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Re: Part Three of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by Marvin Fitchett - Monday, 6 August 2012, 5:19 PM

The contemporary development of the sacrament of baptism and confirmation after the Second Vatican has started the process of solidifying some of controversies surrounding baptism and confirmation. As these two sacraments are congealing, the question of their effectiveness will continue to surface, and the contemporary theologians attempt to supply the framework to answer them.

The contemporary era has been described by Catholic theologians as the period of returning to the scripture for foundational evidence and future guidance of the sacrament of baptism and confirmation. First, our attention is turned toward the sacrament of baptism. The Council’s returning the sacrament of baptism to the scripture was both bold and positive. It was a bold step because they were fully aware that they were denouncing some traditional practices. It was positive because it opened the door to ecumenism, the Council recognized that any Christian baptized by the apostolic pattern was indeed baptized correctly and members of Christ’s church. Therefore, Protestants and Catholics who were baptized by the apostolic pattern were united in Christ through the sacrament (ordinance) of baptism where adults are forgiven by God, buried and raised with Christ, and seal with God’s Holy Spirit. This sacramental activity agrees with the scholastic theologians when they refer to ex opera operato, the ritual that causes a real spiritual transformation.

The sacrament of confirmation has been given a label by contemporary theologians as, “sacrament in search of theology…has found it hard to justify a second conferring of the Holy Spirit after baptism” (201). The contemporary theologians’ view of the sacrament of confirmation speaks volumes of negative perception of the sacrament and I agree with them.

The sacrament of confirmation or the activity involved in confirmation originates in baptism. Accompanied with that activity are the effects of confirmation as part of the baptismal ritual. The door that baptism opens is receiving God’s seal of the Holy Spirit. The door that confirmation keeps ajar is the reaffirming or expounding on the door that baptism opened. The distinguishing of confirmation as a separate sacrament was more for convenience for the early church historians than scriptural objectivity. The move towards convenience led to multiple circumstances for which solution were provided, however those solution were rooted in theorized explanations.

The Second Vatican II council realized and retained documents of the ambiguity associated with the sacrament of confirmation. The Council updated the sacrament stating it possessed a close relation to the baptismal ritual, and adults were to complete the entire baptism ritual immediately, and later for infants. The wording, and later for infants is why the ritual of confirmation continues. In my estimation, the Council was passive in their implementation which left the sacrament of confirmation in the same confusing predicament.

The continuance of the sacrament of confirmation will keep the Catholic Church in a perpetual revision of it. For the church to make progress toward permanency and clarity concerning the sacrament of confirmation, change the sacrament of confirmation to a sacramental of confirmation that supports the sacrament of baptism. With this perspective of confirmation, it provides a method of maintaining all the previous theology pertaining to confirmation and permits the post-baptisms of infants. Furthermore, all the richly imbedded history can transfer to the sacramental of confirmation.

Grade 3 (Not all parts of the answer are understandable.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Sunday, 29 July 2012, 02:10 PM)