Re: [liturgy-l] Re:Questions re Confirmation
- In a message dated 2/5/2007 12:06:26 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
In my home parish in England confirmations happened only every second or
third year, so those of us who came through in the off years had the
option of either being confirmed in another parish, or of being admitted
to communion pending confirmation. I chose the latter, and was
confirmed when the bishop made his next visit the follow July. This
practice is allowed by the 1662 BCP, I suspect this provision was made
because of the huge size of most English dioceses in the 17th and 18th
centuries, and the impossibility of gaining confirmation in the Colonies
prior to Colonial Bishoprics Act of 1786.
The popular insistence on confirmation as being the gate to full
membership of the Church is a product of interaction of the nineteenth
century Evangelical and High Church revivals in what was then PECUSA.
Evangelicals used confirmation as the sacramental counterpart to
conversion, whilst High Churchman restored it to its mediaeval use as
the sacrament that admitted one to Communion.
In the mid-20th century theologians pushed for the restoration of
baptism as THE sacrament of initiation. The Episcopal Church Canons now
reflect this requiring that members be baptized before admission to full
church membership, but I understand it, it regards confirmation as
desireable, but not compulsory.
Peter+, what you say reflects my understanding as well. One contextual
addition would seem to be that the RCs admit (baptized) children to Communion
when they are around 5 or 6, making such an important spiritual marker in their
lives, and then confirm at a later date (often by a senior priest such as a
monsignor). Another would be that the Orthodox effectively confirm at the
same time as baptism. Then there are the Protestant churches that baptize only
at the age of reason and do not have confirmation ... And per what you have
noted above, the Episcopal Church has now returned to the earlier Christian
practice of baptism being the sacrament that admits one to Communion, thus
positioning Confirmation as a time for "a mature public affirmation of faith and
Reading the 1979 BCP rubrics, it appears that confirmation is expected of
those "baptized at an early age." Adults, "unless baptized with laying on of
hands by a bishop," are also expected to do likewise but the options are
confirmation, reception or reaffirmation. The Catholic view of confirmation is
that if such has taken place at the hands of a bishop in another church in
apostolic succession, that suffices and the appropriate action in the Episcopal
Church is reception.
However, the position statement issued by the appropriate commissions at the
time states: "When a person who has been baptized in some other fellowship
of Christians wishes to become a member of the Episcopal Church, it is
desirable and appropriate that this person be presented to the Bishop as
representing the world-wide episcopate, and that the new relationship be blessed with
the laying on of hands and a recommissioning to Christian service." My
observation is that in many places, accordingly, an adult coming into the Episcopal
Church may be received even if per the Catholic viewpoint a bishop in
apostolic orders had not laid hands on him/her.
Of course, in a situation where a Roman Catholic coming into the Episcopal
Church had been confirmed by a priest rather than by a bishop, what would be
the appropriate action - reception or confirmation?
And to throw another element into the mix: rectors are required by canon
law to prepare and present the faithful for confirmation. I gather that this
injunction should be taken as effectively putting a high priority on Christian
education of the sort that would prepare people for a "mature commitment
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- At 01:31 PM 2/22/2007, you wrote:
>I am looking for a good resource for a chanted setting for the Passion ofThere's a good one that's been used at my parish for many
>St. John for Good Friday. Any thoughts?
years. It's credited to R. Weakland and Michael Batcho, a local
composition. I don't have a copy, but Michael Batcho would probably
be able to help --- c/o Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 831 N.
Van Buren St., Milwaukee WI 53202.