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.

New Environments Can Be Unsettling for Kids

Starting at a new school can be a nerve wracking time for any child. Whether its a new middle school, high school, or college the fear of a new environment can be unsettling. I recently read a post from Empowering Parents by a mother named Emmie. Emmie has a son who has an anxiety disorder and Type I diabetes. Her son recently started going to a high school for the first time. The new environment did not help his situation out at all. Emmie posted about how she has handled her son’s issue, and how they are finding a way to make the high school schedule work for him.

Read Emmie’s post here: School Phobia: When Your Child Has Anxiety About Going to School

Listening: The Greatest Skill a Parent Can Develop

One thing children need from their parents is somebody to listen. Being a good listener is a trait that many people value in their friends and family members, and that is no different in the parent-child relationship. However because of the strong bond parents have with their children, they often feel as though they need to fix all of their child’s problems for them. In reality, the thing that child needs most is somebody to listen objectively to their issues.

JBM Thinks, a parenting blog, recently had a post titled “3 Top Tips to Help Parents Fight the Urge to “Fix” Everything” that I thought was really insightful. The advice that is given by Denny Hagel in this piece will help parents to focus more on listening. Your child doesn’t need you to magically fix all of their problems for them, but they do need you to listen to them when they have something to say.

A Problem Faced By Many Catholic Parents

So I was over on The Catholic Answers Forum today, and I saw this posting left by a mother who is having a lot of trouble bringing her kids to Mass. I have seen many others struggling with their children acting up at Mass and this is a prime example.

“I really need a lot of prayers with this. I really struggle with being at mass with my kids(especially the youngest two ages 1 and 2). In fact many days I just dread it. We last maybe 15 minutes in the pews before one of them wants to walk/crawl around or starts to get loud. I’m usually the only one who tries at all to keep the little ones quiet. We already have to separate the older two to keep them from goofing around. They in turn try to play with the babies and just make matters worse. We’ve tried sitting in the front, but that is always disastrous and I end up walking out anyway with both babies in front of the whole congregation.” – “I Dread Going to Mass Because of My Kids”

As you could probably expect, this is quite a common issue in the Catholic Church. As much as parents or guardians may not like to admit it, a church is not a very sensible place to bring children. However, it is something that does need to be done because you still need to attend Mass on a regular basis. Getting children acquainted with Mass early in life isn’t a bad thing either. With very young children such as the ones discussed above, it can be troublesome to find ways to keep them from causing disturbances during Mass. However, once children are older than one or two years old, you should be able to communicate a way to keep them from acting up during Mass. If you teach them that poor behavior during Mass has repercussions, while good behavior brings rewards it might lead to positive results to you and your family.