The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should
receive the sacrament of Confirmation.
Since Baptism, Confir-
mation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that “the faithful are
obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,”
without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and
efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete.
For centuries, Latin custom has indicated “the age of discretion”
as the reference point for receiving Confirmation. But in danger of death
children should be confirmed even if they have not yet attained the age of
Although Confirmation is sometimes called the “sacra-
ment of Christian maturity,” we must not confuse adult faith with
the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace
is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need “ratifica-
tion” to become effective. St. Thomas reminds us of this:
Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in child-
hood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of
says: “For old age is not honored for length of time, or
measured by number of years.” Many children, through the
strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely
fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.
for Confirmation should aim at leading the
Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more
lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit—his actions, his gifts, and
his biddings—in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic
responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confir-
mation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church
of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish commu-
nity. The latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of
To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace.
One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be
cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should
prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit
with docility and readiness to act.
123 Cf. CIC, can. 889 § 1.
124 CIC, can. 890.
125 Cf. CIC, cann. 891; 883, 3°.
126 St. Thomas Aquinas,
III, 72, 8,