Should the Confirmation age be lowered?


#1

The age of reason for Confirmation varies from diocese. In some dioceses, people are Confirmed at age 18. Others, at age 8. Should the Western Church return to the practice of Confirming babies, or should we just have children Confirmed before they receive their First Communion at age 7-8? Or, is the practice just fine the way it is?

Children, in my opinion, should receive Confirmation when they turn the age of reason, so they have the ability to better resist temptation for sins they are now culpable for.

You opinions, please?

God bless you. :blessyou:


#2

I know it is completely unsound from a theological point of view. However, I still prefer to have confirmation at a later age (16 - 19).

Why? Because many teens/young adults are at a point in their lives where they are looking for identity - and it is satisfies a human need to have a public formal ceremony where they are “recognized” as adults in their Church community having chosen for themselves to continue to be part of the Catholic Church.

Yes - I know that doesn’t match with the theology behind the sacrament - however, here, that’s what it has become. Personally, would have no problem with confirmation earlier …but would still like to see some kind of ceremony then created to fill the need for a religious ceremony to mark their movement into adulthood and their full acceptance of Catholic teaching of their own accord.

As a society we’ve lost much of the rituals and rites (most non-religious) that mark passages from one stage of life to another. Two wheelers are now available for toddlers, heels are worn by 8 year olds, and the length of one’s pants or skirts indicate only fashion - not age. :frowning:


#3

[quote="CradleJourney, post:2, topic:333870"]
I know it is completely unsound from a theological point of view. However, I still prefer to have confirmation at a later age (16 - 19).

Why? Because many teens/young adults are at a point in their lives where they are looking for identity - and it is satisfies a human need to have a public formal ceremony where they are "recognized" as adults in their Church community having chosen for themselves to continue to be part of the Catholic Church.

Yes - I know that doesn't match with the theology behind the sacrament - however, here, that's what it has become. Personally, would have no problem with confirmation earlier ...but would still like to see some kind of ceremony then created to fill the need for a religious ceremony to mark their movement into adulthood and their full acceptance of Catholic teaching of their own accord.

As a society we've lost much of the rituals and rites (most non-religious) that mark passages from one stage of life to another. Two wheelers are now available for toddlers, heels are worn by 8 year olds, and the length of one's pants or skirts indicate only fashion - not age. :(

[/quote]

The sacraments are not a mark of maturity, or graduation into adulthood. I know you said that your reasons were not theologically correct, just had to restate it. Each time a person, young adult, gets up, attends Mass on Sunday, s/he demonstrating their acceptance of the Catholic teaching. This is why, imo, it needs to go back to before 1st communion. Graduation Mass is a great way to honor the older kids who have made it through and special blessings before going to college. I personally think we need to ween the kids getting used to them being honored at Mass. As parents, we can shower them with our praise and that should be enough, right?


#4

I’m inclined to agree with you. I remember when I was confirmed, I had to study very hard and have a certain number of community service hours for the class I was in. It was a very big deal. It was the point at which I realized that this is for me - not just what my parents had told me - but it was what ***I ***believed.


#5

Well, I always had some sort of memory of being confirmed while in 7 or 8 grade. I can clearly remember some important service where there was a Bishop in the church associated with my grammar school. But when I needed a certificate of Confirmation, much to my amazement I discovered I had been confirmed at the same time and in the same service as receiving First Holy Communion! (Weird how memories can trick us sometimes.) I was 7 years old (started first grade at age 5-1/2). How could I possibly have understood the significance of Confirmation? Not possible. I think a person should be of reasonable maturity: same age as bar/bat mitzvah: 12. Then it would have some true meaning, a little bit more sense of responsibility for one’s actions, and a lot more understanding of the faith.


#6

I wish we could choose more than one answer in the poll. I think we should go back to the oldest tradition in the church of baptism, confirmation and eucharist from birth with confession starting at the age of reason.


#7

Confirmation is wrongly understood by some to mean that the person is confirming their Baptismal promises and therefore it should be done at a time when the person is old enough to understand and make this choice.

This is not what it is. Confirmation is one way, it is a gift from the Holy Spirit.If we Baptise infants, then there is no reason why we shouldn't Confirm infants straight after Baptism.

I think we should do it all at once,.Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion, when the child is an infant. It's not about informed choice, its about receiving gifts from God. That way we would not run the risk of losing people who miss Confirmation as teenagers. It would also have the added benefit of doing away with all the ghastly fuss over Holy Communion dresses and all that entails.


#8

None of the above.

For infants, baptism and confirmation together, Eucharist at the age of reason (with reconciliation before first communion)


#9

[quote="Brendan_64, post:7, topic:333870"]
This is not what it is. Confirmation is one way, it is a gift from the Holy Spirit.If we Baptise infants, then there is no reason why we shouldn't Confirm infants straight after Baptism.

[/quote]

There is a reason, and that is because the bishop is the Ordinary Minister of Confirmation in the Latin Church, it would be extremely inefficient for bishops to go around confirming one baby at a time, or to delegate this faculty to priests so often that the significance of "ordinary" is lost.


#10

[quote="coachdennis, post:8, topic:333870"]
None of the above.

For infants, baptism and confirmation together, Eucharist at the age of reason (with reconciliation before first communion)

[/quote]

The OP didn't ask about Eucharist.

Since you brought it up, however, my personal opinion that small children need to be both strengthened by Confirmation and fed with the Eucharist, according to the ancient practice.

Sadly, I think much cleansing is necessary before we can approach that.

Since the Latin practice is to connect Confirmation with the Bishop, we would need either many more bishops, many fewer Catholics or a shift in sacramental theology to attain this.


#11

In my diocese the age is 5th grade, which I think is perfect (maybe I’m biased cause I was confirmed at that age). I also liked the idea of choosing my own saint’s name. I think 18 is too old (how many teens abandon the faith when they go to college?) My oldest niece will be confirmed this coming school year in 8th grade.


#12

They should delegate the authority to confirm. The receiving of these gifts from God is more important than delaying Confirmation just so that the Bishop can do it personally. It’s not about the Bishop.


#13

I would go along with this.

Unfortunately, the way we have separated baptism and confirmation has completely distorted the meaning the latter sacrament. People see it as some kind of statement of faith (“Now I am an adult and assuming this for myself”) or a final test before “graduation” from religious education (with community service requirements and retreat requirements). It also becomes a tool for teens to rebel and assert their independence (“You can’t make me get confirmed!”).

I think Eastern Catholics have it right.

Confirming babies would make it clear that faith formation doesn’t end with confirmation but is a lifetime project. It would give children and teens the graces they need in life.


#14

:thumbsup: Totally agree.

I do think if we wait for Confirmation until 6th - 9th grade, so “they can make the choice themselves,” (which we shouldn’t do) we should stop fooling ourselves, and wait until they are adults. Most 6th -9th grade teens aren’t making decisions on their own.


#15

[quote="Elizium23, post:9, topic:333870"]
There is a reason, and that is because the bishop is the Ordinary Minister of Confirmation in the Latin Church, it would be extremely inefficient for bishops to go around confirming one baby at a time, or to delegate this faculty to priests so often that the significance of "ordinary" is lost.

[/quote]

In the Byzantine tradition, this is represented through the chrism. The chrism is consecrated by the bishop.

Originally, confirmation was done by the Apostles laying their hands on Christians. But, as Christianity grew, the Apostles couldn't do all the confirmations needed. So, they represented their presence through chrism they consecrated.


#16

It is conceivable that those to be confirmed could be gathered into groups and each parish visited once per year, much like is done now, except mostly for infants who have been newly baptized. This could be done by the bishop, his auxiliaries, and the Vicar General, without losing too much significance of the ordinary minister. Would that be acceptable to you?


#17

I voted to raise the age and I'll tell you why. I don't even remember at what age I was confirmed, and with both parents gone, I don't know how I could find out. But it doesn't matter.

The reason it doesn't matter is because whatever age it was, I was too young to know what was going on. I remember it being a day of stress and turmoil, because my parents were fighting about something. I don't recall what it was, but I think it had to do with me being confirmed and my father had to come to church. He didn't like church and he seemed to believe God was only for women and sissies. All I understood was I had to choose a confirmation name, and I choose his name. I think that's what the fight was about. So I had a cousin with the same 1st name as my father, and I seem to remember that cousin coming to church with us.

The point is I didn't understand what confirmation was about, and that's why I favor raising the age. Confirmation also meant I didn't have to attend any religious education classes anymore. Maybe that's 1 reason at 18 I decided God didn't exist. I then spent the next 10 years thinking I was an atheist. But I always thought of God. At about 27 years old God started to call me, and at 28 I started reading the Bible. At 30 I officially accepted Jesus as Lord and savior of my life. But I could never find a church I felt at home in. So now, at almost 61 years old, I'm trying to learn about Catholicism. Almost all protestants claim they are following the Bible, and they believe the Bible, but very few do what it says. In fact many think what they do means nothing, only what they believe counts. That's not Biblical, although they think it is.

We all sin, and everyday. But Catholics believe sins can keep them out of Heaven or at least in purgatory a very long time. But protestants think all past, present, and future sins are automatically forgiven the moment they accepted Jesus. That's a lovely idea, and I hope it's true. But it isn't exactly what the Bible says. So I'm finally looking into what Catholicism says. But maybe I would know already if Confirmation was at an older age.


#18

I think Confirmation should take place the same year as graduation from high school. This allows for continued catechesis and proper formation in the Catholic faith. Confirm to early and the learning stops. Look at the state of the American Catholic Church and you can tell I’m correct in this.


#19

[quote="maryjk, post:14, topic:333870"]
I do think if we wait for Confirmation until 6th - 9th grade, so "they can make the choice themselves," (which we shouldn't do) we should stop fooling ourselves, and wait until they are adults. Most 6th -9th grade teens aren't making decisions on their own.

[/quote]

They're not making any choice anyway. They've been baptized which means they're still Catholic. Skipping confirmation doesn't take away their Catholicism any more than skipping elections when they are older would take away their citizenship. It simply means they are not fully initiated Catholics and there's no benefit to that.


#20

Then we need a shift in attitude about catechesis. We need to impart that learning about the faith is a lifelong process of growth and education. Maybe we should start with the adults instead of the children. If we have strong adult catechesis in place and promote a culture of lifelong learning, maybe we will all get away from the idea that confirmation at any age means an end to catechesis.

In my Byzantine church, babies are confirmed and receive their first Communion at Baptism. Catechesis is ongoing throughout childhood and the teen years. We see teens drop out at around the same time that kids are confirmed in the Latin Rite. I don’t think it has so much to do with the age at Confirmation, but that they (and their parents) have come to believe that the competing interests of friends, sports, etc. are more important than learning about the faith.


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