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« on: September 14, 2011, 03:24:49 PM »

I attended a confirmation mass the other day at a local RC church. Honestly, I did not know much about confirmation due to my protestant upbringing.  After doing a little research, it seems that it is the sacrament when the young people receive the Holy Spirit and become adults in the Church.  My question is this: Dont we receive the Holy Spirit at baptism?  I thought baptism was viewed by Catholics and Orthodox as a sacrament where the Holy Spirit begins to work in you.  This is obviously unlike the protestant tradition where baptism is just a mere symbol.

Also, could someone tell me what the difference is in the RC and Orthodox view of confirmation?  (I guess Orthodox call it Chrismation)

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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 03:42:44 PM »

I attended a confirmation mass the other day at a local RC church. Honestly, I did not know much about confirmation due to my protestant upbringing.  After doing a little research, it seems that it is the sacrament when the young people receive the Holy Spirit and become adults in the Church.  My question is this: Dont we receive the Holy Spirit at baptism?  I thought baptism was viewed by Catholics and Orthodox as a sacrament where the Holy Spirit begins to work in you.  This is obviously unlike the protestant tradition where baptism is just a mere symbol.

Also, could someone tell me what the difference is in the RC and Orthodox view of confirmation?  (I guess Orthodox call it Chrismation)


Chrismation is the seal of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the new birth, Chrismation is the first breath.

The big difference between us and the Vatican is that it holds that one must reach the age of reason to receive confirmation, and it gives communion to those who are not yet confirmed. We chrismate immediately after baptism, and so anyone who can be baptized can be chrismated.  Also the Vatican does not let its priests confirm, while our priests use chrism consecrated by a bishop (usually now the local primate).

For the Vatican, it is a coming of age.  For us, it is just the end of the beginning.
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 03:52:12 PM »

You've hit on one of the problems with Roman Catholic theology since they abandoned the Orthodox practice. If you ask what confirmation actually does, most theologians give some kind of mincing of words about it making their membership in the Church "more complete". So was it not complete before? They will then say: "Oh, no it was complete before, and they had the Holy Spirit. But now their membership is more complete."

I just don't get it. A Roman Catholic can feel free to correct me if this is a caricature based on ignorance.
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 05:31:05 PM »

You've hit on one of the problems with Roman Catholic theology since they abandoned the Orthodox practice. If you ask what confirmation actually does, most theologians give some kind of mincing of words about it making their membership in the Church "more complete". So was it not complete before? They will then say: "Oh, no it was complete before, and they had the Holy Spirit. But now their membership is more complete."

I just don't get it. A Roman Catholic can feel free to correct me if this is a caricature based on ignorance.

Here's an interesting discussion on The Sacrament of Confirmation: http://www.beginningcatholic.com/confirmation.html

And CCC 1285: 1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."

And CCC 1300: The essential rite of the sacrament follows. In the Latin rite, "the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through the words: 'Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti' [Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.]." In the Eastern Churches of Byzantine rite, after a prayer of epiclesis, the more significant parts of the body are anointed with myron: forehead, eyes, nose, ears, lips, chest, back, hands, and feet. Each anointing is accompanied by the formula SfragiV dwreaV PneumatoV ¢Agiou (Signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti): "the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit."


And CCC 1302:  It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

The above quotations are taken from here: http://ccc.scborromeo.org.master.com/texis/master/search/?sufs=0&q=sacrament+of+confirmation&xsubmit=Search&s=SS, where there is more if you're interested.  Hope it helps.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 05:32:35 PM by J Michael » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 06:45:31 PM »

Thanks so much for the replies.  It still doesnt really make much sense to me. 

I guess its tough because of the tradition i grew up in.  It was "believer baptism," and I always understood that once you become baptized that was it.  You had received the Holy Spirit and yu were prepared to live your life for God.  I guess the whole confirmation/chrismation thing is the next topic im trying to wrap my head around in my journey to Orthodoxy. 

It does make a little more sense in the context of someone like me being Chrismated as a means of officially becoming a member of the Church.  I just dont see why the RC would baptize at birth, then wait until the age of reason to confirm.  Its almost like a Orthodox/Protestant combination... You have the baptism of the infant (Orthodox) and then "Baptism part 2"  for the people at the age of reason. (Protestant)

Im not trying to be rude, I just dont get it.  I would love for a RC to clarify for me!

And to clarify, I do know that most Protestant churches still baptize infants.  Im just referring to my particular Protestant tradition.
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 07:09:11 PM »

Also the Vatican does not let its priests confirm
Not true. I was confirmed by my priest in 2007, though the holy chrism came from the Bishop.
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 07:47:39 PM »

Priests can confirm with their Bishop's permission.
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 01:06:20 AM »

Also the Vatican does not let its priests confirm
Not true. I was confirmed by my priest in 2007, though the holy chrism came from the Bishop.
Indeed, Bishops can give a Priest permission to confirm.
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 03:48:07 PM »

But what does it mean to be "more perfectly bound to the Church"? Were they incompletely members before? Did they lack the Holy Spirit? I just doesn't make sense to me.
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 04:09:14 PM »

But what does it mean to be "more perfectly bound to the Church"? Were they incompletely members before? Did they lack the Holy Spirit? I just doesn't make sense to me.

No more or less than an Orthodox Christian when chrismated.  Perhaps "to be more perfectly bound to the Church" is another way of saying that they become nourished and strengthened in the spiritual life, as is said to occur from an Orthodox chrismation.  I don't know.  Just speculating.  Personally, having been baptized and chrismated in the Byzantine Catholic Church, my preference would be for the 2 sacraments to occur one right after the other, as they do in the BCC and the Orthodox Church.  But it ain't my call and I'll accept what the Church teaches me.
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 05:10:25 PM »

You've hit on one of the problems with Roman Catholic theology since they abandoned the Orthodox practice. If you ask what confirmation actually does, most theologians give some kind of mincing of words about it making their membership in the Church "more complete". So was it not complete before? They will then say: "Oh, no it was complete before, and they had the Holy Spirit. But now their membership is more complete."

I just don't get it. A Roman Catholic can feel free to correct me if this is a caricature based on ignorance.

Pre and post Vatican II it has been seen as a sacrament that seals and strengthens the soul in the faith.

Also there is a chrismation and invocation of the Holy Spirit during the Baptismal rite that comes just after the immersion or pouring and vesting of the child or adult in white.  So the Holy Spirit is invoked at Baptism through and anointing with chrism.

Also the priest Baptises, Chrismates and communes the catechumen and chrismates the already baptised in the rites of Christian initiation.
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2011, 05:30:19 PM »

Quote
Also there is a chrismation and invocation of the Holy Spirit during the Baptismal rite that comes just after the immersion or pouring and vesting of the child or adult in white.  So the Holy Spirit is invoked at Baptism through and anointing with chrism.

So a child is chrismated twice? Once at baptism, again at confirmation?
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2011, 05:36:59 PM »

Quote
Also there is a chrismation and invocation of the Holy Spirit during the Baptismal rite that comes just after the immersion or pouring and vesting of the child or adult in white.  So the Holy Spirit is invoked at Baptism through and anointing with chrism.

So a child is chrismated twice? Once at baptism, again at confirmation?

Essentially yes.

Anointing with chrism is not the equivalent of the Sacrament of Confirmation: not even in the Roman rite.
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2011, 05:51:45 PM »

But what does it mean to be "more perfectly bound to the Church"? Were they incompletely members before? Did they lack the Holy Spirit? I just doesn't make sense to me.
Why Chrismation and baptism? Does not a person already receive the Spirit in Baptism?
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2011, 06:29:28 PM »

1 Cor. 3:1-2

  1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

In the Roman Catholic Church, Confirmation is related to the laying on of hands. When a person is an infant, he can receive Baptism, although he doesn't understand it, because he has a soul and that soul needs salvation. As a person gets older, they can and should grow in faith. You would have something to worry about if you didn't show any increase in maturity over a significant span of time in your life. Confirmation affirms and imparts responsibility for one's actions. A very small child doesn't really understand right and wrong; therefore he or she is not yet expected to go to Confession. As one gets older and acquires the ability to reason, he will also be more subject to temptation, and therefore needs ever more protection under the Holy Spirit. This is why he receives a 'fresh outpouring' of the Holy Spirit and is strengthened by the sacraments of Confession and Confirmation. Even the Apostles, who received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, later prayed for a fresh outpouring. Human beings are weak; we need to constantly re-immerse ourselves in God's grace. This is why the Church, in its duty to act out God's mercy, offers people the help and consolation of the sacraments throughout their lives. Our connection to God does not end at Baptism; it only begins.
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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2011, 06:35:34 PM »

But what does it mean to be "more perfectly bound to the Church"? Were they incompletely members before? Did they lack the Holy Spirit? I just doesn't make sense to me.
Why Chrismation and baptism? Does not a person already receive the Spirit in Baptism?

Because the Church understood that when they separated Baptism and Confirmation there needed to be an invocation of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and so they left the final anointing with chrism as an integral and necessary part of the Baptismal rite and rituals.  They never truly did abandon the integration of Baptism and Chrismation...

If you really want to push it there have been 8 sacraments ever since the separation of the rites of initiation.

Two books that you ought to have on your shelves are by Father Aidan Kavanagh.  If I had known of them 20 years ago, I could have saved myself much grief when I began researching the sacraments of initiation in the Roman rite, but I didn't have good guidance in the beginning and so wound up re-inventing the wheel numerous times.

The Shape of Baptism: The Rite of Christian Initiation

Confirmation: Origins and Reform
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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2011, 09:46:22 PM »

Why Chrismation and baptism? Does not a person already receive the Spirit in Baptism?

The book of the Acts of the Apostles has a point where it clearly states that many had been baptized but had not yet received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands (which is seen as the equivalent of anointing), and the apostles had to be called down to do this. From an Orthodox point of view, the mysteries are inextricable. The Holy Spirit is given through the chrism. Even your own confirmation rite clearly states this.
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« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2011, 09:52:32 PM »

Why Chrismation and baptism? Does not a person already receive the Spirit in Baptism?

The book of the Acts of the Apostles has a point where it clearly states that many had been baptized but had not yet received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands (which is seen as the equivalent of anointing), and the apostles had to be called down to do this. From an Orthodox point of view, the mysteries are inextricable. The Holy Spirit is given through the chrism. Even your own confirmation rite clearly states this.

Which is, of course, why the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation were separated by the western Church in favor of waiting for the bishop to lay his hands on the confirmand, when there were not sufficient bishops to attend each and every baptism of each and every infant and adult.

Chrism, or the anointing with chrism, in Orthodoxy, can be given on more occasions than at the time of initiation into the faith.  So the Holy Spirit is not confined in either Church: but the sacrament of Confirmation/Chrismation is not to be repeated, at least in the Catholic Church, and the Holy Spirit comes in an especial way to strengthen the brothers and sisters in the faith in Confirmation.
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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2011, 10:55:28 PM »

Which is, of course, why the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation were separated by the western Church in favor of waiting for the bishop to lay his hands on the confirmand, when there were not sufficient bishops to attend each and every baptism of each and every infant and adult.

That's also what I was told in my catechumenate: basically that the differences in praxis is a different value judgment on the same problem; namely, that it's difficult for the bishop to personally initiate each new member.

In the West, over time it was viewed as more important that the bishop personally lay his hands on the convert, and the two sacraments were separated chronologically.

In the East, over time it was viewed as more important that the rite be performed at the time of baptism, so the head of the local Church blessed Holy Chrism to replace the physical laying-on of hands.

That may be an over-simplification, but I think they are essentially two different solutions to the same problem. So long as Confirmation is not delayed (I know devout middle-aged Catholics who somehow never got around to being confirmed), I think they are both good options considering the ratio of parishes to bishops.
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« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2011, 11:20:03 PM »

Which is, of course, why the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation were separated by the western Church in favor of waiting for the bishop to lay his hands on the confirmand, when there were not sufficient bishops to attend each and every baptism of each and every infant and adult.

That's also what I was told in my catechumenate: basically that the differences in praxis is a different value judgment on the same problem; namely, that it's difficult for the bishop to personally initiate each new member.

In the West, over time it was viewed as more important that the bishop personally lay his hands on the convert, and the two sacraments were separated chronologically.

In the East, over time it was viewed as more important that the rite be performed at the time of baptism, so the head of the local Church blessed Holy Chrism to replace the physical laying-on of hands.

That may be an over-simplification, but I think they are essentially two different solutions to the same problem. So long as Confirmation is not delayed (I know devout middle-aged Catholics who somehow never got around to being confirmed), I think they are both good options considering the ratio of parishes to bishops.

Agreed.  I do very much appreciate the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults though...and I do believe that there's a move among the laity in the Roman rite to return to Baptism-Chrismation-Eucharist for infants.  It is not a mass movement but there are many who seem quite favorable to the return. More laity than bishops...heh!  Bishops have spent a fortune on "programs" for the 'sacrament of choice'/Confirmation.  I hope this goes the way of all bad ideas...well...I mean I hope it goes away.
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2011, 11:28:02 AM »

Thanks everyone for the replies! This helps a lot.  The thread isnt closed, so if anyone still would like to add something, feel free.
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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2011, 08:39:20 PM »

Which is, of course, why the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation were separated by the western Church in favor of waiting for the bishop to lay his hands on the confirmand, when there were not sufficient bishops to attend each and every baptism of each and every infant and adult.

That's also what I was told in my catechumenate: basically that the differences in praxis is a different value judgment on the same problem; namely, that it's difficult for the bishop to personally initiate each new member.

In the West, over time it was viewed as more important that the bishop personally lay his hands on the convert, and the two sacraments were separated chronologically.

In the East, over time it was viewed as more important that the rite be performed at the time of baptism, so the head of the local Church blessed Holy Chrism to replace the physical laying-on of hands.

That may be an over-simplification, but I think they are essentially two different solutions to the same problem. So long as Confirmation is not delayed (I know devout middle-aged Catholics who somehow never got around to being confirmed), I think they are both good options considering the ratio of parishes to bishops.

Agreed.  I do very much appreciate the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults though...and I do believe that there's a move among the laity in the Roman rite to return to Baptism-Chrismation-Eucharist for infants.  It is not a mass movement but there are many who seem quite favorable to the return. More laity than bishops...heh!  Bishops have spent a fortune on "programs" for the 'sacrament of choice'/Confirmation.  I hope this goes the way of all bad ideas...well...I mean I hope it goes away.
I personally think that separating the two is silly. I am one of those laity who is in favor of a return to the practice of the past.
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