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English bishop lowers age for Confirmation, to address falling numbers confirmed

September 28, 2016

An English bishop has announced that he is lowering the normal age for confirmation in his diocese, in a bid to increase the number of young people who receive the sacrament.

In a pastoral letter released on Sundya, Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds said that the age for confirmation will be dropped from 14 to 11, so that children may receive the sacrament in their last year of primary school.

Bishop Stock explained that in the Leeds diocese, more than two-thirds of the young people who are baptized into the Catholic Church, and a majority of those who receive First Communion, are not confirmed. "This means that we are failing, as a diocesan community, to complete the initiation into the Catholic faith of a considerable number of our children and young people." He added that this failure "deprives many of our young people of the objective grace" of the sacrament.

By lowering the age for Confirmation, the bishop said, the Church in Leeds will be able to concentrate on preparing students for the sacraments of initiation during their primary-school years.

 
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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Sep. 29, 2016 12:56 AM ET USA

    Why not lower the age even more, good bishop? After all, the three Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, originally were given at the same time,at Baptism. The Eastern Catholic Churches continue with this practice of the early Church and I believe it is the right practice for reasons I won't go into here as there isn't space. In our Phoenix Diocese USA, our bishop lowered the age to seven/eight. Better than 11, but not low enough in my humble opinion.

  • Posted by: lak321 - Sep. 28, 2016 9:51 PM ET USA

    Good idea! All my boys stopped going to Mass at age 12 or 13. Dad not a churchgoer. None confirmed. Kids get exposed to things earlier and earlier and need the graces.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Sep. 28, 2016 7:14 PM ET USA

    What good will that do? My pastor has recently retold the ancient joke about the parish that had a problem with rats. The church and rectory were full of them. Even the exterminators couldn't get rid of them. So the pastor got the bishop to come and confirm all of them and they were never seen in church again.