The Sacrament of Confirmation
[Catholic] Code of Canon Law (CIC)

posted by Webmaster on October 22, 2023

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Confirmation and the Code of Canon Law
Book 4, Title 2, Canons 879 - 896

The sacrament of confirmation strengthens the baptized and obliges them more firmly to be witnesses of Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith. It imprints a character, enriches by the gift of the Holy Spirit the baptized continuing on the path of Christian initiation, and binds them more perfectly to the Church. (Can. 879)


  1. The Celebration Of Confirmation
  2. The Minister Of Confirmation
  3. Those To Be Confirmed
  4. Sponsors
  5. The Proof And Registration Of The Conferral Of Confirmation


The sacrament of confirmation is conferred by the anointing of chrism on the forehead, which is done by the imposition of the hand and through the words prescribed in the approved liturgical books. (Can. 880 §1.)

The chrism to be used in the sacrament of confirmation must be consecrated by a bishop even if a presbyter administers the sacrament. (Can. 880 §2.)

It is desirable to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation in a church and during Mass; for a just and reasonable cause, however, it can be celebrated outside Mass and in any worthy place. (Can. 881)


The ordinary minister of confirmation is a bishop; a presbyter provided with this faculty in virtue of universal law or the special grant of the competent authority also confers this sacrament validly. (Can. 882)

The following possess the faculty of administering confirmation by the law itself: (Can. 883)

  1. within the boundaries of their jurisdiction, those who are equivalent in law to a diocesan bishop;
  2. as regards the person in question, the presbyter who by virtue of office or mandate of the diocesan bishop baptizes one who is no longer an infant or admits one already baptized into the full communion of the Catholic Church;
  3. as regards those who are in danger of death, the pastor or indeed any presbyter.

The diocesan bishop is to administer confirmation personally or is to take care that another bishop administers it. If necessity requires it, he can grant the faculty to one or more specific presbyters, who are to administer this sacrament. (Can. 884 §1.)

For a grave cause the bishop and even the presbyter endowed with the faculty of confirming in virtue of the law or the special grant of the competent authority can in single cases also associate presbyters with themselves to administer the sacrament. (Can. 884 §2.)

The diocesan bishop is obliged to take care that the sacrament of confirmation is conferred on subjects who properly and reasonably seek it. (Can. 885 §1.)

A presbyter who possesses this faculty must use it for the sake of those in whose favor the faculty was granted. (Can. 885 §2.)

A bishop in his diocese legitimately administers the sacrament of confirmation even to faithful who are not his subjects, unless their own ordinary expressly prohibits it. (Can. 886 §1.)

To administer confirmation licitly in another diocese, a bishop needs at least the reasonably presumed permission of the diocesan bishop unless it concerns his own subjects. (Can. 886 §2.)

A presbyter who possesses the faculty of administering confirmation also confers this sacrament licitly on externs in the territory assigned to him unless their proper ordinary prohibits it; he cannot confer it validly on anyone in another territory, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 883, n. 3. (Can. 887)

Within the territory in which they are able to confer confirmation, ministers can administer it even in exempt places. (Can. 888)


Every baptized person not yet confirmed and only such a person is capable of receiving confirmation. (Can. 889 §1.)

To receive confirmation licitly outside the danger of death requires that a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises. (Can. 889 §2.)

The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the proper time. Parents and pastors of souls, especially pastors of parishes, are to take care that the faithful are properly instructed to receive the sacrament and come to it at the appropriate time. (Can. 890)

The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age, or there is danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister a grave cause suggests otherwise. (Can. 891)


Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament. (Can. 892)

To perform the function of sponsor, a person must fulfill the conditions mentioned in can. 874. (Can. 893 §1.)

It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism. (Can. 893 §2.)


To prove the conferral of confirmation the prescripts of can. 876 are to be observed. (Can. 894)

The names of those confirmed with mention made of the minister, the parents and sponsors, and the place and date of the conferral of confirmation are to be recorded in the confirmation register of the diocesan curia or, where the conference of bishops or the diocesan bishop has prescribed it, in a register kept in the parish archive. The pastor must inform the pastor of the place of baptism about the conferral of confirmation so that a notation is made in the baptismal register according to the norm of can. 535, §2. (Can. 895)

If the pastor of the place was not present, the minister either personally or through another is to inform him as soon as possible of the conferral of confirmation. (Can. 896)

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