Catholic Company / Magazine

Sacrament Spotlight: Confirmation

May 07, 2012 by

One of the most mysterious sacraments of the Church is Confirmation.  Confirmation is unique in that it is both a Sacrament of initiation, meaning that it initiates or begins our Christian life, while at the same time it is a completion of baptismal grace (CCC 1285).  This powerful Sacrament completes a believers initiation into the Roman Catholic Church.

The Sacrament of Confirmation, just as any Sacrament, is multi-dimensional with a rich history.  Many Christians don’t celebrate confirmation at all.  Why does the Roman Catholic Church keep the Sacrament of Confirmation?  Why is the Sacrament separate from Baptism?  Is the Sacrament biblical?  Here are some answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to questions such as these.

-          QUESTION:  Why is the Sacrament of Confirmation conferred apart from Baptism?  ANSWER:  Originally, Confirmation and Baptism were conferred as a “double Sacrament” according to St. Cyprian (CCC 1290).  In the Eastern Church they continue to confer them together. The West, however, could not confer them together due to “multiplication of infant baptisms all through the year, the increase of rural parishes, and the growth of dioceses often prevented the bishop from being present at all baptismal celebrations” (CCC 1290).

-          QUESTION:  Why can’t the Sacrament of Confirmation be repeated?  ANSWER:  Like Baptism, in Confirmation one receives an “indelible spiritual mark” on the soul (CCC 1304).  This mark can never be removed or repeated.  For this reason the Sacrament of Confirmation cannot be repeated.

-          QUESTION:  Who can receive this Sacrament?  Anyone who has been baptized can receive the Sacrament, and preferably once they have attained the “age of discretion” (CCC 1307).  However, if someone is in danger of death and have not yet been confirmed then they ought to be. One must also be in a state of grace to receive the Sacrament (CCC 1310).

-          QUESTION:  Is there a biblical origin to the Sacrament of Confirmation?  ANSWER:  Yes.  The Catechism points to Acts 8:14-17 in which some disciples came to Peter and John after baptism to receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands (CCC 1315).

I hope these answers cleared up some of your questions about the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Confirmation is an important sacrament which embarks the Christian on their new life in the Holy Spirit.  If you have a loved one who is to be confirmed, then consider giving them a Confirmation gift to benefit them for life.  It could be something as simple as a Confirmation photo frame to a beautiful Confirmation rosary.  By giving your loved one a Confirmation gift they will be reminded of their Confirmation and of the fruits the Holy Spirit has given them!  What questions do you have, if any, about Confirmation?