Q. 670. What is Confirmation?
A. Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.
Q. 671. When was Confirmation instituted?
A. The exact time at which Confirmation was instituted is not known. But as this Sacrament was administered by the Apostles and numbered with the other Sacraments instituted by Our Lord, it is certain that He instituted this Sacrament also and instructed His Apostles in its use, at some time before His ascension into heaven.
Q. 672. Why is Confirmation so called?
A. Confirmation is so called from its chief effect, which is to strengthen or render us more firm in whatever belongs to our faith and religious duties.
Q. 673. Why are we called soldiers of Jesus Christ?
A. We are called soldiers of Jesus Christ to indicate how we must resist the attacks of our spiritual enemies and secure our victory over them by following and obeying Our Lord.
Q. 674. May one add a new name to his own at Confirmation?
A. One may and should add a new name to his own at Confirmation, especially when the name of a saint has not been given in Baptism.
Q. 675. Who administers Confirmation?
A. The bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation.
Q. 676. Why do we say the bishop is the "ordinary minister" of Confirmation?
A. We say the bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation because in some foreign missions, where bishops have not yet been appointed, the Holy Father permits one of the priests to administer Confirmation with the Holy Oil blessed by the bishop.
Q. 677. How does the bishop give Confirmation?
A. The bishop extends his hands over those who are to be confirmed, prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and anoints the forehead of each with holy chrism in the form of a cross.
Q. 678. In Confirmation, what does the extending of the bishop's hands over us signify?
A. In Confirmation, the extending of the bishop's hands over us signifies the descent of the Holy Ghost upon us and the special protection of God through the grace of Confirmation.
Q. 679. What is holy chrism?
A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive-oil and balm, consecrated by the bishop.
Q. 680. What do the oil and balm in Holy Chrism signify?
A. In Holy Chrism, the oil signifies strength, and the balm signifies the freedom from corruption and the sweetness which virtue must give to our lives.
Q. 681. How many holy oils are used in the Church?
A. Three holy oils are used in the Church, namely, the oil of the sick, the oil of catechumens, and holy chrism.
Q. 682. What constitutes the difference between these oils?
A. The form of prayer or blessing alone constitutes the difference between these oils; for they are all olive oil, but in the Holy Chrism, balm is mixed with the oil.
Q. 683. When and by whom are the holy oils blessed?
A. The holy oils are blessed at the Mass on Holy Thursday by the bishop, who alone has the right to bless them. After the blessing they are distributed to the priests of the diocese, who must then burn what remains of the old oils and use the newly blessed oils for the coming year.
Q. 684. For what are the holy oils used?
A. The holy oils are used as follows: The oil of the sick is used for Extreme Unction and for some blessings; the oil of catechumens is used for Baptism and Holy Orders. Holy Chrism is used at Baptism and for the blessing of some sacred things, such as altars, chalices, church-bells, etc., which are usually blessed by a bishop.
Q. 685. What does the bishop say in anointing the person he confirms?
A. In anointing the person he confirms the bishop says: "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 Ghost."
Q. 686. What is meant by anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross?
A. By anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross is meant that the Christian who is confirmed must openly profess and practice his faith, never be ashamed of it; and rather die than deny it.
Q. 687. When must we openly profess and practice our religion?
A. We must openly profess and practice our religion as often as we cannot do otherwise without violating some law of God or of His Church.
Q. 688. Why have we good reason never to be ashamed of the Catholic faith?
A. We have good reason never to be ashamed of the Catholic Faith because it is the Old Faith established by Christ and taught by His Apostles; it is the Faith for which countless Holy Martyrs suffered and died; it is the Faith that has brought true civilization, with all its benefits, into the world, and it is the only Faith that can truly reform and preserve public and private morals.
Q. 689. Why does the bishop give the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek?
A. The bishop gives the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek, to put him in mind that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the sake of Christ.
Q. 690. Is it right to test ourselves through our imagination of what we would be willing to suffer for the sake of Christ?
A. It is not right to test ourselves through our imagination of what we would be willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, for such tests may lead us into sin. When a real test comes we are assured God will give to us, as He did to the Holy Martyrs, sufficient grace to endure it.
Q. 691. To receive Confirmation worthily is it necessary to be in the state of grace?
A. To receive Confirmation worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace.
Q. 692. What special preparation should be made to receive Confirmation?
A. Persons of an age to learn should know the chief mysteries of faith and the duties of a Christian, and be instructed in the nature and effects of this Sacrament.
Q. 693. Why should we know the chief mysteries of faith and the duties of a Christian before receiving Confirmation?
A. We should know the Chief Mysteries of Faith and the duties of a Christian before receiving Confirmation because as one cannot be a good soldier without knowing the rules of the army to which he belongs and understanding the commands of his leader, so one cannot be a good Christian without knowing the laws of the Church and understanding the commands of Christ.
Q. 694. Is it a sin to neglect Confirmation?
A. It is a sin to neglect Confirmation, especially in these evil days when faith and morals are exposed to so many and such violent temptations.
Q. 695. What do we mean by "these evil days"?
A. By "these evil days" we mean the present age or century in which we are living, surrounded on all sides by unbelief, false doctrines, bad books, bad example and temptation in every form.
Q. 696. Is Confirmation necessary for salvation?
A. Confirmation is not so necessary for salvation that we could not be saved without it, for it is not given to infants even in danger of death; nevertheless, there is a divine command obliging all to receive it, if possible. Persons who have not been confirmed in youth should make every effort to be confirmed later in life.
Q. 697. Are sponsors necessary in Confirmation?
A. Sponsors are necessary in Confirmation, and they must be of the same good character as those required at Baptism, for they take upon themselves the same duties and responsibilities. They also contract a spiritual relationship, which, however, unlike that in Baptism, is not an impediment to marriage.
Q. 698. Which are the effects of Confirmation?
A. The effects of Confirmation are an increase of sanctifying grace, the strengthening of our faith, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost.