The 2014 edition of Worship includes yet another examination of the sacrament of Confirmation. Timothy Brunk looks at “The Sacrament of Confirmation in a Consumer Culture.” It pushes the idea of a return to a traditional order of the initiation sacraments. Dr Brunk also asserts that the Church often caters to consumerism in the way it often administers the sacrament. If you have access to the article, I recommend it.
One thought that wraps up the paper:
If no change in sequence is forthcoming soon, I suggest that the church consider the practice of fasting. Both Peter Lombard and Hugh of St Victor taught that confirmation should be administered only by those who fast to those who fast.
Fasting is precisely a nonconsumerist stance.
Dr Brunk continues, noting that the catechism and other catechetical documents are rather weak on the notion of fasting. A confirmation fast could adopt the character of Holy Saturday. But …
In a consumer culture, however, it might be more effective instead to use as a model the practice from fasting from consumer purchases on Black Friday … and to expand the practice beyond a single day. Imagine the impact on consumer habits if those to be confirmed, their families, and their sponsors refrained from consumer purchases (electronic gadgets, books, movie tickets, concert tickets, stylish clothes, etc.) for a month before celebrating the sacrament.
Or whole parishes, Dr Brunk suggests.
As the author concedes, there is a danger in such a practice becoming one more hoop, one more requirement, one more notch for earned grace.
It strikes me also as an interesting practice for Lent, this consumer fasting. It might inspire some believers to go a bit deeper, look to some new practices. Chocolate, the old consumerism; cell phone upgrades, the new.
Did I mention the young miss and her mom cashed in on their phone upgrades last week? What an evening that was. I would have liked to fast from all the choices, options, and such. My provider and family are both pressuring me to upgrade. It’s been waiting for me for months now, and I find I like my old phone just fine.