People who aren't believers being Confirmed?


#1

I’m 15 and am unsure about whether or not this is the right place to ask this question. Anyway, my parents are both Catholic: my father is a cradle Catholic and my mother converted when she married him. I don’t believe in Catholicism, but I have no problem with it. I’m supposed to get Confirmed in a few months and have told my parents that I do not want to be Confirmed as I don’t believe in the sacrament. My mother said that she had her issues but to go along with it anyway, which I may do, but I don’t really want to. My father became very angry and believes I don’t want to be Confirmed for attention, even though I gave him specific examples of Catholic beliefs I don’t have (like Transubstantion and Reconciliation among other things.) My dad thinks that music/culture is making me not believe in the Church and has jumped to the conclusion that I’m atheist (I’m not by the way). It’s extremely ironic that at the church, the Confirmation people all say that Confirmation is supposed to be your sacrament, not something that you should go through with if you don’t believe. I heard one of the people also say that receiving Confirmation without believing is a mortal sin, is this true? I apologize that this is so long, but I’d like to hear what Catholics would have to say on this. Thank you in advance.


#2

[quote="Master04465, post:1, topic:305946"]
I'm 15 and am unsure about whether or not this is the right place to ask this question. Anyway, my parents are both Catholic: my father is a cradle Catholic and my mother converted when she married him. I don't believe in Catholicism, but I have no problem with it. I'm supposed to get Confirmed in a few months and have told my parents that I do not want to be Confirmed as I don't believe in the sacrament. My mother said that she had her issues but to go along with it anyway, which I may do, but I don't really want to. My father became very angry and believes I don't want to be Confirmed for attention, even though I gave him specific examples of Catholic beliefs I don't have (like Transubstantion and Reconciliation among other things.) My dad thinks that music/culture is making me not believe in the Church and has jumped to the conclusion that I'm atheist (I'm not by the way). It's extremely ironic that at the church, the Confirmation people all say that Confirmation is supposed to be your sacrament, not something that you should go through with if you don't believe. I heard one of the people also say that receiving Confirmation without believing is a mortal sin, is this true? I apologize that this is so long, but I'd like to hear what Catholics would have to say on this. Thank you in advance.

[/quote]

Thank-you for your honesty. You really need to speak to your religious ed director as well as the priest and maybe all of you can sit down together and discuss maybe a delay in the confirmation. You eventually will have to have an interview with the priest. (at least my kids did) before the final confirmation. I am sorry you don't believe and will pray for you.


#3

Master, no one should be coerced or forced into being confirmed. You are right to understand that you should not be confirmed as long as you have the reservations you have stated. You didn’t mention it, but are you in confirmation classes? Have you talked to your parish priest about your reservations and your need for more time? I strongly second the recommendation that you and your parents get together with your priest and religious education director.

I do hope that you keep an open mind and continue to learn about the faith. Some things just take time- belief in transsubstantiation, for example, is de fide for Catholics.However I’ve come to the realization that although it requires faith, at the same time it is not contradicted by science. Science is far from being able to explain everything and those who have faith that science will eventually be able to explain everything are going on…faith. I think that Reconciliation also takes faith. One must come to believe that the priest really is capable, acting in persona Christi, of giving us absolution from our sins. I now know that Reconcilation is grounded in Scripture, and I believe it really does have sacramental healing power. When coupled with spiritual direction, it can and should be transformative. (If nothing else, it is far less expensive than psychoanalysis!).

I’m trained in the sciences, and in logic, so I personally have had a hard time with “blind faith.” However, I have learned that the Catholic faith is at heart highly logical- it is grounded in faith, but also philosophically grounded in the thought of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. If you are interested in learning more about the philosophical grounding of the Catholic faith, I recommend works by Scott Hahn and Peter Kreeft. They aren’t easy, but are much easier than reading Aristotle or Aquinas. Kreeft does a particularly great job in explaining the arguments made by Aquinas for the existence of God while Hahn is a great apologist for the dogma of the Catholic faith, including transsubstantiation.

Please get your parents together with your priest and religious ed director.
Praying for you- good luck!


#4

i can understand where you are coming from. when i was 15 i was told i had to be confirmed in the episcopal church. i hadn’t even been attending church regularly and had many questions. i wanted to know more about the Catholic church as i had always felt very Catholic. i was only baptized in the episcopal church because my father was a non-practicing catholic and my mother a non-practicing lutheran and they couldn’t convert to one another’s faith so they both became episcopalians so i would have a church to be baptized in. i do know after i was confirmed, i do feel it made a mark on me and i tried to make a commitment to being a confirmed christian. in my household there was not much encouragement to attend church or religious instruction. i had my Book of Common prayer which meant a lot to me and i had a yearning to learn more.
there was a part of me that wanted to rebel at the age of 15 as i was beginning to become an adult. i think i wanted to sin and felt that being confirmed would limit some things i wanted to do. this was in the 1960’s when liberalism was taking over. i think it was good that i was confirmed - i might have done some bad things back then and got into a lot of trouble. anyhow, i don’t know if this makes sense. part of me thinks you should wait until you are ready and understand what it means to be Catholic and another part thinks you should go ahead and be confirmed and learn to grow in your faith. i think it is a good idea to meet with your priest and your religious director and talk with them about your thoughts.


#5

You need to believe to be confirmed, but I think there is a common misunderstanding about what belief is and what faith is. Bishop Fulton Sheen said that

“faith is the acceptance of a truth based on the authority of God’s revelation.”

Every time you think there is something you don’t believe, remember that quote. Maybe you don’t believe in the authority of the Pope. To have faith is to accept the truth of the Pope’s authority because God revealed it to us through Jesus Christ. You might always have some lingering doubts, but as long as you accept the truth, you will always be in good shape and there should be no barrier to your confirmation.

But if you plan on being confirmed but have no intention of becoming a practicing Catholic then you should have a long talk with your priest first.


#6

Your parents have a right to require you to attend religious education classes, but when it comes to the sacraments, anyone over the age of reason (about seven years old) must demonstrate in some way that they have an adequate understanding of the sacraments, and belief, before receiving them. You may not be an adult legally, but in the eyes of the Church, you are an adult in faith.

Because you are already baptized, you have a responsibility to learn about the faith. Please attend your Confirmation classes with an open mind, ask questions, pray, and learn. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and openness to what is true. You are a Catholic Christian -- I hope you see the classes as an opportunity to learn more about the faith you seem to want to reject.

But be honest with your Confirmation teacher and pastor, and do not receive the sacrament of Confirmation until you can assent to the faith.


#7

[quote="Master04465, post:1, topic:305946"]
I'm 15 and am unsure about whether or not this is the right place to ask this question. Anyway, my parents are both Catholic: my father is a cradle Catholic and my mother converted when she married him. I don't believe in Catholicism, but I have no problem with it. I'm supposed to get Confirmed in a few months and have told my parents that I do not want to be Confirmed as I don't believe in the sacrament. My mother said that she had her issues but to go along with it anyway, which I may do, but I don't really want to. My father became very angry and believes I don't want to be Confirmed for attention, even though I gave him specific examples of Catholic beliefs I don't have (like Transubstantion and Reconciliation among other things.) My dad thinks that music/culture is making me not believe in the Church and has jumped to the conclusion that I'm atheist (I'm not by the way). It's extremely ironic that at the church, the Confirmation people all say that Confirmation is supposed to be your sacrament, not something that you should go through with if you don't believe. I heard one of the people also say that receiving Confirmation without believing is a mortal sin, is this true? I apologize that this is so long, but I'd like to hear what Catholics would have to say on this. Thank you in advance.

[/quote]

I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but I'd bet that a significant percentage of confirmation-age kids don't believe everything the Church teaches. Most of them get confirmed anyway. I know I did - as did most of my classmates.

In my opinion, the OP is to be admired for his/her honesty.


#8

An adult (that is, a person past the age of reason) must intend to receive the sacrament, through a positive act of the will, for the sacrament to be valid. A teenager who wills not to be confirmed will not be validly confirmed, regardless of the actions that any minister might take. This makes sense if you understand that no adult is justified and saved without his free-will consent.

Canon 889:
§1 Every baptised person who is not confirmed, and only such a person, is capable of receiving confirmation.

§2 Apart from the danger of death, to receive confirmation lawfully a person who has the use of reason must be suitably instructed, properly disposed and able to renew the baptismal promises.

Properly disposed indicates that the person wills reception of the sacrament.


#9

For the OP: you owe your parents the obedience of attending religious education. As a person becoming a young adult, you also should approach that religious education with a open mind and many questions. I would hope that you can get your questions about confession and transubstantiation addressed and resolved. Have you talked one-on-one with the pastor about these questions? I'm a catechist, teaching teens about your age, and it's a testament to your seriousness that you have questions about deep theological issues. But don't you think that you've investigated Catholicism only shallowly to have made a final decision, such as you indicate with the statement, "I don't believe in Catholicism?" As an intelligent young person, surely you owe a serious subject more serious research and investigation!

If you don't want to be confirmed, you should not approach the minister for confirmation. If you don't will the reception of the sacrament, the sacrament is invalid. However, if parents "force" you (by pressure, threats, etc.) to "be confirmed," you will not be committing any sin by doing what your parents tell you to do. As a minor, you have less control over your actions, especially when obeying your parents.

I think you should get this resolved before any possible confrontation at the Confirmation Mass. Talk to your pastor one-on-one about your unwillingness to be confirmed, should that persist. The pastor should then talk to your parents. Our pastor is very good about this and very firm with parents should the teen decide not to be confirmed. By the way, most of those teens come back within a year or two, seeking confirmation on their own.


#10

On the one hand at age 15, you are supposed to still obey your parents. On the other hand, the Church really is making a conscience effort to not give Sacraments to people who just think it’s there for Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and Marriage like those are some kind of ceremonial rights for anyone.

It isn’t.

As FaithDancer noted, you need to talk to the priest about this in a private meeting.

-While your direct honesty is appreciated, I would encourage you to keep an open mind about the Catholic faith. It is founded solidly in Scripture and natural law. :thumbsup:


#11

I would encourage you to have a heart to heart type of conversation with your priest whether you feel more secure in the confessional or away from it is up to you. Don't be afraid because he will have heard all different kinds of worries and hopefully will listen to you and guide you to what is right for you. Some priests are really good listeners and know how to guide us through

Having issues and not believing are different because your mother may wel believe in God but could have different ideas about what the Church may be teaching. That doesn't make her a non believer. If she believes in God then she is a believer. Its whether she accepts the Roman Catholic way of thinking about things that is her issues but rest be assured if she believes in God then she is a believer. Its whether she is practising the Roman Catholi Way of doing things is at question when she receives the Roman Catholic Communion but try not to focus on that and leave her to work that through with God and the Priest and your dad even. You have to work out what is right for you and the priest hopefully will be experienced enough to help you do just that, work out what is right for you and help you explore the questions you have. Write them down and give them to him when you meet so that you get it all out to him. But please, don't be afraid to ask your priest for a time to discuss this and seperately from your family because you need your own way of exploring your doubt. You may in time have to inform your family if you are not going through with confirmation but ask your priest to help you there too because they can and will know how to help you and your family deal with that if it arises. Don't be afraid, Priests are our friends, our best friend when we need someone to listen and he needs you to say to him if something is wrong because he can't guess. But he can help you explore and guide you exploring the questions you have:)

peace
xxx


#12

Please speak to your priest or deacon. You don't necessarily have to have your parents at this meeting if you don't want. Your doubts and concerns are valid and should be taken seriously.

Remember though, that Confirmation confirms the graces of Baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in you. As you pray abou this and talk to your parents, teacher, and priest, you may find that you want to have the grace of God confirmed in you.


#13

This is probably true, and it keeps the succession of ‘cultural Catholicism’ thriving. :frowning:


#14

As someone who is teaching Confirmation class, we do not FORCE teens to receive the Sacrament. We do insist they follow their parents wishes and attend class and hence are responsible for accountability if their parents drop them off their and put them under our care. We are responsible for answering questions and imparting information. Take advantage of this and ask these questions. If you have them someone else might too. Just be respectful. It is an opportunity to learn in an adult manner. God bless you. And no, I don’t think less of you.


#15

[quote="Master04465, post:1, topic:305946"]
I'm 15 and am unsure about whether or not this is the right place to ask this question. Anyway, my parents are both Catholic: my father is a cradle Catholic and my mother converted when she married him. I don't believe in Catholicism, but I have no problem with it. I'm supposed to get Confirmed in a few months and have told my parents that I do not want to be Confirmed as I don't believe in the sacrament. My mother said that she had her issues but to go along with it anyway, which I may do, but I don't really want to. My father became very angry and believes I don't want to be Confirmed for attention, even though I gave him specific examples of Catholic beliefs I don't have (like Transubstantion and Reconciliation among other things.) My dad thinks that music/culture is making me not believe in the Church and has jumped to the conclusion that I'm atheist (I'm not by the way). It's extremely ironic that at the church, the Confirmation people all say that Confirmation is supposed to be your sacrament, not something that you should go through with if you don't believe. I heard one of the people also say that receiving Confirmation without believing is a mortal sin, is this true? I apologize that this is so long, but I'd like to hear what Catholics would have to say on this. Thank you in advance.

[/quote]

Hello Master

I refused to get confirmed when I was 15. I came back to the Church when I was 30. I now teach Religious Education.
There is no need to do it if you don't really feel it.
Better to wait.


#16

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