Irreligious confirmands

Some people I know are going to go through the sacrament of confirmation soon; however, there are some reasons why I think they are unprepared. It has mainly to do with their disbelief in some Catholic doctrine, such as the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and their support of abortion rights and gay marriage. They still have one or two more years left before they are confirmed, and I believe they will go through some degree of catechesis before confirmation. Are there any confirmation gifts that you can think of which would suit the irreligious confirmand?

If they’re not getting confirmed for one or two more years, why are you wanting to get them a gift now?
Are you wanting to give them something to help prepare them?

Rather than giving them a gift, you might want to just talk to them about stuff like the Real Presence and gay marriage. If you give them a book they’re likely to just not bother reading it.


Are you their DRE or a family member?

I am their family member.

Then o guess it depends how close you are. As a parent, you should try to explain things to them, why the Church teaches what she does. These aren’t popular teachings, and it will take courage for these kids to stand apart from what they perceive to be “the crowd.”


The best thing you can do for them is to pray for them every day.


I will probably get flamed for saying this, but the best thing you can do is discourage them from taking part in the sacrament if they are doing so under false pretenses. If they don’t believe, they shouldn’t be getting confirmed. This is for many reasons, but it is important.

With that said, it is possible over the course of the next two years they may change their beliefs. That is fine, too, of course.

Do what you can to help them discern if they are able to be confirmed in good faith. Lots of kids go along with it because it is what is expected of them by their parents and other family members. It is a poor reason to do so.


“will probably get flamed for saying this, but the best thing you can do is discourage them from taking part in the sacrament if they are doing so under false pretenses. If they don’t believe, they shouldn’t be getting confirmed. This is for many reasons, but it is important.”

I think I agree. I would think you’d need to believe basic Catholic doctrine (transubsantiation) even if at a young age you don’t understand it.

Confirmation is about us becoming home missionaries isn’t it, able to defend and talk about our faith with confidence and charity.

Bit of a problem if you defend gay marriage instead…

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I could be wrong, but I agree, someone who does not accept all of the Church’s teachings should not be confirmed. In the Latin Rite, this is taking on an adult obligation with full consent of the will.


In discussions such as this it is important to note that the Rite of Confirmation has nothing to do with whether or not you agree with certain church doctrines. It is about receiving a further outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

While it is true that in the Latin Rite confirmation tends to come after the age of consent, this is not the original order of the sacraments and it can be changed by any Bishop at anytime.

It used to be that baptism, confirmation, and first communion happened at the same time in infancy, and this is still the case with Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox.


I think the best gift you could provide is your time and loving conversations to discuss Christian doctrine and how this is lived out in our daily life and practice.

Our rule was that although our children and pastor were the ones who would discern whether our children were properly disposed and willing to received Confirmation, they did not have a choice about whether they were going to go through the sequence to prepare for Confirmation. If they had completed that and weren’t disposed, of course we would have said something to the pastor about that.


Young people shouldn’t be particpating in the sacrament of confirmation if they don’t believe in what they are participating in. It is bad for them at the time they are doing it, and it can add many layers of problems as they mature into adults and realize they can’t un-do what they did. It demonstrates a lack of character and integrity…standing up and indicating you believe in something you don’t…and that sticks with a person throughout their life.

I still say, better to discourage someone from participating under false pretenses, than to encourage them to do something they may very well regret later.

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Your intention for giving a gift would be helpful, since it will be easier to figure out what is suitable or not.

The confirmation Rite says nothing about gay marriage or the real presence or any such thing. So, I’m not sure what it is you are concerned that the OP’s family members will regret.

They are baptized. The Holy Spirit is already with them. Confirmation just seals what is already there.


Who knows if they will remain Catholic as adults. If not, then they may have unhealthy regrets. This is what happened to me.

I participated in confirmation because it was expected. At the time, I had many many differences with what I was being taught the Catholic faith was all about. I was made to stand up in front of a church full of people, in front of a Bishop, in front of all my family, and participate in what was (for me) a charade. It is not a healthy thing to do. I regret that, albeit at the age of 12, I didn’t have the courage to say “no”. I was still a child, but I knew what I was doing was wrong, and fake, and disrespectful to those who did believe, and many other unfortuate things.

It took me a long time, as an adult, to forgive myself for not doing the right thing. That is all I am saying. We shouldn’t encourage people to participate in things that they have a moral objection to.


I hear what you are saying, and I know the practice of the Eastern Churches, but I still do not accept that Confirmation (or, for that matter, Baptism) should be received by someone who does not embrace the Church and its teachings in their entirety. Is not Confirmation in effect standing up before everyone, and before the bishop, and saying “I am willing to fulfill my role as an adult Catholic and receive the Holy Spirit to pledge myself as a missionary and apostolic Catholic for the rest of my life, even up to and including the losing of it for the sake of the kingdom” (or sentiments to that effect)? In the case of infants in the Eastern Churches, I assume the parents and godparents are making that decision for the child when they grow to adulthood.

It’s a weighty thing, but then again, so is Baptism. I have seen students who were giggling and full of themselves in preparation for Confirmation, and I felt like saying “you’re not ready for this yet, are you? — come back when you are”. It’s not just a social thing that happens automatically at a given age, or it shouldn’t be, anyway. There should be no stigma attached to recognizing that one is just simply not ready for Confirmation yet.


Since they have two years before they have to decide, I wouldn’t worry about it so much.

Most people aren’t ready to receive the sacrament, two full years before it is scheduled.

Unless you think that they aren’t receiving the proper instruction.

Help them through their journey.

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A lot can change in two years. These convictions of their’s as long as they are not deep-seated can usually be uprooted or challenged. However, because one has certain deep-rooted convictions does not make one necessarily irreligious, irreverent, or aspiritual. (Some of the most religious people are actually the most irreverent because they do not do things out of authentic conviction but just because they perceive it to be better. The same also applies to people who only apply a mere reverence to something a long as it is authentic it can be more valuable and we see this in Sacred Scripture in many examples of Jesus’ healings that he performed. Also in the Temple when the poor widow gave all that she had. This is one thing that is strong about Catholicism. I know that when there is nothing in the tabernacle that I am not to reverence it in the same way as I would the blessed sacrament. I replace this with a deep bow to the place were the sacrifice is performed on the altar instead and not with a genuflection but with a bow.) On the contrary that is what the church is for, the Church is the hospital for sinners. God works in mysterious ways and this becomes most obvious through the sacraments or mysteries as this is what the word sacrament refers to something really being a mystery that we do not completely understand. Do not misinterpret me as to mean that we cannot know God or anything about the sacred mysteries but there is something that draws one towards them and with an authentic and open heart the sacred mysteries can change us. I often experience this most strongly during confession and recently I received the anointing of the sick for the first time. I did not feel as if I was a completely new person but I was aware of some sort of a change taking place within me. I still do not completely understand it but I do know that something accuated a change about me.

How old are the persons preparing for confirmation?