Skip to comments.Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation? Confirmation and First Eucharist together? (Vanity)
Posted on 05/12/2005 12:23:48 PM PDT by sinkspur
...........6. Understanding our past often helps us better understand the needs of the present. From apostolic times until around the fifth century, the Church celebrated the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation in one continuous rite of initiation, which culminated in a Christians admission to the Eucharist. This practice held for persons of all ages, including children. The baptismal washing and anointing by the priest were followed by an imposition of hands and anointing by the bishop. Confirmation was seen as a natural extension of Baptism, perfecting what the Holy Spirit had accomplished in that initial sacrament. Hence, the celebration was called the double sacrament of initiation, while still two distinct sacraments (cf. CCC, nos. 1290-1291).
7. In the Middle Ages (fifth-l3th centuries), the distinction between Baptism and Confirmation grew. Due to a growing emphasis on infant Baptism and the territorial enlargement of dioceses, it became increasingly difficult for the bishop to be present to administer Confirmation in a unified rite of initiation. As a result, Baptism and First Eucharist were administered together at infancy, with a later celebration of Confirmation by the Bishop in very early childhood. As the centuries progressed, however, infant Eucharist in the West ceased, with the effect of further neglecting Confirmation. The dominant idea of Confirmation as an intensification of Baptism was supplemented with the notion of strengthening the Christian for the battle of life through the fullness of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
8. From the 13th until the 19th century, a further change occurred in the celebration of Confirmation. Although infant Baptism continued to be the norm, First Eucharist was delayed until after the age of discretion. Thus the ancient order of the three sacraments was restored but spread out in time. Confirmation was celebrated at the age of discretion (7 and above), followed by First Eucharist between the ages of 10 and 14. By the 16th century, Confirmation was celebrated between 7 and 15 years of age, followed by First Eucharist. At the close of the 19th century, the order of Confirmation before First Eucharist received papal approval.
9. The contemporary sequence of the sacraments was determined in part by Pope Pius X, who encouraged First Eucharist at the age of discretion (7 and above). This decision had the effect of placing the reception of First Eucharist before the reception of Confirmation, which would then generally occur as early as 7 and as late as 18. This order (infant Baptism, First Eucharist at the age of discretion, and Confirmation any time between 7 and 18) is the more common pastoral practice of today.
10. At the same time, various Church documents, especially the Second Vatican Council document Sacrosanctum Concilium (no. 71) and the rituals which followed it (Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation), clearly teach that the purpose of the liturgical reform of Confirmation is to restore the intimate link Confirmation has with the whole of Christian initiation. In order for that link to be clearly established, the proper and desired order of the sacraments is that of the ancient Church: Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist..............
I'm convinced that the Catholic Church has it backwards:
We teach children and play with adults, when we ought to be playing more with children, and teaching adults.
I agree with you there. It's unusual for Catholic adults to participate in ongoing religious education, while it's the norm for Protestant churches to have religious instruction for all age levels. (And not just during the "school year," either!)
I agree with what you've posted ... it just "feels" funny!
I also agree with another post which pointed out that the current system in most dioceses deprives teenagers of the sacramental graces of Confirmation at a time in life when they really need it.
change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change.
I wonder where the erroneous philsophical idea of positivism comes from?
change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change.
Nationalistic churches separated by languages, dioceses and who one's bishop is...
What does this sound like? Hmm.... The Orthodox (whose congregations are NOT growing!) perhaps?
change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change. change.
The main reason some people oppose even beneficial change is that they didn't think of it first.
Scott Hahn has also pointed that out.
As you know, my son was just confirmed at age 14. That's a good age; it makes it kind of like a Catholic bar mitzvah. (In commemoration of the event, we've started letting him lead family prayers on occasion.)
On the downside, they have this dumb idea that the 8th graders have to do "service hours" in order to get confirmed: IOW, they have to do good works to merit the undeserved grace of the sacrament! I don't mind requiring the 8th grade kids to do service hours, but making it prerequisite for the sacrament is ... well, let's just say it would really make St. Paul mad. :-)
I was confirmed at 16, which was too late. The bigger issue, rather than moving the age of confirmation around, is to make religious education substantive, interesting, and useful ... instead of the substance-free pablum that I was fed. My kids are getting better treatment, but it's still not what it could be.
Yes, and at the discretion of our Bishop, they receive Holy Communion as well.
Interesting! I don't know whether our parish requires community service for Confirmation, but I'm pretty sure the one in Oklahoma (Confirmation in the 11th grade!) did.
The Seton School newsletter has mentioned this issue, but they didn't bring up the theological absurdity!
It's been a throw-away sacrament, and giving Confirmation its proper place in the rites of initiation would at least provide an occasion for catechesis for both parents and children.
Yes, the separate - but related - problem of broken down catechesis. Here's a starting point for catechesis of what this sacrament is. From the Acts of the Apostles:
"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Sama'ria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit."
Just out of curiosity, do you also offer parenting coarses? Apparently many of the people you work with need support in the understanding of what it means to be a parent!
"The early Church and Eastern Churches confer Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist together, to infants, and to converting families."
Right you are as to infants and as to those who have not been baptised by water and in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For baptised converts from Roman Catholicism or one of the protestant "ecclesial assemblies", its Chrismation (Confirmation) and the Eucharist.
I am not sure I agree with this move. Although the three sacraments are tied together in RCIA (which I teach, and I see it works there), I don't think it is necessarily appropriate to recombine them for children, as the ancient Church did. One of the purposes of Confirmation is to be able to offer a defense of the faith. Considering children receive Holy Eucharist at about 3rd grade, I find it unlikely, given the current state of catechesis of the child (and the parents), that he will be able to do so. Perhaps in days gone by, but not now. Our culture today bombards our children with the opposite message that the Church puts out. Confirmation classes give the thinking teen an opportunity to combat society with an effectively given message of Jesus Christ.
While some parents see Confirmation as a "rite of passage", they are missing the point of the sacrament. They themselves need to consider returning to the Church and brush up on their sacramental theology.
Actually, our Church needs to seriously address getting out the message better and reminding adults that we are all called to Christ's Church and a response is in order. We don't hear that message very often.
Ya know, change in certain areas (not dogma, of course) isn't always good or bad. Besides, if we trust the Holy Spirit is guiding the Magisterium, and we do or should, as I understand things, then shouldn't we trust them enough to see changes such as the ones prescribed in action?
Granted I'm new to all of this with a LOT to learn--but I still love a good argument:)
The following thread, devoted specifically to this Sacrament, was posted by kjvail on May 7.
It is a MUST read!
"The sacraments of Christian initiation Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist lay the foundations of every Christian life. 'The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.'
(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1212)
It is from the Catholic Educator's Resource and, as the author notes, the Sacrament of Confirmation is actually the Sacrament of Strengthening.
One of the most egregious decisions ever made by the USCCB was to extend reception of this sacrament until the teen years, and then make it optional. Teens, especially, need the strength gained from reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to make the decision to receive it.
My mother received both the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation only weeks apart. When I was growing up, we received First Communion in 2nd grade and Confirmation in 6th or 7th grade (the bishop only came once every 2 years). My daughter was scheduled to receive Confirmation in 11th grade but dropped out only weeks before the end of classes. This was a painful experience that no parent should ever have to endure. With much coaxing and reassurance, she completed the program in 12th grade and was finally confirmed.
The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are like seeds planted into fertile soil. These blossom, oftentimes later in life, when needed. No child should be denied these gifts!
The Maronite Catholic Church administers the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation at the same time. First Communion, as in the Latin Rite, is administered in 2nd grade, following 2 years of preparation. This is as it should be.
Please take some time to read through this lengthy but important description of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Bookmark the thread! It is one you will refer back to repeatedly.
All of this is addressed at the link in my previous post!
Yes - if they're Maronite. Don't know about the others but presume it is the same with the other Eastern Catholic Churches.
I was Confirmed and First Communion the same Sunday in the Episcopal Church in 1972, when I was 12. It has never made sense to me to do it any other way.
Of course today the piskies will give it to anybody. It's an "open table" like the Methodists and the Presbys, though they don't announce it. That's part of the reason I'm going Catholic. RCIA starting this fall, Catholic Church starting this Sunday, and I think I'm just going to start self-identifying as a Catholic because I've been one in my heart for a long time.
BTW I had gone through three months of catechism before I was Confirmed. I may have been 12, but I was ready.
"The Maronite Catholic Church administers the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation at the same time. First Communion, as in the Latin Rite, is administered in 2nd grade, following 2 years of preparation. This is as it should be."
No it isn't! :) Seriously, ask the abouna when the Maronites stopped giving communion right after baptism and chrismation. I think you'll find that is a Latinization of, in Church time, relatively recent origin.
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