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Gen'l. Information Regarding Confirmation

Return to Sacraments Section

Confirmation

The Sacrament of Confirmation

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"The Holy Ghost bestows at the font the fullness of innocence; but in Confirmation He confers an increase of grace." (Pope St. Melchiades)

"The water gives us our spiritual birth; the chrism gives us strength; and, until such time as we have received its holy anointing, we have not yet the perfect character of a Christian." (Dom Gueranger) 

"This sacrament is given in order to confer a certain excellence, not indeed, like the sacrament of order, of one man over another, but of man in regard to himself: thus the same man, when arrived at maturity, excels himself as he was when a boy." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")


The Sacrament of Confirmation

Also Called: 'The Second Sacrament of Initiation', Sacrament of Chrism

"[T]his Sacrament is called by the Church Confirmation because, if there is no obstacle to the efficacy of the Sacrament, a baptized person, when anointed with the sacred chrism by the Bishop, with the accompanying solemn words: I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, becomes stronger with the strength of a new power, and thus begins to be a perfect soldier of Christ." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"In Baptism man is enlisted into the service, in Confirmation he is equipped for battle; at the baptismal font the Holy Ghost imparts fullness to accomplish innocence, but in Confirmation he ministers perfection to grace; in Baptism we are regenerated unto life, after Baptism we are fortified for the combat; in Baptism we are cleansed, after Baptism we are strengthened; regeneration of itself saves those who receive Baptism in time of peace, Confirmation arms and makes ready for conflicts." (Pope St. Melchiades)

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Type of Sacrament

Is Sacrament Obligatory?

Recipients

Can This Sacrament Be Repeated?

When Should Sacrament Be Received?

General Prerequisites

Ordinary Ministers

Form / Matter

Chief Effects

Additional Information

For More Information Regarding Confirmation, Try...

Type of Sacrament: 'Sacrament of the Living'  (click here for more info.)

Is Sacrament Obligatory? While it is not strictly obligatory for salvation, it is strongly recommended and is "necessary for the completion of baptismal grace" (cf. Roman Ritual).

"[H]e who culpably and voluntarily, and not from necessity, neglects to receive this Sacrament, cannot possibly be a perfect Christian." (Pope St. Clement)

"It is a sin to neglect Confirmation, especially in these evil days when faith and morals are exposed to so many and such violent temptations." (Baltimore Catechism)

"First, it is necessary to teach that this Sacrament is not so necessary as to be utterly essential to salvation. Although not essential, however, it ought to be omitted by no one, but rather, on the contrary, in a matter so full of holiness through which the divine gifts are so liberally bestowed, the greater care should be taken to avoid all neglect. What God has proposed in common unto all for their sanctification, all should likewise most earnestly desire." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Recipients: Baptized Catholics of either sex who have been properly instructed

Can This Sacrament Be Repeated? No

When Should Sacrament Be Received? After attaining the use of reason, at age specified by the Church (for adults, Confirmation may be received along with Baptism).

General Prerequisites: Prior baptism, attainment of the use of reason, state of grace (including sacramental confession), proper intention/faith, repentance for past sins, other required acts (as applicable).

"To receive worthily the sacrament of Confirmation it is necessary to be in the grace of God; know the principal mysteries of our holy faith; and approach it with reverence and devotion." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

Note: In danger of death, Confirmation may be given even to young children.

Ordinary Ministers: Bishops

Form / Matter: Formula for Confirmation (e.g. "I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."), Chrism [Also: "The matter of this sacrament, besides the imposition of hands by the bishop, is the anointing of the forehead of the baptized with sacred chrism; and for this reason it is also called the sacrament of Chrism, that is Anointing." (Catechism of St. Pius X)].

Chief Effects:

* Brings us to maturity as Christians: "[B]y the grace of Baptism we are begotten unto newness of life, whereas by that of Confirmation we grow to full maturity, having put away the things of a child, we can sufficiently understand that the same difference that exists in the natural life between birth and growth exists also between Baptism, which regenerates, and Confirmation, by virtue of which growth and perfect spiritual strength are imparted to the faithful." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

* Imparts grace: "Confirmation, unless some obstacle be present on the part of the receiver, imparts new grace." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

* "[T]he effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost." (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

* Perfects the grace of Baptism: "[I]t is peculiar to Confirmation first to perfect the grace of Baptism. For those who have been made Christians by Baptism, still have in some sort the tenderness and softness, as it were, of new-born infants, and afterwards become, by means of the Sacrament of chrism, stronger to resist all the assaults of the world, the flesh and the devil, while their minds are fully confirmed in faith to confess and glorify the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

* "Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ." (Baltimore Catechism)

* "Confirmation is a sacrament which gives us the Holy Ghost, imprints on our souls the mark of a soldier of Jesus Christ, and makes us perfect Christians." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

* "The gifts of the Holy Ghost received in Confirmation are these seven: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and the Fear of the Lord." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

* "The sacrament of confirmation strengthens the baptized and obliges them more firmly to be witnesses of Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith. It imprints a character, enriches by the gift of the Holy Spirit the baptized continuing on the path of Christian initiation, and binds them more perfectly to the Church." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

* Confirmation unites one more fully to Christ.

* Through an increased outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the individual is strengthened and helped to live a good Christian life.


Additional Information:

* Requires an appropriate Sponsor

* A new name may be added at Confirmation: "One may and should add a new name to his own at Confirmation, especially when the name of a saint has not been given in Baptism." (Baltimore Catechism)

* Confirmation does not mean one has been brought to the Bishop to "confirm their faith": "For the word Confirmation is not derived, as some not less ignorantly than impiously have pretended, from the circumstance that persons baptized in infancy, when arrived at mature years, were of old brought to the Bishop, in order to confirm their faith in Christ, which they had embraced in Baptism, so that Confirmation would seem not to differ from catechetical instruction. Of such a practice no reliable testimony can be adduced. On the contrary, the name has been derived from the fact that by virtue of this Sacrament God confirms in us the work He commenced in Baptism, leading us to the perfection of solid Christian virtue." (Catechism of the Council of Trent) 

* A light stroke on the cheek may be given: "A light stroke is given to the person confirmed to show him that he should be ready to bear all insults and endure all sufferings for the faith of Jesus Christ." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

* "The sacrament of Baptism is more efficacious than [Confirmation] as to the removal of evil, since it is a spiritual birth, that consists in change from non-being to being. But [Confirmation] is more efficacious for progress in good; since it is a spiritual growth from imperfect being to perfect being. And hence [Confirmation] is committed to a more worthy minister [the Bishop]." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

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For More Information Regarding Confirmation, Try...


Confirmation (Topic Page)

The Catechism of the Council of Trent on Confirmation

Selections From the Baltimore Catechism - Q & A Format! 

Tip: Select "Display by Lesson", then select lesson number corresponding to Confirmation.

Confirmation Reflections

Confirmation (Topical Scripture)

Catholic Basics

Confirmation Apologetics (Non-Catholics Section)


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* Confirmation (Topic Page)

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