Can priests confirm?


#1

When I went to the local Catholic parish to discuss conversion to the Catholic Faith with the priest, we got into the matter that I would be re-confirmed, but not re-baptised. He said the bishop would probably not come around just to receive me into the Church, but that he (the priest) would confirm me instead.

I asked whether that was actually possible, since I recall that Confirmation and Holy Orders can only be conferred by bishops. The priest replied that he would be confirming me on behalf of the bishop, or rather that the bishop would commission him to do so.

It still sounds awkward to me, but maybe you can help?

Thanks :)


#2

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:324027"]
When I went to the local Catholic parish to discuss conversion to the Catholic Faith with the priest, we got into the matter that I would be re-confirmed, but not re-baptised. He said the bishop would probably not come around just to receive me into the Church, but that he (the priest) would confirm me instead.

I asked whether that was actually possible, since I recall that Confirmation and Holy Orders can only be conferred by bishops. The priest replied that he would be confirming me on behalf of the bishop, or rather that the bishop would commission him to do so.

It still sounds awkward to me, but maybe you can help?

Thanks :)

[/quote]

Yes, a priest can confirm if he has the faculties from the bishop to do so. The confirmation is still through the ministry of the bishop. In the East, the tradition has developed that priests generally confer the sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation). In the west, it is typically reserved to the bishop, but there are often circumstances in which the priest confers this sacrament as well. In practice, the bishop usually makes it out for confirmations once each year, generally to confirm the youth in the parish. Adults entering the church at Easter Vigil are baptized and confirmed by the priest at the Easter Vigil Mass, or another appropriate time. In the local Roman diocese, there is an opportunity for Catholic adults who have not been confirmed to receive the sacrament from the bishop at the Cathedral, all on one day.


#3

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:324027"]
When I went to the local Catholic parish to discuss conversion to the Catholic Faith with the priest, we got into the matter that I would be re-confirmed, but not re-baptised. He said the bishop would probably not come around just to receive me into the Church, but that he (the priest) would confirm me instead.

I asked whether that was actually possible, since I recall that Confirmation and Holy Orders can only be conferred by bishops. The priest replied that he would be confirming me on behalf of the bishop, or rather that the bishop would commission him to do so.

It still sounds awkward to me, but maybe you can help?

Thanks :)

[/quote]

A priest appointed by the Bishop because the Bishop is unavailable can perform confirmation. Usually, it is some particular priest in the diocese that is designated to perform confirmations in his place. One of my son's was confirmed this way.


#4

[quote="robwar, post:3, topic:324027"]
Usually, it is some particular priest in the diocese that is designated to perform confirmations in his place.

[/quote]

Nearly all pastors of parishes have permission from the bishop to confirm. When adults enter the church at Easter Vigil, they are baptized and confirmed at the same time and the bishop (or one designated priest) certainly can't get around to every church in his diocese on one night.


#5

Not to overwhelm you with Catholic jargon (:o), but here it is in Canon Law (note that “presbyter” refers to a priest; emphasis added):

Can. 882 The **ordinary **minister of confirmation is a bishop; a presbyter provided with this faculty in virtue of universal law or the special grant of the competent authority also confers this sacrament validly.

and

Can. 884 §1. The diocesan bishop is to administer confirmation personally or is to take care that another bishop administers it. If necessity requires it, he can grant the faculty to one or more specific presbyters, who are to administer this sacrament.

A bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation but he can “deputize” a priest to administer it on his behalf, which happens all the time because the bishop cannot be everywhere all at once – especially on the Easter Vigil when people are getting confirmed in most parishes throughout the diocese.

This is different from Holy Orders. Only a bishop can ordain a priest. He cannot delegate that authority to anyone else.


#6

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:324027"]
When I went to the local Catholic parish to discuss conversion to the Catholic Faith with the priest, we got into the matter that I would be** re-confirmed, but not re-baptised**.

[/quote]

Confirmation is only recognized as valid in the Catholic Rites in communion with Rome. The Anglican baptism is recognized as valid but not confirmation. So you would not be "re-confirmed" but confirmed validly for the first and only time.


#7

[quote="Lapey, post:6, topic:324027"]
Confirmation is only recognized as valid in the Catholic Rites in communion with Rome. The Anglican baptism is recognized as valid but not confirmation. So you would not be "re-confirmed" but confirmed validly for the first and only time.

[/quote]

Well ... yes but I'll mention one point: Orthodox Chrismation (Confirmation) is valid. As are all Orthodox (EO, OO, and ACoE) Sacraments. ;)


#8

My wife was confirmed by the priest


#9

To add to what’s been said above, the fact that priests can, by dispensation, carry out Confirmation has been recognized for a very long time. So we see in the Bull of Union With the Armenians (1439) from the Council of Florence: “The ordinary minister [of confirmation] is a bishop. . . . We read that sometimes for a reasonable and really urgent cause, by dispensation of the apostolic see, a simple priest has conferred this sacrament of confirmation with chrism prepared by a bishop.”


#10

I was unsure what ACoE was, as CoE is very similar to “Church of England”, but now I know :slight_smile:

Indeed. I was thinking of the procedure being done again.


#11

Yes, you are right…sorry about that.:thumbsup:


#12

As early as Pope Gregory the Great (c. 540-604) granted the priests in Sardinia the right to administer Confirmation when a bishop was not available (Registrum Epistolarum, IV, 26). Dr. Ludvig Ott writes this was granted by many later Popes as well, and notably the right of the Pope to allow priests to Confirm is mentioned by Pope Clement VI (1296-1352) in the letter Super Quibusdam to the Consolator the Catholicos of Armenia (D 573).

Pope Gregory the Great:

It has also come to our ears that some have been offended by our having forbidden presbyters to touch with chrism those who are to be baptized. And we indeed acted according to the ancient use of our Church: but, if any are in fact hereby distressed, we allow that, where there is a lack of bishops, presbyters may touch with chrism, even on their foreheads, those who are to be baptized.

Pope Clement VI:

Third, whether you believe that by the Roman Pontiff alone, having a plentitude of power, the administration of the sacrament of confirmation can be granted to priests who are not bishops.


#13

Just what I was thinking…


#14

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;


#15

So, per canon 883, the priest didn’t need the bishop’s permission to confirm the OP, the law gives him that permission. He is the ordinary minister of confirmation for those he baptizes as adults and for those he receives into full communion.

The baptismal rite also gives him the permission to confirm infants whom he baptizes in danger of death.


#16

Lutheran priests confirm the laity; the bishop could never get to each parish.


#17

As far as I understand, Lutherans do not consider Confirmation a Sacrament. Thus, I believe it doesn’t apply here. By the way, Lutheran “priests”? I thought that was viewed differently too?


#18

Yes, Confirmation is extension of Baptism & viewed as a sacramental rite by Lutherans. What are you asking re: “priests”?


#19

[quote="EvangelCatholic, post:18, topic:324027"]
Yes, Confirmation is extension of Baptism & viewed as a sacramental rite by Lutherans. What are you asking re: "priests"?

[/quote]

I mean Lutherans don't believe in a sacramental priesthood and therefore didn't call their ministers priests.


#20

[quote="CutlerB, post:19, topic:324027"]
I mean Lutherans don't believe in a sacramental priesthood and therefore didn't call their ministers priests.

[/quote]

Oh, I see. Lutherans, especially where there is episcopal succession [Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Tanzania, etc] refer to the clergy as deacons, priests, bishops, archbishops].


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