Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Tempt, Psalms 27, Acts 5:34-42, John 6:1-15, Pope Francis Daily Homily - God Does Not Have a Magic Wand , Saint Pope Julius I, Council of Sardica, Western Roman Empire (285 - 480 A.D), Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Article 2:4 Sacrament of Confirmation - Who can Receive Confirmation

Friday,  April 12, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Tempt, Psalms 27, Acts 5:34-42, John 6:1-15, Pope Francis Daily Homily - God Does Not Have a Magic Wand, Saint Pope Julius I, Council of Sardica, Western Roman Empire (285 - 480 A.D), Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Article 2:4 Sacrament of Confirmation - Who can Receive Confirmation

Good Day Bloggers!  Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Friday in Easter


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis April 12 Homily :

God Does Not Have a Magic Wand

(2013-04-12 L’Osservatore Romano)
”Triumphalist fantasies” are “a great temptation in Christian life”. But God “does not act like a fairy with a magic wand”, who can save man in an instant; rather, he pursues a path of perseverance, because “he saves us in time and in history”, on the “journey of every single day”. This was the reflection that the Pope offered during mass that he celebrated on Friday morning, 12 April, in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Among concelebrants were Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, Mons.  Fabián Pedacchio Leaniz, an official of the Congregation for Bishops, Mons. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and Fr Giuseppe Costa, President of the Council of Superintendents and Director of the Vatican Publishing House (LEV) -  who at the end of the mass presented the Pontiff with three of the most recent publications containing texts of Bergogliowith the carmelite Edmondo Caruana,  chief editor, and Fr Giuseppe Merola, publishing editor. Among those present were: Ernst con Freyberg and Paolo Cipriani, President of the Council of supervisors and general director of the Institute for Religious Works, members of the Council of  supervisors of the LEV and several employees of the Vatican Pharmacy with their administrative director, Br Rafael Cenizo  Ramírez.

 Referring to the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:34-42), the Pope called Gamaliel “a wise man”, for “he gives us an example of how God acts in our life. When all the priests, pharisees, and teachers of the law were so nervous, maddened by what the Apostles were doing, and wanted to kill them, he said: but wait yet a while! And remember the stories of Judas the Galilean and of Thaddeus, who in the end managed to do nothing: they said they were Christ, the Messiah, saviours and then they came to nothing. 'Give it time' says Gamaliel”.

“That is wise advice”, explained Pope Francis, “also for our life. For time is the messenger of God: God saves us in time, not in a moment.  Sometimes he does miracles, but in everyday life he saves us through time. At times we think that if the Lord comes into our life, we change. Yes, we do change: it is called conversion. 'I want to follow you, Lord'. But this must make history”. The Lord, therefore, “saves us in history: our personal history. The Lord does not do so like some fairy with a magic wand. No. He gives you the grace and he says, as he said to everyone he healed: 'go, walk'. He says it also to us: 'walk through your life, give witness of all that the Lord has done for us'”.

We also need to resist the temptation to triumphalism. “It is a temptation,” the Pope affirmed, “that also attacked the Apostles”. Triumphalism is “to believe that in one moment everything happened! No, in a moment it began: there is a grace, but we are the ones who  have to journey forward on the path of life”.

There was this temptation after the multiplication of the loaves – as was narrated in the Gospel of John (6:1-5). The people “having seen what he had done, said: 'This man is surely the prophet. But Jesus, knowing that they were coming to make him a king', leaves”. He then is the triumphalism but Jesus rebukes them: “you follow me not to hear my words but because I  fed you”.

“Triumphalism, “ the Pope explained, “is not from the Lord. The Lord entered the world humbly. He lived his life for 30 years, he grew like a normal child, he had the trial of work, as well as the trial of the cross. And then, at the end, he rose again. The Lord teaches us that in life not all is magic, that triumphalism is not Christian”.

This is therefore, he concluded, a matter of “perseverance on the path of the Lord, all the way to the end, every day. I don't mean to start again every day: no, continue on the path. Continue forever. It is a path of difficulty, of work, and of many joys. But it is the path of the Lord”.


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope: April–May

Vatican City, 3 April 2013 (VIS)
Following is the calendar of celebrations scheduled to be presided over by the Holy Father in the months of April and May, 2013:

7 April, Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday: 5:30pm,Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran for the Bishop of Rome to take possession of the Roman cathedra.

14 April, Sunday: 5:30pm, Mass in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls

21 April, Sunday: 9:30am, Mass and priestly ordinations in St. Peter's Basilica.

28 April, Sunday: 10:00am, Mass and confirmations in St. Peter's Square.

4 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Recitation of the Rosary in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

5 May, Sunday: 10:00am, Mass for Confraternities in St. Peter's Square.

12 May, Sunday: 9:30am, Mass and canonizations of Blesseds Antonio Primaldo and Companions; Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui; and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala.

18 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Pentecost Vigil in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.

19 May, Pentecost Sunday: 10:00am, Mass in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 04/11/2013.


April 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:"Dear children, I am calling you to be one with my Son in spirit. I am calling you, through prayer, and the Holy Mass when my Son unites Himself with you in a special way, to try to be like Him; that, like Him, you may always be ready to carry out God's will and not seek the fulfillment of your own. Because, my children, it is according to God's will that you are and that you exist, and without God's will you are nothing. As a mother I am asking you to speak about the glory of God with your life because, in that way, you will also glorify yourself in accordance to His will. Show humility and love for your neighbour to everyone. Through such humility and love, my Son saved you and opened the way for you to the Heavenly Father. I implore you to keep opening the way to the Heavenly Father for all those who have not come to know Him and have not opened their hearts to His love. By your life, open the way to all those who still wander in search of the truth. My children, be my apostles who have not lived in vain. Do not forget that you will come before the Heavenly Father and tell Him about yourself. Be ready! Again I am warning you, pray for those whom my Son called, whose hands He blessed and whom He gave as a gift to you. Pray, pray, pray for your shepherds. Thank you." 

March 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:
“Dear children! In this time of grace I call you to take the cross of my beloved Son Jesus in your hands and to meditate on His passion and death. May your suffering be united in His suffering and love will win, because He who is love gave Himself out of love to save each of you. Pray, pray, pray until love and peace begin to reign in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

March 18, 2013 Message to the World via Annual Apparition to Mirjana:
"Dear children! I call you to, with complete trust and joy, bless the name of the Lord and, day by day, to give Him thanks from the heart for His great love. My Son, through that love which He showed by the Cross, gave you the possibility to be forgiven for everything; so that you do not have to be ashamed or to hide, and out of fear not to open the door of your heart to my Son. To the contrary, my children, reconcile with the Heavenly Father so that you may be able to come to love yourselves as my Son loves you. When you come to love yourselves, you will also love others; in them you will see my Son and recognize the greatness of His love. Live in faith! Through me, my Son is preparing you for the works which He desires to do through you – works through which He desires to be glorified. Give Him thanks. Especially thank Him for the shepherds - for your intercessors in the reconciliation with the Heavenly Father. I am thanking you, my children. Thank you."


Today's Word:  tempt  tempt  [tempt]  

Origin: 1175–1225; Middle English  < Latin temptāre  to probe, feel, test, tempt

verb (used with object)
1. to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong, or immoral.
2. to attract, appeal strongly to, or invite: The offer tempts me.
3. to render strongly disposed to do something: The book tempted me to read more on the subject.
4. to put (someone) to the test in a venturesome way; provoke: to tempt one's fate.
5. Obsolete . to try or test.


Today's Old Testament Reading -   Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14

1 [Of David] Yahweh is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? Yahweh is the fortress of my life, whom should I dread?
4 One thing I ask of Yahweh, one thing I seek: to dwell in Yahweh's house all the days of my life, to enjoy the sweetness of Yahweh, to seek out his temple.
13 This I believe: I shall see the goodness of Yahweh, in the land of the living.
14 Put your hope in Yahweh, be strong, let your heart be bold, put your hope in Yahweh.


Today's Epistle -   Acts 5:34-42

34 One member of the Sanhedrin, however, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a teacher of the Law respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the men taken outside for a time.
35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, 'Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people.
36 Some time ago there arose Theudas. He claimed to be someone important, and collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them.
37 And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he was killed too, and all his followers dispersed.
38 What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord;
39 but if it does in fact come from God you will be unable to destroy them. Take care not to find yourselves fighting against God.' His advice was accepted;
40 and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them.
41 And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
42 Every day they went on ceaselessly teaching and proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus, both in the temple and in private houses.


Today's Gospel Reading - John 6:1-15

After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee - or of Tiberias - and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he had done in curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside and sat down there with his disciples. The time of the Jewish Passover was near. Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, 'Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?' He said this only to put Philip to the test; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, 'Two hundred denarii would not buy enough to give them a little piece each.' One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said, 'Here is a small boy with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that among so many?' Jesus said to them, 'Make the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were sitting there; he then did the same with the fish, distributing as much as they wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, 'Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.' So they picked them up and filled twelve large baskets with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. Seeing the sign that he had done, the people said, 'This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.' Jesus, as he realised they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, fled back to the hills alone. 

• The reading of the IV Chapter of John begins today which places before us two signs or miracles: the multiplication of the loaves (Jn 6, 1-15) and walking on the water (Jn 6, 16-21).Then the long dialogue on the Bread of Life is mentioned (Jn 6, 22-71). John places this fact close to the feast of the Passover (Jn 6, 4). The central approach is the confrontation between the old Passover of the Exodus and the new Passover which takes place in Jesus. The dialogue on the bread of life will clarify the new Passover which takes place in Jesus.

• John 6, 1-4: The situation. In the ancient Passover, the multitude crossed the Red Sea. In the new Passover, Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee. A great crowd follows Moses. A great crowd follows Jesus in this new exodus. In the first exodus, Moses goes up to the Mountain. Jesus, the new Moses, also goes up to the mountain. The crowds followed Moses who presents great signs. The crowds follow Jesus because they had seen the signs that he worked in favour of the sick.

• John 6, 5-7: Jesus and Philip. Seeing the multitude, Jesus confronts the disciples with the hunger of the people and asks Philip: “Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?” In the first exodus, Moses had obtained food for the hungry people. Jesus, the new Moses, will do the same thing. But Philip, instead of looking at the situation in the light of the Scripture, he looked at it according to the system and replies: “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough!” One denarius was the minimum salary for one day. Philip is aware of the problem and recognizes his total incapacity to solve it. He complains, but presents no solution.

• John 6, 8-9: Andrew and the boy. Andrew, instead of complaining, seeks a solution. He finds a boy who has five loaves of bread and two fish: Five barley loaves and two fish were the daily ration of the meal of the poor. The boy hands over his daily ration of food! He could have said: “Five loaves of bread and two fish, what is this for all these people? It will serve nothing! Let us divide all this among ourselves, between two or three persons”, but instead, he has the courage to give the five loaves of bread and the two fish to feed 5000 persons (Jn 6, 10! One who does this, either he is a fool or has much faith, believing that out of love for Jesus, all are ready to divide their food as the boy did!

• John 6, 10-11: The multiplication. Jesus asks the people to sit down on the ground. Then he multiplies the food, the ration of the poor. The text says: “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were sitting there; he then did the same with the fish, distributing as much as they wanted”. With this phrase, written in the year 100 after Christ, John recalls the gesture of the Last Supper (I Co 11, 23-24). The Eucharist, when it is celebrated as it should be, will lead the persons to share as it impelled the boy to give all his ration of food to be shared.

• John 6, 12-13: The twelve baskets of what was left over. Number twelve evokes the totality of the people with their twelve tribes. John does not say if fish were also left over. He is interested in recalling the bread as a symbol of the Eucharist. The Gospel of John does not have the description of the Eucharistic Supper, but describes the multiplication of the loaves, symbol of what would happen in the communities through the celebration of the Eucharistic Supper. If among the Christian people there was a true and proper sharing, there would be abundant food and twelve baskets would be left over for many other people!

• John 6, 14-15: They want to make him king. The people interpret the gesture of Jesus saying: “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” The peoples’ intuition is just. Jesus in fact, is the new Moses, the Messiah, the one whom the people were expecting (Dt 18, 15-19). But this intuition had been deviated by the ideology of the time which wanted a great king who would be strong and a dominator. This is why, seeing the sign, the people proclaim Jesus the Messiah and ask to make him King! Jesus perceived what could happen, and he withdraws and goes to the mountain alone. He does not accept this way of being Messiah and waits for the opportune moment to help the people to advance a step farther. 

Personal questions
• In the face of the problem of hunger in the world, do you act as Philip, as Andrew or like the boy?
• The people wanted a Messiah who would be a strong and powerful king. Today, many follow populist leaders. What does today’s Gospel tell us about this? 

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Pope Saint Julius I

Feast DayApril  12

Patron Saint:  
Attributes:  n/a

Pope Julius I was pope from 6 February 337 to 12 April 352.[1]

He was a native of Rome and was chosen as successor of Mark after the Roman see had been vacant for four months. He is chiefly known by the part he took in the Arian controversy. After the followers of Eusebius of Nicomedia (who was now the Patriarch of Constantinople) had renewed their deposition of Athanasius at a synod held in Antioch in 341, they resolved to send delegates to Constans, Emperor of the West, and also to Julius, setting forth the grounds on which they had proceeded. Julius, after expressing an opinion favourable to Athanasius, adroitly invited both parties to lay the case before a synod to be presided over by himself. This proposal, however, the Arian Eastern bishops declined to accept.[1]

On this second banishment from Alexandria, Athanasius came to Rome, and was recognised as a regular bishop by the synod presided over by Julius in 342. Julius sent a letter to the Eastern bishops that is an early instance of the claims of primacy for the bishop of Rome. Even if Athanasius and his companions were somewhat to blame, the letter runs, the Alexandrian Church should first have written to the pope. "Can you be ignorant," writes Julius, "that this is the custom, that we should be written to first, so that from here what is just may be defined" (Epistle of Julius to Antioch, c. xxii).[1]

It was through the influence of Julius that, at a later date, the council of Sardica in Illyria was held, which was attended only by seventy-six Eastern bishops, who speedily withdrew to Philippopolis and deposed Julius at the council of Philippopolis, along with Athanasius and others. The three hundred Western bishops who remained, confirmed the previous decisions of the Roman synod; and by its 3rd, 4th, and 5th decrees relating to the rights of revision claimed by Julius, the council of Sardica perceptibly helped forward the claims of the Bishop of Rome. Julius died on 12 April 352 and was succeeded by Liberius.[1]

Julius is considered a saint in the Catholic Church, with his feast day on 12 April.[1]

Julius is also credited with setting Jesus' birthday on 25 December so that Christians would be in accord with the custom of the followers of Mithra and of Bacchus, who celebrated the rebirth of the solar deity at the winter solstice.[2]


  1. "Pope St. Julius I". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  2. "Christmas". History Channel. Retrieved 19 June 2011.


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane



Today's Snippet I:  Council of Sardica

The Council of Sardica was one of the series of councils (or synods) called to adjust the doctrinal and other difficulties of the Arian controversy, held most probably in 343 AD. The Roman Emperors Constans and Constantius II called for the council.[1]

Hosius of Cordova and other bishops from the Western Roman Empire desired peace and a final judgment in the case of Athanasius of Alexandria and other bishops alternately condemned and vindicated by councils in the East and the West. They also desired to definitively settle the confusion arising from the many doctrinal formulas in circulation, and suggested that all such matters should be referred to a general council. In order to make the council thoroughly representative, Sardica in Dacia Inferior (now Sofia in Bulgaria), was chosen as the meeting place. Athanasius, driven from Alexandria by the Prefect Philadrius in 339 AD, was summoned by the Emperor Constans from Rome, where he had taken the latter place he met Hosius, who was commissioned by the pope and the emperor to preside over the council, and whom he accompanied to Sardica.


Pope Julius I was represented by the priests Archidamus and Philoxenus, and the deacon Leo. Athanasius reported that bishops attended from Italy, Spain, Gaul, Africa, Britain, Egypt, Syria, Thrace and Pannonia. Ninety-six Western bishops presented themselves at Sardica, those from the East were less numerous.

Being in the minority, the Eastern bishops decided to act as a body, and, fearing defections, they all lodged in the same place. On the ground of being unwilling to recognize Athanasius, Marcellus of Ancyra and Asclepas, who had been excommunicated in Eastern synods, refused to sit in council with the Western bishops. Hosius of Cordova attempted to effect a compromise by inviting them to present privately to him their complaints against Athanasius, and by promising, in case Athanasius should be acquitted, to take him to Spain. These overtures failed. The Eastern bishops—although the council had been called expressly for the purpose of reopening the case in regard to those who had been excommunicated—defended their conduct on the plea that one council could not revise the decisions of another. Fearing domination of the council by Western bishops, many Eastern bishops left the council to hold another council in Philippopolis where they composed an encyclical and a new creed, which was dated from Sardica.

The Western bishops, thus abandoned, examined the cases of Athanasius, Marcellus, and Asclepas. No fresh investigation of charges against Athanasius was considered necessary, as these had already been rejected, and he and the other two bishops, who were permitted to present exculpatory documents, were declared innocent. In addition to this, censure was passed on the Eastern bishops for having abandoned the council, and several of them were deposed and excommunicated.

The question of a new creed containing some additions to that of Nicea was discussed, but although the forum had been drawn up, the bishops decided to add nothing to the accepted creed, and thus gave the Arians no pretext for saying that hitherto they had not been explicitly condemned. Though the form of the proposed creed was presented to the council, it was inserted in the encyclical addressed by the council to "all the bishops of the Catholic Church".


Before separating, the bishops enacted several important canons, especially concerning the transfer and trial of bishops and appeals. These canons, with the other documents of the council, were sent to Pope Julius with a letter signed by the majority of the attending bishops.[2]

Sardica produced 21 Canons. In addition to the attempt to resolve the Arian issue, other major points were:
  1. Bishops should not attempt to recruit from diocese other than their own
  2. Bishops should be permanent residents of their own diocese
  3. Bishops should spend most of their time in their own diocese (not at the court in Rome)
  4. Bishops should not be transferred to another diocese

"At this great gathering of prelates the case of Athanasius was taken up and once more his innocence reaffirmed. Two conciliar letters were prepared, one to the clergy and faithful of Alexandria, the other to the bishops of Egypt and Libya, in which the will of the Council was made known. The persecution against the orthodox party broke out with renewed vigor, and Constantius II was induced to prepare drastic measures against Athanasius and the priests who were devoted to him. Orders were given that if the Saint attempted to re-enter his Episcopal see, he should be put to death".[3]


The council failed entirely to accomplish its purpose. The pacification of the Church was not secured. As a result, the Council of Sardica failed to universally represent the church and is not one of the official Ecumenical Councils.


  1. Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 2, chapter 20.
  2. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1930, Patrick J. Healy, Sardica
  3. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1930, Cornelius Clifford, Athanasius.


    Today's Snippet I:  Western Roman Empire (285 - 480 A.D)

    The Roman Republic before the conquests of Octavian
    The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire, the other half being the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire. Administrative division of the sprawling Empire into a Western and Eastern half with co-emperors for each began under Diocletian in 285 and was periodically abolished and recreated for the next two centuries until final abolishment by the Byzantine emperor Zeno in 480. By that time there was little effective control left in the Western Empire.

    A Western Roman Empire existed intermittently in several periods between the 3rd and 5th centuries, after Diocletian's Tetrarchy and the reunifications associated with Constantine the Great and Julian the Apostate (324–363). Theodosius I divided the Empire upon his death (in 395) between his two sons. Eighty-five years later, Zeno would recognize the reality of the Western Empire's reduced domain (Imperial control had been lost over even the Italian Peninsula) after the death of Western Emperor Julius Nepos and rule as sole emperor.

    The rise of Odoacer of the Foederati to rule over Italy in 476 was popularized by eighteenth century historian Edward Gibbon as a demarcating event for the end of the Western Empire and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.

    The ongoing struggle between the rising Papacy and the retreating empire led the Pope to unilaterally declare the Frankish King Charlemagne to be the successor of the Western Emperors in 800. This new imperial line would evolve in time into the Holy Roman Empire, which revived the imperial title but was otherwise in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions. After 924 it was also a primarily Germanic empire that contained little of the former territory of the Western Roman Empire.[2]


    As the Roman Republic expanded, it reached a point where the central government in Rome could not effectively rule the distant provinces. Communications and transportation were especially problematic given the vast extent of the Empire. News of invasion, revolt, natural disaster, or epidemic outbreak was carried by ship or mounted postal service, often requiring much time to reach Rome and for Rome's orders to be realized in the province of origin. For this reason, provincial governors had de facto rule in the name of the Roman Republic.

    Prior to the establishment of the Empire, the territories of the Roman Republic had been divided among the members of the Second Triumvirate: Mark Antony, Octavian and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Antony received the provinces in the East: Achaea, Macedonia and Epirus (roughly modern Greece, Albania and the coast of Croatia), Bithynia, Pontus and Asia (roughly modern Turkey), Syria, Cyprus, and Cyrenaica. These lands had previously been conquered by Alexander the Great; thus, much of the aristocracy was of Greek origin. The whole region, especially the major cities, had been largely assimilated into Greek culture, Greek often serving as the lingua franca.

    Octavian obtained the Roman provinces of the West: Italia (modern Italy), Gaul (modern France), Gallia Belgica (parts of modern Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), and Hispania (modern Spain and Portugal). These lands also included Greek and Carthaginian colonies in the coastal areas, though Celtic tribes such as Gauls and Celtiberians were culturally dominant. Lepidus received the minor province of Africa (roughly modern Tunisia). Octavian soon took Africa from Lepidus, while adding Sicilia (modern Sicily) to his holdings.

    Upon the defeat of Mark Antony, a victorious Octavian controlled a united Roman Empire. While the Roman Empire featured many distinct cultures, all were often said to experience gradual Romanization. While the predominantly Greek culture of the East and the predominantly Latin culture of the West functioned effectively as an integrated whole, political and military developments would ultimately realign the Empire along those cultural and linguistic lines.

    Rebellions, uprisings, and political developments

    Minor rebellions and uprisings were fairly common events throughout the Empire. Conquered tribes or cities would revolt, and the legions would be detached to crush the rebellion. While this process was simple in peacetime, it could be considerably more complicated in wartime, as for example in the Great Jewish Revolt.
    In a full-blown military campaign, the legions, under generals such as Vespasian, were far more numerous. To ensure a commander's loyalty, a pragmatic emperor might hold some members of the general's family hostage. To this end, Nero effectively held Domitian and Quintus Petillius Cerialis, governor of Ostia, who were respectively the younger son and brother-in-law of Vespasian. The rule of Nero ended only with the revolt of the Praetorian Guard, who had been bribed in the name of Galba. The Praetorian Guard, a figurative "sword of Damocles", were often perceived as being of dubious loyalty. Following their example, the legions at the borders increased participation in the civil wars.

    The main enemy in the West was arguably the Germanic tribes behind the rivers Rhine and Danube. Augustus had tried to conquer them but ultimately pulled back after the Teutoburg reversal.

    The Parthian Empire, arch-rival of Rome, at its greatest extent, c. 60 BC
    The Parthian Empire, in the East, on the other hand, was too remote and powerful to be conquered. Any Parthian invasion was confronted and usually defeated, similarly, Parthians repelled some attempts of Roman invasion, however, even after successful wars of conquest - such as those implemented by Trajan and Septimius Severus - those distant territories were forsaken to prevent unrest and also to ensure a more healthy and lasting peace with the Persians.

    Controlling the western border of Rome was reasonably easy because it was relatively close and also because of the disunity between the Germanic foes, however, controlling both frontiers altogether during wartime was difficult. If the emperor was near the border in the East, chances were high that an ambitious general would rebel in the West and vice-versa. This wartime opportunism plagued many ruling emperors and indeed paved the road to power for several future emperors.

    Economic stagnation in the West

    Rome and the Italian peninsula began to experience an economic slowdown as industries and money began to move outward. By the beginning of the 2nd century AD, the economic stagnation of Italia was seen in the provincial-born Emperors, such as Trajan and Hadrian. Economic problems increased in strength and frequency.

    Crisis of the 3rd century

    The Roman Empire in 268
    Starting on 18 March 235, with the assassination of the Emperor Alexander Severus, the Roman Empire sank into a 50-year civil war, known today as the Crisis of the Third Century. The rise of the bellicose Sassanid dynasty in Parthia posed a major threat to Rome in the east. Demonstrating the increased danger, Emperor Valerian was captured by Shapur I in 259. His eldest son and heir-apparent, Gallienus, succeeded and took up the fight on the eastern frontier. Gallienus' son, Saloninus, and the Praetorian Prefect Silvanus were residing in Colonia Agrippina (modern Cologne) to solidify the loyalty of the local legions. Nevertheless, Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus - the local governor of the German provinces - rebelled; his assault on Colonia Agrippina resulted in the deaths of Saloninus and the prefect. In the confusion that followed, an independent state known as the Gallic Empire emerged.

    Its capital was Augusta Treverorum (modern Trier), and it quickly expanded its control over the German and Gaulish provinces and over all of Hispania and Britannia. It had its own senate, and a partial list of its consuls still survives. It maintained Roman religion, language, and culture, and was far more concerned with fighting the Germanic tribes than other Romans. However, in the reign of Claudius Gothicus (268 to 270), large expanses of the Gallic Empire were restored to Roman rule. At roughly the same time, several eastern provinces seceded under the Palmyrene Empire, under the rule of Queen Zenobia.

    In 272, Emperor Aurelian finally managed to reclaim Palmyra and its territory for the empire. With the East secure, his attention was turned to the West, taking the Gallic Empire a year later. Because of a secret deal between Aurelian and Gallic Emperor Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II, the Gallic army was swiftly defeated. In exchange, Aurelian spared their lives and gave the two former rebels important positions in Italy.


    The organization of the Empire under the Tetrachy.
    The external borders were mostly stable for the remainder of the Crisis of the Third Century, although, between the death of Aurelian in 275 and the accession of Diocletian ten years later, at least eight emperors or would-be emperors were killed, many assassinated by their own troops.

    Under Diocletian, the political division of the Roman Empire began. In 285, he promoted Maximian to the rank of Augustus (Emperor) and gave him control of the Western regions of the Empire. In 293, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus were appointed as their subordinates (Caesars), creating the First Tetrarchy. This system effectively divided the Empire into four major regions and created separate capitals besides Rome as a way to avoid the civil unrest that had marked the 3rd century. In the West, the capitals were Maximian's Mediolanum (now Milan) and Constantius' Trier. In the East, the capitals were Sirmium and Nicomedia. On 1 May 305, the two senior Augusti stepped down, and their respective Caesars were promoted to Augusti and appointed two new Caesars, thus creating the Second Tetrarchy.

    Constantine the Great

    The system of the Tetrarchy quickly ran aground when the Western Roman Empire's Constantius died unexpectedly in 306, and his son Constantine the Great was proclaimed Augustus of the West by the legions in Britain. A crisis followed as several claimants attempted to rule the Western half. In 308, the Augustus of the East, Galerius, arranged a conference at Carnuntum which revived the Tetrarchy by dividing the West between Constantine and a newcomer named Licinius. Constantine was far more interested in conquering the whole empire. Through a series of battles in the East and the West, Licinius and Constantine stabilized their respective parts of the Roman Empire by 314, and began to compete for sole control of a reunified state. Constantine emerged victorious in 324 after the surrender and murder of Licinius following the Battle of Chrysopolis.

    The Tetrarchy ended, but the idea of dividing the Roman Empire between two emperors had been validated. Very strong emperors would reunite it under their single rule, but with their death the Roman Empire would be divided again and again between the East and the West.

    Second division

    Division of the Roman Empire among the Caesars appointed by Constantine I: from left to right, the territories of Constantine II, Constans I, Dalmatius and Constantius II. After the death of Constantine I (May 337), this was the formal division of the Empire, until Dalmatius was killed and his territory divided between Constans and Constantius.
    Constantius was born in 317 at Sirmium, Pannonia. He was the third son of Constantine the Great, and second by his second wife Fausta, the daughter of Maximian. Constantius was made Caesar by his father on 13 November 324.[3] The Roman Empire was under the rule of a single Emperor, but, with the death of Constantine in 337, civil war erupted among his three sons, dividing the Empire into three parts. The West was unified in 340 under Constans, who was assassinated in 350 under the order of the usurper Magnentius; after Magnentius lost the Battle of Mursa Major and committed suicide, a complete reunification of the whole Empire occurred in 353, with Constantius II.

    Constantius II focused most of his power in the East and is regarded as the first emperor of the Byzantine Empire. Under his rule, the city of Byzantium - only recently re-founded as Constantinople - was fully developed as a capital. In 361, Constantius II became ill and died, and Constantius Chlorus' grandson Julian, who had served as Constantius II's Caesar, assumed power. Julian was killed in 363 in the Battle of Samarra against the Persian Empire and was succeeded by Jovian, who ruled only until 364.

    Final division

    The division of the Empire after the death of Theodosius I, ca.395 AD superimposed on modern borders.
      Western Roman Empire
      Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire)
    Following the death of Jovian, Valentinian I emerged as Emperor in 364. He immediately divided the Empire once again, giving the eastern half to his brother Valens. Stability was not achieved for long in either half, as the conflicts with outside forces intensified. In 376, the Visigoths, fleeing before the Ostrogoths, who in turn were fleeing before the Huns, were allowed to cross the river Danube and settle into the Balkans by the Eastern government. Mistreatment caused a full-scale rebellion, and in 378 they inflicted a crippling defeat on the Eastern Roman field army in the Battle of Adrianople, in which Valens also died. After plundering the countryside, they officially became foederati, thus remaining a destabilizing element, as well as a stabilizing element within the Empire.

    More than in the East, there was also opposition to the Christianizing policy of the Emperors in the western half of the Empire. In 379, Valentinian I's son and successor Gratian declined to wear the mantle of Pontifex Maximus, and in 382 he rescinded the rights of pagan priests and removed the pagan altar from the Roman Curia, a decision which caused dissatisfaction among the traditionally pagan aristocracy of Rome. Theodosius I later decreed a ban on the native paganism, further enforcing Christianity as the official state religion.

    The political situation was unstable. In 383, a powerful and popular general named Magnus Maximus seized power in the West and forced Gratian's half-brother Valentinian II to flee to the East for aid; the Eastern Emperor Theodosius I promptly restored him to power. In 392, the Frankish and pagan magister militum Arbogast assassinated Valentinian II and proclaimed an obscure senator named Eugenius as Emperor.

    The rebellion was overcome in 394 by Theodosius I, who then briefly ruled a united Empire until his death in 395. He was the last Emperor to rule both parts of the Roman Empire; his older son Arcadius inherited the eastern half while the younger Honorius got the western half. Both were still minors. Honorius was placed under the tutelage of the half-Roman/half-barbarian magister militum Flavius Stilicho while Rufinus became the power behind the throne in the east. Rufinus and Stilicho were rivals, and disagreements between the eastern and western courts regarding ownership of Illyricum were skillfully exploited by the Gothic king Alaric I who again rebelled following the death of Theodosius I.

    Stilicho ably defended Italy against the invading Goths, but failed to control the Vandals, Alans, and Suevi who invaded Gaul in numbers. Stilicho became a victim of court intrigues in Ravenna - where the Western Imperial court resided starting in 402 - and was subsequently executed for high treason in 408. While the East began a slow recovery and consolidation, the West began to collapse entirely.

    Economic factors

    The West, less urbanized with a spread-out populace, may have experienced an economic decline throughout the Late Empire in some provinces. Southern Italy, northern Gaul (except for large towns and cities) to some extent Spain and the Danubian areas may have suffered. The East was not so destitute, especially as Emperors like Constantine the Great and Constantius II had invested heavily in the eastern economy. As a result, the Eastern Empire could afford large numbers of professional soldiers and augment them with mercenaries, while the Western Roman Empire could not afford this to the same extent. Even in major defeats, the East could, certainly not without difficulties, buy off its enemies with a ransom.

    The political, economic and military control of the Eastern Empire's resources remained safe in Constantinople, which was well fortified and located at the crossroads of several major trade and military routes. In contrast, the Western Empire was more fragmented. Its capital was transferred to Ravenna in 402 largely for defensive reasons, and it had easy of access to the imperial fleet of the Eastern Empire but was isolated in other aspects as it was surrounded by swamps and marshes. The economic power remained focused on Rome and its hyper-rich senatorial aristocracy which dominated much of Italy and Africa in particular. After Gallienus banned senators from army commands in the mid-3rd century, the senatorial elite lost all experience of—and interest in—military life. In the early 5th century the wealthy landowning elite of the Roman Senate largely barred its tenants from military service, but it also refused to approve sufficient funding for maintaining a sufficiently powerful mercenary army to defend the entire Western Empire. The West's most important military area had been northern Gaul and the Rhine frontier in the 4th century, when Trier frequently served as the capital of the Empire and many leading Western generals were Barbarians. After the civil war in 394 between Theodosius I and Eugenius, the new Western government installed by Theodosius I increasingly had to divert military resources from Britain and the Rhine to protect Italy. This, in turn, led to further rebellions and civil wars because the Western imperial government was not providing the military protection the northern provinces expected and needed against the barbarians.

    The Western Empire's resources were much limited, and the lack of available manpower forced the government to rely ever more on confederate barbarian troops operating under their own commanders, where the Western Empire would often have difficulties paying. In certain cases deals were struck with the leaders of barbaric mercenaries rewarding them with land, which led to the Empire's decline as less land meant there would be even less taxes to support the military.

    As the central power weakened, the State gradually lost control of its borders and provinces, as well as control over the Mediterranean Sea. Roman Emperors tried to maintain control of the sea, but, once the Vandals conquered North Africa, imperial authorities had to cover too much ground with too few resources. The loss of the African provinces might have been the worse reversal on the West's fortunes, since they were among its wealthiest territories and supplied the essential grain imports to Italy. In many places, the Roman institutions collapsed along with the economic stability. In some regions, such as Gaul and Italy, the settlement of barbarians on former Roman lands seems to have caused relatively little disruption.

    Sack of Rome and fall of the Western Roman Empire

    The Roman Empire during the reigns of Majorian (west) and Leo I (east) in 460 AD. Roman rule in the west would last less than two more decades, whereas the territory of the east would remain static until the reconquests of Justinian I.
    Remaining as emperor after the death of Stilicho in 408, Honorius reigned until his own death in 423. His reign was filled with usurpations and invasions. In 410, Rome was sacked by Alaric's forces. This event made a great impression on contemporaries, as this was the first time since the Gallic invasions of the 4th century BC that the city had fallen to a foreign enemy. Under Alaric's successors, the Goths then settled in Gaul (412–418), from where they operated as Roman allies against the Vandals, Alans, and Suevi in Spain, and against the usurper Jovinus (413). Meanwhile, another usurper, Constantine (406–411), had stripped Roman Britain of its defenses when he crossed over to Gaul in 407, leaving the Romanized population subject to invasions, first by the Picts and then by the Saxons, Angli, and the Jutes who began to settle permanently from about 440 onwards.

    Honorius' death in 423 was followed by turmoil until the Eastern Roman government with the force of arms installed Valentinian III as Western Emperor in Ravenna, with Galla Placidia acting as regent during her son's minority. After a violent struggle with several rivals, and against Placidia's wish, Aetius rose to the rank of magister militum. Aetius was able to stabilize the Western Empire's military situation somewhat, relying heavily on his Hunnic allies. With their help, he defeated the Burgundians, who had occupied part of southern Gaul after 407, and settled them in Savoy as Roman allies (433). Later that century, as Roman power faded away, the Burgundians extended their rule to the Rhone valley.

    Meanwhile, pressure from the Visigoths and a rebellion by Bonifacius, the governor of Africa, induced the Vandals under their king Gaiseric to cross over from Spain in 429. They temporarily halted in Numidia (435) before moving eastward and capturing Carthage, from where they established an independent state with a powerful navy (439). The Vandal fleet became a constant danger to Roman sea trade and the coasts and islands of the western and central Mediterranean.

    In 444, the Huns, who had been employed as Roman allies by Aetius, were united under their ambitious king Attila. Turning against their former ally, the Huns became a formidable threat to the Empire. Attila then received a plea for help and the ring of Honoria, the Emperor's sister. Threatening war, he claimed half of the Western Empire's territory as his dowry.

    Faced with refusal, he invaded Gaul and was only stopped in the battle of the Catalaunian Plains by a combined Roman-Germanic army led by Aetius. The next year, Attila invaded Italy and proceeded to march upon Rome, but an outbreak of disease in his army, Pope Leo's plea for peace, and reports of a campaign of Marcianus directed at his headquarters in Pannonia induced him to halt this campaign. Attila unexpectedly died a year later (453).

    Aetius was slain in 454 by Valentinian, who was then himself murdered by the dead general's supporters a year later. With the end of the Theodosian dynasty, a new period of dynastic struggle ensued. The Vandals took advantage of the unrest and sailed up to Rome, which they plundered in 455.

    The instability caused by usurpers throughout the Western Empire helped these tribes in their conquests, and by the 450s the Germanic tribes had become usurpers themselves. During the next twenty years, several Western Emperors were installed by Constantinople, but their authority relied upon barbarian commanders (Ricimer (456–472), Gundobad (473–475)). Majorian was the last emperor to campaign in Gaul and Spain in 458-460 before being deposed and murdered by Ricimer. From the 460s onwards, imperial control was effectively restricted to Italy and southern Gaul as the remaining Western provinces refused to accept Ricimer's appointment of Libius Severus in 461.

    In 475, Orestes, a former secretary of Attila, drove Emperor Julius Nepos out of Ravenna and proclaimed his own son Romulus Augustus as emperor. In 476, Orestes refused to grant Odoacer and the Heruli federated status, prompting an invasion. Orestes was killed and Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus, installed himself as ruler over Italy and sent the Imperial insignia to Constantinople. Although isolated pockets of Roman rule continued even after 476, the city of Rome itself was under the rule of the barbarians, and the control of Rome over the West had effectively ended.

    Three rump states continued under Roman rule in some form or another after 476: Julius Nepos controlled Dalmatia until his murder in 480. Syagrius ruled the Domain of Soissons until his murder in 487. Lastly, a Roman-Moor realm survived in north Africa, resisting Vandal incursions, and becoming a part of the Eastern Roman Empire c.533 when Belisarius defeated the Vandals.

    Last Emperor

    Europe in 477 AD. Highlighted areas are Roman lands that survived the deposition of Romulus Augustulus.
    By convention, the Western Roman Empire is deemed to have ended on 4 September 476, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, but the historical record calls this determination into question.

    Julius Nepos still claimed to be Emperor of the West, and ruled a rump state in Dalmatia. He was recognized as such by Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno and by Syagrius, who had managed to preserve Roman sovereignty in an exclave in northern Gaul, known today as the Domain of Soissons.

    Odoacer proclaimed himself ruler of Italy and began to negotiate with Zeno. Zeno eventually granted Odoacer patrician status as recognition of his authority and accepted him as his own viceroy of Italy. Zeno, however, insisted that Odoacer had to pay homage to Julius Nepos as the Emperor of the Western Empire. Odoacer accepted this condition and issued coins in the name of Julius Nepos throughout Italy. This, however, was mainly an empty political gesture, as Odoacer never returned any real power or territories to Julius Nepos. The murder of Julius Nepos in 480 prompted Odoacer to invade Dalmatia, annexing it to his Kingdom of Italy.

    Political change after empire fall


    The Ostrogothic Kingdom, which rose from the ruins of the late Western Roman Empire

    The last hope for a reunited Empire came in 493, as Odoacer was replaced by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. Theodoric had been forced to appear subservient to Zeno in order to deal with a dangerous Odoacer. While in principle Theodoric was a subordinate, a viceroy of the Emperor of the East, in fact he was his equal.

    Following Theodoric's death in 526, the Western half of the Empire was now fully controlled by Germanic tribes (though many of them continued to recognize Roman law and made claims to continuity), while the Eastern half had established itself under the Justinian dynasty. While the East would make some attempts to recapture the West, the Roman Empire was never reunited.

    Byzantine Reconquest

    The Eastern Roman Empire, by reoccupying some of the former Western Roman Empire′s lands, enlarged its territory considerably during Justinian's reign from 527 (red) to 565 (orange).
    Throughout Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the Eastern Roman Empire, or the Byzantine Empire, laid claims on areas of the West which had been occupied by several tribes. In the 6th century, the Eastern Roman Empire managed to reconquer large areas of the former Western Roman Empire. The most successful were the campaigns of the generals Belisarius and Narses on behalf of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I from 533 to 554). The Vandal-occupied former Roman territory in North Africa was regained, particularly the territory centered around the city of Carthage. Less than a year later, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Dalmatia, and the Balearic Islands were easily captured by the invading Roman legions. The campaign eventually moved into Italy and the Byzantines reconquered it completely. Minor territories were taken as far west as the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. But already in 568, three years after Justinian had died, the Lombards had invaded Italy.

    Although some eastern emperors occasionally attempted to reconquer some parts of the West, none were as successful as Justinian. The division between the two areas grew, resulting in a growing rivalry. While the Eastern Roman Empire continued after Justinian, the later Eastern Emperors focused mainly on defending its traditional territory. From the 7th century onwards, the East no longer had the necessary military strength to do anything else, spelling the end of any hope for reunification.


    As the Western Roman Empire crumbled, the new Germanic rulers who conquered the provinces upheld many Roman laws and traditions. Many of the invading Germanic tribes were already Christianized, although most were followers of Arianism. They quickly converted to Catholicism, gaining more loyalty from the local Roman populations, as well as the recognition and support of the powerful Catholic Church. Although they initially continued to recognize indigenous tribal laws, they were more influenced by Roman Law and gradually incorporated it as well.

    Roman Law, particularly the Corpus Juris Civilis collected by order of Justinian I, is the ancient basis on which the modern Civil law stands. In contrast, Common law is based on the Germanic Anglo-Saxon law.

    Latin as a language never really disappeared. It combined with neighboring Germanic and Celtic languages, giving rise to many modern Romance languages such as Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, Occitan, and Romansh.

    Latin also influenced Germanic languages such as English, German, and Dutch; all surviving Celtic languages, Albanian, and such Slavic languages as Polish and Czech, and even the non-Indo-European Hungarian. It survives in its "purer" form as the language of the Catholic Church (the Mass was spoken exclusively in Latin until 1969), and was used as a lingua franca between many nations. It remained the language of medicine, law, diplomacy (most treaties were written in Latin), of intellectuals and scholarship.

    The Latin alphabet was expanded due to the splits of I into I and J and of U into U, V, and in places (especially Germanic languages and Polish) W; it is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. Roman numerals continue to be used, but were mostly replaced by Arabic numerals.

    The ideal of the Roman Empire as a mighty Christian Empire with a single ruler continued to seduce many powerful rulers. Under the principle of translatio imperii, the Holy Roman Empire explicitly proclaimed itself as the continuation of the Western Roman Empire. The title of the Western Roman Emperor was revived when Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Lombards, was crowned as Emperor of the Romans of the West by Pope Leo III in 800. The status of the Holy Roman Emperor as the rightful Western Roman Emperor in the medieval era was further legitimated by the recognition as "co-emperor" from the Eastern Roman Emperor, who was in direct succession to the ancient Roman Emperors. The Holy Roman Empire continued to regard itself as the successor state of the Western Roman Empire until its downfall in 1806. The French King Louis XIV, as well as French Emperor Napoleon I, among others, also tried to resurrect the Empire, albeit unsuccessfully.

    A very visible legacy of the Western Roman Empire is the Roman Catholic Church. The Church slowly began to replace Roman institutions in the West, even helping to negotiate the safety of Rome during the late 5th century. In many cases the only source of law and civil administration was the local bishop, often himself a former governor like St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Germanus of Auxerre. As Rome was invaded by Germanic tribes, many assimilated, and by the middle of the medieval period (c.9th and 10th centuries) the central, western, and northern parts of Europe had been largely converted by the Roman Catholicism and acknowledged the Pope as the Vicar of Christ.


    • Henning Börm: Das weströmische Kaisertum nach 476. In: Josef Wiesehöfer et al. (eds.), Monumentum et instrumentum inscriptum. Stuttgart 2008, pp. 47–69.
    • Neil Christie: The Fall of the Western Roman Empire. London 2011.
    • Kaj Sandberg: The So-Called Division of the Roman Empire. Notes On A Persistent Theme in Western Historiography, Arctos 42 (2008), 199-213.
    • El Housin Helal Ouriachen, 2009, La ciudad bética durante la Antigüedad Tardía. Persistencias y mutaciones locales en relación con la realidad urbana del Mediterraneo y del Atlántico, Tesis doctoral, Universidad de Granada, Granada.


    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, 

    Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church 

    Article 2:4  Sacrament of Confirmation


    Article 2

    1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.Cf. Roman Ritual, Rite of Confirmation (OC), Introduction 1. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."LG 11; Cf. OC, Introduction 2

    V. Who can Receive This Sacrament?
    1306 Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation.CIC, can. 889 # 1 Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that "the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,"CIC, can. 890 for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete.

    1307 The Latin tradition gives "the age of discretion" as the reference point for receiving Confirmation. But in danger of death children should be confirmed even if they have not yet attained the age of discretion.CIC, cann. 891; 883, 3

    1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity," we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need "ratification" to become effective. St. Thomas reminds us of this:
    Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: "For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. "Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 72, 8, ad 2; Cf. Wis 4:8

    1309 Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit - his actions, his gifts, and his biddings - in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. the latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands.OC Introduction 3

    1310 To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act.Acts 1:14

    1311 Candidates for Confirmation, as for Baptism, fittingly seek the spiritual help of a sponsor. To emphasize the unity of the two sacraments, it is appropriate that this be one of the baptismal godparents.OC Introduction 5; 6; CIC, Can. 893 ## 1- 2