I firmly believe that the Catholic Church is a sacrament of salvation and holds the fullness of truth. I love its mission of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world, am inspired by its many amazing examples of holiness, and could never imagine being a part of any other Church.
And yet… I’m okay pointing out that it is also a human institution with a complicated history, sometimes leading to peculiar ends. And trust me: there are some peculiar things about the Church!
This week, I want to share to one of my biggest “soapbox issues” within the Church, something that I can hardly hold my tongue about when the topic surfaces. It is such an important issue for me that, if I were ever unfortunate enough to be made bishop, it might be the first thing I would change in my diocese (one among many reasons why I should never be ordained a bishop!) It is an issue that affects everyone in the Church, and unknowingly, has probably caused a lot of confusion over the years.
That issue? The order of the sacraments of initiation. Is it baptism, eucharist, and confirmation? Or is it baptism, confirmation, eucharist? For adults entering the Church, the Church says the latter; for children, it’s generally the former.
Why the discrepancy?
Why so many different understandings of Confirmation?
Where did confirmation even come from?
Why do some dioceses have different rules about this order?
These questions, among others, are the reason that I have jumped up on my soapbox this week for a very long, very complicated, and very controversial episode of Catholicism in Focus. While I strongly believe that the Church is a sacrament of salvation, I also believe that human decisions within the Church are not always the most systematic or consider all of their implications, and sometimes, unknowingly, lead us to a place we never intended to end up. When we’re able to look to history and understand the origins of our sacraments and how they developed, it’s clear to me, at least, that we might just need a course correct. Whether you agree or not, hopefully this video will help your own understanding of this complicated story!