Parishes refusing to allow parents to teach Confirmation

This seems to be heard of more and more, and now I am experiencing the samething in our parish. Does anyone know of where I can find the UCCB guidelines of parents rights to teach sacraments? Thank you-

The USCCB does not govern such decisions.

Each bishop has authority over the particular law in their own diocese. The Sacraments and their preparation may be spelled out in the particular law of the diocese, through a Synod for example, or the Bishop may simply leave it to the diocesan catechesis director to create policies, or in absence of diocesan policy or particular law the pastor may make a parish policy.

So, start by asking questions at the parish level, then at the diocesan level.

Personally I think it is a good idea. This is the last chance these young adults have to ask those tough questions before confirming about their Faith. Personally in Junior High School or even in High School I would not have been comfortable discussing issues like euthanasia or birth control or modesty in a class with my parents in it. I would have been more comfortable with a priest, nun, or stranger. It’s the age group. It is supposed to be a meaningful experience that each person Chooses and is not pushed into. The looming presence of an adult figure could take that away and keep them quiet about questions they may have.

Out of Couriosity, Why?

I was director of Confirmation for five years. There are aspects of the formation that need to be done in a class.
I can understand home schooling for regular eduation, I have never understood the reason for faith formation at home unless there is an impedimate to get the child to the class…


Do you mean that parents are no longer being permitted to homeschool for Confirmation or teach the parish’s sacrament class, or both?

I would think that would be the ideal - for families to teach their own children religious ed - learning/reviewing along with them.

I could definitely see enforcing a list of approved texts as no one wants students using incorrect information.

Hmmm. I never really asked permission to supplement what my daughter gets from PSR. Although she just told me yesterday that after 4 years in parochial school, beginning her 3rd year in public school attending PSR, she is still ahead of everyone else. “SR is boring” so I’m looking for ways to get her motivated. She’s in 6th grade and will be confirmed next year. We’ve already started talking about what it means, we’ve discussed choosing a saint, and of course she’s ready to shop for a new dress ;);

I don’t know why a particular parish priest would object to parental teaching since most of them recognize that we, as parents, are the child’s first teachers. Perhaps the priest is unsure if the parent is fully informed of the meaning of the sacrament???:shrug:

contact the chancery of your dioceses, the office of catechetics or the office on liturgy to find out what are the requirements of your bishop for Catholic youth and Confirmation. Bear in mind confirmation is more than a class, more than passing a test on material learned from a book, there is an essential element of community, and it is the bishop who confirms the person’s status as baptized member of the Church, not the candidate who confirms his decision to remain Catholic. He was baptized into a community and is expected as an adult Catholic to serve and worship in that community. Ignoring that aspect of confirmation does no service to the candidate or the Church. If you feel your parish sacrmamental program is not all it should be, volunteer as a catechist, or on your parish education and formation commission, and be part of the solution. Also bear in mind that for the purposes of sacraments of initiation the Catholic youth is an adult, and cannot be forced by parents or anyone else to accept Confirmation. There comes a point where the parent is no longer the best person to guide the youth’s faith formation, especially if there is an element of control at work.

Assuming you mean, “Parents aren’t allowed to teach confirmation classes,” present Church policy require that all adults who work with minors go through the Safe Enviornment (or whatever it’s called) program. You presently can’t have random adults taking turns teaching the classes. (There was a time that parents did NOT teach classes for sacramental preparation.)

If you mean, “Parents aren’t allowed to homeschool their children for confirmation,” there’s nothing to keep the parents from discussing the confirmation class lessons and supplementing them, is there?

Most dioceses such as mine, don’t want parents and parents alone preparing their children for sacraments such as First Communion and Confirmation. This is a big controversy in my church right now and since I am the Assistant Coordinator of Parish School of Religion I find myself tackling this controversy more and more.

I explain to our parents in the parish that we are not telling them that they cannot work together with us and teach their children at home and prepare them for the sacraments. However, homeschooled or not…their children must still go through our program Parish School of Religion in order to receive the sacraments. This is not my own rule, nor the rule of the Coordinator this is what the priest is enforcing because its what our diocese wants.

I encourage the parents of the children in PSR to help their children when they are at home, go over the material their child is covering in class etc.

As someone also addressed on here is the Church now have mandates for who can and cannot teach children under the age. This is a big thing now because of all of the horrible things people have done. So now in order to be in contact with children, we must all go through a Protecting God’s Children Class and be finger printed. This even goes for un-paid volunteer staff, our families that even are just helping with food distribution to the children have to go through all of this. Anyone 18 years old and above!

Also something new that the dioceses are putting together above and beyond just the Protecting God’s Children class is additional classes for teachers and coordinators to be certified. This is similar to college classes that include Biblical Studies, Catechesis and much more. Once the coordinators are certified they are paid, in many cases, if they are all ready being paid, they get paid more, because just like everything else, they have education so more pay comes along with that.

In conclusion…I just want to say once more that I encourage parents to work with the PSR teachers and when your child(ren) are at home, ask them if they have any questions what they learned when they come home from class. It is very important in their development to learn things from other people besides their parents. Although, at this age, the parents should always be involved!!!

What aspects are those?

Parents are the ones with the primary duty to educate their children. There is no moral law on how that education takes place. Whether at home or at a school. There are multiple good reasons for home schooling faith formation. Everything from untrustworthy catechists or other students in the class to the class schedule does not work well for the family. Of course parents should know the faith in order to impart it. My experience is that I have had to be vigilant over what my kids learned in CCD and correct many errors in the faith. I would absolutely homeschool religion again. On the other side of the coin when I did teach CCD my experience was that my children were among the very few who seemed to be going to Mass and learning the faith at home. Our system is seriously messed up and we need good and faithful priests to fix it.

Here’s an article by Father Hardon

Very Christian view. NOT!! Even though the Domestic Church is the start and basis of Christian Education, we are a community that comes to worship and pray together. Despite the problems in the system, how do you teach community, service to other, proclamation of the word, the basis of baptism: priest, prophet and servant king by keeping them home because thay might get some error. THe biggest error is what is being taught my not letting them be part of the parish faith formation program.


I totally agree with you Joandarc2008. It is best that parents are not present so that the children or teens may ask questions that they would not normally ask in the presence of their parents.

Other than his point that parents have duty to be fully catichised and are the first teachers of the faith, [edited]! Besides most of this commentary is about the public school structure, not a parish’s Faith Formation Program.



Now that introductions are over, parents are the primary instructors in the faith, and in many parishes are far better equipped than the professionals to prepare the children for the sacraments. As Fr Hardon (santo subito!) points out there has been a crisis in Catholic formation at the university and seminary level that has caused much damage to parish religious education.

As another poster asked, what aspects do you think parents are incapable of preparing their children for?

<<As another poster asked, what aspects do you think parents are incapable of preparing their children for?>>

I have seen devout, life-long Catholic adults on here say the following things (among others):

  1. That the Priest washes his hands with holy water at the Lavabo.

  2. That in the older rite of Ordination, the priest’s fingers were anointed to he could touch the Blessed Sacrament.

  3. That the Sacrarium empties into consecrated earth.

  4. That a priest in sin cannot celebrate a valid Mass or give true absolution.

ALL of these propositions are false.

Now, at least the first three might be minor issues.

But my point is there is no guarantee that the parents always know what they are talking about and hence might well convey misinformation when they try to prepare their own children for the Sacraments.

There have been others who have been taught by Sisters or priests (they claim) who have been taught things that are clearly wrong. Obviously, they misunderstood their instructors.

Of course, any instructor in any subject is only as good as his own formation, store of knowledge, and ability to get it across to the students.

I don’t know about your religious ed teachers, but ours are all parent volunteers with weak materials. There are no sisters or priests teaching. Also, there are serious behavior issues during classes. Our kids are in the Catholic school so it isn’t an issue right now (very knowledgeable and faithful teachers) but if they do go to a public high school I’m looking at a very weak religious ed program.

My plan would be to arm myself with some strong texts and learn/review together. Our kids are all 17 months apart so between two kids at a time, my husband and I, we could form a “class”.

Do all of your parishes have nuns, priests, or theology majors as teachers? How would you teach your kids in my position? Someone else’s parent isn’t going to do any better than I will.

Personally too, I don’t think if the parents are teaching the class and the candidate is dealing with pressure at home that they have a safe outlet to bring their valid concerns if they want to say, “No.” to the sacrament. This is their right. I was not confirmed, nor did I receive my first eucharist as a child. My parents waited until I was ready and I am much more faithful for it. Of course I was raised in a two Church household. I have seen too many teens take sacraments with their fingers crossed simply because Mom and Dad were in class with us back in RCIA because we were lacking a RCIT program. These were senior high students. I cannot imagine the pressure for a seventh or eighth grader. Now- if the candidate chooses a parent as a sponsor that is a completely different story - the sponsor should be there.

When I posted this, I was referring that there are parishes that are refusing to allow a preprared candidate to be confirmed because they didn’t go through their “parish program.” Parents who home school use religion/ confirmation books with an Imprimatur attatched to it. I can’t believe I am reading comments on a “Catholic” website from people who think their opinion should be followed to not allow parents to teach sacraments to their own children.
Your opinions mean nothing in the eyes of the Church and Canon Laws. Thank God the Church has the Catechism and Canon laws in place to prevent such ignorance and liberalism from being “law.” Since the time I posted my question I have found my answers and will post to help others in the same situation. You who oppose parents teaching their children sacraments need to read the Catechism, Pope encyclicals, The Charter of the Rights of the Family and Canon law. Pope John Paull II restated what the Second Vatican Council stated:
"Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children…The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life… it is irreplaceable and inalienable , and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others…"
Also abortion and contraception is a sex education class and should not be taught or talked about in a Confirmation class!!
If people knew the canon laws, the catechism on family and parental rights, and pope encyclicals people wouldn’t be speaking nonsence on a topic they obviously know nothing about. No one, whether they be priest, confirmation teacher, bishop or pope is above the canon law, or catechism. Nor can they take away the parental rights to teach initiation sacraments to their children. See Canon Law 841, 843, 837-838: "sacred ministers cannot refuse the sacraments to those ask for them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them. Canon 843. To read Canon laws simply go to the vatican web site. Or a wonderful website with home schooling information on it with sacraments is -when there go to the Home tab and scroll down to parent resources. This will take you to an article on Preparing Children for the Sacraments written by a Canon lawyer Edward Peters, JCD Pope Benedict has wrote that it is a mortal sin to deny one their confirmation. Another web page is on Keeping it Catholic web site. The web page article is Can Parents Really Prepare Their Children for the Sacraments? St. Thomas has even wrote that the parent’s role in teaching the faith is so important that he has compared it being as important as a priest. I am currently going through this same situation with my son. This denying parent’s rights to teach the faith seems to me to be a spiritual war between the sacrament of priesthood and sacrament of marriage. It is a liberal trend that has been around since I was 16, and probably started creeping in even before that. Parishes and confirmation instructors need to step back and realize that we are talking about a soul who simply wants to be confirmed, we are not talking about parish confirmation numbers, or who has the best program around, and mandating retreats or anything else people want to dream up in their mind, because none, and absolutley NONE of that is required by the Canon law or Catechism no matter what a parish states or even the diocese states. The diocese, by the way, can only provide “guidelines” on how preparation could be done. Guidelines are not laws, only guides or suggestions. Even the diocese cannot go against the Canon law.
Gods blessings to all who will read this information now and in the future.

part of the rite of confirmation is the presentation of candidates to the bishop, by the pastor. He affirms in the words of this rite that the candidates have been prepared and are properly disposed for the sacrament. It would be ideal if the pastor himself interviewed each candidate and took part in their formation so he can make that attestation of his own knowledge. Practically, it is the person he has designated, usually DRE or Confirmation coordinator who has been formally commissioned by the bishop in this ministry, who must attest to their readiness. We cannot do this if we have not had a part in the candidates’ preparation, have not had the opportunity to make sure they are using approved resources, have evaluated their learning, and had a chance to interview them and ascertain at least their surface desire for the sacrament. We are also obligated to follow the curriculum and other guidelines of the diocese–which at least in this diocese have the force of canon law–regarding retreats, service, and so forth.

If you do not like the way your parish is conducting sacramental preparation and CCD or PSR, I invite you parents especially who are knowledgeable enough to teach a confirmation class, to give the youth of the parish the benefit of your competence, rather than hoarding your time and talent in your own family.

there is a long and acrimonious thread on this topic that was recently revived
you can skip the entire last couple of pages since they are of course off topic.

The Eastern rite does not even deal with such nonsence. You stated:
“I invite you parents especially who are knowledgeable enough to teach a confirmation class, to give the youth of the parish the benefit of your competence, rather than hoarding your time and talent in your own family.” Again, I invite people to educate themselves by reading the catechism, the canon law on confirmation, and pope encyclicals…

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