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6'1; Ill.'11.1.111,111:11.'11;111111.111.11,,riter.-"larielli'.111:11i111:1,1i'lls Why are dying infants confirmed ? Surely that is not only redundant, hut unwise; because if the infant should survive, he is debarred from Confirmation when he can understand it ? DYING infants are confirmed be cause, although the Sacrament is not necessary to salvation, that is to say the Beatific Vision can be enjoyed without it„ it is not redundant or superfluous; it is the Sacrament by which a Baptised person receives the Holy Ghost, is made a "strong and perfect Christian" is "signed and sealed as a soldier of Jesus Christ.'
In other words the Sacrament ot Confirmsaion leaves a "mark or seal" on the soul, like Baptism, which in a sense it completes. So it was that in the early Church Confirmation was conferred by the Bishop at the same time as Baptism even in the case of infants. As late as 1240 a Synod of Worcester forI bids parents to leave their children 1
for more than a year without Confirmation
In Spain even to-day it is often conferred immediately after Baptism. So important is the grace conferred be this Sacrament, according to the mind of the Church, that horn January 1947 parish priests were empowered, under strict conditions, to confirm their subjects m danger of death.
It would clearly not only be "unwise". but quite contrary to the mind of the Church to deprive the nine dying infants of this great Sacrament because the tenth which by chance survived. by receiving it in infancy might not derive the extra benefit in the natural and supernatural order which would perhaps come from the Sacrament's reception at the age of reason.
The question arises from a failure to give due importance to the fact that in the Sacraments grace is conferred by the thing done (ex opere operato) provided the recipient has the "right dispositions. These, even for an adult, are merely a state of grace and the desire to receive the Sacrameni, the latter alone being necessaty for Baptism and Penance.