Confirmation question

Tonight I attended my granddaughter’s First Communion and Confirmation. She is 8 years old, and I know that things have changed with Confirmation, and that it is now received at the same time as First Communion, as part of the Rite of Initiation.
However, I didn’t realise that the Bishop no longer confirms the candidates; at least, in my granddaughter’s parish, both sacraments were administered by the Parish Priest.

When my children were confirmed,the Bishop came to the church.
When did this change, and what is the reason for the change?

I am in Australia, this may not be the case everywhere, but I’m hoping someone can enlighten me!

Congratulations on your granddaughter’s First Communion and Confirmation. what a blessing to be able to attend this important occasion in her life.

As to your quesion, I know that here (United Arab Emirates) and at home (South Africa the Bishop can authorise (I guess that isn’t the correct word??) the Parish Priest to confirm the candidates. I would assume that this is then the same situation in Australia.

In the Latin Rite the Bishop is still the ordinary minister of Confirmation, that has not changed. The Bishop is stlll reasonably required to visit every parish in his diocese. It is usually at this time that he Confirms. A Pastor is usually granted permission to Confirm adult Candidates during their reception into the Church. Every priest is granted authority to Confirm by canon law, when they Baptize an adult.

Some Bishops hold a large Confirmation Mass at a large parish in the diocese and Confirm several hundred at one time.

A parish Pastor can request permission from the Bishop to Confirm specific persons when there is a necessity.

In dioceses where there are many parishes, the bishop may only visit every two or three years (it was every 2 in my diocese back in the 50s & 60s). Maybe he delegates the confirmation to the pastor in the years when he doesn’t come to the parish. He’d be most likely to do so in those dioceses that have returned the sacraments of initiation to their proper order: Baptism, Confirmation, Communion in order to not delay First Communion unnecessarily.

I was confirmed by a local priest given the title of “Monsignor” by our diocese’s bishop. This happens because the bishop cannot attend all of the confirmation ceremonies (there were two at my parish alone).

I didn’t realize that some places held both first communion and confirmation at the same time. I was confirmed 7 years after my first communion…

I hope the OP doesn’t mind me piggybacking on the thread.

What are the requirements for Confirmation? I don’t mean the various things requested by individual DRE’s at individual parishes. I want to know what the real and fundamental requirements are. I am homeschooling my children and my daughter is 12. She will be heading into the first of the two years “RE” prior to Confirmation.

I plan to homeschool her through high school, including RE.

Perhaps another way to word the question is: Is she fundamentally required to attend a RE program to receive the Sacrament of initiation, Confirmation?

Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) generally refers to the process through which Non-Catholic adults (generally over the age of 7) are received into the Church. They receive of course sacraments of initiation, baptism (if not already validly baptized), confirmation and Eucharist (first communion) as the climax of this process, which also includes preparatory rites that punctuate the period of preparation.

The age at which baptized Catholics receive first communion and confirmation is up to the bishop’s conference of the country (which also has adapted the RCIA for their country). In the Latin Rite these are any time after the age of reason (generally age 7). The actual age, and the sequence of celebrating the sacraments, is up to the local ordinary (bishop). In the USA it first communion is generally celebrated in 2nd or 3rd grade, and confirmation may be conferred on Catholic children anytime between 7 to 18.

There is a movement, prompted in part by the restoration of the RCIA and various catechetical documents which call for “restoration of the order of initation” to move confirmation before first communion, or to celebrate them together, in various dioceses. Some parishes within some dioceses have been given permission to experiment with this. Even in our own state of Texas, each diocese is different and ages are all through that range. Here (Brownsville) first communion is in 3rd grade, Confirmation in 10th. But I have children transferring from other dioceses who have already been confirmed in 4th or 4th grade. It is all over the map.

According to RCIA the priest who baptizes at the Easter vigil has the faculty to confirm and in fact must confirm those whom he baptizes. Whether or not he can confirm baptized non-Catholics, or Catholics, depends on the bishop and what he delegates or whether he prefers to reserve Confirmation to himself. He may appoint priests to assist him in confirming, in special instances or as a general practice. The priest who is given that faculty must use it for those for whom it has been granted.

As far as preparation for Confirmation, that again depends on the requirements of each bishop. In general the child (or adult) must be catechized on the meaning of the Creed, because he makes a profession of faith, and on elements of the Christian Life. Homeschoolers should consult their pastor or the catechetical office of their diocese for requirements on sacramental preparation.

This entire discussion is about the Latin Rite so there is no need to bring up on this thread practice of the Eastern Rites which is generally to confirm and baptize infants at the same time and to administer communion at that time. There is good theology that supports this. Equally there is a history of theology that supports the delay of communion and confirmation to the age of reason, as now practice in the West.

Can. 890 The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the proper time. Parents and pastors of souls, especially pastors of parishes, are to take care that the faithful are **properly instructed **to receive the sacrament and come to it at the appropriate time.

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.

Generally, the Bishop defers to the parish Priest who often defers to the DRE, however the Priest’s discretion is your option so meeting with him is your key. Often some form of discussion based testing where the priest has the child answer question about key components of doctrine.

Eastern Catholic priests normally administer Confirmation immediately after Baptism, and first Communion follows immediately thereafter.

And from that time on, the little ones are brought to Communion.

I am aware of these. It does beg the question: What, precisely, is “properly instructed” supposed to mean?

Some DREs require a retreat. Some require service hours. There are differences from parish to parish. Is there any document which details “proper instruction” or is it whatever the individual DRE decides?

It’s whatever the Diocesan bishop requires.

Fundamentally, that one be baptized. Half the infants in my home parish are confirmed 20 minutes after baptism (The other half are Roman Rite).

In the Roman Rite, it is normative to wait until they are “of the age of reason” and have been communed and had first confession. The age at confirmation of cradle Roman Rite catholics typically varies from 8-18, by diocese.

Most byzantine rite dioceses (of the 14 churches sui iuris ithin the Catholic Church) baptize, confirm, and commune infants within 30 days of birth.

Thanks. I knew you would answer this. It is difficult to decide what to do. We homeschoolers have managed (thank God) to keep a certain level of purity and innocence in our children. My 12 year old is at the age to enter her “2 years of pre-sacrament RE”. We encounter school children in our neighborhood, in parks, etc. who “know” far more than I would like my children to know just yet. These are things I don’t think children need to know until later, unless you plan for them to be unsupervised. My 9 and 11 year old have now heard their first “dirty” joke (compliments of a neighbor school boy), though they didn’t get it at all. We are very careful about who they socialize with. It is typically with our Catholic homeschool group. Having taken these measures, it seems counter-intuitive to put them in a program which could potentially have them regularly around these other children. And, puzzleannie (I know you will ask) I have considered the possibility of teaching so I would be aware of the going’s on. I can’t/shouldn’t this year because we just had a baby. She is nursing all the time. Perhaps for my daughter’s eighth grade year (next year) I will be able to teach. I definitely will not send my child to a retreat.

Whenever I express concerns like this, others think I’m overreacting. I know what I was “taught” by my same-age peers in school and that was 20-25 years ago. Kids know much more now and are as eager to share their vast knowledge as ever. My response tends to be along the lines of “It only takes one”…one boy with a dirty magazine, one child who knows all the dirty words, one child to explain the dirty jokes, etc.

I think it’s a shame that there are several things I did as a youth that I cannot, in good conscience, allow my children to experience…like Girl Scout Camp, overnights, etc.

I think if an older child understands the early Christian history and what it means to be a Martyr, they have a firm foundation for living out their Catholic faith in today’s world.

Dranzal, I would encourage you to reconsider allowing your children to associate with other children in the parish during religious education classes or retreats and to join with them in a service project. The homeschooled children in my parish do attend the religious ed classes. Are you in a particularly liberal parish or is there some other good reason for distrusting the teachers? I ask because the church is a community of believers and it is good that the children experience this community. I think that you would find out from the questions your children ask you if there is something questionable going on in the classes. In my parish, the RE classes are MUCH better than they were 25 years ago and the pastor and several adults are with the teenagers during the retreat; the parents are welcome as chaperones.

proper instruction is whatever the bishop requires. the retreat, the curriculum, the approved resources, the service project etc. are generally part of diocesan requirements, not a whim of the DRE, so unless you can prove otherwise best not ot accuse her of overstepping her authority.

as DRE I must attest to the pastor, who as part of the rite itself must attest to the Bishop, that the youth under my care have been properly instructed and are worthily disposed for the sacrament, according to the program signed into law by our bishop in synod legislation. So please assume I am doing my job to the best of my ability, and not that I am unfairly targeting some or all of those children with my own requirements.

if the bishop requires homeschooled children to attend parish RE and sacramental programs, then that is what you will do, unless you want to surround your child’s Confirmation and completion of his initiation into Christ’s Church with an atmosphere of disobedience and dissent. If you do not trust him to fulfill his commission to shepherd his flock, then why would you seek your child’s initiation in the first place?

I do understand your concerns about what your children may learn form others. However, I know from my expereince of teaching RE that we just don’t have time for that sort of thing to come up in class. Certainly there are no dirty magazines or jokes being shared! The teachers are very careful with examples when we discuss things like the Ten Commandments or mortal/venial sins. We are also careful with the children’s questions and will cut off a child who is getting into deep water. In my parish the confirmation ‘retreat’ was a day long event that was carefully scheduled so again there wasn’t free time for chit-chat among the children, although they did have guided discussion groups.

RE in my parish meets once a week. Our class are 1hr 15 minutes long and that includes reciting a decade of the rosary. We also take the children to confession 2x a school year, spend at least 1 class period in the adoration chapel, and the priests celebrate special Holy Hours for the RE classes.

My children were confirmed before the regular 8th grade schedule in this dioscese, but I still had my daughter go to the confirmation classes when we came to this parish so that she could met the other children. Yes, there are certainly some families who are only around for sacrament years, but for the most part those who are making sure their children get to weekly classes are the families we did want to know.

I encourage you to meet with your DRE and Pastor about this. Look over the class materials, perhaps sit in on a few classes, before you decide not to be involved in your parish’s program.

=================================================================It isn’t that the bishop no longer Confirms, but he might have had other duties that evening, so the priest is allowed to Confirm. It is this way all over.

God bless.

In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the priest is the ordinary minister of confirmation.

As puzzleannie has noted, the requirement for service hours and retreats come from the bishop, not the DRE. I have taught confirmation for the last 8 years and this year we had a student drop out because his mom refused to let him attend a retreat. Her plan is to wait and have him receive confirmation as an adult.

I am assuming that you have a problem with the retreat and not the service hours, right?



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