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Catholicism

Do Roman Catholics have a special ritual when children come of age?

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05/03/2008

Not as such, no. Many would cite the sacrament of Confirmation as a coming of age sacrament. Among other things, Confirmation puts a permanent character on the soul and gives the soul special graces in order to strengthen it that it might be able to better live the Christian life and witness the Faith in the world.

Confirmation, however, is not a coming of age sacrament per se even if it is understandably perceived that way in the West. It is usually administered to children around the age of 13 and has become a typical part of grade 7 or 8 Catholic School Religious education. This is for reasons of convenience as well as the Western judgment that children at this age are capable of understanding the sacrament and know their catechism well enough to be able to use the graces it supplies. Confirmation though can be received at any age, and because of the special mark it impresses upon the soul, young children in danger of death can receive the sacrament from even a priest in order to give them more glory in heaven. In the Eastern Rites, Confirmation is commonly given at birth in tandem with baptism.