Delay First Holy communions until adulthood, says leading Catholic priest


A Portlaoise priest has suggested that First Holy Communion and Confirmations be delayed until adulthood, to prevent the events from becoming hollow moments.

Speaking on RTÉ Liveline program, Fr Paddy Byrne said the modern-day version of these holy sacraments has become a “hostile” event involving families who do not want to be there.

The Catholic Priest claims that changes in recent years means many ceremonies involve parents who have moved away from the church, but feel obligated to allow their children to take part in the ceremonies. In other cases he said some families see the occasions as an opportunity for children to receive money and gifts.

The Laois-based priest said: “One of the big initiatives in South America in the past few months was to implement a lot of the sacraments of initiation — ie, baptism, communion, confirmation — much later on in life.

“It should be when people have choice, when they have proper formation [of faith]. What I’m saying isn’t off the wall, it’s realistic.”

Fr Byrne told the Irish Examiner the current system is now causing situations where up to “85% of children taking first communion are not seen again by the Church.”

The curate to Portlaoise Parish said communion and confirmation are losing their real meaning for Catholics.

“There’s a majority [of parents] who are quite unruly when it comes to the basic etiquette of how to behave. I’ve often been asked do you have wi-fi here, can people go on Facebook.

“It’s time for a wake-up call, to be pragmatic and honest in changing the way we do our business.”