February 17, 2014

Many Catholic parents go to great lengths to ensure their children are baptized, and they must make similar efforts to see that their children are confirmed, Pope Francis said.

Without Confirmation, he said, young people will remain "halfway" on the path of Christian maturity and Church membership.

Confirmation "unites us more solidly to Christ. It completes our bond with the Church," Pope Francis said Jan. 29 at his weekly general audience.

The sacrament "gives us the special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith, to confess the name of Christ and to never be ashamed of his cross," the pope said.