Wanting to go to confession is the first step in going to confession. Confessing your sins wipes the slate clean again with God and makes us stronger spiritually. Regularly going to confession is a way to grow in holiness. Knowing what to do in confession will make the process much easier. [Read more…]
Marriage, also known as matrimony, is a sacrament in the Catholic Church; it is the union of one male to one female in order to come closer to God and is the appropriate venue in which to bear children. Marriage is a sacred covenant between each spouse with each other and with God. [Read more…]
Preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church usually begins by contacting the parish of your choice in which you wish to get married. Most often this would be one of the spouse’s home parish or the parish that one or both currently attend. You might speak to the priest or a someone on staff who coordinates weddings to initiate the process. Typically you would do this about one year in advance of your desired wedding date. [Read more…]
What Confirmation is not
Some say that the sacrament is a confirmation of faith, a pledge of sorts to God, and a sign of adulthood in the Church. The problem with this line of thinking is that it makes the sacrament something that we do to God where, in fact, sacraments are God’s actions to us. Confirmation is not a celebration of what we do and God responds and it is not an event at which we confirm anything to God; it is about what God does and how we respond to God.
Confirmation was once a part of the baptismal ritual; it took place immediately after baptism, sealing in the Holy Spirit and anointing the new Christian with a threefold ministry as priest, prophet, and king. The specific oil that is used is called chrism. It is only used in two sacraments: Confirmation and Holy Orders; both are sacraments in which the person is anointed for ministry. Therefore, Confirmation can be seen as an anointing for ministry, for work to build the kingdom of God, not graduation from church.
How did Confirmation become separated from Baptism?
Confirmation became separated from Baptism through a change in the social structure of ancient society. In the ancient world it was the bishop who performed all the duties that you might see a parish priest do today. The bishop was the one who celebrated Mass for the Christian community and led other rituals. This still holds true today, as the bishop is the “ordinary minister” of the sacraments of a geographical area, but people are so spread out that it would make it difficult for the bishop to lead the entire community in one celebration, especially in areas with a large Christian population. In the ancient world, the bishop led the only celebration of the Eucharist for that week. Ancient people did not have a choice of which Mass to attend.
Much like American society in the 1950s and 1960s, the ancient world experienced suburbanization. People from other lands started moving in to the cities and the locals left the city to the rural areas because it was safer. This was a major change as the ancient Roman Empire was an urban culture. This left the Church with some new challenges in how to minister to the community.
Gradually bishops appointed presbyters to go live in the villages, preside over Eucharist, preach, and to keep in touch with the bishop so that he knew what was happening in the outlying communities. However, not all parts of the Church had the same idea as to how initiation should be carried out.
The Eastern Church was concerned with maintaining the integrity of the rites of initiation. Their philosophy was that it was okay if the presbyter anointed the new Christians so that the whole ritual would be performed at once rather than doing each part a different time.
The Western Church, however, wanted to preserve the idea of initiation into a whole community, with recognition by its visible head. Therefore, the bishop was the only one who could perform the anointing. Sometimes this meant people would have to wait a few years to be anointed so that the bishop could come out to the town. This is how Confirmation became a separate sacrament from Baptism in the Western Church.
As you can imagine there was debate among the communities as to which was most important: preservation of the rite or the importance of initiation into a community and recognition by its visible head. Both sides are legitimate and are both recognized as valid by the Catholic Church. However, in the Latin rite (or the Roman Catholic Church), most often Confirmation is not celebrated at the same time as Baptism.
Ratramnus of Corbie, a ninth century monk French monk argued in favor of the position of the Western Church. He said that it has to be the bishop that confirms because the bishop ordains (Holy Orders) and Confirmation is the ordination of the laity. He also said that it is the sacramental celebration of the priesthood of the people of God and the universal priesthood of the faithful.
In the Western, or Latin Church at the Papacy of Pope Pius XII, (1939-1958) some priests, by special indult (permission), were given authority to confirm under special circumstances, and in what are now former Spanish and Portuguese colonies, priests were allowed from the early 1600s to confirm infants at the time of baptism due to the long distances that they would have to travel in order to serve the people, and may not be able to return, or have an episcopal (bishop) visit before children died, due to high infant mortality. The Church always wanting to have assure that we all are able to recieve any and all graces we need on our journey to heaven has provided exceptions to some places when the needs of the souls were different due to unusual circumstances.
Confirmation is a sacrament that is misunderstood and underestimated. The Catholic Church would benefit from a more developed theology of Confirmation that helps young people understand the importance of this sacrament and not to look at it as an end to religious education, but the end of the beginning of a life in service to God.
Suppose someone were to ask the following, “if we are saved by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, why do I even need the sacraments? Isn’t it blasphemy to add to what Jesus did and say that we need to go through a series of rituals in order to experience the grace of Christ which the Bible tells us clearly, is given freely by the finished work of the cross?” [Read more…]
What does the Catholic Church really teach about divorce? Isn’t an annulment just a Catholic divorce? If I am Catholic and divorced can I remarry? Can a divorced Catholic receive communion? These are common questions that we answer. [Read more…]
In the Church the Eucharist occupies a unique place as the “Sacrament of sacraments.” All the other sacraments are ordered to it as their end. The word eucharist is derived from the Greek word which means thanksgiving. Jesus himself gave thanks at the Last Supper. [Read more…]
The Old Testament Priesthood
The first mention of a priestly figure in the Old Testament was that of Melchizedek the king of Salem (Jerusalem), a Canaanite and a priest of the God Most High. He met Abraham with bread and wine and a blessing to celebrate the rescue of Lot (Gen,14:18-20). Abraham acknowledged this by giving him a tenth (tithe) of the booty. [Read more…]
Since the Reformation much ink has flowed from the pens of writers discussing the pros and cons of infant baptism. The main argument has centered on what the Bible does or does not teach. This is a fallacious contention for the simple reason that the New Testament (NT) canon was not established for all practical purposes until well into the fifth century. Even after this there were those who still disputed the use of all twenty-seven books. [Read more…]
Those Catholics are at it again – they say that at mass they are actually eating the body and blood of Jesus Christ, citing passages from the Bible such as John 6:52 and Luke 24:2. [Read more…]
An Examination of Conscience is helpful in preparing for confessing one’s sins in the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. It helps one to reflect over several areas of one’s life and what he or she has done and if he or she has offended God in any way. We hope you find this as useful as we do when preparing for confession. [Read more…]
The sacraments are all instituted by Christ and can be found in the Bible. However, the way that these sacraments are to be conveyed is not necessarily in the Bible. [Read more…]
Holy Orders, in the Catholic Church, is the sacrament through which men are ordained as deacons, priests and bishops. It maintains the continuity of the apostles whereby each ordained person is ordained by a successor of an original apostle of Jesus Christ. [Read more…]
What is Anointing of the Sick?
Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament which gives one grace as strengthening, and peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that are associated with disease, illness and dying. [Read more…]
What is the purpose of the sacrament?
If someone was baptized why do they need to be reconciled to God? This question poses some serious responses and these responses are not short. Fortunately, Jesus left the Catholic Church with an answer. [Read more…]
When was the first Eucharist celebrated?
The Christian tradition holds and the Catholic faith will always uphold that the first Eucharist was the Last Supper. At that moment Christ changed the bread that they ate and the wine that they drank into his body and blood respectively. It is fitting that it is named eucharist which means thanksgiving (Greek) for it was a sacrifice; Christ’s perfect sacrifice for all of us. The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper can be found in Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians. 11:23-26. [Read more…]
Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation which completes baptism through sealing in Holy Spirit and anoints the recipient as priest, prophet, and king. [Read more…]
Baptism is the first of seven sacraments and the way in which a person becomes a member of the Catholic Church.
Who can receive a Catholic baptism?
Anyone who has not already been baptized can receive the sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized,” (paragraph 1246). Baptism leaves an indelible (permanent) mark on the soul and there is no way nor any reason that one could be re-baptized. [Read more…]
The Bible contains many “rules and regulations” concerning baptism. All of these “rules and regulations” in the Bible regarding baptism are for adults since that in the entire Bible the people that are speaking and interacting are an adult, or they are people that are old enough to have a comprehension level of an adult. To better rephrase the latter part of the last statement; all of the Biblical figures, which are adults, are of the age of reason; they are able to discern what is right and what is wrong. [Read more…]