Traditional rite of Confirmation

I received some nice photos of Confirmation in the older form of the Roman Rite administered by His Excellency Most Rev. Michael Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh.

There is so much to like about this one.

WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Burbidge and congratulation to the newly confirmed.

It is nice to get news that people have been able to receive confirmation in the older form.  It is a wonderful thing for bishops to do and the people are so grateful.  Sometimes they wait years to be confirmed before a bishop is willing to use the older books. Happily, I think this is turning around.


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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnnAsher says:

    I have had the privilege of having two Children Confirmed in the old rite. It is perfect. Solemn. Serious. Beautiful. One was at an ICK parish the other with Bishop James Vann Johnston.

  2. elaine says:

    It is a lovely photo. My aunt lives in the diocese of Madison and Bishop Morlino incorporates the slap on the cheek in the rite of confirmation. Apparently all the libs are totally scandalized and some have walked out on confirmations over it.

  3. amsjj1002 says:

    I got slapped at my confirmation in Mexico, in the 90’s, a nice, good smack. When I returned to L.A., I looked forward to this at some confirmations there, but no. I was disappointed! I also remember the beautiful scent of the holy oil, heavenly.

    And on related news, from the latest ICRSS (St. Louis) bulletin:
    The Most Reverend Edward Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form at St. Francis de Sales Oratory on October 20, 2012, at 10:30AM, and will attend the celebration of the Solemn High Mass following Confirmations, as well as the reception afterwards.

  4. acardnal says:

    I wish the Bishop had slapped me a lot harder when I was confirmed! Perhaps it would have kept me on the narrow path.

  5. heway says:

    I was confirmed in 1945 by the future Cardinal O’Hara. The Bishop and confirmanes all stood. We were slapped gently on the left cheek. We did not dress in white as in your picture. I wore a lovely multicolored silk tafetta, a gift from my aunt.
    My sons were confirmed in the 80’s. They wore shirts, ties and the red flannel sign of the Holy Spirit. As I remember the bishop put his hand on their shoulder, as a captain does to his men.
    The son who resides in Denver told me today that he is upset over Bishop Aquila’s combination of first Communion and Confirmation. I told him to check the theology again. Many people do not realize that for many years infants in danger of death are baptized and confirmed at the same time.

  6. Hidden One says:

    I recently watched a just-ordained deacon get slapped loudly by the priest who had just vested him.

  7. Bryan Boyle says:

    Yeah, there is something about that tap on the cheek (I remember being in abject fear that it would be more like a right hook than what it was…) that drives home the reason for the sacrament.

    Putting a fatherly hand on the confirmand’s shoulder and looking patronizingly into their eyes just doesn’t convey the armor with which you are being girded for battle.

  8. I was confirmed in the older rite, but parts of it were already in English by the spring of 1965. Still, it was what it was, and I remember it very clearly: “Mark, I sign thee with the Sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

  9. cjcanniff says:

    Cardinal O’Malley performed the sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston last June. You can find pics here on Flickr:

    You will notice that this was done upstairs at the cathedral. The Mass which followed the conferral of the sacrament, however, was not performed at the beautiful high altar which can be seen in some of the photos. A renovation at some point in the past made the high altar inaccessible by removing the three steps that led up to it.

    If you happen to check out any of the other photo sets by that user, the chapel seen in the photos is located in the basement of the cathedral. The cathedral rector had this chapel renovated a few years ago for the purpose of the Extraordinary Form. They have a Mass there every Sunday at 11am. When I go to the Extraordinary Form, this is usually where I go because there aren’t too many other options around the Boston area. The nearest TLM to my house is an SSPX chapel, but I have steered clear of going there. I think that the 15-20 minute ride to the Cathedral is a better choice than the less-than-5-minute ride to the SSPX chapel given their situation (which will hopefully be resolved soon).

  10. acardnal says:

    @manwithblackhat: Did the bishop say “Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost”?

  11. tonyballioni says:

    This is surprising. Bishop Burbidge is not exactly known for doing things that may be controversial. He is a solid moderate, and people on both the left and the right are feeling disenchanted with him right now in Raleigh.

  12. Former Altar Boy says:

    Happy to add that 47 boys and girls were confirmed in the traditional rite at St. Anne Church in San Diego on Pentecost Sunday. And, yes, the “slap” was part of the rite.

  13. One of those TNCs says:

    I have a question for those who have attended Confirmations within the last 10 years or so: Does the Bishop ever still ask questions of those about to be confirmed, to test their knowledge of the sacrament?

    I can still remember the trepidation we felt when it came time for the questions…and the catechist was absolutely a basket case, holding her breath, praying that her students wouldn’t forget what they’d learned.

    The questions were asked right there in church, not in a rectory office someplace, “in front of God and everybody!”

  14. APX says:

    @One Of Those TNCs
    I was confirmed in 1996 and was questioned by the bishop. That being said, the bishop in that diocese now does. I’ve heard those he confirmed the the old rite were the best catechized in the diocese. It wouldn’t surprise me.

  15. cgriffin says:

    @tonyballioni – really? I’m in the Diocese of Raleigh and from what I hear from fellow Catholics, Bishop Burbidge is well-liked and supported. He might not be the most gregarious of people (like Cardinal Dolan) but he’s slowly steering the ship in the right direction. Just look at the plans for the new Cathedral! He’s been in the forefront of the recent marriage amendment and is fully behind the USCCB in its fight against the HHS mandate. Bishop Burbidge might be more administrator than face man, but I think he’s doing a great job.

  16. O.O.T.TNCs

    When I was confirmed in 1997, the bishop, one of the auxillaries of the diocese of the time (before my diocese’s current archbishop took over,) did ask 2-3 questions, mainly easy ones like “name one of the 7 gifts of the holy spirit”. He should have asked one to define it. Sadly it was Novus Ordo and only now in my life do I appreciate what confirmation should have done for me. I didn’t at the time at 13 years old.

  17. cgriffin says:

    Another point about where things are headed in Raleigh: last weekend (June 2) our newest priest was ordained, Fr. Don Maloney. After his confirmation, he held his first Mass at my parish, St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest, NC that same afternoon at 5pm. Fr. Maloney chose the High Latin Mass — and over 600 people attended. This is the same parish where we are building a new Romanesque structure and where one of our current priests, Fr. Buckler, has weekly TLM. I think things are looking good in Raleigh.

  18. Alice says:

    Our bishop still questions the Confirmation students before Confirmation. My parents went out of their way to get my sister confirmed in the Old Rite and the bishop didn’t ask any questions. Maybe THAT”S what went wrong with her faith life.

  19. Charivari Rob says:

    @ One Of Those TNCs

    I helped teach the confirmation class in the parish I lived in about 11-12 years ago. I recall that our (Auxiliary) Bishop examined the class in a separate, pre-Mass session down in the lower church.

    @ cjcanniff

    Yes, that basement chapel in the Cathedral is very nice. “Renovated” barely does it justice, as the space hardly qualified as more than “basement” a few years ago. In addition to the EF Mass, I believe the Ge’ez Rite (Eritrean) Mass is held there every Sunday as well.

    It’s also a good mid-sized space for when the main Cathedral is too big and the upstairs chapel is too small – Cathedral High had its Baccalaureate Mass in that same space last year.

  20. Give props to His Excellency Jaime Soto who has done this in the Extraordinary Rite at St. Stephen’s First Martyr in Sacramento two years running. Hoo-rah!

  21. Christophe says:

    On Monday, June 4, St. Louis Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert Hermann administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to my daughter (confirmation name Joan of Arc) and a dozen other young people at the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine. Bishop Hermann graciously visited with us all during a reception afterward. The Oratory is staffed by pastor Fr. Bede Price and his brother monks at St. Louis Abbey, who also run a thriving high school for over 400 boys.

  22. Christophe says:

    And, I neglected to make clear in my last post, the Confirmation at the Oratory was in the Extraordinary Form.

  23. irishgirl says:

    @ manwithblackhat: I was confirmed the year after you were, in 1966, and the words which the Bishop used were exactly the ones you quoted-except that my Confirmation name was ‘Mary’ (I was going to take ‘Joan’ in honor of St. Joan of Arc, but my twin sister beat me to it!).
    And I got slapped on the cheek, too!
    One of the things I remember getting nervous about beforehand was that I heard during my prep classes that the Bishop may come by at the start of the Mass and might talk to us. It ended up that I was at the other end of the pew, furthest away from any contact with him.
    I even remember what I wore: a long white robe [like a choir member would wear] with a red collar and a little red ‘beanie’ that had a tiny white ball on top.
    That being said, I’m glad that more Bishops are doing Confirmation in the older form!
    @ Christophe: How cool that your daughter took the full name ‘Joan of Arc’ at her Confirmation! May ‘The Maid of Orleans’ be ever at her side to battle for her!

  24. kittenchan says:

    One of Those TNCs,

    At my parish the children (third grade) receiving First Holy Communion and Confirmation (at the same time) have to take a short oral sacrament exam:

    “All students preparing for sacraments must pass an oral exam with a score of 100% in order to demonstrate their understanding of, reception of sacraments. Students may repeat the test as many times as necessary to earn 100%.

    Parents are responsible to help children memorize, word for word, the answers for the oral exam. Less than 100% on the exam may delay reception of sacraments.”

    The bishop doesn’t ask the questions himself, and I don’t think he would ask questions at the Mass itself, but the kids are asked questions and have to get the right, at least.

    PDF of questions and answers:

    I received Confirmation in 2005 (junior in high school, as was the norm then) at my former screwball parish and we had a visiting archbishop. He was delightfully old-fashioned and obviously didn’t give a hoot about the “impropriety” of assuming kids these days adhered to any kind of gender roles. He asked us a few questions, but when receiving correct answers turned out to be like pulling teeth, he stopped. :(

  25. trespinos says:

    I’m impressed by all who can summon up memories of receiving this sacrament. Unfortunately, all details and memories of my Confirmation in 1964 at the age of nineteen are lost in the mist. Having missed its reception in the normal course, since I had never enrolled in CCD classes during my junior high years, I was included instead in the annual catch-up Confirmation of adults at the Cathedral. Alas, I think I would need to be hypnotized to recover any memories of it.

  26. Mary Jane says:

    I was confirmed in the Extraordinary Rite…remember taking a class and studying super hard (and knowing everything that was required), don’t remember if I was “tested” before receiving the sacrament though. Was slapped…don’t remember how hard. :)

  27. ckdexterhaven says:

    @tonyballioni, I have to stand up for Bishop Burbridge. Like cgriffin, I also live in Raleigh, and attend St. Catherine’s. I am so pleased with Bishop Burbridge’s faithful leadership. He has invigorated the diocese with many new vocations. His vocation director is a real gem, with a forward thinking vocation group(s) for young men. The bishop has made an effort to reach out to the many constituencies here, the Spanish ministry, more traditional minded Catholics, homeschoolers, liberal Catholics etc. He has made such a difference here, can’t wait for our new cathedral, plus the new church that Father Tighe is building at St. Catherine’s is something else. Raleigh rocks!

  28. Cassie says:

    @tonyballioni Your statement about Bp. Burbidge was uncalled for. If you, personally, are disenchanted with Bishop Burbidge say so, but cautiously and perhaps not on an internet blog comments section. Furthermore, like them or dislike them, we are, at a minimum, to acknowledge our Bishops’ apostolic succession and pray for them.
    @cgriffin, we are also St. Catherine parishoners. Ground zero for the New Evangelization as far as I’m concerned. We have two very holy priests here in Father Tighe and Father Buckler and I am thrilled that my children are able to experience what I never did growing up. It was a joy to be a part of Father Maloney’s celebration last weekend. Please, everyone, remember him and all the newly Ordained priests in your prayers!!!! God bless these priests and let us pray for ALL our priests and Bishops for they desperately need our prayers.

  29. ContraMundum says:


    Wow, I think you’re massively over-reacting to tonyballioni’s comment, if the one you’re referring to was

    He is a solid moderate, and people on both the left and the right are feeling disenchanted with him right now in Raleigh.

    His statement was incredibly tame compared to what is frequently dished out to bishops on this blog, or for that matter what bishops have had said about them historically by, amongst others, their fellow bishops. And that’s for good reason: Some of the most noteworthy heresies (Arianism and Nestorianism, for example) are actually named after bishops. That establishes the extreme, and the spectrum of episcopal behavior runs continuously from that to some of our favorite saints, and we both can and should take that into account. Sorry, but there really is nothing wrong with noting that Athanasius was a bishop, saint, and doctor of the Church; Fabian Bruskewitz is a bishop, and a good one, but not so distinguished as St. Athanasius; Roger Mahony is a retired bishop, but was noteworthy for being overly indulgent of heresy; and Emmanuel Milingo was a bishop who has gone off the reservation, has been excommunicated, and is starting his own cult in Africa now. Like them or dislike them, they all have (or had) apostolic succession. That does not mean that they are all the same.

  30. Cassie says:

    @contramundum If saying something was uncalled for is “massively overreacting”, then I’m guilty as charged. That said, me thinks thou dost protest too much.

    My comment was not in regard to whether the Bishop is a moderate or not. Hearsay about alleged “disenchantment” about anyone – a Bishop or otherwise, is just plain wrong. It invites scandal. I realize that might be a rather hard concept for some people to grasp in this age of “let it all hang out on the web”, but it holds true. What if someone had an opinion about you and went on the web and asserted that unnamed groups of people were disenchanted with you in order to bolster their opinion,regardless of whether the opinion were valid? Is that fair? Is that charitable? Is that just? If someone has a legitimate beef with a Bishop and can name it and own it, that’s one thing – but speaking of “disenchantment” for unnamed “people on the left and the right” is a bomb-toss and it’s uncalled for. We don’t need whispers and rumors. We have enough problems in the Church for goodness’ sake.

    I know not all Bishops are the same. Some have been as rotten as the two-week old cucumber I found in my vegetable bin this week. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for them! We can’t only pray for the ones we like or the ones who we think are holy or the ones who are doing what we think they should be doing. To be sure, I’m no fan of retired Archbp. Mahoney but does that mean I shouldn’t pray for him? Give me a break.

  31. Cassie says:

    Amen to the vocations growth in Raleigh. And yes, our vocations director IS a gem! My oldest son has attended Quo Vadis for two years and his younger brother will join him this year. What a joy that has been. I lived in Raleigh before Bishop Burbidge got here – and lived in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia 2x for a total of 14 years interspersed with living in the Raleigh Diocese. Bishop Burbidge has brought a lot of good changes. And IF WE PRAY FOR HIM I’m sure there will be plenty more :-) Let us all say a prayer of thanksgiving for good Bishops! And for our good vocations directors! Thanks be to God!

  32. ContraMundum says:


    No, I think you are overreacting with statements like, “Hearsay about alleged “disenchantment” about anyone – a Bishop or otherwise, is just plain wrong. It invites scandal.”

    Really? So if I point out that, in an utterly predictable fashion, some of those people who were wildly enthusiastic about *candidate* Obama are disenchanted by his actions while in office, that “is just plain wrong” and “invites scandal”?

    I completely disagree. That is just saying the same thing as polling data. Popularity goes up, popularity goes down, and anyone who is scandalized — that is, lead into sin — by this fact is somehow unbalanced. To say that a bishop is less popular than he was just after he first assumed control of the diocese should be no more scandalous than to say that he has more gray hair, or less hair, than when he started out. He may be unpopular because he is less godly than his diocese and his flock are offended at his misdeeds, or because he is more godly than his diocese and his flock is resisting his guidance, or simply because he lacks personal charisma.

    I didn’t say anything about not praying for a bishop, or for anyone for that matter. Neither did tonyballioni. I don’t know where you’re getting that idea. The break I will give you is that you can go back and read what we wrote before criticizing it.

    Or, if you like, I could point out that you said nothing about providing material support for the bishop. How could you do that? Don’t you know that “The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability”? Why are you opposed to supporting the diocese?

    Of course, you said nothing about not supporting the diocese; you simply said nothing about material support whatsoever. It would be unfair for me to accuse you of saying we should not support the bishop materially, just as it is unfair for you to accuse tonyballioni and me of saying we should not pray for the bishop.

  33. Cassie says:

    I never accused anyone of saying we shouldn’t pray for the Bishops, so don’t twist my words. Sticking to the original point, I stand by my assertion that throwing in the “people on the right and left are disenchanted” comment was uncalled for. If you disagree, well I’m a First Amendment kind of gal and I support your right to disagree with me. End of discussion. God bless and have a peaceful evening!

  34. Cassie says:

    @Contramundum – Just one more thing. Your comment questioning my reference to scandal got me thinking. I know the Bishop is a public figure and he’s going to get public commentary. But I truly believe as Catholics that we must hold ourselves to a very, very high standard in all areas of our conduct. Not only with a mind to the eternal destination of our soul but also so that we can be a light and an encouragement to others.
    I know this quote isn’t from Aquinas or other Doctors of the Church, but it holds just as true as most of their writings “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”
    Now we can both have a peaceful evening. God bless you!

  35. ContraMundum says:

    I assumed that your comment was meant to be a unified whole. You start out by publicly criticizing tonyballioni for his statement and me for my defense of that kind of statement, and then move on to, “To be sure, I’m no fan of retired Archbp. Mahoney but does that mean I shouldn’t pray for him? Give me a break.” That certainly has no connection to either tonyballioni or me, but you seem to be expressing frustration at somebody, and we are the only people you had criticized in that comment. Unless these were random, unrelated thoughts, you certainly were implying — completely without justification — that we opposed praying for bishops.

    Even if I accept your dictum, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all,” it raises two questions. (1) Is saying that some members of a bishop’s diocese are disenchanted with him really saying anything not-nice about him? (2) When you take tonyballioni and me to task, are you saying anything nice?

    In fact, I firmly believe that you are wrong. The Church knows that priests and bishops make mistakes and commit sins, and we are under no obligation to pretend otherwise, even though they are, by virtue of their offices, due the correct degree of respect and the correct degree of obedience.

    However, not long ago, a rather strict version of, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all” was used to protect those priests who really did commit serious and genuinely scandalous abuses. Yes, yes: there are problems within other religious groups, and huge, under-reported problems in public schools, and very few such abuses are reported today, and it always was a small fraction of priests who were involved. That doesn’t change the fact that it was extremely important to say something not nice about those priests who really were abusers.

    Any general principle about how we should speak about others must be capable of handling the whole range of possible situations, in some of which it is better to speak, and in some of which it is better to remain silent. In the particular case of tonyballioni’s comment, it does not appear to make much difference in either direction.

  36. ckdexterhaven says:

    Cassie, Bishop Burbridge is lucky to have you as a parishioner in your diocese! You are correct, we Catholics do need to be held to a higher standard, both in the real world, and in comboxes. Tony Ballioni’s comment was uncalled for. Bishop Burbidge is a ‘moderate’? Oh Noes, get me the smelling salts. “and people on both the left and the right are feeling disenchanted with him right now in Raleigh.” Alrighty then. What Bishop doesn’t? And yes, let’s choose to judge our bishops on a scale of how ‘controversial’ they are. Personally, I’m happy with my shepherd, Bishop Burbidge, he’s been a real leader on the unconstitutional HHS mandate, he was very visible during our recent gay marriage vote, he marches with the pro life pilgrims every year in D.C. , I’ll take that kind of leadership over controversy any day.

    Contramundun, you may “firmly believe” that Cassie is wrong, but she isn’t. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all is good advice. Watch this, I’m doing it right now, Contramundun.

  37. The Cobbler says:

    I, for one, would rather that all confirmands be able to pass 100% an oral exam involving not mere lists of stuff like rosary mysteries and gifts and fruits of the Holy Ghost but understanding thereof, than that they be required to take particular approved classes and whatnot. I had a close friend who almost never got Confirmed because she dropped out of the class where the teacher talked about “the six sacraments” when they weren’t watching Veggietales (not to diss Veggietales, but it’s not at the level you want/need for Catholic Confirmation) or obsessing over the fact that the Church doesn’t want you to sleep with each other until you get married (you know, true and all but if all you do is focus on what you think you’re missing out on in one area of life…) and, after dropping out of that class, got contradictions all over the place on what classes would be allowed to substitute for it. She eventually wound up at an extraordinary form parish and is both well catechized and Confirmed, but the entire incident is one of those examples out there of people running the Church (whether authoritatively or whether those non-authoritative administrators who’ve been allowed to take control of the life of parishes and issue all sorts of stuff under the mantle of the bishops’ conferences) being such stupidheads that Catholics who actually want to follow the Faith and believe in Church authority have an unnecessarily hard time. Kinda like Justalurkingfool’s comment on the divorce and remarriage Communion revolt. Throw in the priests who add years on top of the diocese’s age for Confirmation because they don’t think children are ever intellectually mature enough to make decisions like that (and don’t tell them it’s not about choosing to be Catholic), and even guys like me who don’t like the SSPX can see the appeal.

  38. ecs says:

    Cassie –

    A correction to one of your prior posts. You stated “we are also St. Catherine parishoners. Ground zero for the New Evangelization as far as I’m concerned.”

    I believe in the Diocese of Raleigh ground zero for the New Evangelization is more accurately said to be Sacred Heart in Dunn. Sacred Heart has been waging that war for 12 years now and under two different Bishops and was doing so well before the papacy gave any indication that a New Evangelization was even necessary or Summorum Pontificum forced bishops to even reluctantly acknowledge its merit or licitness. But glad to know St. Catherine’s has joined the fight so to speak. :-)

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