- Age of reason (canon law)
The age of
reason, also called the age of discretion, is the ageat which childrenbecome capable of moral responsibility. On completion of the seventh year a minoris presumed to have the use of reason (canon 97 §2 of the Code of Canon Law), but mental retardationor insanitycould prevent some individuals from ever reaching it. Children under the age of reason and the mentally handicapped are sometimes called "innocents" because of their inability to commit sins: even if their actions are objectively sinful, they sometimes lack capacity for subjective guilt.
While in the Eastern Churches Confirmation (also known as
Chrismation) and Eucharistare bestowed on the infant who has just been baptized, in Latin riteCatholicism, confirmation (except in danger of death) may be lawfully conferred only on a person who has the use of reason (canon 889 §2), and Holy Communionmay be administered to children only if "they have sufficient knowledge and (are) accurately prepared, so that according to their capacity they understand what the mystery of Christmeans, and are able to receive the Body of the Lord with faithand devotion. The blessed Eucharist may, however, be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the Body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion with reverence" (canon 913).
Age of consent
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