From a reader:
My question is regarding confirmation. Do those who receive the sacrament have to be in a state of grace in order for it to take? (the answer, I assume, is yes). I ask this because I am not sure I was when I was confirmed. I happen to have a terrible memory and can remember wanting to go to confession before the mass and not being able to do so. However, I have reason to doubt that said memory is accurate.
Should I be worried? Is there anyway to get a provisional confirmation like there are provisional baptisms for those who convert from other Christian denominations? Does one have to be confirmed in order to receive holy orders?
Should someone with these questions even consider holy orders?
Quickly, three sacraments confer on the recipient an “indelible mark” which they never lose forever and forever and forever, in hell or in heaven: baptism, confirmation, Holy Orders. Baptism forgives all sins, Original and actual, so you obviously are not in the state of grace when you receive it.
If you are confirmed or ordained and you are not in the state of grace, you are nevertheless confirmed or ordained. The sacrament has really been conferred. You are thereafter a confirmed person or ordained man. However, you may not have the advantages of the graces from that sacrament until you are in the state of grace. The same goes for marriage. Two people can be married validly even if they are aware of un-confessed mortal sins. If they are baptized members of the Church who are free to marry, they have the right understanding and intentions, and the proper form is used before a duly appointed minister of the Church, etc. etc., they are truly marriage even though they may be wicked she might be a wicked ne’er-do-well and he a blaggarding rapscallion.
It is as if the sacrament is dormant in a person until she returns to the state of grace, when it wakes up and starts to function again.
In the meantime, if a priest says Mass, the Mass is valid. If he forgives sins, the absolution would be valid if he has faculties, etc.
To be ordained the ordinand must be male and baptized. If the man is baptized but not confirmed the ordination would be valid but, according to the way things are done now, illicit.
And, yes, a man who has these questions can still consider seminary. If you hadn’t been taught these things before, you are inquiring now. You may have a lot to learn or relearn through no fault of your own. Get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a start and begin reading. That is a first good resource. Man thinking about priesthood have to start somewhere and we all have different paths.
But I promised a rant, and here it is.
When an engine has a bad spark plug, it doesn’t work as well as it should. If you are not in the state of grace, you are not operating as well as you should.
When you are not in the state of grace you are, to one degree or another, a drag on the whole Church.
We need you to clean up and fulfill your vocation because we are all in this together.
Mortal sin – bad spark plug.
If a ship at sea in a storm has crewmen who won’t report or can’t do their jobs properly because of scurvy, when a mast goes by the board, that ship is in peril.
Mortal sin – spiritual mutiny and scurvy.
So… you confirmed people out there. Examine your consciences carefully and, for the love of God GO TO CONFESSION and confess EVERYTHING in both kind and number.
You married people out there. Examine your consciences carefully and, for the love of God GO TO CONFESSION and confess EVERYTHING in both kind and number.
You priests and deacons out there. Examine your consciences carefully and, for the love of God GO TO CONFESSION and confess EVERYTHING in both kind and number.
Simply baptized? …. need I repeat myself?
It’s all hands on deck these days, friends.
Thus endeth the rant.