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.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.
“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."
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.