Catholic but not really?


#1

So..

I was born in n strong Catholic country and lived there for 9 years, after that moved to a strong Protestant country, so my elementary education was in a strict girls Catholic School and secondary eduation was in a mixed vaguely protestant school! Talk about confusing.. I had know idea who believed what and what I believed either! To add to that mix my mother is catholic and my dad is protestant!

I've only been in the USA 3 years and love it, and since living here and definately become much more aware of my beliefs and faith. I am Catholic and I believe in almost everything the Church teaches.. and as for the things I may not agree with.. well they are small issues and could simply be from lack of understanding.

Since I was in a Catholic elementary school I took my communion,but never took my confirmation as I had changed countries and my parents very rarely took us to Church. I never even knew I hadn't taken it!!

Now has come to the time in my life when I am 22 years old and I am relizing what I am missing! I don't feel Catholic!! I know that my boyfriend is going to propose soon and I want to raise our family Catholic (Even if children are a long ways off) ! Even though he is "only Christian" he also wants our children to be Catholic! (Possible convert.. yeah I think so!! :) )

So my question are these:

  • How do make my confirmation.. do I have to take it with a load of high schoolers?
  • Am I considered Catholic even if I have not made it?
  • Am I able to even get married in the Catholic Church and raise my family Catholic without having a confirmation?
  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY what is a confirmation? What is the purpose of us having one?
  • Does the Bible say we need it or is it just Church tradition?

Thank you so much for all your help!


#2

[quote="TickledPink, post:1, topic:184134"]
So..

I was born in n strong Catholic country and lived there for 9 years, after that moved to a strong Protestant country, so my elementary education was in a strict girls Catholic School and secondary eduation was in a mixed vaguely protestant school! Talk about confusing.. I had know idea who believed what and what I believed either! To add to that mix my mother is catholic and my dad is protestant!

I've only been in the USA 3 years and love it, and since living here and definately become much more aware of my beliefs and faith. I am Catholic and I believe in almost everything the Church teaches.. and as for the things I may not agree with.. well they are small issues and could simply be from lack of understanding.

Since I was in a Catholic elementary school I took my communion,but never took my confirmation as I had changed countries and my parents very rarely took us to Church. I never even knew I hadn't taken it!!

Now has come to the time in my life when I am 22 years old and I am relizing what I am missing! I don't feel Catholic!! I know that my boyfriend is going to propose soon and I want to raise our family Catholic (Even if children are a long ways off) ! Even though he is "only Christian" he also wants our children to be Catholic! (Possible convert.. yeah I think so!! :) )

So my question are these:

  • How do make my confirmation.. do I have to take it with a load of high schoolers?
  • Am I considered Catholic even if I have not made it?
  • Am I able to even get married in the Catholic Church and raise my family Catholic without having a confirmation?
  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY what is a confirmation? What is the purpose of us having one?
  • Does the Bible say we need it or is it just Church tradition?

Thank you so much for all your help!

[/quote]

Hi, that's a lot of questions for one post! I'll do my best to answser it.

1) First you approach the person who runs the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program in your parish or area.

They will decide whether you need to go through a course of instruction (usually begins in August/September and ends at the following Easter), and from the limited information you've given us you most likely will have to.

If you go through the RCIA it will be with other adults preparing for their sacraments - some will be similar to you, others may be converts who haven't been baptised or received Communion. They'll be of all ages, not just teens.

2) Well, in a very real sense you were Catholic from the moment of your baptism. But Confirmation does complete the process of initiation into the Catholic Church. It's a bit like formally becoming a citizen of the US instead of just living there.

3) My understanding is that it is very strongly encouraged that those who are getting married receive the sacrament of Confirmation before doing so, if not actually required.

If by 'raising your family Catholic' you mean getting your children baptised etc, the priest is required to have a 'well-founded hope' that your children will actually be RAISED Catholic after their baptism.

If you are not confirmed, they may wonder why, and it may raise some doubt about your commitment to raising your children Catholic, as the sacraments including Confirmation are an important part of this. I don't know how likely it is that baptism would be refused though.

4) It's difficult to explain in a short and simple way what Confirmation is, it has a lot of meanings behind it. I'm sure if you read the section in the Catechism on the sacrament of Confirmation you'll get extra information.

As I said, it completes your initiation as a Catholic Christian. It strengthens the seal of the Holy Spirit which was placed upon your soul at baptism (the words used are actually 'be sealed with the Holy Spirit', and you are anointed with oil on your forehead at the same time).

In a sense it is like bar mitzvah for Jews - signifying that you are sacramentally an 'adult' making a mature and considered commitment to the faith, since baptism and Holy Communion are usually given to children.

5) Is there a biblical basis for it? Absolutely! Its biblical background begins with Pentecost, when the Apostles (who were already given the gift of the Holy Spirit when Christ appeared after His Resurrection) received the Spirit in a fresh and more powerful way. And the 'laying on of hands' to symbolise initiation into the faith and the priesthood, which was, for example, done by the Apostles to Matthias and Ananias to St Paul.

Finally, there are Old Testament parallels - since we are all part of the 'royal priesthood' of all believers, and we know that both kings and priests were (and many still are!) anointed with oil, it's appropriate that we too be anointed.


#3

[quote="TickledPink, post:1, topic:184134"]

  • How do make my confirmation.. do I have to take it with a load of high schoolers?

[/quote]

Each diocese has a process for the adult confirmation of Catholics. If you are baptized in the Catholic Church you ARE a Catholic. You are not converting or becoming Catholic, you already are.

You need to see the priest of the parish and let him know you've been away from the Church since after your First Communion and why. Schedule a time to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that you can resume receiving the Eucharist. Then talk to him about what you need to do to receive Confirmation.

Typically adults are not in with the high school confirmation candidates. Also, RCIA is for those who are not Catholic and want to become Catholic so that's not where you belong. Although, in some parishes they put Catholics who need confirmation in with RCIA for the catechesis part (learning the doctrines of the Faith).

[quote="TickledPink, post:1, topic:184134"]

  • Am I considered Catholic even if I have not made it?

[/quote]

A person is Catholic by virtue of their baptism when baptized as an infant. If you were baptized Catholic, you are a Catholic.

[quote="TickledPink, post:1, topic:184134"]

  • Am I able to even get married in the Catholic Church and raise my family Catholic without having a confirmation?

[/quote]

Canon Law states that Catholics are to be confirmed before receiving the Sacrament of Marriage. But, there is an allowance if it is not possible for some reason (grave circumstances). Since you have time to pursue confirmation before marriage, I suggest you do so.

[quote="TickledPink, post:1, topic:184134"]
And MOST IMPORTANTLY what is a confirmation? What is the purpose of us having one?

[/quote]

Confirmation is the completion of your baptism. You are strengthened in the grace of the Holy Spirit and receive the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The three Sacraments of Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

[quote="TickledPink, post:1, topic:184134"]
* Does the Bible say we need it or is it just Church tradition?

[/quote]

Christ instituted all the Sacraments. They give us his grace and help us grow in holiness so that we can be with him in Heaven. They are a participation in the Divine Life of God.

Yes, the Sacrament of Confirmation is in the bible. It is spoken of as "receiving the Holy Spirit" or as "anointing".


#4

[quote="LilyM, post:2, topic:184134"]
In a sense it is like bar mitzvah for Jews - signifying that you are sacramentally an 'adult' making a mature and considered commitment to the faith, since baptism and Holy Communion are usually given to children.

[/quote]

This is a common understanding among Catholics about Confirmation, but it is inaccurate. It is not a choice to be an adult in the faith or making a mature or considered commitment to the faith.

Remember, in the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches children are Baptized, Confirmed, and receive Eucharist as infants.

It is the Bishop who confirms, not the candidate. It is Baptism that is being confirmed, not catholicicity.


#5

[quote="1ke, post:4, topic:184134"]
This is a common understanding among Catholics about Confirmation, but it is inaccurate. It is not a choice to be an adult in the faith or making a mature or considered commitment to the faith.

Remember, in the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches children are Baptized, Confirmed, and receive Eucharist as infants.

It is the Bishop who confirms, not the candidate. It is Baptism that is being confirmed, not catholicicity.

[/quote]

I'd say it's BOTH baptism AND catholicity that are being confirmed, not a case of either/or. Hence we don't offer the sacrament of Confirmation to Anglicans or Baptists, nor would we consider their confirmations (and Anglicans do practice Confirmation) to be valid, unlike their baptisms. So even were they to be both baptised and confirmed as infants there'd be the necessity of a Catholic confirmation, which seems to indicate a distinction in the significance of the two sacraments rather than the latter simply 'confirming' the former.

Nor do I think that the sacrament need have exactly all the same connotations or meanings for Eastern as Latin Catholics, or for teen/adult recepients as opposed to child recepients. We disagree on points that are more significant that this, after all!


#6

I was also confirmed in my early twenties for more or less the same reason--we moved a lot as a military family and somehow my confirmation slipped through the cracks. I did not need to take classes with the high schoolers. I had a few private sessions with the DRE who was my friend and joined in with the RCIA class just before Easter. Usually Catholic adults who have not been confirmed go to the bishop for confirmation (unlike non-Catholic adults who are usually confirmed by their pastors at the Easter vigil).

Ask your priest and he will be able to direct you. He'll let you know what preparation you need to do and what the process will be. Please approach him soon, because you'll want to be able to join in with whatever plans the bishop has for confirmations this spring.

Your boyfriend, as a non-Catholic, will go through a slightly different process. Usually even baptised Christain converts go through the normal RCIA program which consists of several months (Sept to Easter in most parishes) of classes. If you are planning to be married soon, you'll want to speak to your priest about that also. If your boyfriend is properly disposed (no impediements to conversion or marriage), he may be able to be confirmed sooner. That is up to your priest to decide.


closed #7

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