Wednesday 19 June 2013

Fr Paddy Byrne finds First communions and confirmations should be delayed

The Irish Fr Paddy Byrne finds First communions and confirmations, the final step in receiving full initiation into the Catholic Church, should be delayed, potentially into adulthood, to prevent the events from becoming hollow moments that mean nothing to those taking part. During the sacrament of confirmation, the individual is anointed as a member of the Catholic Church by the bishop of that church’s district. The bishop puts holy oil on the individual’s forehead in the form of a cross and congratulates them on becoming a devoted Catholic and initiated as a full member of the Church. The importance of being confirmed in the Catholic community is a reminder of what being baptized means because for most Catholics.

Fr Paddy Byrne said cultural changes in recent years mean many ceremonies now involve parents who have moved away from the Church, but feel peer pressure to allow their children to join the ceremonies.

In other cases, he said, otherwise religious families see the events more as family parties and opportunities for their children to be given money and presents.

The Laois-based priest said: “One of the big initiatives in South America in the past few months was to implement a lot of the sacraments of initiation — ie, baptism, communion, confirmation — much later on in life.

“It should be when people have choice, when they have proper formation [of faith]. What I’m saying isn’t off the wall, it’s realistic.”

Speaking afterwards to the Irish Examiner, Fr Byrne said he wants to see this non-age-specific reform considered for Ireland. 

Read more about it:

Delay communions until adulthood, says priest 



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