What is the correct age for confirmation?


Full Question

My daughter is seven and will be receiving First Communion next year in second grade. The diocese also has them make their confirmation at the same time. But another diocese in which I used to live confirms children when they are teens. Which is correct?

Answer

The Code of Canon Law states:

The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion, unless the episcopal conference has decided on a different age; or there is a danger of death; or, in the judgment of the minister, a grave reason suggests otherwise. (CIC 891)

Since the Church has traditionally understood the age of reason to be seven years old, your daughter would not be too young to receive confirmation at age eight. In the United States, the bishops’ conference promulgated the following norm in July 2002, with the approval of the Holy See:

Following recognition by the Holy See, the [USCCB] has decreed that the age for conferring the sacrament of confirmation in the Latin rite dioceses of the United States will be between "the age of discretion [‘considered to be about age seven’] and about sixteen years of age.’" (www.usccb.org)

This means that individual American bishops can decree for their dioceses that the age for confirmation within their diocese be within that range of seven to sixteen years, which is why your former diocese confirms teenagers and your current diocese confirms children who have attained the age of reason.


Michelle Arnold