Daily Archives: May 11, 2009

Confirmation and Catechesis

There have been discussions recently—here on the site, at home, around the diocese—concerning Confirmation, especially as found within the ’79 BCP.

I’d summarize the standard Western view as “confirmation completes Baptism.”

M’s response, and that of others, is that in the ’79 BCP Baptism doesn’t need completing; it’s already a complete act in and of itself. If this is the case, then it completely changes many of the assumptions that we’ve held about the nature and timing of Confirmation.

  • Reception of the Eucharist is not dependent upon Confirmation: I note that this seems to me to be a bit of Eastern influence, especially as they commune after Baptism as well (I’m thinking particularly small children here). Is there an Eastern corollary to Confirmation? I’m ignorant…
  • Esp. if Reception is not an issues, what about age?: M and I emphatically agree that Confirmation is not a rite of passage based on age. Yes, bar/bat mitzvahs are and they did evolve out of catholic Confirmation practices—but that doesn’t mean that Confirmation is or should be a rite of passage. We also agree that Confirmation is about a “mature public affirmation” of faith. Mature is not 10. Or even 15. We’re thinking that 20’s and 30’s is when “mature” really starts to hit.
  • Catechesis: What’s appropriate and proper? This is where I see the ideal of a 3 year catechumenate making some connection with our context. Not three years, but a decent enough amount of time to give a person a suitable grounding in the faith
  • Sacramental Status: If Baptism is completed in Baptism—which appears to be a clear departure from the current Roman Catholic catechism (“the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace”) does Confirmation remain a Sacrament or sacramental rite? Is there an indelible spiritual mark (section 1304) impressed at Confirmation? Despite the place and authority of the current Roman Catechism, it seems to me there’s quite a bit of waffling going on in this text itself due to both the issues raised by the Liturgical Renewal and the inclusion of non-Latin Rite Christians within the papal fold…

What do you think?

Home Again, Home Again…

  • I’m back from K’zoo. The presentation went quite well, I thought. As I was only on site 1 day, I didn’t get to see nearly the folks I had hoped including Michelle, theSwain and the reclusive H.E. On the other hand, I presented in the same session as B. Hawk and ran into Dr. Nokes in the book room.
  • The book room was quite nice—not as grand as the one at the combined AAR/SBL (shall we see its like again?)—but nice. I picked up volumes 1 and 2 of de Lubac’s classic Medieval Exegesis and started reading it one the drive home. I’ve dipped into it from time to time but have never actually sat down and read it cover to cover as it deserves. Such an amazing work.
  • I’ve become enamoured of XML. All of the major text encoding projects in the Humanities use it. I guess it’s finally time to look a little deeper. I am fascinated by its ability to manipulate a text while still keeping it in a textual format (unlike other databasing options).
  • While I was gone the Cafe ran a piece of mine on salvation.  I’m becoming increasingly frustrated in the ways that we both do and don’t teach the faith. As I note in this one, we tend to cede important framings of the debate to others and therefore either lose or make ourselves irrelevant apparently by choice.
  • We need to rethink catechetics. More on this later.
  • bls has located another great text, this one a discussion of the Sarum Gradual’s procession from the Roman Gradual by Blessed Frere.
  • The bishop-elect of N. Michigan has put out an explanation which I’ve not read but has been measured and found wanting by several colleagues. I feel no need to comment further…
  • Fr. Reid of St Clement’s has a great post on lessons learned in his London parish which should be read by all who belong to or have an interested in city churches.  Smokey Mary already does something like this but this model has great potential for churches in non-residential areas whose numbers and vitality have ebbed in recent years. (And of course gutting the place is never a help…)
  • I finally got off my butt and called a wonderful priest in the area (Fr. Former Priest for those who know) whom I’m hoping will become my spiritual director. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me  and we’re looking forward to getting together and talking.