Sacrament Of Confirmation

Why is Confirmation so important to the Catholic church?

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Confirmation in the Christian Church is the sacrament which reaffirms a person’s status as a Catholic or a Protestant. The Catholic Church sees the confirmation as a rite in which grace falls over the person as they announce their commitment to God and the Church. Protestants view confirmation differently: it...

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Confirmation in the Christian Church is the sacrament which reaffirms a person’s status as a Catholic or a Protestant. The Catholic Church sees the confirmation as a rite in which grace falls over the person as they announce their commitment to God and the Church. Protestants view confirmation differently: it is more of a rite of passage, as a person who has already been baptized states their devotion to the church when they are around thirteen or fourteen. Confirmation is the second rite of Sacrament, it is the culmination of what began at a person’s baptism. It is intended to show a person taking responsibility for what they believe in and professing it to the church, friends and family.

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The main reason for the importance of Confirmation in the modern Roman Catholic Church has to do with the practice of infant baptism. The earliest Christians were adult converts who were baptized as adults. In antiquity, it was common for people to hold off on baptism until they were close to death, due to the the heinousness of post-baptismal sin. However, medieval theologians believed that infants who died before being baptized would end up in Limbo and that people who died after the death of Jesus without having been baptized could not go to Heaven. This made parents, anxious about the salvation of their children in a period of high infant mortality, begin to baptize children as infants, a tradition strengthened by baptismal records starting to serve as proof of domicile, citizenship, etc. absent the later development of civil bureaucracy.

Infant baptism, however, cannot involve an actual affirmation by the infant of Christianity. Thus Confirmation, although not portrayed as a Sacrament in the Bible, developed as a way for those baptized as infants, once they reached maturity, to affirm those things sworn on their behalf when they were initially baptized. Among Christians, therefore, the practice of infant, but not adult, baptism is associated with confirmation. 

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