English bishop lowers age for Confirmation, to address falling numbers confirmed
Catholic World News – September 28, 2016
An English bishop has announced that he is lowering the normal age for confirmation in his diocese, in a bid to increase the number of young people who receive the sacrament.
In a pastoral letter released on Sunday, Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds said that the age for confirmation will be dropped from 14 to 11, so that children may receive the sacrament in their last year of primary school.
Bishop Stock explained that in the Leeds diocese, more than two-thirds of the young people who are baptized into the Catholic Church, and a majority of those who receive First Communion, are not confirmed. “This means that we are failing, as a diocesan community, to complete the initiation into the Catholic faith of a considerable number of our children and young people.” He added that this failure “deprives many of our young people of the objective grace” of the sacrament.
By lowering the age for Confirmation, the bishop said, the Church in Leeds will be able to concentrate on preparing students for the sacraments of initiation during their primary-school years.