Skip to main content

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-

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …