Although Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity," we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need "ratification" to become effective. Thomas Aquinas reminds us of this: Age of body does not determine age of soul.
Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years.
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit.For he was not as yet come upon any of them; but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1308 warns: "Although Confirmation is sometimes called the 'sacrament of Christian maturity,' we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need 'ratification' to become effective." On the canonical age for confirmation in the Latin or Western Catholic Church, the present (1983) Code of Canon Law, which maintains unaltered the rule in the 1917 Code, specifies that the sacrament is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion (generally taken to be about 7), unless the episcopal conference has decided on a different age, or there is a danger of death or, in the judgement of the minister, a grave reason suggests otherwise (canon 891 of the Code of Canon Law).The Code prescribes the age of discretion also for the sacraments of Penance Since the Second Vatican Council, the setting of a later age, e.g.However, the French and Italian translations, indication that the bishop should accompany the words "Peace be with you" with "a friendly gesture" (French text) or "the sign of peace" (Italian text), explicitly allow a gesture such as the touch on the cheek, to which they restore its original meaning.
Although there were always a few dissenters, for the first thousand years of the Church there was a broad consensus among the Fathers on all the basic tenets of the faith, from Baptism to the Eucharist to the role of Tradition.
Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1308) In this connection, the touch on the cheek that the bishop gave while saying "Pax tecum" (Peace be with you) to the person he had just confirmed was interpreted in the Roman Pontifical as a slap, a reminder to be brave in spreading and defending the faith: "Deinde leviter eum in maxilla caedit, dicens: Pax tecum" (Then he strikes him lightly on the cheek, saying: Peace be with you) (cf. When, in application of the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the Confirmation rite was revised in 1971, mention of this gesture was omitted.
While the Church Fathers were not infallible, their widespread consensus on issues should give weight to the theological positions they advanced.
Despite the fact that their writings are all available for free online, many people have not taken the time to educate themselves on what the Church Fathers have taught.
In the early Church, through the Middle Ages, confirmation was closely linked with baptism and it was often performed on infants before their first birthday, but in some churches, the minimal age of 10 years comes into play.