Monday, November 19, 2012

Not ready for Confirmation.

The kid and the priest.

By now, most Catholic bloggers know "the high school kid denied confirmation because he is pro-gay marriage" story by now.  It started on Facebook, and soo the story made headlines on Catholic sites.  Shoulder shrug.

How many teens support gay marriage?  Fr. Hollowell knows the answer to that one.

My first thought was that the kid probably didn't care about being confirmed in the first place - and I think I was right.  The truth came out a few days after the press brouhaha. 
The priest told that he only discovered Lennon’s gay marriage post by accident on October 25, the day after having a two-hour meeting with the family. During that meeting the priest had brought up the fact that the Cihaks were not coming to church, as well as “other matters” that the priest said, “I can’t get into here.” No mention was made of Lennon’s views on marriage during that meeting.

The following day Fr. LaMoine’s secretary, who is Facebook friends with Lennon, chanced upon the controversial post and alerted the priest to it.

The priest says that he then telephoned Lennon, and in the course of that conversation the boy said he had chosen not to go forward with Confirmation. - Source
Chances are, support for same sex marriage is only one of the errors the kid embraces:
The mother of the boy, Shana Cihak, told the Forum that she was shocked by what she says was the priest’s decision to bar her son, Lennon, from the sacrament.

“You kind of know the Catholic beliefs, but I never thought they would deny somebody confirmation because you weren’t 100 percent,” she said. “I guess that’s what shocks me.” - Source

I'm convinced what is lacking is good catechesis and faithfulness.  I'm not saying the priest didn't prepare the students well, all in all I think he handled it beautifully and compassionately.  Nevertheless, by the time kids are teens, if they haven't received solid instruction all through their childhood, it might be too late.  Likewise, if the parents don't go to church, it's pretty clear they don't follow the Creed - which includes the act of faith: 'I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God'.  Looks to me as if the sacrament is simply something to git 'er done - a sort of self-acting salvation mechanism.  It's just stuff you have to do to be Catholic - later, it will be a church wedding with all the trimmings.

If anything, this latest situation may be a good argument for why Confirmation should be administered at Baptism, as the Orthodox do - or at least to younger kids.   

My brother was confirmed in high school - he went to a Catholic high school too - he imagined the ceremony was a rite of passage in becoming a man and a chance to pick a cool name.  He understood that it was a sort of Catholic Bar Mitzvah, with a party and gifts.  On the other hand, I was confirmed in 5th grade, and we were catechized and religiously prepared to receive a sacrament - not a celebration of maturity and manhood.  We were also slapped to remind us we need to be willing to suffer, and die if need be, for the faith. 

I think that is lost on many teens today - and their parents.


  1. I often recommended to Father Bill that a student wait to be confirmed. The parents made this a public issue and they should be ashamed for the example they have set for their son.

    I was confirmed in 8th grade and it was a huge deal.

    I agree the poor catechesis in the younger years is the biggest problem. At my former parish it consisted of crafts and happy clappy songs. In nine years I never got a 7th grader that could give me a definition of a sacrament.

    As to the parents attending Mass on Sundays? Imagine having to teach kids about mortal and venial sins, only to have them realize their parents are in the state of mortal sin. It's a difficult position for a teacher to be in...

  2. Personally. I believe that the Roman Rite should return to its former - and more theologically sound - practice (maintained by Eastern Rite Catholics and the Orthodox) of celebrating ALL the Sacraments of Initiation at the same time regardless of the age of the recipient.

    Splitting the sacraments created the false notion that Confirmation is a 'coming-of-age' celebration.

  3. Anonymous1:01 PM

    Sometimes I think people should be confirmed in high school, at the earliest. That way, it may stand a better chance of being their choice and so they can meaningfully embrace the Church or not. Otherwise, it can just seem to be going through the motions.

  4. I totally agree. There needs to be more slapping of kids today.

    1. DB - don't take this the wong way, but I would like to slap you silly.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Poodle.


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