Communion for Infants

liturgical spoonKimberly Hope Belcher offers “5 quick pastoral reasons” for infant Communion. Pastoral is fine. But her points are not without theological merit. The Scholastic/Tridentine heritage of sacramental theology has a pelagian problem. Infant communion will help rid us of heresy.

Dr Belcher on it:

The “age of reason” theology also misleads people into believing that the Eucharist is the reward for a proper amount of knowledge and piety, rather than the absolutely free gift of God’s grace that elicits our response of ecstatic thanksgiving.

This is right. Dr Belcher points out we did fine for centuries without “age of reason,” so maybe it’s time to retire it. Or limit it to Marriage and Orders.

Additionally, anything that can rid the sacramental system of the specter of graduation has got to be a plus.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Communion for Infants

  1. Jen says:

    Might also help with some of the first communion dog and pony show…

    Then again it seems like confirmation is often used as a way to try to hook teens into the Church, who might otherwise be falling away. Have there been studies done as to sacramental order and teen retention? I’d think if they were brought up as full members of the Church it might lead to greater retention.

    People seem very invested in the way things are now, though. (Especially with confirmation preparation programs.) I worry about the overscheduling of kids (thankfully my nieces seem free of it). I also worry that increasingly onerous programs would put further demands on teens, who need less scheduling. (And make sacramental preparation one more thing on an increasingly stressful pile, rather than a time of growth and reflection.)

  2. Additionally, anything that can rid the sacramental system of the specter of graduation has got to be a plus.

    The problem with that is that there is an enormous amount of ceremony and culture surrounding first communion and confirmation, especially first communion. People love dressing up the children (especially the girls) and holding special parties. One of my friends recently traveled five hours for a weekend to celebrate a niece’s first communion.

    I do not doubt that there are a number of good reasons for infant communion. I actually agree that infant communion emphasizes the free gift of Jesus in the Eucharist. However, the average person in the pews is not going to be moved by theological or pastoral arguments. This is going to be a hard sell.

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