or 8 years old) whos names are in the book of the Elect which is signed by the Bishop prior to the Easter Vigil. Canon Law grants priests authority to also Confirm those adults they Baptize, in fact it requires them to also be Confirmed.

For a Candidate already validly Baptized the pastor requests for each person individually permission from the Bishop to Confirm them. The Bishop can grant or withold his permission.

Priests otherwise cannot celebrate Confirmation except in emergency situations (as granted by Canon Law) without the Bishops explicit permission is my understanding.

Can. 883 The following possess the faculty of administering confirmation by the law itself:
1/ within the boundaries of their jurisdiction, those who are equivalent in law to a diocesan bishop;
2/ as regards the person in question, the presbyter who by virtue of office or mandate of the diocesan bishop baptizes one who is no longer an infant or admits one already baptized into the full communion of the Catholic Church;
3/ as regards those who are in danger of death, the pastor or indeed any presbyter.

Also, the OP mentioned that the confirmation was on Saturday. I take it that this was at the Easter Vigil Mass. All pastors or any priests whom they delegate to celebrate the Easter Vigil Liturgy may baptize and confirm adults at that Mass.

The OP does not fall directly into the categories of that canon, not as I am given to understand. Now, he/she *may *fall into an official clarification or ruling about something. OP was previously baptized Catholic and made first communion. So on that Saturday, their pastor neither baptized them nor received them into full communion. OP was already Catholic. OP only needed confirmation that day. Thus, this canon is not automatically delegating the parish priest so that he can confirm the OP, not as it stands. As I understand it, of course, and I am not an expert. Rather, OP might be a Catholic who fell away through their own fault, whatever that means, and then this canon does not cover it. Then the bishop would need to delegate or some other consideration would need to apply.

I believe this should say: All pastors or any priests whom they delegate to celebrate the Easter Vigil Liturgy may baptize those who’s names are in the book of the Elect, and Confirm adults they Baptize. As well as Confirm those adults already validly Baptized in another Christian Community for which they received specific authority from the bishop to Confirm.

you may assume he followed the bishop’s directive for adult confirmation and obtained faculty to confirm you, which must in fact be used by that priest for the benefit of the person for whom it has been requested. yes your confirmation is valid. some bishop’s reserve confirmation of adults for themselves, some delegate that authority and it can always be delegated in specific cases upon request if the bishop assents. The priest must confirm those adults whom he baptizes at Easter.

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