Baptism, Chrismation (confirmation), and communion, when considered together, have been called the sacraments of initiation. Historically, the three would be received at the same time. That is, when someone converted to the Christian faith, they would be baptized, chrismated, and receive their first communion at the same service.
Due to the way chrismation was mostly administered by a bishop in the West, chrismation and baptism slowly became separated and administered at different times. For missionaries, as well as parishes which were further away from their bishop, had difficulty coming in contact with their bishop, and so the convert would be baptized and wait until they could confirmed by their bishop, which often would be many years later. This was especially true for infants, and since most Christians would be baptized as infants, the separation between the two sacraments became a norm. This slowly led to misunderstanding as to what confirmation was about; the very name itself suggested to some it was about a person’s confirming their faith, as a kind of entryway into adulthood. This confusion was especially promoted by Protestants, who would remove the notion of confirmation as a sacrament but would accept the idea of Christians recommitting themselves to Christ. Because many Catholics have been influenced by this erroneous notion, I decided to write on the sacrament and give some explanation as to what it really is about; nonetheless, to do it justice, I thought it important to write on all three sacraments of initiation, so that it could find its rightful place in the midst of baptism and communion.
Now that I have finished on my blog my presentation of all three sacraments, I thought it best to offer links to each and ever part of my reflections. This way, if anyone missed one of the discussions, or wanted to reread them, they could without having to look for all the parts themselves. While many questions and concerns which can arise about each of the three sacraments have not been examined here (such as the use of chrismation as a way of reconciling heretics to the church), I hope what I have written will help interested readers.
On the Eucharist
[Image=Modern baptismal font in the Guardian Angels Catholic Church, London; photograph by Quodvultdeus via Wikimedia Commons]
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