Confirmation and attendance at Mass
Sir, – Fr Patrick Banville believes that if parents do not attend weekly Mass they are wrong to bring their children for confirmation and says he wants to open a discussion on this, so here is my contribution (News, February 9th).
I think Fr Banville should go further with his idea. I believe that he should go to each of the schools that profess to have a Catholic ethos and identify the children with parents that regularly attend Mass. All other children should then be excluded from Confirmation preparation, Communion preparation, and Catholic religion classes.
And perhaps a note home to say that non-attendance at Mass may lead to excommunication, but this may be a step too far. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Fr Patrick Banville of Enniscorthy has called a public meeting to discuss the issue of non-attendance at the weekly Eucharist by parents whose children are going forward to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. He states that many of these parents have not attended the Eucharist for many years. If this is so, it is likely that their children are also not attending. This prompts the question as to why the children are presenting themselves for the sacrament, which is intended to be their personal commitment to becoming full members of the Catholic Church. It is likely that they are doing so because “everyone else is doing it” and because it is expected of children who are in sixth class.
The church has colluded with the sham that marks current celebrations of Confirmation. Priests in general know that children who are confirmed will abandon practice (and possibly belief) as soon as they begin to attend second level education. This diminishing of the sacrament will continue as long as we continue to confirm 12-year-old children rather than admit to the sacrament adults who make a free and informed choice to accept the teachings of the Gospel. It will also continue as long as we pretend that our schools are effective agents of the Catholic faith, rather than accepting that in present-day Ireland, the transmission of faith is the task of the family and the parish community. I hope the meeting in Enniscorthy will reflect on these issues. Compulsory weekly attendance at the Eucharist by sixth-class children and their parents hardly constitutes practice of the faith. – Yours, etc,