Sacraments before Confirmation--Confusion!


#1

Can someone help me with this?

I understand that at the age of six (I believe), Catholic children are allowed to begin receiving the Holy Eucharist. I also know that most of my Catholic friends have gone to confession at some point in time, even though they’re not yet confirmed. What’s up? I for my part, being a convert from the Baptist faith, can do neither. I’ve known this and have respected Holy Mother Church’s rulings in these areas, but it perplexes me. Why must I be confirmed before receiving or confessing?

What’s more, how does one obtain absolution outside of the sacrament of reconciliation? Private confession?


#2

Confirmation isn’t a requirement for either Confession or Eucharist–only a valid baptism and reception into the Church. Possibly you have been confused by the Anglican Church, which requires Confirmation before First Communion. Double check with your priest, but it sounds as though Confession and Eucharist both may be available to you right now.

There is no absolution outside of the Sacrament of Reconciliation–confession is a requirement before absolution can be granted. I think you may be talking of a scheduled confession to a priest outside of the regular hours set by the parish. To do this, just make an appointment through the parish office, then you can make a normal confession and receive absolution at the scheduled time…


#3

What does “reception into the Church” mean?

My mother (a Baptist) doesn’t want me to be confirmed.

I didn’t think sacramental absolution could be given to someone before being confirmed. I’ll look into it …


#4

When an adult is received into the Catholic Church they receive all the Sacraments at the same time - Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion - at the Easter Vigil.

If they have already been baptized elsewhere they will go to Confession shortly before the rite at which they are confirmed and receive First Communion. While it is not necessary that they wait for the Easter Vigil, they must be properly prepared and instructed in the Catholic meaning of the Sacraments. However due to manpower limitations this usually means that they must participate in the RCIA classes with the unbaptized and receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil.


#5

I know Catholic dogma very, very well. I almost feel like , even at my current age, I could ace a few theology classes! But knowing the Church had certain perameters concerning reception of the Holy Eucharist, I never did take it. I prayed, later did a spiritual Communion, and sometimes went up for blessings.

I’ve never been to confession, either. I was told by Father that as an uncatechized person, I could not “technically” receive the Sacraments, and that my desire would suffice.

I looked over the 8th grade book they use to teach Catechism and … well, it was so basic that I found myself loathing it for its one-dimensional nature! A deacon even told me that he felt that, upon receiving my mother’s approval, I could be instantly Confirmed. I liked this idea … but … it felt like cheating. Besides that, I STILL haven’t gotten her approval. I want to go through *some *kind of instruction process, but it all seems so elementry at this point that I don’t really know what to do … I don’t mean to sound proud, and I’m not trying make so bold an assertion that I could not get anything out of the class, it’s just … I don’t know.

Anyhoo, at this point, I’m even more confused. I feel like I should go through* something* before being received into the Church, but I don’t know what. At this point, the Sacraments seem so very far away–almost unreachable–and it frustrates me, having them so near.

What course of action have I, for it sounds as though I still can’t receive?


#6

You can’t receive the sacraments until you are received into the church. Being received into the Church means making a profession of faith (“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God”) at Sunday Mass. You would then be confirmed and receive Communion when the congregation does. (Shortly before this day you will go to confession.)

I’m not sure how old you are so I don’t know where your mother’s approval fits into all of this.

For an adult, Confirmation and First Eucharist are received at the same time.


#7

You don’t say what your age is (unless I missed it), and if you’re an older teen or adult, normally you would have to go through RCIA just like everyone else, unless you have some extenuating circumstance. You should “go through someting before being received into the Church.”

To be honest, while you may understand a few things about the Faith, you are exhibiting some mixed signals about the requirements to receive the Sacraments. Also, you should not be too proud to go through the paces with other people who you think are not as advanced in knowledge as you…most adults who begin RCIA have some sort of discernment process that they’ve already begun as well. Anyway, RCIA is not about accumulating as many facts about the Church as possible; rather, it’s about deepening your relationship with God by being accepted in the Church. You are making a conscious decision to walk with God in the Catholic Christian tradition. Additionally, part of being Catholic also includes submitting to the authority of the Church’s tenets. To be a good Catholic, you have to be humble enough to follow the rules.

Remember that Jesus was never all that impressed with people who could spout Scripture and Jewish law without love. In fact, I would encourage you to read through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) to see what Jesus’ values are really all about. Sometimes being accompanied on the journey with simple, unassuming people is the best lesson you could ever learn. Simple people are often given an abundant blessing of love without pretense! They have so much to teach us! Jesus wants humility and a heart full of love from us, not a brain full of facts.

As Paul says to the Corinthians: “…And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:2)

Why not bring your mother along to the RCIA classes? Or why not have her speak to a deacon or priest about her misgivings about the Faith? If you can put this in terms of the similarities between Baptists and Catholics (normally an oxymoron, I know!), then perhaps she will feel better about it.

Last year, when I was teaching RCIA, we used the new Catechism developed by the US Council of Bishops. It’s very readable, and I would even suggest that you give it to your mother to answer any questions you have about the process. You can get it here: usccbpublishing.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=5-450

I pray that you will not have to come to an impasse with your mother, but as Jesus told us in last Sunday’s Gospel, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple,” and also "In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-33).

What He says to us is that sometimes we have to make some really serious decisions when it comes to following Him. He is not suggesting that you actually hate your mother; rather, he is saying that in order to follow him you will need to make what seem to be rash decisions and possibly even have to shake off your mother’s immediate protection.

I will pray for you!


#8

I was involved in RCIA, and we had a family of 4 (mother, father, and 2 children) received into the Church on Easter Vigil 2004. The daughter was 4 years old, so she received only the sacrament of Baptism. The son was 9 years old, so he received Baptism and Holy Communion. For him, Confirmation would come later since he was still quite young. The parents received Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion.

I’m not sure at what stage you are regarding your conversion or what age you are. Usually Catholics are confirmed in the 8th grade (14 years old). If you are around or under 14 years old and have been Baptized and received into the Catholic Church, there’s no reason I can think of why you can’t receive Communion and go to Confession. At least that’s what the priest did at my Church, and he was a canon lawyer.


#9

You don’t say what your age is (unless I missed it),

I’m 13, by the way.

you should not be too proud to go through the paces with other people who you think are not as advanced in knowledge as you…

I decided a while ago that I’d go through Catechism even if presented with the option, for the same reasons you mentioned–humility, protocol, experience, etc.

Why not bring your mother along to the RCIA classes? Or why not have her speak to a deacon or priest about her misgivings about the Faith? If you can put this in terms of the similarities between Baptists and Catholics (normally an oxymoron, I know!), then perhaps she will feel better about it.

Not an oxymoron at all! We have many tenants in common–sixty-six books, two creeds, and one Lord, to be precise! But I’m sorry to say my mother isn’t very open to the Faith. I think right now it’s best I leave a silent testimony and let God do the talking.

in order to follow him you will need to make what seem to be rash decisions and possibly even have to shake off your mother’s immediate protection.

Maybe. But I also recall “honor your father and mother,” and doing so means honoring God through my obedience to her wishes. Hopefully, she’ll come to understand, even a little bit. I get the feeling she’ll let my undergo classes before I’m 18, but I never know. I hope … Till then, I must strive to live out my newfound Faith with true devotion.


#10

OP should discuss her personal situation with her priest, or the person who is directing her preparation for reception into full communion with the Catholic Church. Ordinarily, in the Latin Rite, children are baptized as infants, and prepared for first communion (preceded by first confession) and confirmation any time after they reach catechetical age (usually 7) until age 18. The actual age is determined by the bishop of the diocese.

Adults (anyone over catechetical age, usually 7 for this purpose) who are not baptized are prepared and received into the Catholic Church through the RCIA Rites of Christian Initiation, receiving baptism, confirmation and first communion, in that order, at the Easter Vigil (or another time if there is a grave pastoral reason). There are prepared for and make first confession during the period of mystagogy, the next few months, after Easter.

Adults (7 and up) who have validly baptized in another Christian denomination are prepared for profession of faith, first communion and confirmation, at the time set by the bishop (sometimes at the same time in their parish, but sometimes the bishop reserves confirmation to himself and it is done a bit later). They must first make a general confession of all sins of their past life. They should do this as soon as they have been properly prepared and understand the sacrament, and at the occasion prescribed by the pastor.

A minor must have permission of at least one parent for baptism, and by extension the other sacraments. If the parent is actively opposed, the minor should seek advice from their priest, but ordinarily will have to make the sacrifice of waiting until age 18, out of deference and respect owed to the parents (in all things except sin).

the forum for discussing the sacraments per se is the liturgy and sacraments forum, and the place for discussing RCIA, CCD and the like is the evangelization forum.


#11

Good points and well stated. Thank you.


#12

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