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The Practical Dilemma of Confirmation in rapport with Baptism

The Practical Dilemma of Confirmation in rapport with Baptism

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by December 6, 2018 Seminar Papers

The Practical Dilemma of Confirmation in rapport with Baptism: A Comparative Study of the Latin and Oriental Codes of Canon Law towards a Return to Traditional Order of Celebration



NCCF: Seminar, November 2018





Experience and history have revealed two inclinations, which have been chronic to the human person; 1) the quest to know the Creator for a divine relationship and 2) the desire to have an interpersonal rapport with other persons. Both give account for man’s qualifications as homo religiosus et sociologicus – a conscientious strive to belong to a community. In addition, both give a response to why the pagan world and other traditional religions equip their adherents with some external means of relating with “the Divine”. Of course, these religions, including Christianity, adopted some rites of initiation capable of producing with diverse stages a new status of living.

Christianity as one of the religions differs; firstly, it is God the Creator who goes in search of His creatures (Gen 3,8-10; 4,9; 16,8-9; 18,9-10; Mt 16,23; Rev 2,23; 11,18), of which the greatest of His revelations culminates in the incarnation of Christ (Heb 1,1-3). In response, man has continued to unveil the mysterium fascinans, that is, the sacramentum as mysterium fidei.

Secondly, in Christianity, the followers received certain rites of initiation that Christ instituted as sacraments and were given to the Apostles in primis. This heritage as fruit of the paschal mystery is God’s initiative through which He realises His will and economy of salvation. When, among others, Tertullian (c.150/5-240 A.D.)[1] used the term “sacramentum” referring to the sacraments of Christian initiation in order to illustrate the tripartite mysteries of Christ, regarding the sacrament in the general sense St. Augustine (13 November 354 – 28 August 430 A.D.) used the expression “visible sign of the invisible reality” and St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225/7 – 7 March 1274) later spoke of how these sacraments are: 1) commemorative, 2) demonstrative and 3) prefigurative (prognostic); all these were in order to give a human sense to the divine initiative. Thus, the sacraments of Christian initiation as visible signs of the invisible reality bestow divine graces to humanity. These mysteries are conferred ex opera operato as testified by the Ordo Baptismi Parvulorum (1969/73), Ordo Confirmatione (1971) and Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum (1972). In fact, through the rites of Christian initiation as in all human rites of passage, the Latin and Oriental Churches have followed a general pattern adept at uniting man with God, configuring him to Christ, conforming him to the Holy Spirit and incorporating him into the Church.

Subsequent to the institution of the sacraments (CIC, can 840; CCEO, can. 667),[2] the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation, namely, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist in a sequential process has been practised in both the Western and Eastern Churches right from the ancient apostolic era. It has systematically initiated the human person into the paschal mystery of Christ and shown how they lay the foundations of every Christian life (CCC 1212).[3] Unfortunately, in the course of time, for some pastoral reasons in the Latin Church, an inversion took place that has a tendency of not only creating some spiritual, theological and catechetical crises, but a canonical incoherence. As an apostolic heritage, of which the Fathers of the Church transmitted, this work sustains firmly as its fundamental aims that: 1) a return to the sequential, traditional order of celebrating the sacraments of Christian initiation be made and 2) an intensive catechetical teaching be encouraged, 3) in view of a better evangelization and Christian life.

Furthermore, our references will conjure the Codes of Canon Law. In addition, some biblical, theological, pastoral and scholastic citations will be very useful to this text. Hereby, we are guided by these subtitles:

i) the sacraments of Christian initiation: process, sequence and foundation,

ii) Confirmation in rapport with Baptism: original celebration, diversities and challenges, and

iii) Confirmatione baptismus perficitur and temporal separation: an open door towards a return to traditional celebration. Finally, the proposals in terms of evaluation and conclusion.

I. The Sacraments of Christian Initiation: Process, Sequence and Foundation

           Foundations have series of steps or actions that systematically make up for their existence and stability. Such a process that in the course of time permits a sequence of rites of passage does advertently form a substantial substratum for every other being or thing alike in growth. This is typical in the case of the sacraments of Christian initiation process.

The Process of Initiation

As regards the ritual process, the gradual introduction into the divine mysteries has acquired a distinctive tripartite format in order to appreciate fully the unique moment of Christian initiation. These rites of Christian initiation are often interpreted according to what many in the disciplines of anthropology[4] and ritual studies have identified as “rites of passage”.[5] Such rites with an overall three-part structure take place over a predetermined period: 1) rite of inclusion, 2) rite of separation and 3) rite of initiation. These structures are evident in the Christian initiation process where the transformation of the person (Jn 3,5-6; 6,53) is attached to the Trinitarian grace-effect: «The sacred always manifests itself as a reality of a wholly different order from “natural” realities».[6] Anyway, the Western and Oriental Churches share the same view that the rites of initiation follow a general pattern consisting of the: 1) period of inquiry, 2) entrance to the catechumenate, 3) catechumenate and “election”, 4) rites of initiation and 5) period of mystagogy. This ritual process involves both the person who receives the sacraments and the Christian community whose number is increased (Acts 2, 36-47) and called to strengthen the members in faith (Luke 22,32; Jn 17,9,15; 21,15).[7]

The Sequence of Initiation

With respect to the sequence of the sacraments of Christian initiation, history seems to be erased, at times. This has to do with the situation of Christianity in the first three centuries, when it was difficult “to be” a Christian. The infinite list of the martyrs, especially roman, of those earliest Christian centuries bear an eloquent testimony to this. Then began a secret method of initiating people through the “catechumenate” as a means of letting their faith to re-echo.

Each aspiring catechumen was required to have a sponsor. It lasted for about three years; after careful examination, the candidate was enrolled in the group for forty days before Easter. The overseer, usually, the Bishop chose them in a special ceremony of election and they were called “elect” for about five weeks before receiving the sacrament of Baptism at the Easter Vigil. Just before the neophytes proceeded out from the baptismal pool to be embraced by the Christian community, the Bishop would lay his hand and with the chrism oil, anoint them one final time on the forehead. At last, they participated at the table of the Lord.[8] Sequel to this, it becomes inevitable to believe that the ancient communities celebrated sequentially the sacraments of Christian initiation, for which by «… The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. …».[9]

The Sacraments of Christian initiation as foundation

The sacraments of Christian initiation as the foundation for every Christian life constitute together a process whose unity must be safeguarded (CCC 1285) for the requirements of full Christian initiation (CIC, can. 842§2; CCEO, can. 697) because of their: 1) theological significance and 2) canonical implications. Thus, 1) Baptism imprints an indelible character, configures us to Christ and incorporates us into the Church as God’s people (Col 1,13; Rom 8,15; Gal 4,5; 1 Jn 3,1; CIC, can. 849; CCEO, can. 679).[10] 2) Confirmation with its indelible character strengthens the baptized, obliges them more firmly to be witnesses of Christ and enriches them by the gift of the Holy Spirit (CIC, can. 879; CCEO, can. 692).[11] 3) Eucharist as the source and summit of all worship and Christian life (Jn 6,53-55; CIC, can. 897; CCEO, can. 698)[12] culminates the initiation process.[13] These three sacraments bring the faithful to full Christian stature and enable them to carry out the mission in the Church and world.[14] Constituting the basis of every activity of the Church: «The sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – lay the foundations of every Christian life… By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity”».[15] They retain an intrinsic relationship that unites them in laying foundation for the “non-initiatory” sacraments, and the Church relies on them as points of departure.

II. Confirmation in rapport with Baptism: Original Celebration, Diversities and Challenges

The illustration so far with respect to the sequential rites of Christian initiation reveals the original modus operandi in the entire ancient Catholic Church.[16] The impeccable faithfulness of the Oriental Church to the traditional celebration of these sacraments of initiation, sequentially, has been a source of authentic difference that reflects: 1) resistance to certain pastoral options and 2) stability in the doctrinal teachings of the Church. Owing to the detachment from this original apostolic heritage by the Latin Church,[17] that is, the inversion of the sacraments of initiation – Baptism, (Penance), Eucharist and Confirmation – the current pastoral practice does no longer correspond with the original doctrine in its sequential order.[18] This pastoral choice of inversion in the West has not only turned upside down the Apostolic heritage, Fathers’ teachings, declarations of the Councils of diverse epochs, but also generated contradictions of the numerous documents of the Church, amongst which the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Codes of Canon Law.

Vatican II Council: Relationship of theological nature and juridical consequence

The Roman Catholic scholars have not so exalted Confirmation at the expense of Baptism: «Furthermore, initiating piecemeal may often suggest that baptism is something less than confirmation, a perception unsupported by the tradition in its integrity as distinct from conventional assumptions of relatively recent date».[19] Yet, they seem not to be unanimous as to what specifies the sacrament of Confirmation.[20] However, the Vatican II Council, firstly, in the Lumen Gentium puts to light a strict relationship of theological nature and juridical consequence between Baptism and Confirmation, even when Confirmation was not delineated as a necessary means of salvation; She insists that both are of necessity for the spiritual life. After Baptism that lays the foundation and bears a certain likeness to origin (CCC, 1212; CIC, can. 842§1, 849; CCEO, can. 675§§1-2), the baptized persons: «… Are more perfectly bound to the Church by the sacrament of Confirmation, and the Holy Spirit endows them with special strength so that they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ».[21] This declaration brings out explicitly six essential elements, namely: 1) the rites of passage (CIC, can. 889; CCEO, can. 695), 2) where the juridical pre-requisite requires only the baptised for the reception of Confirmation (CIC, can. 889§1). 3) The ecclesiological impact; where the confirmed person with duties and rights has a more intimate rapport with the Church (CIC, can. 211; CCEO, can. 14). 4) The pneumatological effect; where the confirmed person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit in a more special way, 5) for a strengthened spiritual maturity, 6) in view of the missionary activity (CIC, cann. 781-792; CCEO, cann. 584-594).[22]

Secondly, Pope Paul VI in the Divinae Consortium Naturae identifies the effects of Confirmation in relation to Baptism as the traditional Church teaches: «From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews, the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church».[23] As a salvific economy: «This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah’s, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people».[24] Hence, Christ instituted Confirmation as sacrament and: «Every baptized person not yet confirmed and only such a person is capable of receiving confirmation» (CIC, can. 889§1). Thus, Baptism remains the fundamental theological and juridical pre-requisite for the reception of Confirmation.

Diversities and Challenges

In spite of some ecclesiastical declarations, there have remained some challenges regarding Confirmation: «The issue of confirmation’s relationship to baptism remains unclear in theological material. Is confirmation a totally different sacrament than baptism? Is it essentially connected to baptism? Is confirmation merely a reaffirmation of one’s baptism? From a theological and historical standpoint, the more that confirmation is separated from baptism the more unclear it becomes. From a pastoral standpoint, at least in the Anglo-European world, the more that confirmation is separated from baptism the clearer it seems to become».[25] These perplexities abound because of the inversion of the sacraments of initiation in the Latin Church that has caused a fragmentation of the process of initiation.[26] As a result, a scholar sustains that: «The current sequence in the Roman Catholic Church – Baptism, first reconciliation, first eucharist, confirmation – has only a very modern tradition to substantiate it. Other sequences have a much lengthier tradition. There is, moreover, no “golden age” in church history serving as a benchmark or norm for sacramental theology, sacramental ritual, and sacramental sequencing».[27] Therefore, it is conspicuous that sacramental and pastoral theologies have not successfully constructed a sound and shared doctrinal teaching that is capable of echoing a new evangelisation with the inversion of the sacraments of initiation without falling short of the original doctrinal heritage.

The apostolic heritage continues to weep for a unified sequence that imparts grace according to the mind of Christ. If the Church should continue with the inversion, it means that new theological propositions will be needed in order to substantiate Her choice. After many years of practising this inversion, there has not been an agreed and proclaimed theology in contrast to the traditional truth regarding these sacraments in their: 1) unique process, 2) sequence, 3) foundation, 4) unity and 5) complementary diversity. In the midst of this, canon law is called upon to authenticate her teachings that seem to be neglected in the Western Church. The collective and constant efforts of the faithful towards a return to the canonised teachings of the Mother Church will yield more fruits of; 1) adequacy, 2) coherency and 3) obedience to the truth of faith.

 III. Confirmatione baptismus perficitur and temporal separation: An open door towards a return to traditional celebration

Despite the expressed perplexities above, we have to hold on to these four major solemnly defined statements, among others, viz: 1) Confirmation is a sacrament, 2) which perfects baptismal graces (CCC 1316). 3) It confers an indelible character with Baptism and Holy Orders (CIC, can. 845; CCEO, can. 672).[28] 4) While a Bishop is the ordinary minister in the West; also, the priest ordinarily administer Chrismation in the East (CIC, cann. 882-888; CCEO, cann. 694, 696§§1-2).[29] These four realities do not exhaust the Catholic teaching on Confirmation. Anyway, the Council of Trent earlier on had reaffirmed the traditional teaching of the Church in front of those who even deny Confirmation as sacrament and other elements surrounding it.[30] She enumerated Confirmation among the seven sacraments of the New Testament and reiterated its authenticity.[31]

Baptism and Confirmation: An inseparable intrinsic rapport

As a mark of relationship of Confirmation to Baptism: «When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, its connection with Baptism is expressed, among other ways, by the renewal of baptismal promises».[32] Confirmation in its inseparable rapport with Baptism has a very close affinity in such a way that the partaking in the divine nature, which is granted to everyone through the grace of Christ, is perfected in the baptised through Confirmation as a developmental stage of this spiritual birth or origin. Unambiguously, this shows that while Baptism is the first sacrament of the Christian initiation, Confirmation is the second in view of the third – Eucharist. This justifies why in the West when adults are baptised, they instantly receive Confirmation and participate in the Eucharist (CIC, can. 866)[33] if there is no impediment that warrants a prolongation, and in the East, the reason for celebrating together all the three sacraments with respect to infant and adult. It is because of these, that the Church includes in the revision what concerns the very essence of the rite of Confirmation, through which the faithful receive the Holy Spirit. Finally, that both traditions acknowledge the grace-effects of this sacrament, it is an unassailable reality.

Temporal separation and restoration of unity: Towards a return to traditional celebration

The restoration of unity among the sacraments of Christian initiation is one of the principal concerns of the Vatican II Council: «Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only»,[34] though, there exist some theological, liturgical, pastoral and juridical differences. Such diversities seem to contradict the unity of the one Church, scandalize the world or even create an obstacle in preaching the Gospel, thereby, creating difficulties in the religious developmental education of those seeking to know God and the Church. Nevertheless, the profession of faith in the Holy Trinity and the Church as one, holy, catholic and apostolic[35] still unites the Western and Eastern Churches, even when they differ in the sequential rites of initiation and in some doctrinal expansions.

A fundamental observation reveals that in the Latin Church, the separation of Confirmation from Baptism is because of practical pastoral reasons; not dogmatic or doctrinal. However, the interdependent and reciprocal designations of theological motives demonstrated by the Western and Eastern Churches can contribute, immensely, to the growth of the one Church. While: 1) the East emphasizes on the; a) unity of the sacraments of Christian initiation, b) pneumatological aspect and c) original doctrine with sequence; 2) the West delineates the; a) ecclesiological impact and b) apostolic succession with respect to the minister.

Furthermore, when the Catechism of the Catholic Church uses the expression “the temporal separation of the two sacraments” (CCC 1290), it reasonably gives a hope of a change and opens a door for some possible reformation in the nearest future (./?) The temporal separation of these sacraments in the West should not be a motive for denying Confirmation as a sacrament with grace-effects. The original relationship between Baptism and Confirmation proves all the more the unity and authenticity of Confirmation as the second sacrament. Any attempt to tamper with the relationship of Confirmation to Baptismal theology would be very challenging to discern and uphold firmly the traditionally declared doctrine on Confirmation as a sacrament. Therefore, the “temporal separation” of the sacraments of Christian initiation should constitute sources of theological reflection and pastoral reconciliation of the Eastern and Western doctrines.

Such elaborations can promote unity in the one, holy, apostolic and catholic Church. Diversity towards unification, then, becomes origin of enrichment. In this way, both doctrinal amplifications can contribute to an urgent return to the original sequential way of celebrating these sacraments.


The word of God, which produces the fruit of conversion, is at the fundamental root of initiation. The evangelization of God’s creatures is indispensable as the initial approach to sharing in the divine nature through the sacraments of initiation. As the Christian theologies attach importance to the task of preaching the gospel as a divine mandate (Mt 28,19); the Catholic Church recalls our mind to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – the paschal mystery as the fulcrum of the economy of salvation. For this, the Church has indefatigably offered the word of God and sacraments to every person. Those who accept the gospel are graciously initiated (Jn 3,5; Rm 6). To foster the divine mandate (CIC, cann. 747, 760; CCEO, can. 595), the Church made some guiding rules (CIC, cann. 96, 204§1; CCEO, can. 7) with their theological bases and juridical consequences. These prepare the foundation in the Codes of Canon Law for those persons whose identity, duties and rights in the Church must be defined by the rite of Baptism as terminus a quo – ianua sacramentorum et vitae spiritualis ianua (CIC, cann. 842§1, 849; CCEO, cann. 675§2, 697), followed by Confirmation (via media) as development (CIC, cann. 889§1, 879; CCEO, cann. 675§2, 695) and Eucharist (terminus ad quem) as the summit that culminates the entire rite of passage of the Christian initiation process (CIC, cann. 912, 897; CCEO, can. 675§2).[36] Evidently: «The sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Most Holy Eucharist are interrelated in such a way that they are required for full Christian initiation» (CIC, can. 842§2; CCEO, can. 697).

By this, the initiated person participates in the three offices of Christ; priestly, prophetic and kingly, and bears the responsibilities for the mission and service that flow from them (CCC, 436, 783).

In fact, with firmness, this work agrees with the Church that since the Eucharist is truly the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission, it follows that the process of initiation must constantly be directed to the reception of this sacrament.[37] The Eucharist remains the sacramentum sacramentorum, finis et consummatio of all the sacraments. Of course, it is with conviction that the distinctive roles and complementary unity among the sacraments of initiation form the basis of their specific identities, as regards the: 1) institution, 2) nature, 3) effects, 4) dignity and 5) graces. In addition, while the rites of passage are well integrated in the sequential celebration of these sacraments; only Baptism and Confirmation have indelible characters (with the Holy Orders) and are unrepeatable, under normal circumstance. Daily, the reception of the Holy Eucharist can be repeated as spiritual food or nourishment.

Finally, in spite of the diverse traditional and theological developments, our pastoral practice should reflect a more unitary understanding of the singular process of Christian initiation, in such a way that the mysteries of Christ are not exposed to a continuous critical dilemma in terms of: 1) significance and 2) rapport. The inversion of these sacraments has caused some perplexities with palpable consequences in the life of the Church. Since these variations are not of dogmatic order, but of pastoral character, the Church is expected to continue unveiling the better approach to these mysteries in such a way that their celebrations will be more coherent, and at the same time be able to put Baptism as origin, Confirmation as development and Eucharist as summit.

Also, we recognise that the “temporal separation” which seems to be permanent and the inversion of the sacraments of initiation have raised some critical issues of: 1) re-elaborating the teachings on the ministerial priesthood and sacerdos alter Christus, 2) receiving the sacrament of reconciliation before the First Holy Communion, 3) reassessment of the theology of the sacraments of Christian initiation process, 4) tending towards contradicting the principles of culture and inculturation, thereby, 5) entering into a discernible conflict with the rites of passage. All these, amongst others, of which we do not intend to deepen in this presentation.

Based on the expositions, this text maintains humbly that a return to the traditional order of celebrating the sacraments of Christian initiation be made. Sequel to this sincere wish, as this work is waiting for a more amplified out-coming book; it suggests some practical possibilities that can be of great assistance to the Mother Church. They are: 1) normally, while the celebration of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation can be done together, that is, in the case of infants, the Holy Eucharist can be received later based on the age of discretion (to be) delineated by the various Episcopal Conferences. 2) For some pastoral reasons, there can be a sequential celebration of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, separately. 3) In exceptional circumstances, like where there might be a need to deepen the Catholic doctrines in the cases of converted adults, after Baptism, the celebration of Confirmation can be done together with the Eucharist, or the application of number one suggestion; otherwise, the implementation of the general rule for adults in the RCIA. 4) More efforts are expected in the parishes or communities, concerning continuous teaching of the word of God and catechesis (mystagogy) after the reception of the sacraments of initiation.

5) There is need to make a solid provision for the formation of the catechists and other collaborators. 6) The Bishop (or equivalent) as the Chief Catechist of the local church is to make a plan for the constant supervision of the doctrinal content and method of the catechetical teachings in the diocese (or similar). 7) Also, while a candid consideration is to be made as regards the minister, ordinary or extraordinary, in such a manner that this does not hinder the will and work of God; there should be an unflinching collaboration within the diocese in coordinating the candidates for these sacraments on the parish or vicariate levels in order to reach out to all on time.

All these with a good consideration of the condition in its entirety, when paid attention to, will definitely in an immense manner contribute to the salvation of souls.

[1] See R. AUDI, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge (UK) 1999, 908.


[3] CATECHISMUS CATHOLICAE ECCLESIAE, Città del Vaticano 1992 (Abbrev. CCC).

[4] «The insights of anthropology into what appears to be a rather common human and social process of initiation, then, can be of great help to us in understanding the particular shape of the rites specific to Christian initiation». M. E. JOHNSON, The Rites of Christian Initiation. Their Evolution and Interpretation, 2 ed., Collegeville (MN) 2007, xviii. See M. ELIADE, Rites and Symbols of Initiation. The Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth, 2 ed., New York (NY) 1965.

[5] Cfr. A. VAN GENNEP, The Rites of Passage, Coll. Anthropology and Ethnography, (M. B. VIZEDOM – G. L. CAFFEE, ed/s.) 2 ed., London – Chicago (IL) 2004, 65-115. See V. TURNER, The Ritual Process. Structure and Anti-Structure, 2 ed., Chicago (IL) 2008; L. L. MITCHELL, The Meaning of Ritual, New York (NY) 1977, 1-22.

[6] M. ELIADE, The Sacred and The Profane. The Nature of Religion, (tr.eng.: W. R. TRASK, ed.) Orlando (FL) 1987, 10. See R. OTTO, Das Heilige. Über das Irrationale in der Idee des Göttlichen und Sein Verhältnis zum Rationalen, München 1917.

[7] «…Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift […] is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love. …». FRANCISCUS PP., Litterae Encyclicae: Lumen Fidei, in AAS, CV (2013), 555-596, nn.4, 35.

[8] Cfr. R. R. NOLL, Sacraments. A New Understanding for a New Generation, Mystic (CT) 1999, 60-61.

[9] CCC 1212; PAULUS PP. VI, Constitutio Apostolica: Divinae Consortium Naturae, in AAS, LXIII (1971), 657-664, 657 (Abbreviated as DCN); THE RITES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AS REVISED BY THE SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, I, (International Commission on English in the Liturgy. A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, ed/s.) 4 ed., Collegeville (MN) 1990, [1 ed., (1976)], 1-2. (Abbrev. of ORDO – RCIA, RCIC, et cetera).

[10] See Council of Trent, session VI, chap. 4: DS 1524.

[11] See CONCILIUM OECUMENICUM VATICANUM II, Decretum de Activitate Missionali Ecclesiae: Ad Gentes, in AAS, LVIII (1966), 947-990, n. 36 (Abbrev. AG).

[12] See CCC 1322.

[13] See ST. AUGUSTINE, De Civitate Dei 10.6: PL 41, 284; CONCILIUM OECUMENICUM VATICANUM II, Constitutio dogmatica de Ecclesia: Lumen Gentium, in AAS, LVII (1965), 5-71, nn.11, 28 (Abbrev. LG); CONCILIUM OECUMENICUM VATICANUM II, Decretum: Presbyterorum Ordinis, in AAS, LVIII (1966), 991-1024, n.2 (Abbrev. PO).

[14] Cfr. LG 31.

[15] CCC 1212. Cfr. DCN 657; RCIA, Introduction 1-2.

[16] See CCC 1290-1292. The sacraments of Christian initiation were celebrated together till the late eighth century in both the Western and Eastern Churches prior to the time of separation. See M. MACCARONE, L’Unità del Battesimo e della Cresima nelle Testimonianze della Liturgia Romana dal III al XVI Secolo, in Lateranum, LI (1985), 86-90. For the practice in different nations in diverse epochs, see M. E. JOHNSON, The Rites of Christian Initiation, 33-363.

[17] For some enlightenments about the detachment of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation in the Latin Church, see B. N. NWANKWO, Sacraments of Initiation with Particular Reference to Baptism as the Fundamental Basis of the Valid Reception of other Sacraments. A Comparative Study of CIC, can. 842§1 and CCEO, can. 675§2. Excerptum Thesis ad Doctoratum in Utroque Iure Adsequendum, Romae 2015, 19-21. Also, a little knowledge of the period of East – West Schism (1054) can be of great assistance, including the declarations of the Fourth Lateran Council and Council of Trent. See SACRA CONGREGATIO DE SACRAMENTIS, Decretum: Quam Singulari Christus Amore, in AAS, II (1910), 577-583; DS 3533; CONFERENZA EPISCOPALE TRIVENETA, Documentazione: La Prima Comunione all’Età dell’Uso della Ragione. Nota dei Vescovi a Cento Anni dal Decreto «Quam Singulari» Voluto da S. Pio X (1910), Zelarino (VE) 2010, 3; P. TURNER, Ages of Initiation. The First Two Christian Millennia, Collegeville (MN) 2000, 28-30; J. MEYENDORFF, La Teologia Bizantina. Sviluppi Storici e Temi Dottrinali, Genova 1984, 112-125.

[18] For the case of an adult who converts to Catholic faith, the three sacraments of Christian initiation are celebrated in the same liturgical ceremony, if the pastor considers him or her worthy after the preparation. See CCEO, can. 695.

[19] A. KAVANAGH, Initiation. Christian, in A. RICHARDSON – J. BOWDEN, A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, London 2002, 302. This argument can be understood from some authors like the Anglicans who had opted that Baptism purifies and remits sin only, while Confirmation is where the Holy Spirit is given. For some of them, the sacrament of Baptism is a preliminary to the more important sacrament of Confirmation. Cfr. G. AUSTIN, Confirmation and Liturgical Development, in ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologiae Volume 57. Baptism and Confirmation 3a. 66-72, (J. J. CUNNINGHAM, ed.) 2 ed., Cambridge 2006, 247.

[20] Cfr. M. BOHEN, The Mystery of Confirmation, New York (NY) 1963, 18-19.

[21] LG 11. Cfr. ST. CYRILIUS HIEROSOLYMITANUS, Catecheses Mystagogiae Quinque 17. De Spiritu Sancto II, 35-37: PG 33, 1009-1012; NICOLAUS CABASILAS, De Vita in Christo III. De Utilitate Chrismatis: PG 150, 569-580; ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologica III, q. 65, a. 3; q. 72, aa. 1, 5.

[22] See AG 2.

[23] DCN 659; cfr. Acts 8,15-17; 19,5-6; Heb 6,2. See CCC 1288.

[24] CCC 1287; cfr. Ezek 36,25-27; Jo 3,1-2. In fact: «On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit. […] Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn». CCC 1287. Cfr. Lk 12,12; Jn 3,5-8; 7,37-39; 16,7-15; 20,22; Acts 1,8; 2,1-14,17-18,38.

[25] K. B. OSBORNE, Sacramental Guidelines, 67.

[26] See R. R. NOLL, Sacraments. A New Understanding for a New Generation, 61-62; J. D. C. FISHER, Christian Initiation. The Reformation Period: Some Early Reformed Rites of Baptism and Confirmation and Other Contemporary Documents, Coll. Alcuin Club Collections, n. 51, London 1970.

[27] K. B. OSBORNE, Christian Sacraments in a Postmodern World. A Theology for the Third Millennium, Mahwah (NJ) 1999, 8.

[28] Though the CCEO did not mention explicitly the expression of “sacramental character”, but the concept of “not repeatable” is very clear. In addition, despite the separation of Confirmation from Baptism, Bishops and theologians maintained that it also conferred a “character”, though the content of this “character” was not explained. See Council of Trent, session VII On the Sacraments in General, can. 9.

[29] See CODEX IURIS CANONICI, PII X PONTIFICIS MAXIMI iussu digestus BENEDICTI PAPAE XV auctoritate promulgatus, in AAS, IX (1917), II, 11-459, can. 782§1. (Abbrev. 1917 CIC).

[30] Certain protestant teachers denied that confirmation was a sacrament, because they did not find a clear basis for a sacrament of confirmation in the New Testament, and maintained that bishops in some former time had made up this sacrament and imposed it on the Church. Cfr. K. B. OSBORNE, Sacramental Guidelines, 6.

[31] See Council of Trent, session VII On Confirmation, cann. 1-3.

[32] «[Also in relation to the Eucharist] The celebration of Confirmation during the Eucharist helps underline the unity of the sacraments of Christian initiation» CCC 1321.

[33] Cfr. CCC 1298; CONCILIUM OECUMENICUM VATICANUM II, Constitutio de sacra Liturgia: Sacrosanctum Concilium, in AAS, LVI (1964), 97-138, n.71, (Abbrev. SC).

[34] CONCILIUM OECUMENICUM VATICANUM II, Decretum de oecumenismo: Unitatis Redintegratio, in AAS, LVII (1965), 90-112, n.1 (Abbrev. UR).

[35] We believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. In Protestant theology, these are sometimes called the attributes of the Church. Cfr. L. BERKHOF, Systematic Theology, London 1949, 572.

[36] For more understanding of the rapport of celebration in the cases of infant and adult, see (CCC, 1233; CIC, cann. 833 n.2, 866; CCEO, cann. 695, 710), after adequate catechesis (CIC, cann. 851, n.1, 865). Regarding the age of discretion, see CIC, can. 852; CCEO, cann. 682, 681§3.

[37] BENEDICTUS PP. XVI, Adhortatio Apostolica Postsynodalis: Sacramentum Caritatis, in AAS, XCIX (2007), 105-180, n.17.


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