IRC 11: When to Confirm?

A caution for impressionable readers: what we are about to read is the “ordinary” intention of the Church: a preservation of the sequence and unity of the initiation sacraments, the expected (young!)  age of the person receiving confirmation, and when this “ordinary form” may be dispensed with and on whose authority.

First, catechumens are confirmed at the same liturgy at which they are baptized. This includes children from age six and older.

11. Adult catechumens and children who are baptized at an age when they are old enough for catechesis should ordinarily be admitted to confirmation and the eucharist at the same time as they receive baptism. If this is impossible, they should receive confirmation at another community celebration….

The rite doesn’t separate the case of adults baptized as Catholics or in another Christian tradition. But the order, confirmation then Eucharist, and that this take place at a community celebration, a parish Mass, in other words, is rather definite. Note also that the presumption that Christian candidates will be received at the Easter Vigil is not present; it is an artifact of the catechetical model used in parishes:

Similarly, adults who were baptized in infancy should, after suitable preparation, receive confirmation and the eucharist at a community celebration.

Not age seven, not second grade, but in the seventh year. That’s age six, give or take:

With regard to children, in the Latin Church the administration of confirmation is generally delayed until about the seventh year.

The US bishops are all over the place with this loophole:

For pastoral reasons, however, especially to implant deeply in the lives of the faithful complete obedience to Christ the Lord and a firm witnessing to him, the conferences of bishops may set an age that seems more suitable. This means that the sacrament is given, after the formation proper to it, when the recipients are more mature.

Not only danger of death, but other “serious problems” would dictate that children be comfirmed before the designated “pastoral” time.

In this case every necessary precaution is to be taken to ensure that in the event of danger of death or serious problems of another kind children receive confirmation in good time, so that they are not left without the benefit of this sacrament.

Feel free to carp on one side or another of the current debates on the age of confirmation. Or if you’d just like to report what happens in your diocese, feel free.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rite of Confirmation, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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