Baltimore Catechism 3

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 * Q. 330. What is Confirmation?
A. Confirmation is the sacrament through which the Holy Ghost comes to us in a special way and enables us to profess our faith as strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.


 * The word "confirmation" means "a strengthening." We are not certain from Sacred Scripture of the exact time and circumstances of the institution of Confirmation. We do know, however, that Christ instituted the sacrament before He ascended into heaven, because it is clearly evident in the New Testament that the apostles administered this sacrament.

 * A confirmed person is called a soldier of Christ because, through Confirmation, he is especially deputed to profess the faith strongly and to fight for it.

 * > "'He who believes in me, as the Scripture says,' "from within him there shall flow rivers of living water.' " He said this, however, of the Spirit whom they who believed in him were to receive; for the Spirit had not yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified" (John 7:38-39).

 * > "But I speak the truth to you; it is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7).

 * > "And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak" (Acts 2:1-4).

 * > "Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter

 * > "On hearing this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; and when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy" (Acts 19:5-6).


 * Q. 331. Who is the usual minister of Confirmation?
A. The bishop is the usual minister of Confirmation.


 * Pastors and administrators of parishes, in virtue of a decree that became effective January 1, 1947, are granted the faculty of confirming, as extraordinary ministers, those among their faithful and others in their territory who are in danger of death from sickness, accident, or old age.

 * Priests, especially those in missionary lands, are sometimes delegated by the Holy Father to administer Confirmation. Most priests of the Oriental Church have this privilege.

 * See Scripture, question 330, Acts 8:14-16.


 * Q. 332. What does the bishop do when he gives Confirmation?
A. The bishop extends his hands over those who are to be confirmed, prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and, while laying his hand on the head of each person, anoints the forehead with holy chrism in the form of a cross.


 * See Scripture, question 330, Acts 8:14-16; Acts 19:5-6.


 * Q. 333. What does the bishop say in anointing the person he confirms?
A. In anointing the person he confirms, the bishop says: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."


 * The words, "I sign thee with the sign of the cross," designate the character by which the confirmed person becomes a soldier of Christ. The words, "I confirm thee," etc., designate the gift of strength received in this sacrament.

 * See Scripture, question 330, Acts 8:14-16.


 * Q. 334. What is holy chrism?
A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm, blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday.


 * Olive oil was formerly used to condition and strengthen the limbs of athletes. The olive oil in holy chrism signifies the strengthening grace of the Holy Spirit received in the sacrament.

 * Balm, sometimes used as a preservative, is a fragrant substance derived from the balsam tree. In holy chrism it signifies the sweetness of virtue and freedom from the corruption of sin.


 * Q. 335. What does the anointing of the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross signify?
A. The anointing of the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross signifies that the Catholic who is confirmed must always be ready to profess his faith openly and to practice it fearlessly.


 * Q. 336. Why does the bishop give the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek?
A. The bishop gives the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek to remind him that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the sake of Christ.


 * Q. 337. What are the effects of Confirmation?
A. Confirmation increases sanctifying grace, gives its special sacramental grace, and imprints a lasting character on the soul.


 * See Scripture, question 315, Acts 2:38; question 330, Acts 8:14-16; Acts 19:5-6.


 * Q. 338. What does the sacramental grace of Confirmation help us to do?
A. The sacramental grace of Confirmation helps us to live our faith loyally and to profess it courageously.


 * The sacramental grace of Confirmation also gives us a right to the actual graces we need when tempted against faith.


 * Q. 339. What is the character of Confirmation?
A. The character of Confirmation is a spiritual and indelible sign that marks the Christian as a soldier in the army of Christ.


 * The character of Confirmation is a quality impressed on the soul that enables us to fight spiritual battles against the enemies of the faith after the example of the apostles, who, upon receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, were not afraid to profess and preach the faith to the entire world.


 * Q. 340. What is necessary to receive Confirmation properly?
A. To receive Confirmation properly it is necessary to be in the state of grace, and to know well the chief truths and duties of our religion.


 * A non-baptized person cannot receive validly the sacrament of Confirmation. In the Latin Church it is proper for children to receive Confirmation at about the age of seven. The sacrament, however, may be given at an earlier age either by reason of danger of death or for any other cause the minister considers grave and just. In the Eastern Church, children usually receive Confirmation immediately after Baptism.

 * A baptized person cannot without sin neglect to receive Confirmation when the opportunity offers itself. Further, if the neglect to receive Confirmation arises from contempt for the sacrament, the sin is grave.

 * A baptized person who receives Confirmation knowing that he is in the state of mortal sin, commits a grave sin of sacrilege and receives no grace. He does, however, receive the sacrament validly. If, therefore, he regains the state of grace, he will then receive the graces of Confirmation.

 * The candidate for Confirmation should have a sponsor of his own sex who was not his godparent in Baptism. The sponsor must be a baptized Catholic who is confirmed. The other conditions of sponsorship are in general the same as those for godparents in Baptism.

 * A spiritual relationship is contracted between the confirmed person and the sponsor. The sponsor, moreover, has the obligation of considering the confirmed person as placed under his special care and of providing, if necessary, for his Christian education. This spiritual relationship does not constitute an impediment to Matrimony.

 * See Scripture, question 330, Acts 8:14-16; Acts 19:5-6.


 * Q. 341. After we have been confirmed, why should we continue to study our religion even more earnestly than before?
A. After we have been confirmed, we should continue to study our religion even more earnestly than before, so that we may be able to explain and defend our faith, and thus co-operate with the grace of Confirmation.


 * Q. 342. Why should all Catholics be confirmed?
A. All Catholics should be confirmed in order to be strengthened against the dangers to salvation and to be prepared better to defend their Catholic faith.


 * Confirmation


 * At the top left, a soldier fights against a dragon with seven heads. This signifies that in confirmation we receive the strength necessary to conquer the seven capital sins.

 * On the right is a child, faithful to the lessons of his mother, declaring himself Christian in front of a pagan judge who wanted to make him renounce the faith of Jesus Christ. This scene shows that confirmation gives us the strength to remain faithful to Jesus Christ amidst persecutions.

 * In the middle, St. Peter

 * The Holy Spirit is shown hovering above those who are confirmed and pouring out all His gifts upon them.

 * At the bottom is a bishop who is administering confirmation to first communicants. He is preceded by his vicar-general, who gives him, one, and the names of those who are to be confirmed. He is followed by another priest holding a tray on which is the container of the Holy Chrism. A third priest wearing a surplice and stole wipes with balls of cotton the foreheads of those who have just been confirmed.




 * In the normal course of nature everyone who is born eventually comes to maturity-the fullness of bodily strength and vigor. So too, God wills that everyone who has been born to the spiritual life by Baptism shall come to spiritual maturity and to the fullness of spiritual strength; and for this purpose Our Divine Lord instituted a special sacrament, Confirmation. During His lifetime, and particularly at the Last Supper, Christ promised to send the Holy Ghost for the enlightenment and the strengthening of His followers. This promise was fulfilled for the apostles and the disciples on Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended on them in the form of fiery tongues. But the means which our Lord chose to confer this privilege on the other members of the Church was a sacrament. We find reference to this sacrament in the of the Apostles which relate that Peter

 * In the beginning, this sacrament may have been conferred only by the laying on of hands; but at any rate, anointing was in use in the third or fourth century. Even today there are some differences in the manner of confirming between the Latin Church and the Oriental churches. Thus, in the former only one anointing is given, on the forehead, whereas in the latter the anointing is given on several parts of the body. Moreover, in the Oriental rites infants are usually confirmed immediately after Baptism, whereas in the Latin Church it is considered preferable to wait until children have reached the use of reason.

 * In connection with the sacrament of Confirmation it is appropriate to describe the various holy oils used in the liturgical ceremonies of the Church. These oils are three in number-the oil of catechumens, holy chrism, and the oil of the sick. These are blessed by the bishop at the Solemn Mass on Holy Thursday and are then distributed as soon as possible to the pastors throughout the diocese, because the law of the Church prescribes that in the administration of the sacraments and the other sacred functions in which blessed oil is used the oil which has been blessed on the preceding Holy Thursday shall be employed. Thus, in the blessing of the baptismal water on Holy Saturday the priest must use the oil of catechumens and the chrism blessed two days before.

 * The holy oils are used in the administration of four sacraments-Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Extreme Unction. In conferring Baptism, the priest anoints the breast and the back of the recipient with oil of catechumens before the pouring of the water, and his head with chrism afterward. In Confirmation, as was described in this lesson, the bishop anoints the brow of the person being confirmed with holy chrism. When a man is being ordained to the priesthood his hands are anointed with the oil of catechumens; and when a priest is being consecrated a bishop his head and hands are anointed with chrism. The oil of the sick is used for the administration of Extreme Unction.

 * We cannot value too highly the importance of Confirmation in the supernatural life. It is a great source of strength in the warfare we must wage against the three great enemies of our salvation, the world, the flesh and the devil. The character of Confirmation remains on the soul forever, marking one who has been confirmed as a soldier of Christ, with the right and the duty of proclaiming and defending the Christian faith before the world. Nowadays there is a great need of those who will explain and uphold the true religion of Christ, even though it demands personal sacrifice; and this task belongs not merely to the priests and bishops but also to the laity-of course, always with due subordination to their ecclesiastical rulers. And when a lay-person, according to his capacities and position, defends and explains the faith of Christ, he is living up to the task committed to him through Confirmation and is contributing his share toward Catholic Action.

 * It is evident that every Catholic should receive Confirmation in order to partake of the strengthening graces of this great sacrament. It sometimes happens that a person who, through no fault of his own, was not confirmed in his earlier years comes to maturity without having received Confirmation. Such a person should ask his pastor to arrange for his Confirmation. Even though he may not be guilty of mortal sin if he fails to receive this sacrament, he is surely depriving himself of a most effective means of spiritual light and strength.




 * If you have not yet received Confirmation resolve to prepare for this great sacrament most devoutly in the spirit of the apostles when they awaited the coming of the Holy Ghost. If you have been confirmed, resolve to make use of every opportunity in which you can prudently and effectively explain and defend your faith. Write the dates of your Baptism, your Confirmation and your First Communion in your prayer book.

 * Complete Exercises For Lesson 25





 * (Select the word or phrase in each parenthesis which most exactly and most completely fills out the sentence).


 * Holy chrism is blessed on (Holy Thursday ... Good Friday ... Easter Sunday).

 * Confirmation can be conferred (only by a bishop ... by any priest ... by a bishop or by a priest specially delegated to confer it).

 * A person who knowingly receives Confirmation in mortal sin (does not receive the sacrament validly ... receives it validly and will receive the grace of Confirmation when he returns to the state of sanctifying grace ... will never receive the grace of Confirmation).

 * The bishop gives the person confirmed a light blow on the cheek to remind him (that he deserves punishment for his sins ... that he must be ready to suffer everything for the sake of Christ ... that he must be obedient to the authorities of the Church).

 * The hands of a man being ordained a priest are anointed with (oil of catechumens ... holy chrism ... oil of the sick).

 * The hands of a priest being consecrated a bishop are anointed with (oil of catechumens ... holy chrism ... oil of the sick).

 * The head of a person who has just been baptized is anointed with (oil of catechumens ... holy chrism ... oil of the sick).

 * In the Latin Church a child should be confirmed (immediately after Baptism ... after his first Communion ... at about the age of seven).

 * To be a sponsor at Confirmation a person should be at least (seven ...

 * Thirteen ... twenty-one) years old.

 * In Confirmation a person should have (one sponsor of the same sex. Two sponsors ... one sponsor of the opposite sex.)



 * (Answer the questions orally or write them as your teacher may direct):


 * Bella, a prospective convert to our faith, would like to know who our spiritual enemies are referred to in this lesson. Write her three or four sentences of explanation.

 * Nina, in the fifth grade got a letter yesterday from her brother, a missionary priest in the East Indies. Among other news items, Nina's brother wrote that he had confirmed 175 natives on his last missionary tour. Nina is studying Catechism No. 2, and it seems to her that only a bishop can give Confirmation. But her brother, Pius, is just a missionary priest, and not a bishop. Please clear up Nina's difficulty.

 * On Holy Thursday afternoon Fr. Cletus informed Andrew, one of the altar-boys, that he was driving to the cathedral, forty miles distant, to get the holy oils. Andrew asked why Fr. Cletus could not wait until after Easter Sunday, since the roads were covered with snow. What answer do you think Fr. Cletus gave?

 * Shirley, a non-Catholic girl, receives an invitation to attend the Confirmation of her friend Augusta. After the ceremony Shirley has many questions to ask her newly-confirmed friend. That night Shirley tries to repeat to her family everything Augusta explained. However, she cannot recall the name of the mixture used by the bishop. She remembers that some olive oil is in that mixture, and something else. She doesn't remember the symbolism of the two substances in the mixture. Supply the information Shirley has forgotten.

 * Six months ago, Bishop James, for the first time in his life, received the last rites of the Church. He has now recovered his health. How many of the sacred oils has he received up to now? In which Sacraments were they used? Have any of these oils been used in more than one Sacrament? Explain.

 * Little Stephen, two years old, is very sick, and the doctor says that he is sure to die within several days. His good Catholic parents would like to have Stephen confirmed before his death, so that he may have additional glory in heaven. But it is impossible to bring the sick child to the Bishop, whose residence is more than a hundred miles distant; and it would be unreasonable to expect the Bishop to make the long journey. Can you tell Stephen's parents how they can procure Confirmation for their little boy through an extraordinary privilege granted by Pope Pius XII, which began to be effective on January 1, 1947?

 * Colin, when a boy in the sixth grade, received Confirmation unfortunately in a state of mortal sin. Now he is about to graduate. The bishop is to confirm another group of children the week before graduation. Should Colin ask to be included in the new group, so as to receive Confirmation worthily this time? Explain your answer.

 * Dominic, a Catholic boy in the sixth grade of public school receives the Sacrament of Confirmation. But after that he stops going to Sunday school and to religious instructions. Cajetan, a Catholic boy in the same grade, also receives Confirmation, but continues to attend religious instruction classes. Whose action do you approve? Why?

 * Jolanda, a girl in the same class, also receives Confirmation. She tells Walberga she doesn't have to go to Sunday school anymore because she is confirmed. Walberga disagrees with her and says that Jolanda should go to the Sunday school and religious instruction classes at least until she graduates from Junior High School. What do you think of Walberga's suggestion? What is your opinion of Jolanda's statement?

 * Lawrence, twelve years of age, was very sick when Confirmation was administered in his parish and hence could not receive it. In the course of the next few years his parents changed their abode several times, so that it was not until Lawrence was eighteen years old that he heard the announcement of an approaching Confirmation in his parish church. Lawrence is now embarrassed at the thought of receiving confirmation with little boys and girls, for he is a tall, robust young man. Will he commit a mortal sin if he refuses to be confirmed? What arguments can you give him to induce him to put aside his fears?

 * Were the apostles themselves confirmed? Were they confirmed by bishops? Please explain your answers.

 * Eudora, a little girl of five, a child of Greek Catholic parents, is admitted into the kindergarten of St. Ferdinand's parish school. Although she has never made her first confession, the youngster has already received two of the Sacraments. Explain.

 * Hyacinth and his sister Lydia, confirmed ten years ago, are visiting some non-Catholic friends on a day of fast and abstinence. Neither of them is lawfully excused from its observance. Can the sacrament of Confirmation help them as they are put to the test? How? Both of them ate the fried chicken that was served. Account for their failure.

 * Muriel, an office worker, is a girl of angelic purity. Many of her associates, even Catholics among them, have vile tongues, and still viler imaginations. Muriel never joins in their obscene conversations, and pays no attention to the offensive remarks that are hurled at her from time to time. Even those who pass such indelicate remarks secretly admire the girl's courage. Do you think the sacrament of Confirmation she received years ago is helping her? Is she cooperating with the Holy Ghost? Add a short explanation to each answer.

 * Alexander has great devotion to the Holy Ghost. Frequently during the day he utters aspirations such as these: "Come, Holy Ghost!" "God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on me!" Among his daily Mass prayers he has the following neatly written on a piece of paper: "O Holy Spirit, sweet Guest of my soul, remain with me, and grant that I may ever remain with Thee!" Would you encourage Alexander to continue these devotional practices? For what reason?


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