Confirmation: The “Full” or “Special” Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

If you read the Catechism on the Vatican website, which seems to have the text of the first edition, you will find this sentence at paragraph 1302:

  • “It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.”

But then of course, you might wonder if the second edition (in book form, the green edition) has something different and in fact it does:

  • “It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.”

Did you catch it? Yep, just one word is changed. Confirmation has gone from being “the full outpouring” to the “special outpouring.” Well, perhaps its a translation problem. I dove through the translations available on the Vatican website and here’s what I found:

English, 1st ed.: full
English, 2nd ed.: special
Latin: specialem
French: spéciale
German: in Fülle
Italian: speciale
Spanish: especial
Portuguese: especial

So, it seems that the first English edition only matches the German. Odd, isn’t it? So my question is what is the significance of being “the special” outpouring. Is it possible for there to be several special outpourings of the Spirit? If so, what makes Confirmation unique in regard to other outpourings that one might experience? Is it really “full” or no? Why the change in translation?

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