Till FIEAD of R.E. at the London Oratory, March 15, raises the question: which bishops confirm their pupils?
As a former head of R.E. of a. neighbouring school I could never understand, let alone explain to my pupils, how it was that the London Oratory could persuade bishops to ignore the pastoral guidelines which the Westminster bishops imposed on other parishes and schools.
Perhaps the Head of R.E. at the London Oratory might let us in on their secret.
Alan Whelan 39, Southdown Avenue, Hanwell, London W7 • PETER COOKE has made a valid point when he states that many Oratory school pupils prefer to be confirmed along with schoolmates by catechists well known to them, and in a church with which they are very familiar through their attendance there at Mass on festal days.
This must surely be the case for many other youngsters. If those who are responsible for laying down what must or must not be done were to make a survey of what the parents think (something which is rarely done), they might find that because some children are just too shy to go to classes in their parishes in unfamiliar surroundings and with other teachers, therefore the parents feel that Confirmation and the instruction leading up to the reception of the Sacrament should be given at school.
Here we come to another problem. Is it right to force a child in these matters or not! I would say that however immature a child may be, it is never right to make it a matter of obedience.
But here we come to another problem. If children are not sent to these classes in their parishes, will they ever get round to taking the adult point of view that they ought to be confirmed?
Really, I think too much relianes is being placed on children acting in the way in which we hope they will act. The reality is usually far different, and in very many cases it must be recognised that if Confirmation is postponed, youngsters will never be confirmed.
This is particularly sad in view
of the fact that as Peter Cooke says, Confirmation is one of the Es open. operato Sacraments which confers grace on the soul irrespective of the mental ability or capacity the youngster may have to fully understand what is taking place.
I think it is very wrong to link the whole matter of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation with membership of and commitment to the life of the parish.
This seems very like putting the cart before the horse, for in the words of the Catechism, Confirmation is essentially a sacrament "by which we receive the Holy Spirit in order to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ''.
Monica King 24, Yeading Lane, Hayes, Middlesex