Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bishop Braxton: No Preparation, No Confirmation

Woman, 20, is denied access to confirmation in Paderborn

Belleville Bishop Edward K. Braxton set off a flurry of e-mail messages among priests and diocesan insiders when he told a 20-year-old Catholic woman she had not studied enough to allow him to confer the sacrament of confirmation.

The ensuing controversy regarding the woman's unsuccessful attempt on April 10 to be confirmed at St. Michael's Church in Paderborn raised questions about Braxton's ministerial style among some Catholics, criticism that was offset by a statement from the diocesan chancellor's office citing community praise for the bishop's interaction with parishioners.

The controversy also resulted in a statement from Braxton to St. Michael's pastor, the Rev. James Voelker, and by inference to all diocesan pastors, that they need to ensure that those who seek confirmation, whether adults or young people, should first receive the necessary educational and spiritual preparation.
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Nicole Schilling, of New Athens, where she attends church at a different parish, and nine of her relatives heard the bishop's decision moments before the ceremony and angrily left the event, said Voelker. Schilling, an employee of King's House in Belleville, a religious retreat run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, did not bring a required baptismal certificate and was not known to the pastor of her home parish, Braxton said in a statement.

If one is not properly disposed to receive the sacraments, then he or she must not receive them. Kudos to Bishop Braxton!

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