Sacrament Articles

Sacraments

Inaestimabile DonumCongregation Divine WorshipInstruction on the Holy Eucharist, 1980 Instruction concerning worship of the Eucharistic Mystery prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, approved and confirmed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II
The Priest and the Third Christian MillenniumTeacher of the Word, Minister of Sacraments and Leader of the CommunityCongregation for the ClergyThis document is designed to lead individual priests as well as presbyterates to an examination of conscience. New evangelization demands renewal of commitment to pastoral ministry in its three elements of teaching, feeding and leading Christ's flock.
Sanctus PontifexSacred Congregation for the Clergy and the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the SacramentsThis document calls for the cessation of experiments and the reinstatement of the traditional practice of reception of Penance before the Holy EucharistMay 24, 1973
Vatican Communication on Female Altar ServersCongregation Divine WorshipCommunication sent to the presidents of episcopal conferences permitting altar girlsMarch 15,1994
Quam SingulariCongregation Divine WorshipDecree on First Communion. Approved by Pope St. Pius X and issued by the Sacred Congregation of the Discipline of the SacramentsAugust 8, 1910.
Immensae CaritatisCongregation Divine WorshipOn Facilitating Reception of Communion in Certain Circumstances
Instruction: Inculturation and the Roman LiturgyCongregation Divine WorshipFourth Instruction for the Right Application of the Conciliar Constitution on the Liturgy.' Issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on March 29, 1994. The document covers principles and practical norms for inculturation of the liturgy in such matters as language, music, gesture and posture, handclapping, rhythmic swaying and dance movements, art, the altar and popular devotion.
SacramentsCatholic EncyclopediaOutward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification. The subject may be treated under the following headings: I. The necessity and the nature of the sacramental system II. The nature of the sacraments of the new law III. The origin (cause) of the sacraments IV. The number of the sacraments V. The effects of the sacraments VI. The minister of the sacraments VII. The recipient of the sacraments. Taken from the 'Catholic Encyclopedia' 1913 edition.
On the Intention Required in the Minister of the SacramentsChristopehr MirusA summary of dogma and theology on the question of 'What intention is required of the minister of the Sacraments in order for them to be valid?,' compiled by Christopher V. Mirus.
These Are the SacramentsFulton SheenPublished by Hawthorn Books in 1962. A book on the Seven Sacraments. 'This book...is written because men live in a world that has become entirely too serious.... No significance or meaning is seen in the things that make a sound to the ear, or a sight to the eye. In a world without a divine sense of humor, architecture loses decoration and people lose courtesy in their relationships with one another.
Baptism SponsorsNicolas Halligan, O.P.Taken from 'The Adminstration of the Sacraments'
Mediator DeiPope Pius XIIOn the Sacred Liturgy, Promulgated on November 20, 1947. The priestly mission of Jesus Christ is prolonged mainly by means of the sacred liturgy, at the altar, through the sacraments and through the Divine Office.
Sacraments: Channels of Divine GraceJohn Hardon, S.J.Good overview, focuses on understanding that the sacraments are instruments of Christ's grace. Taken from the May/June 1996 issue of The Catholic Faith.
God's Greatest Gifts: The Commandments and the SacramentsSt. Thomas AquinasThis excerpt from God's Greatest Gifts, a collection of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas on the commandments and the sacraments, concerns the First Commandment, how it is kept and how it is violated.
Trinitarian BaptismCatholic AnswersFor a sacrament to be valid, three things have to be present: the correct form, the correct matter, and the correct intention. With baptism, the correct intention is to do what the Church does, the correct matter is water, and the correct form is the baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).
ConfirmationCatholic AnswersThe sacrament of confirmation is found in passages such as Acts 8:14Of special importance is Hebrews 6:2 because it is not a narrative account of how confirmation was given and thus cannot be dismissed by those who reject the sacrament as something unique to the apostolic age. In fact, the passage refers to confirmation as one of the basic teachings of Christianity, which is to be expected since confirmation, like baptism, is a sacrament of initiation into the Christian life.
Anointing of the SickCatholic AnswersWhat is the Anointing of the Sick? This is a common question. The Anointing of the Sick is most likely one of the last sacraments one will receive. It is often administered near the time of death to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness.A sacrament is an outward sign established by Jesus Christ to confer inward grace. In more basic terms, it is a rite that is performed to convey God's grace to the recipient through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Bishop, Priest, DeaconCatholic AnswersThe sacrament of holy orders is conferred in three ranks of clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons.
Celibacy and the PriesthoodCatholic AnswersFundamentalists and even some Catholics, are surprised to learn that celibacy has not been and is not now a rule for all Catholic priests. In the Eastern Rites, married men can be ordained; this has been the rule from the first. But once ordained, an unmarried priest may not marry, and a married priest, if widowed, may not remarry.
Calling Priests FatherCatholic AnswersThe ancient Christian practice of calling priests father goes all the way back to the time of the apostles, and the theology behind it is evident in Scripture. While on trial before the Sanhedrein–the Jewish high council of priests and elders–the first Christian martyr, Stephen, addresses them formally as brothers and fathers (Acts 7:2).
Women and the PriesthoodCatholic AnswersCan women be ordained to the priesthood? This is a lively question in some quarters today, but it is one to which the Church has always answered no. This teaching goes back to the New Testament
The EucharistCatholic AnswersJesus told them, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him (John 6:53-56).
The Real PresenceCatholic AnswersThe doctrine of the Real Presence (that Jesus is literally and wholly present–body and blood, soul and divinity–under the appearances of bread and wine) is frequently attacked by Evangelicals and Fundamentalists as unbiblical, but the Bible is forthright in declaring it (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 1 Cor. 11:23-29; and, most forcefully, John 6:32-71).
The MassCatholic AnswersAt the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his body and blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us (Sacrosanctum Concilium 47).
The Sacrifice of the MassCatholic AnswersThe Eucharist is a true sacrifice, not just a commemorative meal, as Bible Christians insist. The first Christians knew that it was a sacrifice and proclaimed this in their writings. They recognized the sacrificial character of Jesus' instruction, Do this in remembrance of me (Touto poieite tan eman anamnasin; Luke 22:19, 1 Cor. 11:24-25) which is better translated Offer this as my memorial offering.
Who Can Receive the Eucharist?Catholic AnswersThe Holy Eucharist is the most important of all the seven Sacraments because, in only this and no other Sacrament, we receive the very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Innumerable, precious graces that come to us by receiving Holy Communion.

The Sacraments & Authentic WomanhoodDale O'LearyO'Leary contends that feminists see the administration of the sacraments as a source of power. She maintains that their belief system is diametrically opposed to the Catholic vision and that they are determined to wipe out all cultural recognition of the differences between men and women.
Documents on First Confession/First CommunionHoly SeeThis file contains Magisterial texts on the obligation of First Confession before First Communion showing the efforts of the Holy See over a period of two decades to end abuses of the rights of children and of sacramental discipline. Documents: Sanctus Pontifex of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments (1973); In quibusdam Ecclesiae partibus of the Congregations for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Clergy (1977); Responsum of the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Clergy (1977); Code of Canon Law (1983); Catechism of the Catholic Church(1994).
Legitimate diversity must not dividePope John Paul IIOn 26 October 1998 the Holy Father addressed a group of pilgrims in Rome for beatification ceremonies, as well as members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and others celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia dei, permitting the celebration of the Mass and other sacraments according to the liturgical books of 1962.
The Seven SacramentsPope John Paul IIPope John Paul II in Britain, the main points of the Holy Father's homilies given in England and Wales. Taken from the Catholic Position Papers, Series B, Number 24, October, 1982, Japan Edition.
Filipino Families Are Seeking Sound Doctrine, Grace and Human EmpathyPope John Paul IIIt is to the majority of the faithful who struggle each day to live up to the demands of their Christian dignity in marriage and the family that pastoral efforts are principally directed . . . . They look to their spiritual guides for the support of sound doctrine, the grace of the sacraments and the human empathy which will sustain them in the never easy mission of being a true 'domestic church', the first community to be evangelized, so that it in turn can be the proximate and immediate evangelizer of its members, the Holy Father said on February 10, 1997 to the third group of Philippine Bishops to make their ad limina visit to Rome. The Pope's talk focused on the family and the promotion of social justice.
Co-Operation of Priests and Laity Is Essential to Fostering Parish LifePope John Paul IIA parish's vocation can be defined only according to the Church's sacramental structure. It is here that Christ's presence in the paschal mystery is visibly signified.... No effort should be spared to make available the principal gifts, which are the sacraments, at every stage of our life, the Holy Father said to the third group of French Bishops to make their ad limina visit to Rome, when he received them on January 25, 1997
'Sacram Liturgiam'Pope Paul VIA parish's vocation can be defined only according to the Church's sacramental structure. It is here that Christ's presence in the paschal mystery is visibly signified.... No effort should be spared to make available the principal gifts, which are the sacraments, at every stage of our life, the Holy Father said to the third group of French Bishops to make their ad limina visit to Rome, when he received them on January 25, 1997
On Baptism De baptismo'TertullianPerhaps 198-200 A.D. Important for history of liturgy of initiation and sacraments of baptism and confirmation; only Ante–Nicene treatise on any sacrament, written to answer Quintilla. Answers rationalistic objections. Washing itself does not cleanse from sin, but rather the sacred action united to the trinitarian formula. Prefigurements of the sacrament; answers to Scriptural objections. Baptism of blood. Ordinary minister the bishop; even laymen in necessity. Tertullian does not favor the baptism of infants, who have not yet sinned.
The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic ChurchScott HahnTranscript of program 20 through 25 of Scott Hahn's audio and video tape presentation, 'The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church' as it appears in the 'Catholic Adult Education on Video Program' with Scott and Kimberly Hahn. The titles are: Growth by Oath: Introduction to the Meaning of a Sacrament, Grace is For–Giving and For–Getting, Signed, Sealed and Delivered, Holy Healing, Marriage and Holy Orders
Forgiveness of SinsCatholic AnswersAll pardon for sins ultimately comes from Christ's finished work on Calvary, but how is this pardon to be received by individuals? How are people who sin today to obtain forgiveness? Did Christ leave us any means within the Church to take away sin? The Bible says he gave us two means.
ConfessionCatholic AnswersAre all of our sins–past, present, and future–forgiven once and for all when we become Christians? Not according to the Bible or the early Church Fathers. Scripture nowhere states that our future sins are forgiven; instead, it teaches us to pray, And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors (Matt. 6:12).
ConfirmationCatholic AnswersThe sacrament of confirmation is found in passages such as Acts 8:14Of special importance is Hebrews 6:2 because it is not a narrative account of how confirmation was given and thus cannot be dismissed by those who reject the sacrament as something unique to the apostolic age. In fact, the passage refers to confirmation as one of the basic teachings of Christianity, which is to be expected since confirmation, like baptism, is a sacrament of initiation into the Christian life.
Baptismal GraceCatholic AnswersWithout exception the early Fathers taught that baptism is a key means God uses to convey his grace to us. They all recognized the Bible's teaching that [In the ark] a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 3:20
Are Catholics Born Again?Catholic AnswersCatholics and Protestants agree that to be saved, you have to be born again. Jesus said so himself: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).But the phrase born again means different things to different people. For example, when a Catholic says he has been born again, he refers to the transformation which God's grace accomplished in him during baptism. Evangelical Protestants typically mean something quite different when they talk about being born again.
Born Again in BaptismCatholic AnswersOne key Scripture reference to being born again or regenerated is John 3:5, where Jesus states: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. This verse is so important that those who say baptism is just a symbol must deny that Jesus refers to baptism. Born again Christians claim that the water is the preached word of God. If we look at what the early Christians said about this verse, they uniformly referred to it as baptism and said this was the way in which we are born again and receive new life, a fact which can be shown elsewhere in Scripture (Rom. 6:3-4, Col. 2:12-13, Titus 3:5). It is impossible to find a Church Father who referred to John 3:5 as anything other than baptism; they are unanimous.
The Necessity of BaptismCatholic AnswersChristians have always taken the Bible at face value when it declares, Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:20-21; cf. Acts 2:38, 22:16, Rom. 6:3-4, Col. 2:11-12).
Infant BaptismCatholic AnswersPeter explained what happens at baptism when he said, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38 ). But he didn't restrict this teaching only to adults. He added, For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him (2:39).
Baptizing BabiesCatholic AnswersThere is simply no doubt that the early Church practiced infant baptism. Christ himself proclaimed the suitability of infants for initiation into the kingdom (Luke 18:15-16), and Peter declared: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children (Acts 2:38-39).
Baptism: Immersion Only?Catholic AnswersTrue, the usual sense of baptizo is immersion, but that is not the only sense. Sometimes it just means washing up; sometimes it means spiritual, as distinguished from bodily, cleansing; and sometimes it has nothing to do with cleansing, whether spiritual or bodily, at all.
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the SickBishop William S. SkylstadFollowing the footsteps of Jesus, the Church has always considered ministry to the sick and dying a very important part of her mission. Catholic health care continues that important mission. As Church, we take a holistic approach to such care, using the skills of the medical community to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual care of the person.Oct 23 1997

Updated: November 26, 2000

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