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Confirmation and American religious education

Frankly, this has been a sticking point for me for a long time, and Andrew Sciba's post is a good one.  It has never made sense theologically (to me anyway) that we separate Confirmation from Baptism (and Eucharist).  In the US, Confirmation has become some sort of  "right of passage" for young people, which is not a valid understanding of the sacrament.  Even worse, as Sciba points out, we use it as a way to keep young people in religious education classes.

First of all, the way religious education is taught in most places is a tragedy.  I know most of the folks doing it mean well, but I've sat through enough of these classes, both as parent and as administrator, to know:  they are BORING. 

Second, it is a false separation of a Sacrament of initiation to be randomly plopped down at grade 8 or grade 10 or whatever.

Finally, the hoops we make kids jump through to finally get to the Sacrament can be overwhelming:  hours of community service, two years of classroom preparation, letters to the parish asking for the sacrament, etc., etc., etc.  We don't ask couples getting married to do this much work!  (Yeah, I know, maybe we should....)  We don't do this for any other Sacrament.  It's as if we are panicking:  "This may be the last chance we get to catechize this kid!  We're gonna stuff as much into his brain while we've got him!"  The problem is not that we need to stuff so much into his brain, but that this MIGHT be our last chance.  Why is that?  Why do so many kids and parents view this as the penultimate sacramental moment....until a marriage or burial is needed?  THAT'S the problem.

Okay, rant over.  Seriously, though, in America, we need to look at how we deal with Confirmation.

Comments

  1. my daughter, youngest of 7, was confirmed last year at age 16- half the young ladies came to the confirmation rehearsal half naked-literally. i was amazed; many were with their mothers- for the actual sacrament most of them wore night club type outfits - the bishop arrived with his entourage in tow, wearing none of his regalia and proceeded to walk et. al. in front of the small ante chamber to which the Blessed Sacrament had been relegated in this neo modern church, none of themever making any acknowledgement of the Sacred Divine presence; - Howard Hubbards homily dealt more with baseball than anything salient- arguing as to the proper age for reception of this 'great continuation of Pentecost'[ john Hardon] in view of all the other disasters going on in the american church likens to me to envision re arranging the deck chairs on the titanic - we need to get back to a reverential, vertically focused Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and emphasis on the Real Presence - then these other 'issues' will fall into place-

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