The Age For First Communion in the Catholic Church

For Catholics, the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation are two equally important stages that everybody goes through during their life. A discussion has emerged about whether or not these Sacraments should be given earlier to members of the Catholic faith. The age for First Communion in the Catholic Church is currently seven. Originally, it was Pope Pius who said that

“The age of discretion, both for Confession and for Holy Communion, is the time when a child begins to reason, that is about the seventh year, more or less. From that time on begins the obligation of fulfilling the precept of both Confession and Communion.”

According to Confession And The Age Of The First Communion:

“The desire to protect the Eucharist from profanation is admirable; but the way to do so is not to deprive children of the graces that they would receive from the Sacrament of Communion, but to insist that parents and pastors help those children avail themselves of the graces they would receive from the Sacrament of Confession. Delaying the age of First Communion because all too few Catholics avail themselves of the Sacrament of Confession would not solve the underlying problem; it would only make it worse.”

Personally I agree with this assertion. The main problem is that these children celebrate the Sacraments of First Communion and Confession, but then they don’t celebrate them again frequently enough. Most of the time they aren’t receiving Communion or Confession frequently enough because their parents do not bring them to Mass. Children are less capable of making their own decision to attend Mass, so that responsibility falls on their parents. I agree that we are not talking so much about a question of the “age of reason” in the Catholic Church being the problem, but more a cultural issue pertaining to parents. The age for First Communion in the Catholic Church is somewhat arbitrary in my opinion. Whether a child is seven years old, four years old, or ten years old they are going to require some help from a parent or guardian to attend Mass each week.

What Sin Has Done?

I am pretty sure that we all know what sin is. As a matter of fact, we all have experienced sin, but have you actually put thought into what it has done to all of us–the entire human race? A blog entry on “Why Sin Is Such a Big Deal?” caused me to ask myself this question and call to mind some of the terrible things that sin has brought on us. I put together a short list below:

1. It separates us from God.
2. It subjects us all to pain, illness, and death.
3. It makes us self-centered instead of God-centered.
4. It caused Jesus to die on the cross.

Sin has brought us short of our destiny. It has deprived us of a life with God–a life free from sorrow, pain, or death.

The good news is that we can all be forgiven for our sins because God is good! Confession is the solution to sin, and it is a wonderful feeling to be allowed to repent and start anew.

Catholic Questions: Why Go To Confession?

The post, Catholicism Through My Eyes: Confession, reminded me of my college years when a lot of my non-Catholic peers used to ask me why Catholics go to confession. They would often say, “Is it not that God is omnipresent and hears our supplications anywhere we are? So why is it not enough that I confess our sins to Him directly in our private prayers?” Young and unversed in the church doctrine as I was, I would just often shrug my shoulders in silence. However, despite the fact that I really did not know the reason why I go to confession on a regular basis, I still do it. Not because it was an obligation or duty, but because it made me feel better about myself.

As I learned more about my faith, I was made to realize that the sacrament of confession is indeed something that is done not for the favor of God but for the favor of the confessing sinner. God knows all of our sins and when we are sorry for them, we actually do not need to tell Him anything. The practice of confession strengthens our spiritual well-being as it provides us with a tangible experience of God’s forgiveness and our reconciliation with the church. There may be a lot of other spiritual implications of confession, but at its very heart  is the joyful celebration of God’s forgiving and merciful love for us.