Monday, December 12, 2005

Seek and ye shall find?

After sitting without comments for several days, and after I left my survey about why people so seldom comment here, I found a comment way down the page for my post about my new grad studies (among other things). I figured it unlikely for the reader to re-visit the combox for an answer, so I'll drag it up here into daylight as per usual:

You talk about your Confirmation as still in the future. Yet if I remember rightly, you were received into the Church (welcome!!) not long ago. Why were you not confirmed then? That's the way it's normally done with adults.

Just curious. Are things normally done differently in Taiwan?

Are things normally done differently here? Everything is done differently and nothing is done normally here! ::emoticon::

It's true, though, not getting confirmed threw me for a loop (as well as parts of the liturgy, but that's slated for an upcoming post...!). I was all set to get a "threefer": Confession, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation all in one go. But apparently, to put it a little crudely, I only got to get the Eucharist. As far as I have heard, under the guidance of my priest at Providence University, the confession and renunciation of sin for my (conditional) Baptism covered Confession (which, at any rate, I have formally partaken of since then), and my Confirmation depends on the bishop's order. Since only the bishop does confirmations, he generally does them in batches, and he likes to let a number of people pile up for a more communal, more one-strike convenient service all for Confirmation. (Although I know of at least two lifelong Catholics, both in their early twenties, who have not yet been confirmed. For me, I must admit, that carries a whiff of scandal.) In the meantime, as mentioned, Fr. Ramon insists I deepen my theological formation; then, in a sense, there'd really be something substantial to confirm.

It's funny: since I am in Christ by Baptism, but lack Confirmation, am I really, technically a member of the Catholic Church? In which case, might I, a Protestant, get a commission for my zeal? Is there an Ecumenical Trust Fund? The First Bank of Baptism by Desire? ::emoticon::

P.S. To be clear: when I raised the question of sparse comments, I really was not pleading for more. I'm always happy to get (edifying) comments, but I admit, handling a lemming swarm of comments like Mark Shea is one of my waking nightmares. Soooo tedious. I like comments, really I do -- but I also like the fact that my readers let me like them in small doses. ::emoticon::

P.P.S. Why the "::emoticon::"? It's a joke between me and my old roommate in Taichung. He has an old version of Windows Messenger which doesn't allow all the new bells and whistles of MSN Messenger. On top of that, even were he to use the latter, he refuses to resort to emoticons. First, they are rhetorical head fakes. You can twist the meaning of your words too multifariously too allow for clear, simple communication. Every plain statement becomes nuanced and re-nuanced to death. Second, ironically, emoticons are so graphic and meaningful that they're actually trite and meaningless. The smiley could, and often does, mean anything and nothing at once. We both find the "::emoticon::" to be just as effective as the most graphic emoticon. Neat, huh? ::emoticon::

P.P.P.S. Since the notion of having to “add” confirmation into the Church to baptismal incorporation into Christ probably offends my Protestant or liberal readers, I’ll say the difference amounts to saying “I am a member of the human family” and “I am a member of this or that particular family of particular people”, a difference much like what Chesterton said about the Eucharist: “The difference between the Eucharist and anything less, is the difference between saying ‘God is everywhere’ and ‘God is in the next room’.” Baptismal incorporation into Christ realistically entails an equally sacramental and equally concrete union with His Body.

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