19 March 2012

On the proper order of initiation

His Excellency the Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of Fargo, has been a leading adovocate for the restoration of the proper order of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

Speaking at Mundelein Seminary last July, he spoke against treating the Sacrament of Confirmation as "a reward, or worse, as something earned or deserved for attendance and work in a parish catechetical program."  This Sacrament is often treated this way because are under the false impression that Confirmation is about the candidate's choosing on his/her own to follow Christ.  Bishop Aquila corrected this widespread misunderstanding, saying, "Confirmation is not marked by a choice to believe or not believe in the Catholic faith. Rather as disciples we are chosen by God to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit."

As one who received the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation together on the day of my birth - as a Roman Catholic (I was not expected to survive) - I am in full agreement with Bishop Aquila on this matter.  And, it turns out, so is the Pope.

After meeting Pope Benedict XVI on March 8, 2012, Bishop Aquila said:
I was very surprised in what the Pope said to me, in terms of how happy he was that the sacraments of initiation have been restored to their proper order of baptism, confirmation then first Eucharist.

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