Annulling a Confirmation?

Can baptism, first communion or confirmation be annulled?

No, I don’t think so. They’re sacraments.

HOWEVER… if mortal sin was knowingly and intentionally withheld in first confession, then the first confession was no good, and the first communion was sacrilege… So there’s two more sins to confess in addition to EVERYTHING ELSE from the first one… but then you’d be good.

I believe any of the three may be found to be null, though I do not know that there is a formal process to do so? More of an ad hoc thing?

If an attempted baptism does not use water or does not use the trinitarian formula it would be null.

As baptism is the gateway for the other sacraments, an attempt to administer them to a non-baptized person would surely be invalid and possibly null?

“First” Communion is tricky – if something is defective about the particular consecration, then a subsequent reception from a proper consecration could become the “first” Communion. There is nothing particular about the celebration of the Mass for “first” Communicants that distinguishes it from other Masses.

Again, Confirmation cannot be administered to a non-baptized person. I suppose it would also be problematic if there was no anointing or if it was attempted to be administered by someone with no faculty to do so?


My step-son was give his First Communion and Confirmation over my husband’s objections. We wanted him to wait until he was 14 to be confirmed so that he could understand the significance of the sacrament. In our diocese, Phoenix, children are now receiving Confirmation at age 9 - the same time as First Communion.

His mother and the parish priest decided to ignore my husband and confirm my stop-son anyways. They told my step-son to lie and not tell his Dad he was preparing for this or that it would be done.

No family, expect his mom, were present for the ceremony. He did not get to have a party or any kind of celebration for those two major Rites. Also I doubt that the sacraments are valid because both my step-son, the priest and his confirmation knew that it was being conducted by lying to his Dad (and legal custodian).

We would like to have these annulled so that when he is older can can receive them in a pure manner with joy and all of his family there to celebrate.

Additionally - his Baptism in question because neither of his God Parents (or his parents) had been confirmed. I know this is a requirement, but not sure if this is grounds for annulment.

I do not believe this would be grounds to consider it a null Baptism. The Catholic Church accepts Baptisms that are from MOST Protestant denominations. I personally was baptized Methodist. Neither of my God-parents were Catholic to my knowledge. I have also received Holy Eucharist and Confirmation.

Having Catholic God-parents is a custom and discipline within the Church.

Wow. :eek:

I have not the expertise to give you a solid answer – Very few in this forum do (but there are some).

My best advice is to contact your pastor (presuming he is not the one complicit in this) and/or the diocese to ask for assistance. (And to report the actions of the priest who did advise this)


With regard to baptism… ANYBODY can baptize and it be completely valid so long as it is done with water, and in the Trinitarian formula.

Better question: WHY would you be so hell-bent on taking sacraments away from your son?

Your son deceived you - that sucks. That’s a family issue. Be happy he’s in full communion with the Church!

Think of it this way… you want him to wait until he’s older so he “appreciates it”, right?

He consciously and willfully deceived you over a long period of time so that he could be confirmed! Obviously, the boy wants it. [SIGN]Congrats! [/SIGN] Even money says that if you take this away from him now, or try to separate him from the sacraments… it’ll cause one heck of a rift between you and your son.

I think the adult thing to do is ground the son, and give him an “okay, ya got one over on me… ever try that again, and I’ll end you”.

From what you have said, there doesn’t appear to be anything that would have invalidated the reception of these sacraments for your step-son. However, I’m not asn expert in Canon Law. If you want more info, talk to your parish priest, or even call the diocesan Tribunal office and ask them about it. They can respond to your specific situation in ways that we cannot.

It is truly unfortunate that this priest and the boy’s mother did and end-run around you and your husband and kept this from you. That is definitely not good. :eek: But I don’t know that such a thing would prevent your step-son from validly receiving the sacraments.

It might be helpful to clarify what “annulments” mean in the Catholic Church. The technical term is “declaration of nullity”, which more aptly describes the reality. The Church is not taking a perfectly valid marriage and saying “now it’s invalid.” Rather, the Church is simply observing (after careful investigation) that a valid marriage never took place from the beginning due to some impediment. I’m not familiar with the canonical procedure for the Sacraments of Initiation, but the same principle would apply. You cannot “undo” a sacrament if it has been validly administered.

Perhaps it may give you some comfort to look into why some dioceses are starting to confirm at a younger age (popularly called “Restored Order”). Confirmation has, unfortunately, come to be seen as a “coming of age” sacrament. That’s not what the sacrament is about. Confirmation gives us the grace to really live out our role in the mission of the Church. Interestinly, in the early Church, they did not give any catechesis on the sacraments until after people received the Sacraments of Initiation. This is because they believed we need the grace of the sacraments in order to understand the sacraments.

Traditionally, Confirmation has always preceded First Communion. It is only in the last 100 years that this changed, but only in certain parts of the world. The Catechism clearly states that it is the Eucharist (not Confirmation) that completes Christian Initiation (CCC 1322).

Just a note on words. It would not be null. It would be invalid from the beginning.

As baptism is the gateway for the other sacraments, an attempt to administer them to a non-baptized person would surely be invalid and possibly null?

Again, invalid.

I believe that Nullity is a concept that is only used in marriage.

He’s 9 - he is not old enough to know what he wants or why. He was unfairly manipulated by his mother and his parish Priest - people he thought he could trust.

How can someone agree to become a fully participating member of the Catholic Church based on a lie? I believe that this corrodes the underlying sacrament and ability to give consent for the sacrament to occur. Additionally Canon Law requires that everyone under the age of 14, must have parental consent - which he did not have.

When you go to confession, you are not forgiven if you are not truly retentive for the sin - despite what the Priest may say. Only YOU and God know if you truly repent.

You cannot receive a sacrament based on a lie. Suggesting that I should be happy that my religion was trashed by this Priest and my step-son’s mother is pretty far out there.

I was a Confirmation leader for many years during college - I take my obligations to the Church seriously. What happened to my step-son is offensive. Seeing him take communion is offensive, as I believe that he is not qualified to receive it. Why should he or anyone else in his family live with those unhappy feelings about what should have been two joyous events?

No, they cannot.

If someone is baptized invalidly or confirmed invalidly then they are still unbaptized or unconfirmed, respectively.

None of the conditions you described would qualify.

Your step-son is validly baptized and validly confirmed. He’s also a fully-initiated member of the Church, as he’s received the Eucharist.

God bless,

Deacon Chris

PS: You can’t “annul” anything that makes an indelible mark on your soul (an ontological change). Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders cannot be undone. Once validly received they are there forever.

Nullity is a term used for marriage cases.

So then we get to the real truth of the matter: it doesn’t matter what HE wants… Your anger has to do with the fact that YOU were not consulted. Your debate as to the legality of administering the sacraments is only ancillary to that point of contention.

Messy divorce, was it?

Also - not anyone can baptize - in almost all cases it must be done by your parish Priest. Only those that are baptized themselves can confer this sacrament IN CASES OF LIKELY DEATH ONLY. If death was not likely (even if the child lived), the baptism was not valid.

Priest, Profit and King only gives you do much…

Thanks to everyone for the advice. The Diocese is not responding to my inquiries - so I wanted to see what was possible for I pushed to the Arch Diocese.

I do not wish to start a war with my Church - I just want to feel good about the people charged with leadership in my religion. I know what they did was wrong - but I would like for them to say it as well.

Christ’s vision of the Church was prefect - the human’s he gave it to are not. I know this and still trust in Christ’s vision…

No divorce - I am my husband’s only wife. My husband made a serious mistake in his mid twenty’s by having a causal relationship with a women 12 years his senior. When she became pregnant he did the right thing and has been a father to his son since day one - but no, he was never married or lived with this woman. She is very angry about that.

We were married in the Church.

However, as I read your posts, you seem to be making this more about yourself and your husband, rather than about the sacrament. Did the child communicate to you that he was unhappy about having received confirmation? Or, is this a matter that is deeper and more along the lines of something between the parents? I do not mean to sound harsh, but, this is what I perceive to be an underlying issue here. While I do not want to get into family issues here whether who should have communicated to whom what was going on, all we have to rely on is your side. I do not want to appear rude, but, I am curious as to the mother’s reasoning.

Up until recent years, the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation was moved to the teen years. When I received the Sacrament, I was 12 years old. Now, if we were to take your line of thought, then you would take issue with the way the Eastern Rites (associated with Rome) because the child is baptized, confirmed and receives First Holy Communion all at the same time. Would you then be calling for these sacraments to be annulled simply because the child was too young?

While having a party is nice, it is not the end all and the be all of the sacrament. My father was on worker’s comp, having broken his leg, when I was confirmed. We had a simple supper because money was tight. Did I feel cheated in any or tramautized because of this? No. The parties, I have come to realize, are more about the parents than they are about the recipient. For example, when the parents spend a lot of money for a party after Baptism, the child is not going to remember anything about any more than he would remember his first birthday party. The fact that you seem to want to have this annulled seems to me that perhaps you may not have as full of an understanding of the sacrament. Inasmuch as you say that you were a confirmation leader in college, the fact that you want to have this annulled so that the “family” could celebrate does not compute. The Church is already a family. Even though the child’s mother was the only one there, he was received by the Church.

What? You want the sacraments taken away because there was not party after? Then you want him to receive the sacraments so you can throw a party after.

That is not what the sacraments of the chruch are about.

Wrong. Even a misguided baptism is valid. Are you kidding me? Go ask your priest if a layperson’s misguided baptism counts. CCC here gives us guidance that the norm is, and should be, the bishop, priest, and deacon… this doesn’t mean “to the exclusion of all others”. This is why the Church is so careful with converts, and even if there is a shadow of a doubt that if they were validly baptized by ANYBODY, they will only perform a conditional baptism.

1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon.[57] In case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.[58]

My step-son phrases it as “he scored the Confirmation level.” It’s a game to him. He doesn’t understand the sacrament or his obligation to the Church. His mother reasoned that if he were allowed to wait until he was 14 (age of consent in Canon Law) he would not willing choose to be confirmed - as she choose not to be confirmed when she was a teenager. She was just confirmed last year at age 51.

And yes there is significant history of animosity between my family and my step-son’s mother. Prior to this occurrence we had managed to keep the child out of it.

I understand the re-ordering of the sacraments - but I also understand that in the entire State of Arizona only the Diocese of Phoenix has adopted this practice. All other Diocese still require that they be 15 or 16 to start preparation.

My step-son is happy about achieving the higher levels of Catholicism (as he sees it), however he is extremely distraught about the lying part. He has now been expelled from the Catholic school he was attending because in January (when the lying started by direction of his mother and Priest) he also started lying, cheating and stealing in his classroom.

Ultimately there are very clear requirements in Canon Law for what makes Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation valid. These conditions were not met in the case of my step-son, as no valid consent was given. The may not confer sacraments on an unwilling party - and since my step-son was under the Age of Consent, his parents must provide consent. My question was can these sacraments be invalidated based on Canon Law. I can only find discussion of marriages or vocation, but not the other sacraments. One would assume that the ability to invalidate applies to all sacraments.

I hope that one day you will find the help you so desperately need to let go of all this vitriol, sach.

However, if the form, matter, minister and the intent were valid, there is nothing that you can do.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit