Friday, August 13, 2010

Does anyone have the answer...

I was having dinner with a very nice young couple last week.

They explained to me that their pastor, via a letter, has informed them that children cannot received confirmation unless they are attending the local Catholic elementary school (associated with the parish) or the CCD program associated with that parish. Even if they are attending another Catholic school, they must attend the CCD program.

Does anyone know if this is something a pastor can demand/require for Confirmation in "his" parish? Is he overstepping his authority?


JACK said...

Happened to my kids.

We don't have a parish school, so they when to a neighboring one. Weren't allowed to make their First Communion with their class as they were not from that parish! Had to attend CCD in our parish, even though they had been going to a Catholic school!

They're now cynical young adults.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...well, the way our parish (at the time) structured Confirmation, the Sacrament took place somewhere around sophomore year of high school. Since most of the high schoolers in the parish attended a variety of Catholic high schools throughout the area -- including schools in another state -- or the local public high school, Confirmation classes taught at the parish were required.

So it seems there is precedent for that. Also, if your child is going to another parish's grammar school, why not just have him confirmed at that Church?

I think, too, the point is that families ought to be committed to a particular parish.

Jason said...

I am a DRE and I accept the local private schools as prep for Confirmation. They get more religion in 8 weeks than CCD gets in a year. Do the math.
However, they do have to attend 4 meetings throughout the year and the retreat because they are specifically about immediate prep for the Sacrament.
Two things I would try: 1.Bring the pastor the religion textbook and show him that it is an approved text by the diocese. You may want to compare it to the text being used at CCD to see if they are similar. 2. Canon Law states - Can. 889 §2. To receive confirmation licitly outside the danger of death requires that a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises.
Ask the pastor for an interview. Tell him that you think that your child is ready to receive and properly disposed.
Another thing however,with canon law is that it gives pastors a lot of freedom to run their parishes the way they see fit.
It seems a little ridiculous for him to have to attend CCD if he is already attending catholic day school. Good Luck.

Mary Ann said...

This would be an interesting question for a canon lawyer. It seems to me that the priest has no right to demand anything other than an interview with the child to determine that he has enough understanding of the faith to be "confirmed" in it. If he doesn't, the priest obviously has an obligation to delay the sacrament. But let's face it; many students today are confirmed with almost no understanding of the faith which is a serious scandal and explains, to some degree, why so many young adults are abandoning the faith.

Artificial requirements like the "retreat" that in many cases in the past has involved offensive materials to which parents object (like the sex talk) has caused many home schoolers to opt out. Home schooling groups regularly discuss "sacramental blackmail." I'm aware of some parents who, because of these abuses, have sought help, even outside their own dioceses, in order to get their children confirmed (or to receive First Communion).

I hope the problems are less prevalent these days, but, in some places, where the bishops are bad I imagine it is still much the same. Pray for bishops and priests, especially those who hinder the faith instead of helping it.

Anonymous said...

HighwoodDr said...

Every parish I have been in, the Pastor as a rule requires that the child either be in the Parish school or CCD one year prior to receiving the sacrament for preparation. Based on the broad spectrum of what was and still may be taught in Catholic schools, I have no problem with that. I think the Pastor is acting responsibly. If someone feels their child is prepared, I am sure the Pastor will interview them. I have been licky to be in Parishes where the Pastor is outside after every Mass on Sunday greeting parishoners and they are very engaged, so they pretty much know you and your child. In my case, we had just moved into a pArish and I wasn't aware of the rule, but since I had a letter fo recommendation from my previous parish pastor, my son only had to do 5 and 1/2 months of CCD. They have to have a rule, though, because some kids (and their parents) really need the year.