Confirmation Age (Hypothetical Change)


#1

So I was reading how Confirmation is given with First Communion in the Diocese of Phoenix and I thought it was interesting. Then I got to thinking if it was a good idea to lower the age to receive Confirmation. So I thought of this poll to see what you folks think. I included infant Confirmation, but I think the CCC requires the child to at least be the age of reason or something like that. And I do work with teens at my parish and love it. This is all just hypothetical and for fun.


#2

I picked first communion also. I think there are a lot of advantages to combining, restoring, the sacraments to this order!


#3

:smiley: I voted for Confirmation at the time of First Communion. That is the way we do it usually in our parish and I was Confirmed a little before my First Communion.:wink:


#4

I could accept any of them, as long as they are “properly done.”

I like High School (if the faith formation is rock solid). But I’ve heard that sometimes training the little ones and having them confirmed younger helps too.

I think the real key is solid faith formation programs for pre and POST confirmation. The truth is that many of our parishes lack solid post-confirmation faith formation programs (for children, teens and adults).

God Bless


#5

Current discipline of the Latin Church requires the age of reason under ordinary circumstances, but requires that confirmation be given to infants in danger of death, so there is no reason that infant confirmation could not be restored in the Latin Church. I’m fine with waiting until the age of reason, though I would prefer at the time of baptism. I definitely think that the order of sacraments should be restored.


#6

Absolutely. Solid, lifelong catechesis should be a given, no matter when the sacrament is received.


#7

Confirmation is a Sacrament which requires understanding of the Faith. Before I was confirmed, I had to stand before the priest of the parish and explain the reason why I chose the saint who I chose to honor with my confirmation name. It’s far more than Baptism (which is in place to cleanse one of original sin), so I can’t in my mind justify the Confirmation of infants. By receiving Confirmation, you are confirming that you are taking a position as a soldier for Christ; a lifetime commitment that you must make for yourself (unlike baptism when your parents and Godparents made your baptismal vows for you) and understand the importance of. Also, nowhere is it written that Confirmation is a prerequisite for Heaven, and no seven year olds have been denied Heaven because they hadn’t been confirmed yet; Baptism, on the other hand, is a prerequisite because until one is baptized, he/she has the stain of original sin.

Honestly, I think it needs to follow the first time one receives the Eucharist. You should receive Jesus’ body before you receive the Holy Spirit to guide you. Whether that means 4th grade or not until high school is a debate topic.


#8

As far as I’m concerned, the ages they administer the first communion and confirmation is way too young. In the olden days children were more responsible and mature in some cases. Today they aren’t.

Most children are forced to take the classes and most are too young to understand what is happening. By right it should be increased to at least grade 7 for first communion, and grade 10 for confirmation. Or if I may be politically correct, at the age of active reason. For example in many Evangelical protestant churches, only teenagers and adults are allowed to be baptised. Although I agree with infants being baptism, I think we should take a page from them in terms of administering these other two sacraments because right now we have millions of children who don’t totally understand the theology behind these sacraments and most of that has to do with the fact, their parents also don’t understand it nor practice it. If individuals don’t believe me, look how in many parishes, families only attend mass when their children are going to be having these sacraments, otherwise, they don’t attend church.

In addition, these two sacraments are seen as a ritual in the Catholic church or a family tradition when most families don’t understand the importance of having a relationship with God. Perhaps by increasing the age, this would change.


#9

No, it isn’t. If you are confirmed as an older child, teenager or adult, then such an understanding should be in place, just as it should for any other sacrament. If you are confirmed as an infant, no such understanding is necessary. This is the teaching of the Church.

[quote=] Before I was confirmed, I had to stand before the priest of the parish and explain the reason why I chose the saint who I chose to honor with my confirmation name.
[/quote]

That was a particular requirement of your parish.

[quote=] It’s far more than Baptism (which is in place to cleanse one of original sin), so I can’t in my mind justify the Confirmation of infants.
[/quote]

Your mind is not in accord with the mind of the Church, as the Church has always confirmed infants and continues to do so. In fact, the Church teaches that an infant in danger of death should receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

[quote=] By receiving Confirmation, you are confirming that you are taking a position as a soldier for Christ; a lifetime commitment that you must make for yourself (unlike baptism when your parents and Godparents made your baptismal vows for you) and understand the importance of.
[/quote]

This isn’t what the Church teaches about the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Sacrament of Confirmation is a work of the Holy Spirit within you, a work of Grace that happens regardless of your knowledge or readiness.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
IV. WHO CAN RECEIVE THIS SACRAMENT?
1306 Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation.123 Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that "the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,"124 for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete.
1307 For centuries, Latin custom has indicated “the age of discretion” as the reference point for receiving Confirmation.** But in danger of death children should be confirmed even if they have not yet attained the age of discretion.125**
1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the “sacrament of Christian maturity,” we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need “ratification” to become effective. St. Thomas reminds us of this:

Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: "For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. "Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.126

[quote=] Also, nowhere is it written that Confirmation is a prerequisite for Heaven, and no seven year olds have been denied Heaven because they hadn’t been confirmed yet; Baptism, on the other hand, is a prerequisite because until one is baptized, he/she has the stain of original sin.
[/quote]

[quote=]Honestly, I think it needs to follow the first time one receives the Eucharist. You should receive Jesus’ body before you receive the Holy Spirit to guide you. Whether that means 4th grade or not until high school is a debate topic.
[/quote]

Having Confirmation follow the reception of the Eucharist is a historical anomaly that has only occurred in the Latin Church in the last 100 years. Do you think that the Church has figured something out in the last 100 years that it did not know for the first 1,900 years of its existence?


#10

Maturity is not required for this Sacrament.

[quote=]Most children are forced to take the classes and most are too young to understand what is happening. By right it should be increased to at least grade 7 for first communion, and grade 10 for confirmation.
[/quote]

The teen years are difficult and turbulent times. It seems to me that we should equip children with the Grace from these Sacraments well before they enter into these difficult years. We ask them to emerge with their faith intact, while denying them the very strength from Confirmation and the Eucharist that could help them through.


#11

Personally, I think they should continue doing it in High School. First Communion would also be a good time to do it.


#12

I have never understood the practice of taking Holy Communion before Confirmation. It simply makes no sense, and seems to be a recent ‘tradition’,


#13

In addition to removing orignal sin, I thought Baptism was a sacrament of initiation, where the parents decide for the child to enter the church.

I also thought that in addition to receiving the Holy Spirit and fruits and gifts, that confirmation was also a sacrament of initiation, and the confirmundi decide to enter the church for themselves.

If the decision making is not part of the equation, then Confirmation could happen earlier, but lessons about what it actually means to be confirmed and to lead a Catholic life. The problem is though that even though the newly confirmed is alive in the Holy Spirit, the parents need to be also, to ensure the follow up lessons happen. Otherwise, the child will be confirmed and not know the significance.


#14

In my experience, people I know have First Communion in the second grade, then as time goes by and they get into their 20s, they lapse and don’t practise their faith anymore.

Having an older Confirmation age gives them the chance to renew themselves in faith and have it still in them as the enter the crucial college age years when there’s a high risk of them dropping like flies.

If it were younger, there won’t be much to stop them from turning into agnostically lapsed Catnolics as they go into adulthood.

So I’m for an older Confirmation age.


#15

While your understanding is common, it’s not what the Church teaches. It’s not about us confirming anything. It’s not a sacrament we ‘make’, it’s one that we ‘receive’ and one that we are required by Church law to receive once we have been baptized.

I wish we would return this sacrament to the time of Baptism as it has remained in our Eastern & Orthodox Churches. If we can’t go that far, let’s at least return it to just before First Communion. I’ve taught the early Confirmation program in my parish (where we had it for 9 years) at the same time that our 16 year old son was preparing for late Confirmation. It was obvious from the time I spent in his sessions that the little ones ‘got it’ much more than the older ones, who for the most part resented being made to be there by their parents.

To be successful though, it requires the parents to stop seeing Confirmation as graduation from religious education. Religious education is a life-long endeavour but is too often seen as something that stops with the Bishop’s hand shake.


#16

AMEN


#17

It seems returning to giving all three sacraments of initiation together for all (infants and adults) as it is done in the Eastern Rite would help eradicate all these erroneous ideas about confirmation.


#18

It would eliminate the two years of confirmation “Preparation” which in reality has little to do with preparing children to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

-Tim-


#19

CIC Canon law specifies the minimum:Can. 891 The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age, or there is danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister a grave cause suggests otherwise.
Following are two examples of restored order in the Latin Catholic Church.

  1. 2005On May 15, 2005 Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted promulgated the new Policy and Guidelines concerning the restoration of the order of the Sacraments of Initiation in the Diocese of Phoenix. …
    **
  2. Why is the Diocese of Phoenix changing the age of Confirmation?**
    By placing Confirmation at this age, the Diocese of Phoenix will be following the natural sequence of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation: Baptism, Then Confirmation, and then reception of First Eucharist. Pope Paul VI stated the following:[INDENT] The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and received in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity (CCC 1212).
    It should also be noted that this is the sequence followed by RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) which requires that children and adults in the catechumenate receive all three sacraments together, even if the children are younger than the age at which the Catholic children of the parish are routinely confirmed and by the Eastern Catholic Churches for infants and adults alike (CCC 1232).

In addition, by placing Confirmation prior to the reception of First Eucharist it makes it easier to view the Eucharist as the “summit” of Christian initiation (CCC 1233).

Therefore, all baptized persons who have reached the age of reason should be appropriately prepared and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation before the reception of the Holy Eucharist.
[/INDENT]ewtn.com/library/BISHOPS/ordsacinit.htm

  1. 2012
    Rome, Italy, Mar 8, 2012 / 03:58 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo said he is delighted to have first-hand papal approval for changing the order by which children in his diocese receive the sacraments. …

Over the past seven years the Diocese of Fargo has changed the typical order of the sacraments of initiation. Instead of confirmation coming third and at an older age, it is now conferred on children at a younger age and prior to First Communion.

Bishop Aquila said he made the changes because “it really puts the emphasis on the Eucharist as being what completes the sacraments of initiation” and on confirmation as “sealing and completing baptism.”

When the sacraments are conferred in this order, he said, it becomes more obvious that “both baptism and confirmation lead to the Eucharist.” This sacramental assistance helps Catholics live “that intimate relationship of being the beloved sons and daughters of the Father in our daily lives,” he added.

The Bishop of Fargo said the changes have also distanced the Sacrament of Confirmation from “some false theologies that see it as being a sacrament of maturity or as a sacrament for ‘me choosing God.’”

Instead, young people in Fargo now have “the fullness of the spirit and the completion of the gifts of the spirit” to assist them in “living their lives within the world,” especially “in the trials they face in junior high and high school.”

catholicnewsagency.com/ne…ng-sacraments/


#20

It would also remove the idea that Confirmation means ‘graduation’ from religious education, as it did when I was Confirmed in high school. Almost no one continued in formal formation after Confirmation, I don’t remember if classes were even offered!

I like that our diocese has returned to the traditional order of the Rites of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist.

With much less than half of Catholics believing in the Real Presence the arguments for an older age for Confirmation (which I don’t agree with) would also apply to First Communion, would they not?


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