Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wondering Wednesday: Order of Sacraments

Reading Bishop Aquila article has me thinking about the order of sacraments and when one is ready to receive. I understand what the article is saying about receiving the graces of the sacrament of Confirmation ~ but what of the commitment. At their confirmation the recipient states that they "believe and profess all that of the Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God". I worry that is a lot to ask of an eight year old who is just entering the age of reason.

Reconciliation -sure: Right/wrong, asking forgiveness and making amends.

First Eucharist - probably: joining the community at the table, welcoming Christ into your body, your heart, your life. Of course my understanding of trans-substantiation has grown as I have matured ~ so perhaps that is the sacrament to receive in young adulthood with Confirmation coming earlier.

Disclaimer: I loved my Confirmation prep ~ I had wonderful teachers (a married couple) who took us phrase by phrase through the Apostles Creed and spoke with love and devotion of full membership in the Catholic Church so that at my Confirmation as I received the last of the Sacraments of Initiation and professed the creed I was so happy and proud to claim this Church as my home.

Can an eight year old take hold of that? I wonder?


  1. There's a lot of food for thought in that article, isn't there? I keep hearing of more bishops wanting the younger age for confirmation; I'm not totally sure of what I think of it all.

  2. The talk about reordering the sacraments has been around for years. There's a cultural order to it now--you know, Communion used to be before Reconciliation. Maybe it still is in places, but they've smooshed it all into the second grade year here.

    The Eucharist is meant to be the summation of all the Sacraments of Initiation; the theology developed in the early Church when people were entering as adults. People who join via RCIA still receive the sacraments in that order: baptism/reconciliation (depending on whether or not they were baptized as other denominational Christians), then at Easter Vigil is Confirmation and finally, Eucharist--the sum of it all.

    It makes sense theologically, but in practical terms I'm with you; how do you make kids wait till high school to receive Communion, and how can you ask a young child to make an adult profession of faith? Even HSers are often going through Confirmation for the wrong reasons. Among liturgy circles, we tend to call Confirmation the sacrament without a theology. :)

    I shrug philosophically about it all...maturation of faith is a lifelong process regardless of what age you receive the Sacraments, right?