Sacrament of Confirmation Denied to My Son.

The Sacrament of Confirmation has been denied to my son and I need to know if it is legal. The reason why it was denied is because I teach my children the faith at home. The books that I use are approved by our diocese and the USCCB. I have been teaching my children for 5 years now and my priest has always supported this. When it came time for my son to receive Confirmation the DRE denied it to my son saying that because he was not in a parish faith formation program he cannot receive Confirmation. I suggested that she test my son’s knowledge so that she knows he has been well taught in the faith. She refused saying that she did not have time to test every child that comes to her for Sacraments. On a side note: the parish does not test any of the children to see if they are ready. They need only meet the required number of attendance days.

I spoke to my priest about it and originally he sided with me until he had a private conversation with his DRE and now he is supporting her.

Based on this are they allowed to deny my son Confirmation? Needless to say this has been quite painful to our family.
Thanks in advance for your input.

St. Monica

The Pastor always has a say in readiness for the reception of the Sacraments. however the Bishop is THE minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation in his diocese and is the last word in the celebration of any Sacraments outside of necessity in his diocese. So speak with the pastor again. Obtain the written guidelines from the diocese regarding “home schooling” for Sacramental preparation, make sure that you have met them. If so contact the Director of Faith Formation at the diocese for help in how to proceed. Then write the Bishop explaining all that you have done and who you have spoken with and their responses.

the sacrament may not be denied to anyone who is properly prepared and worthily disposed, and of the age decided by the bishop. the bishop of the diocese decides what constitutes proper preparation and disposition. Your DRE has been appointed by her pastor and commissioned by her bishop to assure that all those admitted to confirmation in your parish meet those requirements.

She has to stand up in front of the pastor and bishop and assure him those requirements have been met. that is a serious responsibility. She has, with the guidance of the bishop and his agents, come up with a preparation program that does meet the guidelines, and realistically has no way of judging the preparation of a candidate she does not know, and whose preparation she has not overseen.

that being said, the DRE does NOT decide who is not confirmed, ONLY the pastor may make that determination, and in any case the sacrament is NOT denied, but it may be delayed, while preparation and disposition are discerned.

here we work with homeschoolers and come up with ways to assess preparedness and discern disposition. In this case you should first request that she give your child the same test others in the program undertake. If there are parent candidate meetings required by the diocese, your family should also attend, the same with service, retreat and other requirements. If the DRE is not cooperative call for an appointment with the pastor.

if the pastor is still unhelpful, do as Bro suggests and get the guidelines from the diocese and ask his help in complying with the guidelines.

The parish doesn’t test any of the children. That is not part of the faith formation program. As I said before the only requirement is attendance.

The DRE does know me and my family as I volunteered in the parish office for the past 2 1/2 years posting contributions, making the deposit, and doing all their A/P work.

I have tried their programs and that’s why I do not want to be a part of them. My eldest son was taught in one class that the Catholic Church didn’t begin until the 1600s. The facilitator of another class said that she didn’t believe in infant Baptism and that Confession wasn’t needed. You only need to fall on your face before God.

Our parish uses the cluster system where the parents are grouped together and they teach the children based on a book that is given to them. I know first hand the number of errors that are taught in the program. I have brought them to the DRE and my priest and explained that because there is no over sight on what is taught at these classes I cannot in good faith particiapte in them.

Am I wrong?

St. Monica

No your not wrong. Parents are the frist and proper teachers of the faith to their children. Do you have a copy of the “Home school requirements for Sacramental preparation” and have you followed them? If not that is your first step, get them from your pastor, read them and make an appointment to meet with him.


Technically, the only requirement for Confirmation is that the person has been baptized and (if the person is able to reason) wants to be a Catholic. It is highly recommended that persons able to reason be catechized for a period of time before receiving this Sacrament, but it is not actually a legal requirement of the Church.

If I were you, I would go to the Bishop and ask what your alternatives are. Mention to him that you have been catechizing your son at home, and that he has expressed a desire to be Confirmed in the Church.

It’s funny…I called the diocese for help and they never mentioned the “Home School” requirements. They said that they must support the priest.

I will call again and specifically ask for them. We also have a new bishop and will soon get a new priest.

Thanks for your advice.

This happened to my twins for their 1st communion. We had moved from the east coast and had not found a parish that fit us for a full year (yes, we were going to church, just had not registered) so I continued their education at home, much the same way you are, with USCCB approved materials.

Fight this. I ended up having to speak to the Bishop (I also live in Texas), and they were given their sacrament right on schedule.

While fighting this, be prepared for all sorts of reasons to magically come up, ie. “they aren’t of age”, “they aren’t in the right grade”, etc.

My children were finally given a “verbal test” and we were told that they were far more prepared than most of the “parish approved” children.

What it comes down to is the Bishop. FYI - There are even parishes that have been known to baptize and confirm in infancy (even though I don’t support this particular path).

The Confirmation preparation program at our parish is a joke. There is not one thing, I repeat, one thing pertaining directly to Confirmation, its meaning, or the requirements of a confirmed Catholic. They color mandalas. They give away wash cloths and squeeze rocks. They listen to Disney channel songs. It is an absolute outrage.

This DRE on a power trip. Stand up for your rights.

I am trying to find appropriate resources to lead a Confirmation program this spring, and boy, it’s not easy.

I am probably going to be cutting and pasting elements from several different programs together, and then at the end, I’m using a retreat model from the Grade 8 curriculum.

I might use the Confirmation retreat for the seven year olds, when they go for their First Holy Communion retreat. :stuck_out_tongue:

Your son may very well be prepared to receive confirmation … that said, we are a Church, a community of believers … we are not individuals who can opt out of certain requirements, establishing our own norms …

If there is truly heresies being taught in the faith formation programs at your parish that is a serious charge … just pulling your child out to “home school” leaving other children to be victimized by bad theology is uncharitable and a violation of the Christian fiduciary duty - as it were …

You have a relationship forged by volunteering, why did you not bring these concerns to the pastor to be corrected? Why are you not volunteering to instruct with the Religious Education Team at your parish? If the parish is so bad why are you still a member, are there no orthodox parishes in your area?

Do you home school your child for all of his educational needs or just religion? Does your parish have a school? [elemntary or catholic? If every parent decied to “Home School” their conformandi, how would the Church logistically handle discernment for readiness?

Is head knowledge of catholic teachings all that makes one catholic? What about living your faith in community with others who are at different stages of the their faith journey? Does every 17 year old exhibit the same level of Christian maturity [or for that matter very 50 year old]? What message do you send you child about living in the diverse christian community? That they are somehow better, more mature, special, different?

Just some questions that your post brings to mind … I am ever conscious that we only have one side of the picture and only that information that is easily written [exlainable] without even going to the place where you question motives and thoroughness of the facts …

Perhaps you should reconsider having your child register and spend time with their fellow young christians, performing community service activities, and other the other aspects … I am sure you can handle the questions and correcting of any ‘bad’ instruction about catholic teaching, practices and faith …

Hang in there. I may need your advice in a couple of years.

Why is there all this fuss about poor catechesis on these forums then?

St. Monica is doing her best to stop the infection of poor catechesis from ruining her kids now.

I salute her for caring enough to get the job done right the first time. It is too difficult to “unlearn” improper teaching after confirmation.

Do remember that you will have “layers” that you will have to work through. You need to speak with the Diocesan Director and then with the Bishops Vicar or Aux. Bishop for your area, and then possibly with the Bishops secretary. Yes, call back and ask the office of Faith formation specifically for a written copy of the Home School Sacramental Preparation requirements.

It may very well take waiting for the new pastor.

Combining baptism, confirmation and first communion into one is the normative process in the Eastern Rite Churches in Union.

It is not now, and for centuries it has not been, normative in the Roman Church.

And there Are a lot of Eastern Rite Catholics (of a number of different sui iuris churchs) in the US, especially in Texas.

I guess I need to give more background information on my families participation in our parsh.

If we become anymore a part of the community at our church then we might as well live there.

My son is an altar server, attends weekly youth group, and up until a year ago when I had to go back to work, attended daily Mass with me every summer where he lectored at least twice a week. He began lectoring in the 4th grade and was told that he read better than many adults.

Prior to ging back to work, I was the Sacristan on Fridays for daily Mass and I lead the Liturgy of The Hours on Tuesdays.

I began Eucharistic Adoration in my parish 4 years ago and I always bring my children to Adoration.

I am a volunteer for St. Vincent de Paul and I bring my children to family visits when we are just delivering furniture.

For three years I taught the Sacramental Prep for First Eucharist and Reconciliation.

My husband is a member of the choir and the K of C…third degree, and is a member of the Rosary Society.

For three years my husband and I taught in the family cluster programs. We stayed that long knowing that we were the “Catholic voice” in the group. We asked for permission from the DRE and our priest to leave clusters based on the untruths that were taught. Were the taught intentionally? No, they were taught by parents who were never taught in the first place. Did the DRE or the pastor do anything or change anything about the program to make sure that the children received proper education that is due to them? No.

There are Catholic schools about an hour from our house that cost $12,000.00 per year to attend.

I never said that my parish was “bad.” They definately have to correct some things and I will not abandon my parish. I feel it is my responsibility to stay there and help guide the parish as it grows…always being aware that I could be the one who is wrong.

Hence my post for advice.

This may be of help. Although it concerns denying confirmation because of a age — in may still help your case.

And please — do all in your power to get those heretical people out of your parish. They are poison to the minds of those in their charge.

From the Congregation of Divine Worship
Taken from Notitiae,
Congregation of Divine Worship,
Nov.-Dec. 1999

The Congregation considers it useful to point out that it is the role of the parents as the primary educators of their children and then of the Sacred Pastors to see that candidates for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation are properly instructed to receive the Sacrament and come to it at the opportune time (cf. can. 890). Consequently, when a member of the faithful wishes to receive this Sacrament, even though not satisfying one or more elements of the local legislation (e.g., being younger than the designated age for administration of the Sacrament), those elements must give way to the fundamental right of the faithful to receive the Sacraments. Indeed, the longer the conferral of the Sacrament is delayed after the age of reason, the greater will be the number of candidates who are prepared for its reception but are deprived of its grace for a considerable period of time.

In conclusion, this Congregation for Divine Worship must insist, given the concrete circumstances of the case under consideration, that the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation be extended to the girl as soon as is conveniently possible.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Her child meets all of the Canon Law requirements for Confirmation. It is ridiculous that parish DREs mistakenly think they wield power over who may be confirmed.

In post #4 she states she did bring the errors to the attention of both the DRE and priest.

She has stated that their program does not do any “readiness” assessment at all.

But, to answer your question, every child could be given the same exam regardless of where they receive their religious education. This would be quite simple.

None of these things is a requirement for Confirmation.

And, no parent should subject their child to wrong teaching in the name of being sociable.

No, Monica, they cannot do this.

I would camp out on the Bishop’s doorstep until this was resolved.

Just to clarify…I have personally witnessed this practice in ROMAN churches in both Massachusettes and Pennsylvania in the last 10 years…so it does happen, though (as I stated before) I don’t necessarily support the practice.

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