The bishop of Leeds has announced that his diocese will be lowering the age at which youngsters receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

In a pastoral letter, Bishop Marcus Stock said young people would now be invited to make their Confirmation in their last year of primary school when they are 11, as opposed to the current age of 14.

The bishop said that it was “a cause for concern” that many of those who are baptised are not confirmed. He said: “In the Diocese of Leeds a large proportion of those who are baptised into the Catholic Church (68 per cent) and make their first Holy Communion (58 per cent) do not receive also the Sacrament of Confirmation.”

The bishop said this meant the “diocesan family” was failing to initiate young people into the Catholic faith.

The bishop said this deprived people of the “objective grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation, the spiritual gift which provides the vital help they need in their young and adult lives.”

In 2011 Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool moved Confirmation ahead of First Holy Communion, which was the order of sacraments until 1910.

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