By Patrick L. Carbonell
Let’s say that those who think baptism shouldn’t be given to infants may question it and even doubt it, but not all Christians believe that. Majority of mainstream Christianity believes that baptism should also be given to infants. However, the Sacrament of Confirmation in my opinion is a Sacrament not given much value by some fellow-Catholics and abandoned by many other Christian faiths compared to the other sacraments of the Church due to the reason that it is the least clarified in layman’s understanding. I had several friends who never went for confirmation because they do not know why they must or they just have not thought about it. I also had friends when asked why they underwent Confirmation do not know why they did. In the same way, non-Catholics are asking why Confirmation is needed. Therefore, I wish to share one of the simplest explanations about the Sacrament of Confirmation from http://www.rciaresources.com/CatechismFiles/XConfirm.htm. This RCIA resource has based its answers directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Despite the short explanations given per question, I believe that the Sacrament of Confirmation had been explained profoundly as shown below:
1. What is the sacrament of Confirmation?
The reception of the sacrament of Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or “confirm” the baptized in union with Christ, and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church. Hence they are, as true witnesses, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.
2. What is a scriptural basis for the sacrament of Confirmation?
“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had heard the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17).
3. What is the essential rite for the sacrament of Confirmation?
In the Latin rite the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, together with the laying on of the hands and the words “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Ordinarily this essential rite is preceded by the renewal of the baptismal promises, and the profession of faith by the confirmand.
4. What are the signs of the rite of Confirmation?
The signs of Confirmation are the laying on of hands and the anointing with sacred chrism. The oil of the chrism is a sign of abundance and joy; it cleanses and strengthens, and it is a sign of healing. Those who are anointed at Confirmation share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ, and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which they are filled.
5. What is sacred chrism?
Sacred chrism is perfumed oil, consecrated by the bishop at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, which signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit. Chrism is used for consecration in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders.
Reception of the Sacrament
6. Who can receive Confirmation?
Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Since Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time to complete the Christian initiation. The Latin custom has indicated the “age of reason” as the time for receiving Confirmation. Although Confirmation is sometimes called the “sacrament of Christian maturity”, we must not confuse adult faith with adult age or adult growth.
7. What preparation should be made for reception of the sacrament of Confirmation?
The preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ, and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions his gifts and his biddings – in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end the preparation for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community.
8. What is required for reception of the sacrament of Confirmation?
To receive Confirmation one must have attained the age of reason, make a profession of faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ, both in the Church community and in temporal affairs. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Candidates for Confirmation, as for Baptism, shouldseek the help of a sponsor. To emphasize the unity of these two sacraments it is appropriate that the sponsor be one of the baptismal godparents.
Characteristics of the Sacrament
9. What are the effects of Confirmation?
An effect of the sacrament of confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles at Pentecost. From this fact, Confirmation brings about an increase and deepening of baptismal grace, it unites us more firmly to Christ, it increases the gifts of the Holy spirit in us, it renders our bond to the Church more perfect, and it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith.
10. What type of Sacrament is Confirmation?:
Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist together constitute the “Sacraments of Initiation”.
11. How are the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation related?
Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives us the Holy Spirit in order to incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, and associate us more closely with her mission. When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, its connection with Baptism is expressed by the renewal of baptismal promises.
12. Who is the minister of the sacrament of Confirmation?
In the Latin Rite the ordinary minister of Confirmation is the bishop. If the need arises the bishop may grant the faculty of administering Confirmation to priests. If a Christian is in danger of death, any priest can give him Confirmation.
13. Does Confirmation imprint an indelible spiritual mark on the soul?
Confirmation can only be received once in a person’s life, for like Baptism which it completes, it too imprints an indelible spiritual mark or character on the soul which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked the Christian with the seal of the Holy Spirit. The character perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism.
Other Scriptural Basis:
Apart from the answers to the questions presented above through an RCIA site, I wish to present a few more scriptural basis of the Sacrament of Confirmation, try reading the following: from your bible:
Acts 19:5-6, Acts 8:13-17, 2Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13, Hebrews 6:2
The Sacrament of Confirmation is very biblical and the Catholic Church is correct to give this to Christians who were already baptized. If Non-Catholics condemned this practice saying it is unbiblical, it is assured that they have no scriptural basis as to why the Sacrament of Confirmation is condemned by them. What is really unscriptural is condemning this Sacrament because the Bible fully supports it and instructs this to be given to all Christians baptized into the faith.