BASIC R.C. BELIEF
A Sacrament administered to Roman Catholics after through preparation, from
about 7 years old. It confers Grace on baptized persons, making them
"strong and perfect Christians" and "soldiers of Jesus Christ." Like
Baptism and Holy Orders, it imprints an indelible mark on the soul and can
never be repeated.
The Catholic Church admits that Confirmation isn't mentioned in the
Gospels. Many theologians teach that the Apostles were confirmed between
the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ.
Usual ministers of Confirmation are Bishops. In some cases of emergency,
pastors may confirm those who are in danger of death.
The administration of this Sacrament requires the laying on of hands and
anointing with chrism. Most Roman Catholics theologians believe the
essential part of Confirmation to be this anointing.
While the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding,
counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, the fear of the Lord) are conferred
at Baptism, it is at Confirmation that they are brought to maturity.
The word "confirmation" was first used sacramentally at the Council of
POST VATICAN II
From 1989 CATHOLIC ALMANAC. "Confirmation is the sacrament by which a
baptized person, through anointing with chrism and the imposition of hands,
is endowed with the gifts and special strength of the Holy Spirit for
mature Christian living. The sacrament, which completes the Christian
initiation begun with baptism, confers a character on the soul and can be
received only once. In 1975 ... Pope Paul had approved the English version
of the form of the sacrament: `Be sealed with the gift of the Holy
Spirit.'" (page 224)
From LIVING FAITH IN A WORLD OF CHANGE, Pfeiffer, S.J., page 66. "It is
practically impossible to discover from the scriptures, or even in
liturgical documents of the first centuries, evidence for the existence of
a separate sacrament of Confirmation. The most recent official teaching
authority of the Church leaves the question unanswered. The understanding
of the sacrament of Confirmation as a sacrament of Christian maturity has
little basis in the scriptures or in the earlier 12 centuries of the
Church's tradition and practice. Today there is no complete consensus among
the hierarchy and theologians as to the real meaning of the Sacrament. Only
further theological development and pastoral experimentation under the
guidance of the bishops will gradually resolve the contemporary questions."
The time of the Apostles' confirmation presents a difficulty to Roman
Catholics. They say Peter and John went to Samaria to confirm the
Samaritans (Acts 8). If the receiving of the Holy Spirit is confirmation,
the Apostles, who were supposedly confirmed before Christ's Ascension,
weren't baptized with the Holy Spirit until after His Ascension.
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