My friend, the Rev. David Petersen, just made an excellent post on first communion and confirmation. Check it out here.
I find that my views on life, the ministry and everything are generally echoed in Rev. Petersen’s words. This tension he describes is a real one. Every time I pass my 7 year old daughter (or the 4 year old for that matter) I feel guilty for not communing her. She knows the catechism. She’s confessed her sins and been absolved. There is no theological reason to withhold the Sacrament from her, and a whole lot of reasons to give it to her.
At the same time, there is real benefit at having a period of formal theological instruction when they are older. Tying the two together, however, is problematic.
I’ve changed my mind on this over the years. Now I agree with Petersen, again. I guess that’s good.
2 thoughts on “Confirmation and First Communion”
I’ll ask the same question I asked on Petersen’s blog–why must a formal instruction period lead to Confirmation? Why not use the Rite of Confirmation as the default Rite of First Communion, regardless of age of the person, and still require formal instruction after this? My suggested model is this: whenver the child is deemed to be “ready” to be admitted to the altar, admit him or her can call it his/her Confirmation (using the Confirmation Rite). Then, when he or she gets to be in about the 7th grade (this is arbitrary), do the two years of instruction that you so desire, and then be done with it. I think that we will create an avoidable conundrum by further separating the Rite of Confirmation from formal admittance to the altar.
The reason, quite simply, is because no one would ever go through the instruction later. The only “carrot” we have to hold out on instruction is Confirmation and First Communion. If neither of those are there, no one will go through the later formal instruction.
i wish I was wrong, but I expect I am right.