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Friday, March 09, 2012

Another "Reform" Biting the Dust?

Inch by inch (and much too slowly for this ageing boomer) the reform of the reform plods along:
Rome, Italy, Mar 8, 2012 / 03:58 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo said he is delighted to have first-hand papal approval for changing the order by which children in his diocese receive the sacraments.

“I was very surprised in what the Pope said to me, in terms of how happy he was that the sacraments of initiation have been restored to their proper order of baptism, confirmation then first Eucharist,” said Bishop Aquila, after meeting Pope Benedict on March 8.


Bishop Aquila said he made the changes because “it really puts the emphasis on the Eucharist as being what completes the sacraments of initiation” and on confirmation as “sealing and completing baptism.”

When the sacraments are conferred in this order, he said, it becomes more obvious that “both baptism and confirmation lead to the Eucharist.” This sacramental assistance helps Catholics live “that intimate relationship of being the beloved sons and daughters of the Father in our daily lives,” he added.

The Bishop of Fargo said the changes have also distanced the Sacrament of Confirmation from “some false theologies that see it as being a sacrament of maturity or as a sacrament for ‘me choosing God."
Well huzzah, huzzah! I often wonder whether many of the post-Vatican II reforms were perpetrated for sheerly contrarian reasons: being antithetical to the old ways sufficed. That some of the most radical reforms were rammed through so quickly (astonishingly so when you consider how slowly Holy Church usually moves in such circumstances) would suggest it and that putative reformers also knew the ol' window of opportunity would soon be slamming shut.

When I was a young Episcopalian the order was similar to the Catholic Church's at the time: baptism, confirmation and, finally, Holy Communion (as we called it). It made sense: one should not receive until capable of understanding what it is occurring. I have never read or heard an explanation of the present order (baptism, communion, confirmation) that did not soon devolve into touchy-feely mush. Let us hope the rest of the Church follows the good Bishop Aquila's example. All should benefit, save, perhaps, for photographers peddling mawkish "First Communion" portraits.

Thanks to Justin Martyr.

UPDATE: I was wrong to blame the Vatican II reforms for the change in the order children receive the sacraments; it goes back much earlier. See the comments.


Tim of Angle said...

The order baptism, first communion (around 7), and confirmation (around 12) was common back in the fifties, when I was Roman Catholic. If that was a 'reform', then it long preceded anything from Vatican II.

I prefer the Orthodox practice of baptism, Chrismation, and first Communion of the infant on the same day. If your child is sick, you don't wait until he is 'old enough to understand what is going on' before you give him the injection that will cure him.

William Tighe said...

Tim is right; and the "reform" (or, as I see it, "deform") that produced the sequence of Baptism, first communion, and confirmation, was introduced in the pontificate of St. Pius X (1903-1914) in order to promote frequent communion.

Before that, the longaeval practice of the Latin Church was identical to the Anglican practice of which our host makes mention as his own experience. It was the retention in the Latin Church of the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation as the monopoly of the bishop (instead of delegating it to the priest, as was done in the East from the Fifth Century onward), that separated it from baptism. Up until the Counter-reformation, however, bishops conferred confirmation upon any and all who had not previously rec'd it, from new-born infants to children and young adults. It was only in the aftermath of the Reformation, however, that conformation, among Cath9olics and Anglicans alike, as well as among those Lutherans who retained or later revived it, became a kind of Christian coming-of-age ceremony, in which adolescents demonstrated their knowledge of the "essentials" of the faith, were confirmed, and subsequently admitted to communion for the first time.

The Bovina Bloviator said...

Thank you both.

James Joseph said...

The deformation was not introduced by Pope St. Pius X.

It was introduced as a part of the heresies of Jansensism and Febronianism. It has a long and dirty history, but the tenticles set in during beginning about 1847 to 1851 with regional councils throughout France and Germany.

The schema for the First Vatican Council condemns the practice of administering and/or delaying Confirmation until reason has been attained and also after reception of the Eucharist. In no uncertain terms it labels it "absurd".

The Second Vatican Council is clarion in calling for a revamping of the dysfunctional understanding of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In a nutshell, it reminds us that it should happen after Baptism and in childhood.

Regarding, Pope St. Pius X: He was attempting to battle this heresy of delaying not only Confirmation but reception of the holy Eucharist, which was happening as late as 18 and 20 years old.

More over, Canon Law, states that Baptism and Confirmation and then reception of the holy Eucharist is properly administered before the capacity to sin mortally has been reached; that is, to say the age of reason is not being old enough to sin mortally but old enough to make simple choices such which cracker do I put in my mouth or which drink should I get from Mummy!

No, the problems associated with the First and Second Vatican Councils have nothing to do with Holy Mother Church. She is inviolate and sinless. Indeed, with the Four Marks She is adored and worshipped. Heresy runs rife and that is what is to blame.

Regardless of all my words. It is commonsense after all. The age of marriage for girls is 12 years and the age of marriage for boys is 14 years. Boys can be ordained deacons at 7 years old, and boys to the priesthood at 14 years. Such is the witness of not only constant Tradition, of the Eastern Churches and even the Latin West until it was interupted, but also Holy Scripture with the Blessed Mother being 12 when She left the Temple employ for marriage, and holy Joseph was also young. John the Apostle was ordained a priest by Christ at 14 years old. This is Canon Law notwithstanding which is inferior to Scripture and Tradition, but something which we must abide by.

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