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?