We all know the bishop is the ordinary minister of confirmation, right? Here’s the why:
7. The originating minister of confirmation is the bishop. Normally a bishop administers the sacrament so that there will be a clearer reference to the first pouring forth of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost: after the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, they themselves gave the Spirit to the faithful through the laying on of hands. Thus the reception of the Spirit through the ministry of the bishop shows the close bond that joins the confirmed to the Church and the mandate received by Christ to bear witness to him before all.
And here are the exceptions:
The law gives the faculty to confirm to the following besides the bishop:
- Territorial prelates and territorial abbots, vicars and prefects apostolic, apostolic administrators and diocesan administrators, within the limits of their territory and while they hold office;
- In consideration of the person to be confirmed, priests who, in virtue of an office or the mandate of the diocesan bishop, baptize a person who is no longer an infant or receive a person who is already baptized into the full communion of the Catholic Church;
- In consideration of those who are in danger of death, a pastor or in fact any priest.
Danger of death: most priests are aware of this faculty. It would seem to be a curious thing to confirm an infant or small child, but even the Eucharist should be communicated when death is near.