To the editor,
I am saddened by the practice in many parishes of allowing or even encouraging a child to receive First Communion before First Reconciliation. This practice violates Canon Law (914), the Catechism (1457), and other Church documents. Why have we turned against the teachings of our Church?
Our diocese promotes a readiness-based approach to sacramental preparation, which is a good procedure when used wisely. Certainly a child should not be pushed through a sacrament simply because other children that age are receiving it. However, a child cannot be ready to receive Holy Eucharist if he is not ready to experience Reconciliation.
A child may not be ready for Reconciliation if he has an immature understanding of sin and his own culpability. If he cannot grasp his own sinfulness, though, he certainly cannot understand the need for a Savior. Without the need for a Savior, what is the value of Eucharist? Without a solid understanding of his sinfulness and the need for a repaired relationship with God, a child cannot begin to understand the value of Christ’s sacrifice.
I pray that those in charge of sacramental preparation will soon recognize the wisdom of the Church and give our children the spiritual formation they need.