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The Meaning and Practice of Confirmation

Perspectives from a Sixteenth-Century Controversy

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Paul Andrew Turner

No rite in the history of Christianity has proven as puzzling as confirmation. What began as imposition of hands became anointing. What once was part of initiation has become a mature act of commitment to the Church. What is a sacrament to one Christian tradition remains an ecclesial rite to another. Confirmation has the embarrassing distinction of being the one rite about which people keep asking, «Just what does it mean?» Turner responds to the question through the study of a post-Reformation controversy about confirmation. Focusing on the work of Robert Bellarmine, the book explores the development of the theology of confirmation on both sides of the Reformation with an eye toward contemporary practice. Featured are a complete listing of the sources used by Bellarmine, John Calvin, and Martin Chemnitz on this topic, and an analysis of the contemporary Catholic and Lutheran rites of confirmation.
Contents: This book examines the 16th century writings of Robert Bellarmine, John Calvin, and Martin Chemnitz concerning confirmation; it compares the 20th century Catholic and Lutheran rites of confirmation.