What is Confirmation

confirmation ceremonyConfirmation is the sacrament through which the Holy Spirit comes to us in a special way and enables us to profess our faith as strong and perfect Christian and soldiers of Christ.

Confirmation is a rite used in many Christian churches. Though beliefs about confirmation differ among traditions, it is commonly seen as a mature statement of faith of a person already baptized. Customarily, it is done during adolescence, and, as such, is often seen as a rite of passage.

Confirmation is a rite in many Christian Churches.

Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and Anglicans, view it as a sacrament, which in the East is conferred on infants immediately after baptism, but in the West is usually administered later at the age of reason or in early adolescence.

catholic confirmationAccording to canon law for the Latin or Western Catholic Church, the sacrament is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion (generally taken to be about 7), unless the Episcopal Conference has decided on a different age, or there is danger of death or, in the judgement of the minister, a grave reason suggests otherwise (canon 891 of the Code of Canon Law). The number of Episcopal Conferences that have set a later age, usually between 14 and 16 years of age, has diminished in recent decades, and even in those countries a bishop may not refuse to confer the sacrament on younger children who request it, provided they are baptized, have the use of reason, are suitably instructed and are properly disposed and able to renew the baptismal promises (letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published in its 1999 bulletin, pages 537-540).

In Protestant Churches, the rite tends to be seen rather as a mature statement of faith by an already baptised person, usually an adolescent, and thus as a rite of passage, which, though not as big a change as a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, holds a similar meaning.

Several secular, mainly Humanist, organizations direct “civil confirmations” for older children, as a statement of their life stance, an equivalent alternative to traditional religious ceremonies for children of that age.

confirmationIn many English-speaking countries and in German-speaking lands, as well as in Poland, it is customary for a person being confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church (and some Anglican dioceses) to adopt the name of a saint with whom he/she feels a special affinity, thus securing an additional patron saint to be his/her protector and guide. This practice is unknown in many other countries (including the Spanish and French-speaking ones and also Italy), and is not mentioned in the official liturgical book of the Rite of Confirmation. Obviously, the custom prevailing in a country influences, often decisively, the practice of immigrants from another country, even if they keep their own language.

The saint’s name is often used in conjunction with the confirmee’s middle name, and is without effect in civil law, unless, of course, the confirmand pursues the appropriate legal avenues.

Western Christians do not normally confirm anyone who has already been validly confirmed. The Roman Catholic Church sees confirmation as one of the three sacraments that no one can receive more than once (see sacramental character). In Catholic understanding, the confirmation conferred in a Protestant or Anglican Church is not valid, for lack of a properly ordained minister; accordingly, confirmation is usually administered to those who enter the Catholic Church from those Churches. In the Anglican Communion, a person who was previously confirmed by a validly-ordained bishop in another denomination is “received” rather than confirmed again. However, the Episcopal Church USA recognizes non-episcopal confirmations as well.

Eastern Orthodox Churches occasionally practise what is seen by other Christians as “re-chrismation”, in that they usually chrismate/confirm – and sometimes rebaptize – a convert, even one previously confirmed in other Churches. The justification is that the new chrismation (or baptism) is the only valid one, the earlier one being administered outside of the Church and hence being little more than a symbol. The Eastern Orthodox will also chrismate an apostate from the Orthodox Church who repents and re-enters communion. According to some interpretations, the Eastern Churches therefore view confirmation/chrismation as a repeatable sacrament. According to others, the rite is understood as “part of a process of reconciliation, rather than as a reiteration of post-baptismal chrismation”. The Mystery of Chrismation was also performed on Orthodox monarchs at the time of their coronation, even though they were required to be baptized and chrismated before they could assume the throne. However, this was not considered a repetition of their previous chrismation, but a further sacramental act of anointing.

Choosing Your Confirmation Name

Long ago when Baptism and Confirmation were celebrated together a new name was chosen to indicate that this person was no longer the same person he/she was before, but had assumed a new Christian lifestyle. Except for the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation where we bring people into the Catholic Church) we no longer celebrate Baptism and Confirmation together. Instead, we celebrate Confirmation as a continuation and finalization of the initiation process.

In order to show unity in the initiation process, the Church encourages us to use our baptismal name for Confirmation. However, you may choose to use a “Confirmation Name” instead. This name should be:

· A Christian name that holds special meaning for you

· The name of a saint or a good Christian role model

You may also use your middle name, or you may choose another name to add to your first and middle name. The bishop, or his representative, will speak your name as he anoints your head with the Holy Chrism at the Confirmation Mass. Research your baptismal name and your other name choices in books about Saints.

Service should be something that truly gives you an experience of discipleship! GOOD examples of service:

Altar attending
Eucharistic Minister
Hospitality Minister
Soup Kitchen
Christmas Baskets
Toy Collection/Delivery
Reach Out Lakota
Project Restore
Breakfast In Bethlehem
Catholic H.S. Service
Parish Festival (2006, help)
Nursery Worker
Catechist Aide (PSR)
Our Daily Bread
Jr. High Socials (help)
Youth Ministry Planning Teams
Mission trip/Urban Plunge
Retreat Team
Helping Elderly Neighbors
Service Team
Scouting Service Projects
Boosters Coach/Assistan

Related Party Ideas:

4 responses to “What is Confirmation”

  1. I have been studying theologies for a while now. Both Eastern and Western. I collected a large mass of knowledge in sacramental, moral, and dogmatic theology. I have a wide collection of books, so I feel I can handle most objections when asked, though I am no card carrying apologist with a Pontifical Catechis certificate.

    You hear various arguments, on grace and efficacy of works: faith alone or baptism and faith. Well baptism is a good work, produced by Jesus Christ. So I believe in Faith as a work, and effected by an external rite called baptism — which is the sacrament of faith.

    Yet, I find it very interesting and even obnoxious that the New Church of Vatican II (which claims to be the Church of Christ that subsists in the Catholic Church) has established a foreign rite to suppress the traditionl Latin Tridentine Catholic praxis (from the Council of Trent) to the point of invalidating the grace of baptism in this Novus Ordo rite. I’m not sure what is the mainstream Protestant stance on this new baptism?

    In fact, I recently read this new scholarly book on the topic entitled “Praxis Obnoxia: A Moral-Theological Conclusion On The New Modernist Rite of Baptism.”


    I am very impressed with it, and I cannot refute its arguments, scholarship — tons of quotes from theologians, doctors, councils, and Popes. Basically, the book proves the new rite of baptism is null and void–that means there is no valid baptism in the Vatican II church, and thus no valid sacraments and no salvation in that sect. It seems “very weird”, I admit at first, but the facts are the facts, and I had to read the book a few times to really grasp the significance of what has happened since 1960s. Once you get the book you cannot put it down, it is so intense in scholastic volume.

    I even spent some days of hours in the Gordon-Conwell College libraries to talk to some doctors, and even had a debate with a Greek Orthodox Professor from Harvard on this topic of conditional rebaptism or economia (oikonomia).

    Not sure what’s your stance? It seems Saint Cyprian would of rebaptized people coming from the New Church to the traditional Orthodox Catholic Church of the Romans.

    Any opinions on this? A book review perhaps? Are you familar with “Praxis Obnoxia”? I must say this is a “Hot Topic” with Traditionalists and Conservatives.

  2. This is very up-to-date information. I’ll share it on Facebook.

  3. Wedding Planning Books and Info…

    The estimated population of pets in the U. S. has grown by over 25 million from 2001 to 2007. In the U. S. alone there are more than 72 million dogs and over 80 million cats. It is no surprise, then, that traveling with pets is a growing industry. Whil…

  4. i really love to attend in parties because it is fun an you met a lot of new friends.`.*

Leave a Reply