Summa Th. III EN Qu.72 a.2
Objection: 1. It seems that chrism is not a fitting matter for this sacrament. For this sacrament, as stated above (Article , ad 1), was instituted by Christ when He promised His disciples the Holy Ghost. But He sent them the Holy Ghost without their being anointed with chrism. Moreover, the apostles themselves bestowed this sacrament without chrism, by the mere imposition of hands: for it is written (Ac 8,17) that the apostles "laid their hands upon" those who were baptized, "and they received the Holy Ghost." Therefore chrism is not the matter of this sacrament: since the matter is essential to the sacrament.
2. Further, Confirmation perfects, in a way, the sacrament of Baptism, as stated above (Question , Articles ,4): and so it ought to be conformed to it as perfection to the thing perfected. But the matter, in Baptism, is a simple element, viz. water. Therefore chrism, which is made of oil and balm, is not a fitting matter for this sacrament.
3. Further, oil is used as the matter of this sacrament for the purpose of anointing. But any oil will do for anointing: for instance, oil made from nuts, and from anything else. Therefore not only olive oil should be used for this sacrament.
4. Further, it has been stated above (Question , Article ) that water is used as the matter of Baptism, because it is easily procured everywhere. But olive oil is not to be procured everywhere; and much less is balm. Therefore chrism, which is made of these, is not a fitting matter for this sacrament.
On the contrary Gregory says (Registr. iv): "Let no priest dare to sign the baptized infants on the brow with the sacred chrism." Therefore chrism is the matter of this sacrament.
I answer that Chrism is the fitting matter of this sacrament. For, as stated above (Article ), in this sacrament the fulness of the Holy Ghost is given for the spiritual strength which belongs to the perfect age. Now when man comes to perfect age he begins at once to have intercourse with others; whereas until then he lives an individual life, as it were, confined to himself. Now the grace of the Holy Ghost is signified by oil; hence Christ is said to be "anointed with the oil of gladness" (Ps 44,8), by reason of His being gifted with the fulness of the Holy Ghost. Consequently oil is a suitable matter of this sacrament. And balm is mixed with the oil, by reason of its fragrant odor, which spreads about: hence the Apostle says (2Co 2,15): "We are the good odor of Christ," etc. And though many other things be fragrant, yet preference is given to balm, because it has a special odor of its own, and because it confers incorruptibility: hence it is written (Si 24,21): "My odor is as the purest balm."
Reply to Objection: 1. Christ, by the power which He exercises in the sacraments, bestowed on the apostles the reality of this sacrament, i.e. the fulness of the Holy Ghost, without the sacrament itself, because they had received "the first fruits of the Spirit" (Rm 8,23). Nevertheless, something of keeping with the matter of this sacrament was displayed to the apostles in a sensible manner when they received the Holy Ghost. For that the Holy Ghost came down upon them in a sensible manner under the form of fire, refers to the same signification as oil: except in so far as fire has an active power, while oil has a passive power, as being the matter and incentive of fire. And this was quite fitting: for it was through the apostles that the grace of the Holy Ghost was to flow forth to others. Again, the Holy Ghost came down on the apostles in the shape of a tongue. Which refers to the same signification as balm: except in so far as the tongue communicates with others by speech, but balm, by its odor. because, to wit, the apostles were filled with the Holy Ghost, as teachers of the Faith; but the rest of the believers, as doing that which gives edification to the faithful.In like manner, too, when the apostles imposed their hands, and when they preached, the fulness of the Holy Ghost came down under visible signs on the faithful, just as, at the beginning, He came down on the apostles: hence Peter said (Ac 11,15): "When I had begun to speak, the Holy Ghost fell upon them, as upon us also in the beginning." Consequently there was no need for sacramental sensible matter, where God sent sensible signs miraculously.However, the apostles commonly made use of chrism in bestowing the sacrament, when such like visible signs were lacking. For Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. iv): "There is a certain perfecting operation which our guides," i.e. the apostles, "call the sacrifice of Chrism."
2. Baptism is bestowed that spiritual life may be received simply; wherefore simple matter is fitting to it. But this sacrament is given that we may receive the fulness of the Holy Ghost, Whose operations are manifold, according to Sg 7,22, "In her is the" Holy "Spirit . . . one, manifold"; and 1Co 12,4, "There are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit." Consequently a compound matter is appropriate to this sacrament.
3. These properties of oil, by reason of which it symbolizes the Holy Ghost, are to be found in olive oil rather than in any other oil. In fact, the olive-tree itself, through being an evergreen, signifies the refreshing and merciful operation of the Holy Ghost.Moreover, this oil is called oil properly, and is very much in use, wherever it is to be had. And whatever other liquid is so called, derives its name from its likeness to this oil: nor are the latter commonly used, unless it be to supply the want of olive oil. Therefore it is that this oil alone is used for this and certain other sacraments.
4. Baptism is the sacrament of absolute necessity; and so its matter should be at hand everywhere. But it is enough that the matter of this sacrament, which is not of such great necessity, be easily sent to all parts of the world.
Objection: 1. It seems that it is not essential to this sacrament, that the chrism, which is its matter, be previously consecrated by a bishop. For Baptism which bestows full remission of sins is not less efficacious than this sacrament. But, though the baptismal water receives a kind of blessing before being used for Baptism; yet this is not essential to the sacrament: since in a case of necessity it can be dispensed with. Therefore neither is it essential to this sacrament that the chrism should be previously consecrated by a bishop.
2. Further, the same should not be consecrated twice. But the sacramental matter is sanctified, in the very conferring of the sacrament, by the form of words wherein the sacrament is bestowed; hence Augustine says (Tract. lxxx in Joan.): "The word is added to the element, and this becomes a sacrament." Therefore the chrism should not be consecrated before this sacrament is given.
3. Further, every consecration employed in the sacraments is ordained to the bestowal of grace. But the sensible matter composed of oil and balm is not receptive of grace. Therefore it should not be consecrated.
On the contrary Pope Innocent I says (Ep ad Decent.): "Priests, when baptizing, may anoint the baptized with chrism, previously consecrated by a bishop: but they must not sign the brow with the same oil; this belongs to the bishop alone, when he gives the Paraclete." Now this is done in this sacrament. Therefore it is necessary for this sacrament that its matter be previously consecrated by a bishop.
I answer that The entire sanctification of the sacraments is derived from Christ, as stated above (Question , Article ). But it must be observed that Christ did use certain sacraments having a corporeal matter, viz. Baptism, and also the Eucharist. And consequently, from Christ's very act in using them, the matter of these sacraments received a certain aptitude to the perfection of the sacrament. Hence Chrysostom (Chromatius, In Matth. 3:15) says that "the waters of Baptism could never wash away the sins of believers, had they not been sanctified by contact with our Lord's body." And again, our Lord Himself "taking bread . . . blessed . . . and in like manner the chalice" (Mt 26,26-27 Lc 22,19-20). For this reason there is no need for the matter of these sacraments to be blessed previously, since Christ's blessing is enough. And if any blessing be used, it belongs to the solemnity of the sacrament, not to its essence. But Christ did not make use of visible anointings, so as not to slight the invisible unction whereby He was "anointed above" His "fellows" (Ps 44,8). And hence both chrism, and the holy oil, and the oil of the sick are blessed before being put to sacramental use.
Reply to Objection: 1. This suffices for the reply to the First Objection.
2. Each consecration of the chrism has not the same object. For just as an instrument derives instrumental power in two ways, viz. when it receives the form of an instrument, and when it is moved by the principal agent; so too the sacramental matter needs a twofold sanctification, by one of which it becomes fit matter for the sacrament, while by the other it is applied to the production of the effect.
3. Corporeal matter is receptive of grace, not so as to be the subject of grace, but only as the instrument of grace, as explained above (Question , Article ). And this sacramental matter is consecrated, either by Christ, or by a bishop, who, in the Church, impersonates Christ.
Objection: 1. It seems that the proper form of this sacrament is not: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross, I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." For the use of the sacraments is derived from Christ and the apostles. But neither did Christ institute this form, nor do we read of the apostles making use of it. Therefore it is not the proper form of this sacrament.
2. Further, just as the sacrament is the same everywhere, so should the form be the same: because everything has unity, just as it has being, from its form. But this form is not used by all: for some say: "I confirm thee with the chrism of sanctification." Therefore the above is not the proper form of this sacrament.
3. Further, this sacrament should be conformed to Baptism, as the perfect to the thing perfected, as stated above (Article , Objection ). But in the form of Baptism no mention is made of signing the character; nor again of the cross of Christ, though in Baptism man dies with Christ, as the Apostle says (Rm 6,3-8); nor of the effect which is salvation, though Baptism is necessary for salvation. Again, in the baptismal form, only one action is included; and the person of the baptizer is expressed in the words: "I baptize thee, whereas the contrary is to be observed in the above form." Therefore this is not the proper form of this sacrament.
On the contrary Is the authority of the Church, who always uses this form.
I answer that The above form is appropriate to this sacrament. For just as the form of a natural thing gives it its species, so a sacramental form should contain whatever belongs to the species of the sacrament. Now as is evident from what has been already said (Articles ,2), in this sacrament the Holy Ghost is given for strength in the spiritual combat. Wherefore in this sacrament three things are necessary; and they are contained in the above form. The first of these is the cause conferring fulness of spiritual strength which cause is the Blessed Trinity: and this is expressed in the words, "In the name of the Father," etc. The second is the spiritual strength itself bestowed on man unto salvation by the sacrament of visible matter; and this is referred to in the words, "I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation." The third is the sign which is given to the combatant, as in a bodily combat: thus are soldiers marked with the sign of their leaders. And to this refer the words, "I sign thee with the sign of the cross," in which sign, to wit, our King triumphed (Col 2,15).
Reply to Objection: 1. As stated above (Article , ad 1), sometimes the effect of this sacrament, i.e. the fulness of the Holy Ghost, was given through the ministry of the apostles, under certain visible signs, wrought miraculously by God, Who can bestow the sacramental effect, independently of the sacrament. In these cases there was no need for either the matter or the form of this sacrament. On the other hand, sometimes they bestowed this sacrament as ministers of the sacraments. And then, they used both matter and form according to Christ's command. For the apostles, in conferring the sacraments, observed many things which are not handed down in those Scriptures that are in general use. Hence Dionysius says at the end of his treatise on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy (chap. vii): "It is not allowed to explain in writing the prayers which are used in the sacraments, and to publish their mystical meaning, or the power which, coming from God, gives them their efficacy; we learn these things by holy tradition without any display,"* i.e. secretly. [*The passage quoted in the text of the Summa differs slightly from the above, which is translated directly from the works of Dionysius.] Hence the Apostle, speaking of the celebration of the Eucharist, writes (1Co 11,34): "The rest I will set in order, when I come."
2. Holiness is the cause of salvation. Therefore it comes to the same whether we say "chrism of salvation" or "of sanctification."
3. Baptism is the regeneration unto the spiritual life, whereby man lives in himself. And therefore in the baptismal form that action alone is expressed which refers to the man to be sanctified. But this sacrament is ordained not only to the sanctification of man in himself, but also to strengthen him in his outward combat. Consequently not only is mention made of interior sanctification, in the words, "I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation": but furthermore man is signed outwardly, as it were with the standard of the cross, unto the outward spiritual combat; and this is signified by the words, "I sign thee with the sign of the cross."But in the very word "baptize," which signifies "to cleanse," we can understand both the matter, which is the cleansing water, and the effect, which is salvation. Whereas these are not understood by the word "confirm"; and consequently they had to be expressed.Again, it has been said above (Question , Article , ad 1) that the pronoun "I" is not necessary to the Baptismal form, because it is included in the first person of the verb. It is, however, included in order to express the intention. But this does not seem so necessary in Confirmation, which is conferred only by a minister of excellence, as we shall state later on (Article ).
Objection: 1. It seems that the sacrament of Confirmation does not imprint a character. For a character means a distinctive sign. But a man is not distinguished from unbelievers by the sacrament of Confirmation, for this is the effect of Baptism; nor from the rest of the faithful, because this sacrament is ordained to the spiritual combat, which is enjoined to all the faithful. Therefore a character is not imprinted in this sacrament.
2. Further, it was stated above (Question , Article ) that a character is a spiritual power. Now a power must be either active or passive. But the active power in the sacraments is conferred by the sacrament of order: while the passive or receptive power is conferred by the sacrament of Baptism. Therefore no character is imprinted by the sacrament of Confirmation.
3. Further, in circumcision, which is a character of the body, no spiritual character is imprinted. But in this sacrament a character is imprinted on the body, when the sign of the cross is signed with chrism on man's brow. Therefore a spiritual character is not imprinted by this sacrament.
On the contrary A character is imprinted in every sacrament that is not repeated. But this sacrament is not repeated: for Gregory II says (Ep. iv ad Bonifac.): "As to the man who was confirmed a second time by a bishop, such a repetition must be forbidden." Therefore a character is imprinted in Confirmation.
I answer that As stated above (Question , Article ), a character is a spiritual power ordained to certain sacred actions. Now it has been said above (Article ; Question , Article ) that, just as Baptism is a spiritual regeneration unto Christian life, so also is Confirmation a certain spiritual growth bringing man to perfect spiritual age. But it is evident, from a comparison with the life of the body, that the action which is proper to man immediately after birth, is different from the action which is proper to him when he has come to perfect age. And therefore by the sacrament of Confirmation man is given a spiritual power in respect of sacred actions other than those in respect of which he receives power in Baptism. For in Baptism he receives power to do those things which pertain to his own salvation, forasmuch as he lives to himself: whereas in Confirmation he receives power to do those things which pertain to the spiritual combat with the enemies of the Faith. This is evident from the example of the apostles, who, before they received the fulness of the Holy Ghost, were in the "upper room . . . persevering . . . in prayer" (Ac 1,13-14); whereas afterwards they went out and feared not to confess their faith in public, even in the face of the enemies of the Christian Faith. And therefore it is evident that a character is imprinted in the sacrament of Confirmation.
Reply to Objection: 1. All have to wage the spiritual combat with our invisible enemies. But to fight against visible foes, viz. against the persecutors of the Faith, by confessing Christ's name, belongs to the confirmed, who have already come spiritually to the age of virility, according to 1Jn 2,14: "I write unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one." And therefore the character of Confirmation is a distinctive sign, not between unbelievers and believers, but between those who are grown up spiritually and those of whom it is written: "As new-born babes" (1P 2,2).
2. All the sacraments are protestations of faith. Therefore just as he who is baptized receives the power of testifying to his faith by receiving the other sacraments; so he who is confirmed receives the power of publicly confessing his faith by words, as it were "ex officio."
3. The sacraments of the Old Law are called "justice of the flesh" (He 9,10) because, to wit, they wrought nothing inwardly. Consequently in circumcision a character was imprinted in the body only, but not in the soul. But in Confirmation, since it is a sacrament of the New Law, a spiritual character is imprinted at the same time, together with the bodily character.
Objection: 1. It seems that the character of Confirmation does not presuppose, of necessity, the baptismal character. For the sacrament of Confirmation is ordained to the public confession of the Faith of Christ. But many, even before Baptism, have publicly confessed the Faith of Christ by shedding their blood for the Faith. Therefore the character of Confirmation does not presuppose the baptismal character.
2. Further, it is not related of the apostles that they were baptized; especially, since it is written (Jn 4,2) that Christ "Himself did not baptize, but His disciples." Yet afterwards they were confirmed by the coming of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, in like manner, others can be confirmed before being baptized.
3. Further, it is written (Ac 10,44-48) that "while Peter was yet speaking . . . the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word . . . and [Vulg.: 'for'] they heard them speaking with tongues": and afterwards "he commanded them to be baptized." Therefore others with equal reason can be confirmed before being baptized.
On the contrary Rabanus says (De Instit. Cleric. i): "Lastly the Paraclete is given to the baptized by the imposition of the high priest's hands, in order that the baptized may be strengthened by the Holy Ghost so as to publish his faith."
I answer that The character of Confirmation, of necessity supposes the baptismal character: so that, in effect, if one who is not baptized were to be confirmed, he would receive nothing, but would have to be confirmed again after receiving Baptism. The reason of this is that, Confirmation is to Baptism as growth to birth, as is evident from what has been said above (Article ; Question , Article ). Now it is clear that no one can be brought to perfect age unless he be first born: and in like manner, unless a man be first baptized, he cannot receive the sacrament of Confirmation.
Reply to Objection: 1. The Divine power is not confined to the sacraments. Hence man can receive spiritual strength to confess the Faith of Christ publicly, without receiving the sacrament of Confirmation: just as he can also receive remission of sins without Baptism. Yet, just as none receive the effect of Baptism without the desire of Baptism; so none receive the effect of Confirmation, without the desire of Confirmation. And man can have this even before receiving Baptism.
2. As Augustine says (Ep. cclxv), from our Lord's words, "'He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet' (Jn 13,10), we gather that Peter and Christ's other disciples had been baptized, either with John's Baptism, as some think; or with Christ's, which is more credible. For He did not refuse to administer Baptism, so as to have servants by whom to baptize others."
3. Those who heard the preaching of Peter received the effect of Confirmation miraculously: but not the sacrament of Confirmation. Now it has been stated (ad 1) that the effect of Confirmation can be bestowed on man before Baptism, whereas the sacrament cannot. For just as the effect of Confirmation, which is spiritual strength, presupposes the effect of Baptism, which is justification, so the sacrament of Confirmation presupposes the sacrament of Baptism.
Objection: 1. It seems that sanctifying grace is not bestowed in this sacrament. For sanctifying grace is ordained against sin. But this sacrament, as stated above (Article ) is given only to the baptized, who are cleansed from sin. Therefore sanctifying grace is not bestowed in this sacrament.
2. Further, sinners especially need sanctifying grace, by which alone can they be justified. If, therefore, sanctifying grace is bestowed in this sacrament, it seems that it should be given to those who are in sin. And yet this is not true.
3. Further, there can only be one species of sanctifying grace, since it is ordained to one effect. But two forms of the same species cannot be in the same subject. Since, therefore, man receives sanctifying grace in Baptism, it seems that sanctifying grace is not bestowed in Confirmation, which is given to none but the baptized.
On the contrary Pope Melchiades says (Ep ad Episc. Hispan.): "The Holy Ghost bestows at the font the fulness of innocence; but in Confirmation He confers an increase of grace."
I answer that In this sacrament, as stated above (Articles ,4), the Holy Ghost is given to the baptized for strength: just as He was given to the apostles on the day of Pentecost, as we read in Ac 2; and just as He was given to the baptized by the imposition of the apostles' hands, as related in Ac 8,17. Now it has been proved in the I 43,3 that the Holy Ghost is not sent or given except with sanctifying grace. Consequently it is evident that sanctifying grace is bestowed in this sacrament.
Reply to Objection: 1. Sanctifying grace does indeed take away sin; but it has other effects also, because it suffices to carry man through every step as far as eternal life. Hence to Paul was it said (2Co 12,9): "My grace is sufficient for thee": and he says of himself (1Co 15,10): "By the grace of God I am what I am." Therefore sanctifying grace is given not only for the remission of sin, but also for growth and stability in righteousness. And thus is it bestowed in this sacrament.
2. Further, as appears from its very name, this sacrament is given in order "to confirm" what it finds already there. And consequently it should not be given to those who are not in a state of grace. For this reason, just as it is not given to the unbaptized, so neither should it be given to the adult sinners, except they be restored by Penance. Wherefore was it decreed in the Council of Orleans (Can. iii) that "men should come to Confirmation fasting; and should be admonished to confess their sins first, so that being cleansed they may be able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." And then this sacrament perfects the effects of Penance, as of Baptism: because by the grace which he has received in this sacrament, the penitent will obtain fuller remission of his sin. And if any adult approach, being in a state of sin of which he is not conscious or for which he is not perfectly contrite, he will receive the remission of his sins through the grace bestowed in this sacrament.
3. As stated above (Question , Article ), the sacramental grace adds to the sanctifying grace taken in its wide sense, something that produces a special effect, and to which the sacrament is ordained. If, then, we consider, in its wide sense, the grace bestowed in this sacrament, it does not differ from that bestowed in Baptism, but increases what was already there. On the other hand, if we consider it as to that which is added over and above, then one differs in species from the other.
Objection: 1. It seems that this sacrament should not be given to all. For this sacrament is given in order to confer a certain excellence, as stated above (Article , ad 2). But all are not suited for that which belongs to excellence. Therefore this sacrament should not be given to all.
2. Further, by this sacrament man advances spiritually to perfect age. But perfect age is inconsistent with childhood. Therefore at least it should not be given to children.
3. Further, as Pope Melchiades says (Ep ad Episc. Hispan.) "after Baptism we are strengthened for the combat." But women are incompetent to combat, by reason of the frailty of their sex. Therefore neither should women receive this sacrament.
4. Further, Pope Melchiades says (Ep ad Episc. Hispan.): "Although the benefit of Regeneration suffices for those who are on the point of death, yet the graces of Confirmation are necessary for those who are to conquer. Confirmation arms and strengthens those to whom the struggles and combats of this world are reserved. And he who comes to die, having kept unsullied the innocence he acquired in Baptism, is confirmed by death; for after death he can sin no more." Therefore this sacrament should not be given to those who are on the point of death: and so it should not be given to all.
On the contrary It is written (Ac 2,2) that the Holy Ghost in coming, "filled the whole house," whereby the Church is signified; and afterwards it is added that "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." But this sacrament is given that we may receive that fulness. Therefore it should be given to all who belong to the Church.
I answer that As stated above (Article ), man is spiritually advanced by this sacrament to perfect age. Now the intention of nature is that everyone born corporally, should come to perfect age: yet this is sometimes hindered by reason of the corruptibility of the body, which is forestalled by death. But much more is it God's intention to bring all things to perfection, since nature shares in this intention inasmuch as it reflects Him: hence it is written (Dt 32,4): "The works of God are perfect." Now the soul, to which spiritual birth and perfect spiritual age belong, is immortal; and just as it can in old age attain to spiritual birth, so can it attain to perfect (spiritual) age in youth or childhood; because the various ages of the body do not affect the soul. Therefore this sacrament should be given to all.
Reply to Objection: 1. This sacrament is given in order to confer a certain excellence, not indeed, like the sacrament of order, of one man over another, but of man in regard to himself: thus the same man, when arrived at maturity, excels himself as he was when a boy.
2. As stated above, the age of the body does not affect the soul. Consequently even in childhood man can attain to the perfection of spiritual age, of which it is written (Sg 4,8): "Venerable old age is not that of long time, nor counted by the number of years." And hence it is that many children, by reason of the strength of the Holy Ghost which they had received, fought bravely for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.
3. As Chrysostom says (Hom. i De Machab.), "in earthly contests fitness of age, physique and rank are required; and consequently slaves, women, old men, and boys are debarred from taking part therein. But in the heavenly combats, the Stadium is open equally to all, to every age, and to either sex." Again, he says (Hom. de Militia Spirit.): "In God's eyes even women fight, for many a woman has waged the spiritual warfare with the courage of a man. For some have rivaled men in the courage with which they have suffered martyrdom; and some indeed have shown themselves stronger than men." Therefore this sacrament should be given to women.
4. As we have already observed, the soul, to which spiritual age belongs, is immortal. Wherefore this sacrament should be given to those on the point of death, that they may be seen to be perfect at the resurrection, according to Ep 4,13: "Until we all meet into the unity of faith . . . unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ." And hence Hugh of St. Victor says (De Sacram. ii), "It would be altogether hazardous, if anyone happened to go forth from this life without being confirmed": not that such a one would be lost, except perhaps through contempt; but that this would be detrimental to his perfection. And therefore even children dying after Confirmation obtain greater glory, just as here below they receive more grace. The passage quoted is to be taken in the sense that, with regard to the dangers of the present combat, those who are on the point of death do not need this sacrament.
Objection: 1. It seems that this sacrament should not be given to man on the forehead. For this sacrament perfects Baptism, as stated above (Question , Articles ,4). But the sacrament of Baptism is given to man over his whole body. Therefore this sacrament should not be given on the forehead only.
2. Further, this sacrament is given for spiritual strength, as stated above (Articles ,2,4). But spiritual strength is situated principally in the heart. Therefore this sacrament should be given over the heart rather than on the forehead.
3. Further, this sacrament is given to man that he may freely confess the faith of Christ. But "with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation," according to Rm 10,10. Therefore this sacrament should be given about the mouth rather than on the forehead.
On the contrary Rabanus says (De Instit. Cleric. i): "The baptized is signed by the priest with chrism on the top of the head, but by the bishop on the forehead."
I answer that As stated above (Articles ,4), in this sacrament man receives the Holy Ghost for strength in the spiritual combat, that he may bravely confess the Faith of Christ even in face of the enemies of that Faith. Wherefore he is fittingly signed with the sign of the cross on the forehead, with chrism, for two reasons. First, because he is signed with the sign of the cross, as a soldier with the sign of his leader, which should be evident and manifest. Now, the forehead, which is hardly ever covered, is the most conspicuous part of the human body. Wherefore the confirmed is anointed with chrism on the forehead, that he may show publicly that he is a Christian: thus too the apostles after receiving the Holy Ghost showed themselves in public, whereas before they remained hidden in the upper room.Secondly, because man is hindered from freely confessing Christ's name, by two things---by fear and by shame. Now both these things betray themselves principally on the forehead on account of the proximity of the imagination, and because the (vital) spirits mount directly from the heart to the forehead: hence "those who are ashamed, blush, and those who are afraid, pale" (Ethic. iv). And therefore man is signed with chrism, that neither fear nor shame may hinder him from confessing the name of Christ.
Reply to Objection: 1. By baptism we are regenerated unto spiritual life, which belongs to the whole man. But in Confirmation we are strengthened for the combat; the sign of which should be borne on the forehead, as in a conspicuous place.
2. The principle of fortitude is in the heart, but its sign appears on the forehead: wherefore it is written (Ez 3,8): "Behold I have made . . . thy forehead harder than their foreheads." Hence the sacrament of the Eucharist, whereby man is confirmed in himself, belongs to the heart, according to Ps 103,15: "That bread may strengthen man's heart." But the sacrament of Confirmation is required as a sign of fortitude against others; and for this reason it is given on the forehead.
3. This sacrament is given that we may confess freely: but not that we may confess simply, for this is also the effect of Baptism. And therefore it should not be given on the mouth, but on the forehead, where appear the signs of those passions which hinder free confession.
Summa Th. III EN Qu.72 a.2