Meaning of Confirmation

What is Confirmation:

Confirmation can refer to two things: on the one hand, the action and effect of confirming, that is, giving proof of a fact, phenomenon, decision, etc. On the other hand, it can also refer to a sacrament of the Catholic Church.

Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, also practiced by the Orthodox and Anglican Churches. Its purpose is to renew the baptismal promises and publicly express the commitment to follow the Gospel.

In ancient times, confirmation was practiced by the Church together with baptism, which is the ritual of Christian initiation, and communion. This was because in those times, these rituals were received after a long training.

When the custom of baptizing young children became established, the three rituals were separated. Beginning with the Council of Trent in the 16th century, confirmation was administered between 2 and 7 years after baptism.

In modern times, thanks to the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the administration of confirmation has been postponed until about 7 years after first communion, so that the person can consciously renew their baptismal promises. In general terms, confirmation is usually practiced after the age of 16.

Confirmation symbols

The sacrament of confirmation is administered by a bishop. Their ritual symbols are:

  • The laying on of hands: this sign transmits the blessing, power and grace of God from one person to another. It thus represents the effectiveness of the delivery of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • The chrismation or anointing of the sacred oil: Through the anointing of the sacred oil, a symbol of abundance, joy and cleanliness, the confirmand consecrates himself as a witness of the faith and a follower of the Gospel.
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In addition, the confirmand must choose a confirmation godfather or godmother, whose role will be to accompany him in deepening his faith in adulthood. Therefore, the godfather or godmother must be practicing believers.

See also:

  • Sacrament
  • Baptism