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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines why the sacrament of confirmation should be understood as central to Christian faith. Baptism and confirmation were not always separated by a distension of time. The separation highlighted the role of the bishop in Christian initiation. The model of St. Paul’s conversion opens the possibility of a period of time between baptism and confirmation. St. Augustine’s theology of grace also makes clear that further steps are possible for Christians once operative grace has been accepted and a path of cooperation with grace is underway. St. Thomas’s treatment makes clear that confirmation introduces one into the “perfect age” and so deepens the grace of baptism and deputizes one for bearing public witness to Christ. We may see the fruit of John Paul II’s “new evangelization” in Christians being received and confirmed in the church.

Keywords: confirmation, chrismation, sacramental character, Acts, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, operative grace, cooperative grace, baptism of Christ, perfect age, visible and invisible missions, John Paul II, new evangelization

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