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HOW DO CATHOLIC TEACHINGS ORIGINATE? CONFIRMATION

wondering

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When a Catholic teen reaches the age of about 13 or 14, he receives the sacrament of Confirmation.
This is another of the 7 sacraments, which are:
baptism
confirmation
communion
holy orders
matrimony
reconciliation
annointing of the sick

A sacrament is a visible way for God to show His love for us and to give visible grace to the members of His church.
By church, here, I don't mean the Body of Christ because everyone can receive a sacrament, or at least, some of them.

A person thus receives confirmation to be enabled to follow Jesus in their life.
They are blessed with holy oil, a mark or seal of the Holy Spirit which marks the person as belonging to God.
In John 6:27 Jesus states that He has received the seal of approval from the Father.

The Bishop of the parish church extends his hands over the confirmands signifying the gift of the Holy Spirit,
this gesture was started by Jesus. The Bishop asks God to send the Holy Spirit to be their helper and guide.

This sacrament would be in keeping with Jesus' teaching that He was going away so that the Holy Spirit could come to dwell among believers.

The following might be interesting to some:

Rite of Confirmation in the West[edit]

The main reason why the West separated the sacrament of confirmation from that of baptism was to re-establish direct contact between the person being initiated with the bishops. In the Early Church, the bishop administered all three sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist), assisted by the priests and deacons and, where they existed, by deaconesses for women's baptism. The post-baptismal Chrismation in particular was reserved to the bishop. When adults no longer formed the majority of those being baptized, this Chrismation was delayed until the bishop could confer it. Until the 12th century, priests often continued to confer confirmation before giving Communion to very young children.[18]

After the Fourth Lateran Council, Communion, which continued to be given only after confirmation, was to be administered only on reaching the age of reason. Some time after the 13th century, the age of confirmation and Communion began to be delayed further, from seven, to twelve and to fifteen.[19] In the 18th c. in France the sequence of sacraments of initiation was changed. Bishops started to impart confirmation only after the first Eucharistic communion. The reason was no longer the busy calendar of the bishop, but the bishop's will to give adequate instruction to the youth. The practice lasted until Pope Leo XIII in 1897 asked to restore the primary order and to celebrate confirmation back at the age of reason. That didn't last long. In 1910 his successor, Pope Pius X, showing concern for the easy access to the Eucharist for children, in his Letter Quam Singulari lowered the age of first communion to seven. That was the origin of the widespread custom in parishes to organise the First Communion for children at 2nd grade and confirmation in middle or high school[clarification needed].[20]

The 1917 Code of Canon Law, while recommending that confirmation be delayed until about seven years of age, allowed it be given at an earlier age.[21] Only on 30 June 1932 was official permission given to change the traditional order of the three sacraments of Christian initiation: the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments then allowed, where necessary, that confirmation be administered after first Holy Communion. This novelty, originally seen as exceptional, became more and more the accepted practice. Thus, in the mid-20th century, confirmation began to be seen as an occasion for professing personal commitment to the faith on the part of someone approaching adulthood.

However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1308) warns: "Although Confirmation is sometimes called the 'sacrament of Christian maturity,' we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need 'ratification' to become effective."[22]

On the canonical age for confirmation in the Latin or Western Catholic Church, the present (1983) Code of Canon Law, which maintains unaltered the rule in the 1917 Code, lays down that the sacrament is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion (generally taken to be about 7), unless the Episcopal Conference has decided on a different age, or there is a danger of death or, in the judgement of the minister, a grave reason suggests otherwise (canon 891 of the Code of Canon Law). The Code prescribes the age of discretion also for the sacraments of Reconciliation[23] and first Holy Communion.[24]

In some places the setting of a later age, e.g. mid-teens in the United States, early teens in Ireland and Britain, has been abandoned in recent decades in favor of restoring the traditional order of the three sacraments of Christian initiation,[25][26][27][20] Even where a later age has been set, a bishop may not refuse to confer the sacrament on younger children who request it, provided they are baptized, have the use of reason, are suitably instructed and are properly disposed and able to renew the baptismal promises.
 

Mungo

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When a Catholic teen reaches the age of about 13 or 14, he receives the sacrament of Confirmation.
This is another of the 7 sacraments, which are:
baptism
confirmation
communion
holy orders
matrimony
reconciliation
annointing of the sick

A sacrament is a visible way for God to show His love for us and to give visible grace to the members of His church.
By church, here, I don't mean the Body of Christ because everyone can receive a sacrament, or at least, some of them.

A person thus receives confirmation to be enabled to follow Jesus in their life.
They are blessed with holy oil, a mark or seal of the Holy Spirit which marks the person as belonging to God.
In John 6:27 Jesus states that He has received the seal of approval from the Father.

The Bishop of the parish church extends his hands over the confirmands signifying the gift of the Holy Spirit,
this gesture was started by Jesus. The Bishop asks God to send the Holy Spirit to be their helper and guide.

This sacrament would be in keeping with Jesus' teaching that He was going away so that the Holy Spirit could come to dwell among believers.

The following might be interesting to some:

Rite of Confirmation in the West[edit]

The main reason why the West separated the sacrament of confirmation from that of baptism was to re-establish direct contact between the person being initiated with the bishops. In the Early Church, the bishop administered all three sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist), assisted by the priests and deacons and, where they existed, by deaconesses for women's baptism. The post-baptismal Chrismation in particular was reserved to the bishop. When adults no longer formed the majority of those being baptized, this Chrismation was delayed until the bishop could confer it. Until the 12th century, priests often continued to confer confirmation before giving Communion to very young children.[18]

After the Fourth Lateran Council, Communion, which continued to be given only after confirmation, was to be administered only on reaching the age of reason. Some time after the 13th century, the age of confirmation and Communion began to be delayed further, from seven, to twelve and to fifteen.[19] In the 18th c. in France the sequence of sacraments of initiation was changed. Bishops started to impart confirmation only after the first Eucharistic communion. The reason was no longer the busy calendar of the bishop, but the bishop's will to give adequate instruction to the youth. The practice lasted until Pope Leo XIII in 1897 asked to restore the primary order and to celebrate confirmation back at the age of reason. That didn't last long. In 1910 his successor, Pope Pius X, showing concern for the easy access to the Eucharist for children, in his Letter Quam Singulari lowered the age of first communion to seven. That was the origin of the widespread custom in parishes to organise the First Communion for children at 2nd grade and confirmation in middle or high school[clarification needed].[20]

The 1917 Code of Canon Law, while recommending that confirmation be delayed until about seven years of age, allowed it be given at an earlier age.[21] Only on 30 June 1932 was official permission given to change the traditional order of the three sacraments of Christian initiation: the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments then allowed, where necessary, that confirmation be administered after first Holy Communion. This novelty, originally seen as exceptional, became more and more the accepted practice. Thus, in the mid-20th century, confirmation began to be seen as an occasion for professing personal commitment to the faith on the part of someone approaching adulthood.

However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1308) warns: "Although Confirmation is sometimes called the 'sacrament of Christian maturity,' we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need 'ratification' to become effective."[22]

On the canonical age for confirmation in the Latin or Western Catholic Church, the present (1983) Code of Canon Law, which maintains unaltered the rule in the 1917 Code, lays down that the sacrament is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion (generally taken to be about 7), unless the Episcopal Conference has decided on a different age, or there is a danger of death or, in the judgement of the minister, a grave reason suggests otherwise (canon 891 of the Code of Canon Law). The Code prescribes the age of discretion also for the sacraments of Reconciliation[23] and first Holy Communion.[24]

In some places the setting of a later age, e.g. mid-teens in the United States, early teens in Ireland and Britain, has been abandoned in recent decades in favor of restoring the traditional order of the three sacraments of Christian initiation,[25][26][27][20] Even where a later age has been set, a bishop may not refuse to confer the sacrament on younger children who request it, provided they are baptized, have the use of reason, are suitably instructed and are properly disposed and able to renew the baptismal promises.
That's very interesting. I knew something of the very early history but not the rest until recent times.

When I was confirmed the bishop came round to our parish every three years. My parents moved just before the bishop came and the parish we moved to the bishop had recently been, so I was a bit later than some.

In the diocese I am in now the previous bishop started an experiment. Until then the first Holy Communion was at the usual age of around 7 and Confirmation much later. But he went back to the original sequence of Confirmation then first Holy Communion - at the same Mass, but at around age 9 (I think it was). It was going on all around the diocese to the same schedule so the bishop could not get to all the Confirmations. He went to one and the parish priest Confirmed the children at the rest..

He introduced a new preparation course which involved at least one parent. There were small groups where a parent and child went through a worksheet together - with a catechist on hand keeping an aye on proceedings. It was a chance to educate the parents as well.

Several parents asked to be confirmed themselves as they had never been Confirmed. (There used to be big drop off between first Holy Communion and Confirmation). It seemed to work very well.

When the new bishop came in he swept it all away and went back to the old system - though I think Confirmation happens every year but in the Cathedral not in parishes.
 

wondering

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That's very interesting. I knew something of the very early history but not the rest until recent times.

When I was confirmed the bishop came round to our parish every three years. My parents moved just before the bishop came and the parish we moved to the bishop had recently been, so I was a bit later than some.

In the diocese I am in now the previous bishop started an experiment. Until then the first Holy Communion was at the usual age of around 7 and Confirmation much later. But he went back to the original sequence of Confirmation then first Holy Communion - at the same Mass, but at around age 9 (I think it was). It was going on all around the diocese to the same schedule so the bishop could not get to all the Confirmations. He went to one and the parish priest Confirmed the children at the rest..

He introduced a new preparation course which involved at least one parent. There were small groups where a parent and child went through a worksheet together - with a catechist on hand keeping an aye on proceedings. It was a chance to educate the parents as well.

Several parents asked to be confirmed themselves as they had never been Confirmed. (There used to be big drop off between first Holy Communion and Confirmation). It seemed to work very well.

When the new bishop came in he swept it all away and went back to the old system - though I think Confirmation happens every year but in the Cathedral not in parishes.
Hi Mungo
There would be so much to be said that I had a difficult time putting the thread up because I didn't want to write a short book.

If you want my humble opinion, I'd do everything much later. Continue with the catechism at an early age, but maybe at 7.

Then do confirmation first and then communion.
But ONLY when the person is ready. Priests I know do not agree with this. I've had kids receive communion, the holy eucharist, that should not have. The idea being that no one really understands communion anyway, so what's the difference if it's at 7 or 9 years of age.
What! I put great effort with my kids but not every catechist does. There has to be a better way. Too many problems and no cooperation from parents.

It was nice reading your post.
 

Mungo

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Hi Mungo
There would be so much to be said that I had a difficult time putting the thread up because I didn't want to write a short book.

If you want my humble opinion, I'd do everything much later. Continue with the catechism at an early age, but maybe at 7.

Then do confirmation first and then communion.
But ONLY when the person is ready. Priests I know do not agree with this. I've had kids receive communion, the holy eucharist, that should not have. The idea being that no one really understands communion anyway, so what's the difference if it's at 7 or 9 years of age.
What! I put great effort with my kids but not every catechist does. There has to be a better way. Too many problems and no cooperation from parents.

It was nice reading your post.

40-50 years ago Catholics sent their children to Catholics schools and expected the school to do the catechesis - as they did.
In the early Church I think most conversions were adults and Confirmation followed immediately after baptism.

This is even now the practice among us, so that those who are baptized in the Church then are brought to the prelates of the Church; through our prayer and the imposition of hands, they receive the Holy Spirit and are perfected with the seal of the Lord" (Cyprian, Epistles. 73:9 [A.D. 254/256]).

"After you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams, there was given chrism, the antitype of that with which Christ was anointed, and this is the Holy Spirit. But beware of supposing that this is ordinary ointment. For just as the bread of the Eucharist after the invocation of the Holy Spirit is simple bread no longer, but the body of Christ, so also this ointment is no longer plain ointment, nor, so to speak, common, after the invocation. Further, it is the gracious gift of Christ, and it is made fit for the imparting of his Godhead by the coming of the Holy Spirit." (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 21:1, 3-4 [ca. A.D. 350]).

At one time the bishop administering Confirmation would give the recipient a tap on the cheek to indicate the were now a "soldier of Christ". Where that strange idea came from I don't know.

I've also heard/seen Confirmation described as a sacrament in search of a theology. Personally I don't think you have to search further than the book of Acts.
 

wondering

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40-50 years ago Catholics sent their children to Catholics schools and expected the school to do the catechesis - as they did.
In the early Church I think most conversions were adults and Confirmation followed immediately after baptism.

As did I. But it was confirmed at home, this does not happen today.
Agreed as to the early church. Confirmation is, of course, a sacrament of initiation and should follow baptism since it "reinforces" it and the Holy Spirit is called upon to strengthen and empower the person to a life of Christianity as Jesus taught it.

Communion should be last. The last sacrament of initiation.
I don't believe anyone should receive communion unless they really understand what they are doing...
but, as many would say, do any of us really understand?

This is even now the practice among us, so that those who are baptized in the Church then are brought to the prelates of the Church; through our prayer and the imposition of hands, they receive the Holy Spirit and are perfected with the seal of the Lord" (Cyprian, Epistles. 73:9 [A.D. 254/256]).

"After you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams, there was given chrism, the antitype of that with which Christ was anointed, and this is the Holy Spirit. But beware of supposing that this is ordinary ointment. For just as the bread of the Eucharist after the invocation of the Holy Spirit is simple bread no longer, but the body of Christ, so also this ointment is no longer plain ointment, nor, so to speak, common, after the invocation. Further, it is the gracious gift of Christ, and it is made fit for the imparting of his Godhead by the coming of the Holy Spirit." (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 21:1, 3-4 [ca. A.D. 350]).

At one time the bishop administering Confirmation would give the recipient a tap on the cheek to indicate the were now a "soldier of Christ". Where that strange idea came from I don't know.

I've also heard/seen Confirmation described as a sacrament in search of a theology. Personally I don't think you have to search further than the book of Acts.
I guess it could be a sacrament in search of a theology because of baptism.
The Holy Spirit can be received only one time.
I knew that the slap was to make the recipient understand that he might undergo hardships due to his following of his faith. If I can remember, I'll ask. A priest that would know.

And yes, a soldier of Christ, in the sense that we have to stand up for our faith and not slither away from pronouncing our belief in God and His ways. Empowerment to witness, we would say today.

Interesting that Jewish youth is barmitzvad (?) at about the same age.
I believe it's 13.

Honesty, I just wish all this would be done at a later age....I think I've repeated this ad nauseam.
 

wondering

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40-50 years ago Catholics sent their children to Catholics schools and expected the school to do the catechesis - as they did.
In the early Church I think most conversions were adults and Confirmation followed immediately after baptism.

This is even now the practice among us, so that those who are baptized in the Church then are brought to the prelates of the Church; through our prayer and the imposition of hands, they receive the Holy Spirit and are perfected with the seal of the Lord" (Cyprian, Epistles. 73:9 [A.D. 254/256]).

"After you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams, there was given chrism, the antitype of that with which Christ was anointed, and this is the Holy Spirit. But beware of supposing that this is ordinary ointment. For just as the bread of the Eucharist after the invocation of the Holy Spirit is simple bread no longer, but the body of Christ, so also this ointment is no longer plain ointment, nor, so to speak, common, after the invocation. Further, it is the gracious gift of Christ, and it is made fit for the imparting of his Godhead by the coming of the Holy Spirit." (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 21:1, 3-4 [ca. A.D. 350]).

At one time the bishop administering Confirmation would give the recipient a tap on the cheek to indicate the were now a "soldier of Christ". Where that strange idea came from I don't know.

I've also heard/seen Confirmation described as a sacrament in search of a theology. Personally I don't think you have to search further than the book of Acts.
Hi Mungo,
I asked someone that should know...Don Giovanni, why the slap on the cheek to confirmants.
He said it's not a slap...it's a tender "greeting".
I think he meant a kind of caress?
Anyway, not a slap.
 

Mungo

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Hi Mungo,
I asked someone that should know...Don Giovanni, why the slap on the cheek to confirmants.
He said it's not a slap...it's a tender "greeting".
I think he meant a kind of caress?
Anyway, not a slap.
Hmmmmm!

Why was a slap on the cheek by the confirming bishop part of the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation?
A part of the theology of the sacrament is that one takes on more adult responsibilities for the faith and becomes a “soldier for Christ” when confirmed. Any good soldier must be willing to suffer the bruises and scars of battle. The slap on the cheek was a symbolic gesture intended to remind us of the fact that we may have to endure suffering for our faith. The Sacrament of Confirmation strengthens us making us willing to accept those responsibilities and, if necessary, suffer and die for the faith.

Here is what seems to me a good scholarly article on the topic. It's long but I think worth reading.
 

wondering

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Hmmmmm!

Why was a slap on the cheek by the confirming bishop part of the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation?
A part of the theology of the sacrament is that one takes on more adult responsibilities for the faith and becomes a “soldier for Christ” when confirmed. Any good soldier must be willing to suffer the bruises and scars of battle. The slap on the cheek was a symbolic gesture intended to remind us of the fact that we may have to endure suffering for our faith. The Sacrament of Confirmation strengthens us making us willing to accept those responsibilities and, if necessary, suffer and die for the faith.

Here is what seems to me a good scholarly article on the topic. It's long but I think worth reading.
I'll certainly read it because I always believed what you posted above in red.
Thanks.
 

wondering

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Hmmmmm!

Why was a slap on the cheek by the confirming bishop part of the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation?
A part of the theology of the sacrament is that one takes on more adult responsibilities for the faith and becomes a “soldier for Christ” when confirmed. Any good soldier must be willing to suffer the bruises and scars of battle. The slap on the cheek was a symbolic gesture intended to remind us of the fact that we may have to endure suffering for our faith. The Sacrament of Confirmation strengthens us making us willing to accept those responsibilities and, if necessary, suffer and die for the faith.

Here is what seems to me a good scholarly article on the topic. It's long but I think worth reading.
Very interesting.
I have a thought on the "turning of the cheek" and it being the last time we do not have to defend our honor.
But later...
 

wondering

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Confirmation scriptures

Confirmation
Lk 22:32 acts 8:14-17
acts 14:22
Luke 22:32
32But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

Acts 8:14-17
14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there.
15As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
16The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 14:22
22where they strengthened the believers.



Hi D,
Welcome to the forum.
The above verses are very good.

To me they show, however, that confirmation SHOULD be given only to those that desire to follow a Christianly life.

I think that the CC goes too much by rote...
Birst baptism,
then Communion (as it is now - confirmation should be next).
then Confirmation

Maybe it's the way the sacraments are "set-up" that is the problem?
IOW, if the church did confirmation before communion, it would be to an even younger child.

There are problems here and if the CC cannot find solutions, certainly I cannot.
But I do wish there would be some changes.
It's discomforting for me to watch those kids go up to the Bishop, by rote, and just do this because it's the right TIME to do it.

Just a thought...
 
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