Infant Confirmation Still Common in Spain, Latin America & Phillipines?


#1

It was for a long time common for infants to be confirmed at the time of their baptism in the Latin Church in areas of Spain, the Phillipines and Latin America… I am not sure how complete an explanation it is, but I have been told that this was done because of the difficulty some bishops would have had gettting to some communities to do it at a later age, and concerns over infant mortality…

I know that it is still the case in at least some areas of Mexico… but I was not certain if a move has been made to push it back later and later to mid-late teens as it has been in other parts of the world?

(And yes, I am talking about in the Latin rite, not Eastern Catholics…)


#2

regarding candidates from Mexico, we see this only in older candidates so I assume as the Church has regained its freedom to move and act in Mexico in the last few years, and priests are better able to serve their parishioners, the pastoral necessity of conferring both sacraments at the same time for infants has diminished. a more widespread abuse is baptizing those who are canonical adults for this purpose (over age 7) without confirmation at the same time, that is a widespread practice especially here along the border.


#3

regarding candidates from Mexico, we see this only in older candidates so I assume as the Church has regained its freedom to move and act in Mexico in the last few years, and priests are better able to serve their parishioners, the pastoral necessity of conferring both sacraments at the same time for infants has diminished. a more widespread abuse is baptizing those who are canonical adults for this purpose (over age 7) without confirmation at the same time, that is a widespread practice especially here along the border.


#4

regarding candidates from Mexico, we see this only in older candidates so I assume as the Church has regained its freedom to move and act in Mexico in the last few years, and priests are better able to serve their parishioners, the pastoral necessity of conferring both sacraments at the same time for infants has diminished. a more widespread abuse is baptizing those who are canonical adults for this purpose (over age 7) without confirmation at the same time, that is a widespread practice especially here along the border.


#5

My husband who is 25 and used to live in the Phillipines said he was confirmed in high school.


#6

Canon Law leave the age very much up to the local Bishop.

We have a diocese here in Michigan that Confirms 2nd graders at the same Mass they recieve First Holy Communion ( that is the traditional order of the Sacraments)


#7

In the Fargo Dioceses of ND the children get confirmed at 3rd grade when they receive First Holy Communion. I see nothing wrong with this.

I by the way was confirmed at the age of 2 here in the good old USA.:thumbsup:


#8

I am aware that it still occurs in rural areas… Just not certain how widespread it is anymore… But your response indicates that it is not the norm everywhere…

I do think the history of this practice predates persecutions… It has been explained to me that part of the reason it was done was difficulty in travel coupled with infant mortality… A seminarian I knew explained to me that this a discipline actually brought from Spain… I am having trouble finding info on that though.

I do think that there is a definate plus to infant chrismation (I am biased as a Greek Catholic!) inasmuch as it precludes some of the mentality of “Catholic Bar Mitzvah” that has been prevasive in some diocese. Where I grew up, it was routinely administered to 8th graders and ended up being viewed as a sort of “coming of age” or alternately “capstone/graduation” to CCD. One priest I know of has opined that in this day and age, sooner is better as the grace the sacrament imparts is a source of strength for children confronted with temptation at every turn. I have to confess I think he has a point.

The seminarian I knew did mention that in some California parishes up until V2 that were designated as “Mexican National parishes” the practice of confirming infants at the time of baptism was a discipline common in those parishes as well. To date, I have not been able to confirm this (no pun intended!).


#9

I live in the Philippines but have never heard of infant confirmation.
Its certainly not done in our parish.


#10

we still have plenty of older Catholics coming in for confirmation (over age 50) and when we obtain a new baptismal certificate, find they were confirmed as infants, this happened in that generation, evidently, on both sides of the border. The Oblate missionaries cared for the spiritual needs of the Valley well into the early 20th c when more regular parishes began to be founded, although our oldest parishes are Oblate foundations.


#11

I guess I should add to my previous post that I am only 32 years old. Which would mean there was infant confirmation in the mid 70’s here in the US.


#12

Were you ill? Canon Law does say to confirm children when you baptize them when they are in danger of death.


#13

No this was the norm for the dioceses. My mom had my older brother, my little brother and myself all confirmed on the same day. I was two, my older brother was four, my little brother was 1. My little sister who was a newborn and my older sister who was eight didn’t get confirmed because my ls hadn’t been baptized yet and my os had already been confirmed. It is really not all that unusual to have the sacraments done this way. Baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, Communion, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the sick.


#14

this has always been the practice in the eastern rites, and yes from time to time we do have younger folks who were confirmed at baptism as infants, but not as common in the younger set. probably differs by diocese.

just had a family move here from Dallas with a 5th grader who is being prepared for 1st communion and confirmation, same ceremony, this year, and will have to go to the bishop for a ruling, since he is so close, as to whether he can be confirmed here now, or has to wait until the normal age in this diocese 16 (baptized Catholic so no question of RCIA).


#15

Confirmation & First Communion in the same celebration (kids 6 & up depending on maturity level) had been the norm in our diocese for the past 9 years. They were prepared as a group with no look at grade levels. Unfortunately that changed this year with the diocese realignment and Confirmation is now offered to youth in grades 6-10. That means we won’t have confirmation for the next few years unless we have teenagers move into the community and request it.


#16

in the 70s and into the 80s, in the USA, esp. when RCIA was being introduced, some dioceses, and some parishes had temporary indults to try various practices, including full initiation for entire families when one family member, adult, was being received into the Church, confirming infants (under age 7) confirmation with 1st communion (which was the almost universal norm before the 20th c.) or “restoring the original order of the initiation sacraments” a concept from RCIA, baptism, confirmation and first communion in that order. What became lost was the place for first confession, which is still problematic in some areas.

where these permissions were granted, they were supposed to be local, limited, and end at a certain time, and the results evaluated, but inevitably these limits were not always observed.

infants and children who are being baptized in danger of death, or because of serious illness, surgery etc. should always be confirmed at the same time, none of the usual preparation requirements apply.

what cannot be changed is “first confession before first communion” or “RCIA is the norm for receiving unbaptized adults (over age 7) into the Church and baptism, confirmation and first communion in the same ceremony, followed by first confession after suitable catechesis”

It was almost universal at least in industrialized nations before Pope St. Pius X lowered the age for 1st communion, for communion and confirmation to be conferred in the same ceremony by the bishop at any age over the age of discretion (about 7) which usually coincided with the end of the child’s formal academic education, and formal religious instruction, age 12-14. If that was the age children left school and began work, that was the age for the sacraments.

the age in the US is still normally between age 7 and 18, but set by the local bishop. Parishes cannot do “local options” without his permission.

bear in mind that does not refer to the Eastern Rites. There are still some ethnic or nationality parishes that retain customs of their “home” country, but there are fewer every year.

bottom line, pastors should always insist that candidates for confirmation, matrimony and holy orders present a recent baptismal certificate showing all sacraments received.


#17

My mom was born in Panama in the 50s, and she was confirmed as a baby, so it was definitely done


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