No Holy Spirit until Confirmation?

Is one without the Holy Spirit until Confirmation?

You receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism.

So Confirmation is just a strengthening of the of the Holy Spirit received at Baptism? What about Acts 8:14-17?
“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit”

You receive sacramental grace from the Holy Spirit at every sacrament - baptism, confession, eucharist, etc.

You also receive the grace of the Spirit by doing good things - doing unto others as you would like to done unto you, etc.

During Confirmation you receive a the grace of the Spirit and His gifts, and become confirmed as a Catholic adult ready to go out there and spread the gospel, do battle with the enemies of God.



OK. My first question was asking if the Holy Spirit is not received until Confirmation. From what I understand by the replies is that we receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism and by doing good things, so if that it accurate, then why Confirmation specifically for receiving the Holy Spirit as in Acts 8:14-17?

Phillip, a Deacon, baptised the people. Peter and John confirmed the people.
“They had received the Holy Spirit in Baptism, but not in the fullness with which He is imparted in Confirmation.”
d/r footnote

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God.” (CCC 537, quoting St. Hilary of Poitiers)

Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit. (CCC 985)

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit… (CCC 1213)

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 1226, quoting Acts 2:38)

Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1265)

The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification … giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit… (CCC 1266)

I do not see much in the Catechism explaining the verses from Acts that you mention. I will search the Church Fathers to see what I can find…

St. Paul wrote about the waning vs. the gaining of strength through continual conversion in Christian faith and what impact that has on relationships.

Confirmation is the personal acknowledgement of the need for stronger and deeper conversion in Christ. And, it’s a vow with God for continual recommitment.

St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews: Ch 5:12-15

“Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, (and) not solid food.
Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil.”

St. Paul’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians: Ch 3

“Brothers, I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it. Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh. While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving in an ordinary human way?”

Benjy it might be helpful to be aware that how confimation is administered as a sacrament varies within the Church and why this developed so historically. it is still administered to infants in parts of the Church for example and this originally was the custom in the western Church as well. Indeed even the order the sacraments were received in has changed over time as earlier communion was received after confimation.


See CCC 1315 (for reference to Acts) and also see 1285, 1302, 1316. Some of your cross references are somewhat vague and could imply Baptism allows us to receive the Holy Spirit but not necessarily received exactly in Baptism. See CCC 984 and that it refers to what happens in Acts 8. CCC 985 refers to Jesus’ Baptism, but He was the only one who received the Holy Spirit during Baptism. After Jesus was resurrected, the Apostles received it from Jesus (John 20:22) and the Apostles continued this.


CCC 1318 says that confirmation still happens immediately after baptism in the east, which may make it seem as one sacrament. I’ve read most of CCC on this sacrament, and I understand it was historically performed together, but then separated more due to bishops (who typically perform confirmation) being unable to attend the growing number of baptisms, which a priest or deacon typically performs.


I don’t disagree with your comment, but you don’t comment about the Holy Spirit specifically.

@thomas jd

What Bible version has that footnote? I am using the one at (NAB). That is the first time I see this teaching phrased that way. It is very clear, but I wish the CCC would be as concise.

(Just so you know, I had a thread about this very question two years ago.)

CCC 699 & 1288 mention Acts 8:17 in their footnotes, but they don’t really explain what’s going on there.

You say that CCC 985 refers to Jesus’ baptism, but I don’t see how you make that connection. You also say that only Jesus received the Holy Spirit at His Baptism, but you don’t support that claim. (Of course, Jesus already had the Holy Spirit.)

The language of CCC 985 is pretty clear: “Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit.”


First, I like the way you phrased it in parenthesis before you abbreviated it. That makes sense to me. I wish CCC would teach it that way. :slight_smile:

You’re right about CCC 985 or 984. It was the wrong reference but can’t find what I was referring to anymore. Anyway, I thought it was contradictory what I found, but really a tangent.

CCC 985 is pretty clear though it still confuses me. What about all the CCC references I gave regarding receiving the Spirit through Confirmation. That is, besides the strengthening grace through Confirmation, CCC emphasizes that we also receive the Holy Spirit, yet what I’m being told is that we received the Holy Spirit at Baptism as well. We receive it twice then. Again, I understand the teaching is we “fully” receive the Spirit in Confirmation, which means to me we only receive some of it at baptism. It is difficult to grasp or explain to a non-Catholic. I’ll have to read your older thread @japhy to get better insight, hopefully.


I read your earlier thread via your link. Good comments. I like the last one; it mentions that the Holy Spirit is in all the sacraments, but for different purposes. I think I can grasp that and it definitely makes sense to me as did your view and the other analogies on that thread. Do you know if the CCC explains it similarly to the last post anywhere? It would be nice to get some authoritative confirmation (no pun intended) on those views. (Thanks by the way, to everyone.)

[quote=benjoy07;7561417. That is, besides the strengthening grace through Confirmation, CCC **emphasizes

that we also receive the Holy Spirit, yet what I’m being told is that we received the Holy Spirit at Baptism as well. We receive it twice then. Again, I understand the teaching is we “fully” receive the Spirit in Confirmation, which means to me we only receive some of it at baptism. It is difficult to grasp or explain to a non-Catholic. I’ll have to read your older thread @japhy to get better insight, hopefully.

No we recieve the Holy Spirit fully at Baptism, but each Sacrament entails different gifts.

One Spirt, recieved fully, but with different gifts.

In Baptism, we recieve the Holy Spirit, with the gift of cleansing, and the gift of the ability of the Holy Spirit to reside within us.

In Confirmation, we recieve a strengthing, not of the indwelling fo the Holy Spirit, but with our ability to preach and live the Good News.

Look at the case of Apostles, St. Peter clearly had already recived the Holy Spirit when he attested to Christ being the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Matt 16)

But then look at Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit came again, and granted different gifts to the Aposltes (Acts 2).

We cannot say that Peter did not already have the Holy Spirit in Matt 16, as Christ said that he did, but the Spirit clearly came again and gave added understanding and different gifts.

Does that make sense?


Makes absolute sense to me. Thanks. I got the same message (as I described in my previous post) from another thread.

Now, do you know if it’s explained that concisely in an official Church teaching?


For the benefit of those who did not ready as quickly as benjoy, I had originally written something like this:
I tend to think it is more accurate to say that the Baptism makes us a temple of the Holy Spirit, whereas Confirmation brings about the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. Or, to look at it another way: in Baptism, we live in the Spirit; in Confirmation, the Spirit lives in us.
But I immediately followed that statement of mine by saying it is strictly my own private opinion, and because I do not know if it can be squared away with the actual Church teaching on these two sacraments, I tend to keep it to myself and not spread it.

For all I know, it could be heresy. So I consider the Church’s teaching authoritative, and my opinion on the matter valid only insofar as it can be reconciled with the Church’s teaching.

“The Holy Bible” published by Catholic Press, Inc. 1951
The text is taken from the ; Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. A revision of the Challoner- Rheims Version.

This is the Douay Rheims footnote: The Apostles administered the sacrament of confirmation, by imposition of hands, and prayer: and the faithful thereby received the Holy Ghost. Not but they had received the grace of the Holy Ghost at their baptism: yet not that plenitude of grace and those spiritual gifts which strengthened them to profess their faith publicly.
It is very informitive to research Biblical Text with a variety of approved Catholic Bibles.

I think I found what I was looking for, though very basic. CCC 1285$1JO – the sentence just before the last sentence.

Also, does anyone know what footnote 89 refers to (from the above link)? Thanks

I would think it is refering to Lumen Gentium:-

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