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Chapter 1. The Sacraments Continue the Work of Christ. Knowledge of God, Part I. Revelation

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chapter 1

Chapter 1

The Sacraments Continue the Work of Christ

knowledge of god part i
Knowledge of God, Part I
  • Revelation
    • “Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 50)
    • Types of Revelation
      • Natural (General Revelation)
      • Supernatural (Special Revelation)
knowledge of god part ii
Knowledge of God, Part II
  • Natural Knowledge & General Revelation
    • “God, one and true, our Creator and Lord [can] be certainly known by the natural light of human reason from the things that are made.” (I Vatican Council)
    • “Ever since God created the world, His everlasting power and deity -- however invisible -- have been there for the mind to see in the things He has made.” (Romans 1:20)
knowledge of god part iii
Knowledge of God, Part III
  • Supernatural Knowledge & Special Revelation
    • “At various times in the past and in various ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
    • Types of Special Revelation
      • Indirect
        • God speaking through the prophets of the Old Testament
      • Direct
        • God speaking as Jesus Christ in the New Testament
the stages of revelation i
The Stages of Revelation, I
  • In the beginning God makes himself known
    • God invited Adam and Eve “to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.” (CCC 55)
    • But Adam and Eve rejected God’s friendship!
    • “Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death… Again and again you offered a covenant to man.” (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 118).
the stages of revelation ii
The Stages of Revelation, II
  • God’s Covenant with Noah (Genesis 6-10)
    • God promises Noah never to destroy humanity by flood again.
    • “After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part [according to its many ‘nations’].” (CCC 56)
    • Humanity is scattered.
the stages of revelation iii
The Stages of Revelation, III
  • God chooses Abraham
    • From the nations God calls Abram to be “the father of a multitude of nations” (Gen. 12:1)
    • God renames Abram “Abraham”
      • Parallels Christ renaming of Cephas “Peter”
    • God promises Abraham, “In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 17:5)
    • God makes the covenantal promise that through Abraham and his descendents His original plan for unity would be restored
the stages of revelation iv
The Stages of Revelation, IV
  • God forms his people Israel
    • God chooses Israel when He frees them from Egypt
    • A covenant with them is established through Moses in the giving of law on Mount Sinai
    • God the Father uses this covenant to prepare His people, through service and obedience to Him, to look for and recognize the promised Savior
    • God establishes the office of prophet in Israel so that the people will be called to repentance and purification, and to seek the hope of salvation.
the stages of revelation v
The Stages of Revelation, V
  • Jesus Christ: “Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation”
    • God has said everything in His Word
      • Whereas God spoke indirectly through the prophets in the OT, He speaks definitively through his “one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word” (CCC 65).
        • Hebrews 1:1-2
      • “In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in his sole Word - and he has no more to say…because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us All Who is His Son.” (St. John of the Cross)
the stages of revelation v cont d
The Stages of Revelation, Vcont’d
  • Jesus Christ: “Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation”
    • There will be no further Revelation
      • “The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - Dei Verbum
      • Galatians 1:8,11-12
    • While complete, not explicit
      • “Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.” (CCC 66)
part ii

Part II:

Theologia Sacramentorum Generalis

the concept of sacrament
The Concept of Sacrament
  • 1. Explanation of the word ‘Sacrament’
    • According to its etymology the Latin word ‘sacramentum’ means a sacred or holy thing.
    • (1) In Roman profane literature the oath of loyalty taken by a soldier and the oath in general were called sacramentum.
    • (2) In Roman legal language the word sacramentum means a pledge deposited in the Temple by disputing parties.
    • (3) In the Vulgate, sacramentum is the rendering of the Greek musth/rion (mysterion). The word means something hidden, secret; in the sphere of religion it signifies the Secrets of God and in particular the mystery of the Redemption by Jesus Christ.
the concept of sacrament1
The Concept of Sacrament
  • 1. Explanation of the word ‘Sacrament’, cont’d
    • (4) The Church Fathers apply the word both to the Christian religion viewed as a whole, that is, as congeries of doctrines and institutions, and to individual doctrines or liturgical institutions for ceremonies of Christianity.
      • Tertullian (c. 160-235 CE) used the ‘sacramentum’ to describe Christian baptism, evoking the sense used in Roman military terminology to signify an oath of loyalty
      • Augustine (354-430 CE), proceeding from the specific concept “token” gives the following definition: Saramentum, id est sacram signum (City of God); “Sacrament, it is a sacred sign.”
the concept of sacrament2
The Concept of Sacrament
  • 1. Explanation of the word ‘Sacrament’, cont’d
      • The theologians of Early Scholasticism, particularly Hugo of St. Victor and Peter of Lombard, perfected the Augustinian definition of the concept of defining a Sacrament not merely as a sign but also as a cause of Grace.
  • 2. Explanation of the Doctrine
      • The Sacrament of the New Covenant is an effective sign of grace instituted by Christ.
      • The Roman Catechism defines a Sacrament as “a thing perceptible to the senses, which on the ground of Divine institution possesses the power both of effecting and signifying sanctity and righteousness.”
the concept of sacrament3
The Concept of Sacrament
  • 2. Explanation of the Doctrine, cont’d
    • Thus there are three elements in the concept of Sacrament:
    • A. the external, that is a sensibly perceptible sign of Sanctifying Grace,
    • B. the conferring of Sanctifying Grace, and
    • C. the institution by God or, more accurately, by Jesus Christ.
the constituent parts of the sacramental sign
The Constituent Parts of the Sacramental Sign
  • 1. Matter and Form
    • The outward sign of the Sacraments is composed of two essential parts, namely, thing and word.
    • The thing is either a physical substance (water, oil) or an action perceptible to the senses (penance, marriage). The word is, as a rule, the spoken word.
the constituent parts of the sacramental sign1
The Constituent Parts of the Sacramental Sign
  • 2. Moral Unity of Both
    • The expressions matter and form in the Aristotelian sense are only analogously applied to the parts of the sacramental sign insofar as “the thing” by itself is something undefined, and “the words” define it. The parts do not conjointly make up a physical unit like the parts of a corporeal being, but are joined by a moral unity only. Thus it is not necessary they coincide absolutely in point of time; a moral coincidence suffices, that is, they must be connected with each other in such a fashion, that according to general estimation, they compose a unitary sign.
the constituent parts of the sacramental sign2
The Constituent Parts of the Sacramental Sign
  • 3. Sacramentum - res sacramenti
    • Scholastic theology calls the outward sign sacramentum and the inner operation of grace res sacramenti.
  • 4. It is appropriate that there be signs of grace perceptible to the senses.
    • This appropriateness of the institution of signs of grace perceptible to the senses may be shown by considering that man is composed both of body and soul - that is, the visible and the invisible.
the efficacy effects of the sacraments
The Efficacy & Effects of the Sacraments
  • 1. Sacraments and Grace
  • The Sacraments of the New Covenant contain the grace which they signify and bestow it on those who do not hinder it. (De fide.)
    • While the Reformers recognized a subjective psychological efficacy in the Sacraments, the Catholic Church teaches that the Sacraments have an objective efficacy, that is, an efficacy independent of the subjective disposition of the recipient or the minister.
the efficacy effects of the sacraments1
The Efficacy & Effects of the Sacraments
  • 2. Efficacy ex opere operato
  • The Sacraments work ex opere operato. (De fide.)
    • In order to designate the objective efficacy Scholastic Theology coined the formula: Sacramenta operantur ex opere operato, that is, the Sacraments operate by the power of the completed sacramental rite.
    • The formula “ex opere operato” asserts, negatively, that the sacramental grace is not conferred on the ground of the subjective activity of the recipient, and positively, that the sacramental grace is caused by the validly operated sacramental sign.
    • It is not the case, however, that the disposition of the recipient does not affect the communication of grace; it is just that disposition is not its cause.
the effects of the sacraments
The Effects of the Sacraments
  • 1. Sacramental Grace
    • A. Sanctifying Grace
    • All the Sacraments of the New Covenant confer the Sanctifying Grace on the receivers (De fide.)
    • Those Sacraments, which, per se, that is, corresponding to the determination of their purpose, confer Sanctifying Grace for the first time, or restore lost Sanctifying Grace, are called Sacraments of the Dead (Baptism, Penance). Those Sacraments which, per se, increase Sanctifying Grace, already present, are called Sacraments of the Living.
the effects of the sacraments1
The Effects of the Sacraments
  • 1. Sacramental Grace, cont’d
    • B. Specific sacramental grace
    • Each individual Sacrament confers a specific Sacramental Grace.
    • As there are various Sacraments having various aims, and as the differences in the sacramental signs also point to a difference in the effecting of Grace, it must be assumed that each individual Sacrament, corresponding to its special purpose, confers a special or specific sacramental grace.
    • C. Measure of the sacramental grace
    • Each individual Sacrament has the power of itself to bestow the same measure of grace on all recipients, though the subjective dispositions of the recipient in the case of adults means that a varying measure of grace ex opere operato is received.
the effects of the sacraments2
The Effects of the Sacraments
  • 2. The Sacramental Character
  • A. Reality of the Sacramental Character
  • Three Sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, imprint a character, that is, an indelible spiritual mark, and for this reason cannot be repeated. (De fide.)
  • B. The nature of the Sacramental Character
  • The Sacramental Character is a spiritual mark imprinted on the soul. (De fide.)
  • According to the Council of Trent, the character is to be defined as a real accidental being attaching to the soul, more exactly, as a supernatural quality entatively inhering in the soul.
the effects of the sacraments3
The Effects of the Sacraments
  • 2. The Sacramental Character, cont’d
  • C. Determination of the purpose of the Sacramental Character
  • The Sacramental Character confers the full power for the performance of acts of Christian worship.
  • D. Duration of the Sacramental Character
  • The Sacramental Character continues at least until the death of its bearer. (De fide.)
  • The witness of the Church Fathers attests to the eternal duration of the Sacramental Character.
the institution of the sacraments by christ
The Institution of the Sacraments by Christ
  • 1. Institution by Christ
  • All Sacraments of the New Covenant were instituted by Christ. (De fide.)
  • 2. Immediate Institution
  • Christ instituted all the Sacraments immediately and personally.
  • Immediate institution by Christ signifies that He determined the specific sacramental operation of grace and ordained a corresponding outward sign for the distinguishing and production of this operation of grace.
the institution of the sacraments by christ1
The Institution of the Sacraments by Christ
  • 3. Substance of the Sacraments
  • Christ fixed the substance of the Sacraments. The Church has no power to alter them. (De fide.)
  • The matter and form of the Sacraments are beyond revision insofar as the Sacraments themselves are essentially tied to the moment and determination of institution by Jesus Christ and only He has the power to alter what He has instituted.
the necessity of the sacraments
The Necessity of the Sacraments
  • 1. On the part of God
  • God can communicate grace even without the Sacraments.
  • 2. On the part of humanity
  • The Sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for the salvation of mankind. (De fide.)
  • The efficacious reception of a Sacrament can, however, in case of necessity, be replaced by the desire for the Sacrament (votum sacramenti), which is termed hypothetical necessity.
the minister of the sacraments
The Minister of the Sacraments
  • 1. The Person of the minister
  • A. Primary and secondary minister
  • The primary minister of the Sacraments is the God-Man Jesus Christ.
  • St. Paul says of Christ Himself that He purifies the persons being baptized by the laver of water (Eph. 5:26). The human minister is only the servant and representative of Christ: I Cor. 4:1; II Cor. 5:20
  • The secondary minister of the Sacraments is man in the wayfaring state.
the minister of the sacraments1
The Minister of the Sacraments
  • 1. The Person of the minister, cont’d
  • B. The minister’s orthodoxy and state of grace
  • The validity and efficacy of the Sacrament is independent of the minister’s orthodoxy and state of grace.
  • C. Worthiness of the minister
  • The minister is morally obligated to administer the Sacraments in a worthy manner, that is, in a state of grace. This, however, does not directly affect the validity of the Sacrament.
the minister of the sacraments2
The Minister of the Sacraments
  • 2. Activity of the Minister
  • For the valid dispensing of the Sacraments it is necessary that the minister accomplish the Sacramental Sign in the proper manner. (De fide.)
  • The minister must further have the intention at least of doing what the Church does. (De fide.)
the recipient of the sacraments
The Recipient of the Sacraments
  • 1. The Person of the Recipient
  • Only a person in the wayfaring state can validly receive a Sacrament.
  • 2. Conditions of the Valid Reception
  • Excepting the Sacrament of Penance, neither orthodox belief nor moral worthiness is necessary for the validity of the Sacrament, on the part of the recipient.
  • For the validity of the Sacraments in the case of adult recipients the intention of receiving the Sacrament is necessary.
the recipient of the sacraments1
The Recipient of the Sacraments
  • 3. Conditions for the Worthy Reception of the Sacraments
  • In the case of adult recipients moral worthiness is necessary for the worthy or fruitful reception of the Sacraments. (De fide.)
  • 4. Revival of the Sacraments
  • The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Consecration, when they are received validly but unworthily, revive after the removal of the moral indisposition, that is, the sacramental grace is conferred subsequently.
the pre christian sacraments
The Pre-Christian Sacraments
  • 1. Existence of Pre-Christian Sacraments
  • A. Primitive Era - Before the Fall, humanity existed in perfect union with God; thus, the institution of visible means of grace were not necessary.
  • B. Era of the Natural Law - In human history before the revelation of the Law, children were liberated from original sin by a “nature-Sacrament” that consisted in an act of faith in God and (at least implicitly) a future redeemer. This was later extended to include circumcision in the period of Abraham to Moses.
the pre christian sacraments1
The Pre-Christian Sacraments
  • 1. Existence of Pre-Christian Sacraments, cont’d
  • C. Era of the Mosaic Law - Circumcision and other types for the Sacraments of the New Covenant were celebrated not for the communication of grace but for the purpose of ritual purity according to the Law.
  • 2. Efficacy of the Pre-Christian Sacraments
  • The Old Testament Sacraments, wrought, ex opere operato, not grace, but merely an external lawful purity.
  • Thus, the Sacraments of the Old Testament point to the riches of the coming Messianic era.
the sacramentals
The Sacramentals
  • 1. Concept of Sacramentals
  • Sacramentals are things or actions which the Church uses in a certain imitation of the Sacraments, in order, on the grounds of her prayers, to achieve effects above all of a spiritual nature.
  • To the Sacramentals belong:
    • The ceremonies customarily associated with the Sacraments.
    • Independent religious actions: exorcisms, blessings, and consecrations.
    • The religious use of blessed/consecrated objects.
    • The blessed/consecrated objects themselves.
the sacramentals1
The Sacramentals
  • 2. Differences from Sacraments
  • A. Institution: generally instituted by the Church not Christ
  • B. Efficacy: do not work ex opere operato but rests upon the subjective disposition of the recipient
  • C. Effects: do not confer Sanctifying grace but disposes to its receptions