Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
To what has been offered thus far, one can add the teaching found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The whole thrust of the RCIA is that initiation into the community takes place gradually, in stages. This process reaches its climax in the celebration of the initiation sacraments:
“The sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist are the final stage in which the elect come forward and, with their sins forgiven, are admitted into the people of God, receive the adoption of sons of God, are led by the Holy Spirit into the promised fullness of time and, in the Eucharistic sacrifice and meal, to the banquet of the kingdom of God”
(RCIA, no. 198).
Paragraph no. 208 of the same Rite also emphasizes the interconnectedness of baptism and confirmation. It gives important theological and sacramental reasons for this connection, which, “signifies the unity of the paschal mystery, the close relationship between the mission of the Son and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and the joint celebration of the sacraments by which the Son and the Spirit come with the Father upon those who are baptized.” While the direct reference here is to the condition of adults, the theology underlying the connection between these sacraments applies as surely to children of catechetical age.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church recaptures, clarifies and summarizes the teaching on the sacraments of Christian initiation. It very clearly affirms that baptism, confirmation and Eucharist are sacraments of initiation (nos. 1211, 1212). Confirmation is spoken of as the completion of baptismal grace (nos. 1285, 1302, 1303, 1304, 1306, 1314, 1316). Likewise, it clearly describes how the Eucharist completes Christian initiation; baptism and confirmation enable the individual to participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church directly addresses the issue of confirmation as the, “sacrament of Christian maturity”. Repeatedly it states that confirmation is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit and not dependent on the faith-choice of the individual for its efficacy (nos. 1302, 1303, 1316). Likewise, there is a clear distinction made between adult faith and the adult age of natural growth (no. 1308).