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I understand that Catholics practice First Communion for kids. What is the basis for this practice in the Catholic church? What is the proper age?

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Well, if a person is going to receive communion, there must be a first time. Nobody requires a big celebration for that, but it seems like a natural expression of the joy of people who begin to receive communion. The celebration can also serve to emphasize the importance of receiving communion. –  Andreas Blass Mar 27 '14 at 23:05
In anabaptist type traditions, it would be the first Sunday after the kid gets baptized. So being linked to baptism it would be the baptism that is celebrated not so much the first communion, which just kind of flows from it. –  david brainerd Mar 28 '14 at 4:02

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The Catholic Encyclopedia article gives a good albeit old insight into canonical age. In those days 100 years ago and previous, confirmation was before first Communion. Nowadays in most diocese in the USA that's flipped around.

The terms, age of discretion and age of reason are used to describe what is needed for a youth to fully understand what they're doing and freely choose to do it. Why this is required for the Eucharist and Confirmation and not for Baptism is not exactly obvious, unless you consider:

A. Sts. Peter and John confirmed those who were already baptized, but didn't know much about the faith (Acts 8:14-17) - after instruction. And

B. St. Paul said it would bring condemnation on yourself if you eat the Eucharistic Sacrifice unworthily

So, a person needs to be in a state of grace to receive communion, and because they need to be in a state of grace, they need confession and because they need confession, they need to be aware of their sins and because they need to be aware of their sins they need to be at the age of reason, which the Church has fixed at around 7 years of age.

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Paul and Barnabas confirmed some people? I've never heard of that before. Got a reference? –  curiousdannii Mar 28 '14 at 13:18
whoops, Peter and John. I should fix up this, I wrote it on my phone last night –  Peter Turner Mar 28 '14 at 14:02
@davidbrainerd Your comments here are completely inappropriate. If you have a critique for this post that are consistent with a Catholic perspective that would be fine, bit this is a question specifically about Catholicism and critiquing answers from a different perspective is not acceptable. Ridicule from any perspective is also not acceptable here. –  Caleb Apr 1 '14 at 8:03

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