Watered-down faith

Watered-down faith

Paula Gartland

Recently I attended a meeting with my daughter for her coming Confirmation. It was run by nuns and Catholic Education people and consisted of those educational sort of parlour games, beloved of public servants and teachers, with a whiteboard, cardboard signs and handouts.

Sincere people, the facilitators, and it was all good clean fun, but after it was over I began to pick the seeds out of my socks, as it were.

We were told that the meaning of the original Pentecost with its speaking in tongues was that the Gospel was the same no matter the language. I thought it showed the power of God.

The gifts of the Spirit (reverence, etc) were all to do with relating to other people. I thought they had more to do with God than that.

In the early Church, Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation were all one ceremony, and this is is being revived over in eastern Australia, and in many other parts of the world. We are just a bit backward here in WA. In the early Church the bishop would baptise and confirm the new Christian and then invite him/her to stay on and join them in their meal - the Eucharist.

When the Spirit came at Pentecost it came to everyone in the area, only some scoffed and it did not have effect. I thought the Holy Spirit came only to the disciples.

As for exorcism in the baptismal rite, this has no application to small children (but what about original sin?). As for adults, it is meant to make us avoid bad things and seek after good things. There was no mention of Satan.

Finally, we were invited to put our hand on our child's shoulder and say the bishop's blessing. We had, we were told, been in charge of the spiritual life of our child up until now.

I heard no suggestion that the children were being initiated into the full knowledge of their faith through the Catechism, or of their being about to enter into a battle against the powers of darkness as an adult and needing the full power of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation was going to be, rather, a consoling and uplifting ceremony which would simply re-affirm our baptismal and proxy commitment to be good.

The appeal to dubious early Church history to water down our faith is typical of this sort of modern Catholic thinking, as is the general dumbing down of the message, i.e., "Be baptised and be nice".

I can quite understand why many children do not make their Confirmation.

Albany, WA

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