Youth Confirmation...I really question it

As the Director of Catechetical Ministry at times I really question Youth Confirmation. Let us be honest here folks, most teens are attending classes because mom,dad,grandparents,etc are telling them they must be confirmed. This past March during our YC Retreat, I recall asking all the Confirmandi, if they were receiving the sacrament on their accord or because of their parents? Out of 90 students, only THREE told me they wanted to do it based on their own accord. I have noticed this for the past several years,hence my reasons for questioning YC Confirmation.

In other words, I am not a big supporter of it and never have been. I was confirmed as an infant and I favor the original order: baptism,confirmation and eucharist.

God Bless

Any thoughts?

I too was confirmed an infant. So is my son out of danger of death (he went into surgery at 5 days old and was baptized and confirmed in the hospital)

I’ve heard from some of the other Catechists in my diocese that they want to petition the Bishop to raise the age of Confirmation to force kids into class. Sad that we have to take the Sacraments hostage to force kids into class, but not that I totally disagree with it. I think long term it will benefit them. As a teen I too was disinterested in learning about my faith, but being in a Catholic school I learned anyway, and it helped set me on the right path later on.

I would love to go back to the traditional way of giving the Sacraments of Initiation. But at the same time I believe it is beneficial for kids to learn about the faith, whether they use it now or in the future.

Well the argument I receive from other Directors in favor of YC Confirmation:

1.They will remember it.

My counter-argument:

  1. Do you remember your baptism as an infant? Should we push for baptism at a later age? What about Eucharist?

At times the reasons sound to “Protestant” to me and not strictly based on our faith and church teachings.

I think the prime valid reason is that they want someone who receives confirmation to be aware and understanding of Church teaching. There is indeed some responsibility tied to being Confirmed and thus a proper education to prepare one for such a responsibility is a good idea. In an ideal world, we would have prepared for such a responsibility whether we were confirmed as an infant or as an adult. But as I mentioned in my post, its a sad reality that we have to “hostage” the Sacraments so kids will be forced to go to CCD.

My understanding is the only reason we don’t confirm at birth is that the Western Church, the conferral of this sacrament was kept reserved to the bishop. It then developed a sense of maturity for the person receiving it, later.

I did not recieve my confirmation until I was 17. I was a cradle Catholic aswell!

I was abit of a rebel so no point me getting confirmation so young. Same with one of my brothers, he’s 24 still ain’t recieved confirmation yet because he feels confirmation should be done when your ready to take your faith seriously, obviously he’s still a rebel.:shrug:

I hear you esp as this is the time of year I despair of any of our class of 68 being remotely well prepared for the sacrament in a few month’s time. as I have stated so often here, there is no theological reason I have ever heard or read that justifies delaying confirmation beyond baptism. The sooner the original order is restored the better IMO. The only justification I hear for delaying sacraments at all is to keep people like you and me in our jobs. pretty lame theologically. The Eastern Rites have the rites right–full initiation as early as possible, religious education as life-long mystagogy.

Confirmation is not a Bar Mitzvah.

In Canada, the norm is to confirm around the age of 12. It fits neither the infant model nor the ‘mature faith’ model. The Catechism of the Council of Trent does talks about being prepared to fight for the faith of Christ. It also calls for Confirmation around the ‘age of reason’…about the age of 7. This is what the Church presently says, too, but it leaves the details, such as age range, up to the local Bishop.

I am not sure that we should refuse people the graces received at Confirmation. After all, growing up is tumultuous for a good many. The graces are always needed. If the Church permits it, then why not confirm earlier rather than later?

The Church certainly allows for younger ages for Confirmation and Communion in the Roman Rite if there is a necessity, such as danger of death.

I know your looking for Catholic view, but I just wanted to comment…I had a powerful conversion experience almost 40 years ago and I was un churched…I think that was why it was so dramatic…I have met many followers of Christ and heard many testimonies over the years, catholic, orthodox and protestant…It seemed like a majority who grew up in the churches just went through the motions because that’s what they were expected to do.They just went on their way to be some pretty rowdy, some atheistic…They then had their own “wake up” call that they were far from God and had to have their own conversion experiences…I’ve been around many "religious " people who lived lives far away from God the rest of the week…He looks for someone passionate about their faith…Living a luke warm life in the church is a very scary position to be in…He told a group of people to “depart” because he never “knew” them…

Until St Pius X the age for confirmation was 12, and for the first communion 14. The idea was the reverence toward the Eucharist, younger kids were not considered mature enough.

St Pius X wanted the frequent communion, and in the hope that if the take regular confessions and communion at age 8 or earlier, then the influence of the parents and the school will form the habit. The confirmation meant an another opportunity for catechesis outside of the actual grace conferred with that.

This is followed by the present American practice. I agree with this practice. The enforcement of the catechesis at the coming of age is a useful thing, regardless of the influence of the parents or lack of it.

The free decision is important, but the habit acquired through the help of parent or grandparents is important to. The adult will make his own decision, and the early influence may help the right decision.

But it’s in the last 40 years that confirmation has been pushed back so late. I know in the 60s in my diocese everyone who had received their First Communion was confirmed the next time the Bishop came to the parish. Usually within a year or two.

For 9 years, until 2008, our diocese celebrated Confirmation and First Communion together from age 7 or so. It worked well but some of the catechists fought tooth and nail to go back to a late confirmation because they felt it was too much work to teach three sacraments in one year.

Now the youth can request Confirmation any time between grades 6 & 10 but they’re no better prepared and since they’re older they aren’t interested. It always seemed counterintuitive to me to ask teenagers to commit to the faith at an age when they can’t even commit to a best friend or a favorite food.

LOL, the last part is so funny because it is so true.

As much as I understand the reasons for delaying Communion and Confirmation, I’d rather we return to the ancient tradition on receiving the Sacraments of Initiation all together, regardless of age.

That sounds like an excuse if I’ve ever heard one. As some who teaches RCIA for kids and prepares kids for 4 sacraments in a year, it is most certainly possible. Especially since around here anyway, most sacramental prep programs are two years. :shrug:

I agree with this and just from brief reading is they way we grew into the church as children.

As far as whos serious or not? We are not here to judge. Our duty is to bring these children to Our Lords house. They are covered by Gods hand at that point. What they come to believe or do with their live, we have no control over. Leave that to God.

Originally Posted by Phemie
It worked well but some of the catechists fought tooth and nail to go back to a late confirmation because they felt it was too much work to teach three sacraments in one year.

Why? Because they were to lazy? Apparently they never studied the process the early church used to bring people into the Body of Christ. The RCIA model.

since OP begins with personal opinion, rather than church teaching, I will stay in that realm. there is nothing in the theology of the sacrament of confirmation that justifies the whole “preparation” thing. It is supposed to be part of baptism. If confirmation should be delayed, then the same arguments used to support the delay can conceivably be used to argue against infant baptism. IMO after doing this for several years, and RCIA as well, is that every year the sacrament is delayed we lose half the candidates, and therefore delay of the sacrament has resulted in a de facto denial of the sacrament to a large number of Catholic adults.

I agree with you 100%.

delay of the sacrament has resulted in a de facto denial of the sacrament to a large number of Catholic adults

Makes one wonder how many adults have never been confirmed or do not even know about the sacrament of confirmation?

No they haven’t.

I don’t know about too lazy. Many are untrained volunteers who felt that it was too much to expect of them. Unlike what I read on these forums, here anyone can volunteer to teach R.E. and be given a class. There is little training and basically they are given a work book on which they base their class.

I agree also, different day and age today.

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