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Confirmation

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A girl is blessed by the priest during her con...

A girl is blessed by the priest during her confirmation in the Norwegian state church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Confirmation is the Christian rite in which the Holy Spirit is conferred or renewed to those already baptized. Confirmation began as a unique rite around the 4th century, involving the laying on of hands or anointing with oil.

Today’s Catholic Church usually confirms believers just after the age of seven. But adults who are converting to Catholicism and have successfully completed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults are baptized and confirmed during the Easter Vigil by either a bishop or a priest.

If the converting adult has already been baptized through a recognized Christian denomination, they’re confirmed without having to be baptized again. For Catholics it’s not possible to be baptized twice because, as Deacon Ed puts it, baptism imparts and “indelible mark on the soul.”¹

Lutheran, Anglican and other Protestant confirmations are similar, usually not allowing a person to receive Holy Communion until after their confirmation.  Within all Churches the confirmed become full members of their Church.

There is also a Jewish understanding of Confirmation. Details for the peculiarities among Christian denominations and the Jewish faith can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation.

¹ http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=196262

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