XI THE SACRAMENTS
- What is a sacrament?
It is a sacred rite, the visible sign of the invisible action of the Holy Spirit, intended to purify our soul and our spirit.
- Is the sacrament always effective?
Yes, the sacrament is always effective and produces the action of the Holy Spirit which it represents, provided that the receiver does not put up any obstacles which could stop its effects.
- Is it a sin to receive the sacraments without the required preparations?
Yes, it is a great sin, which is called sacrilege, that is the profanation of a holy thing.
- Does the effectiveness of the sacraments depend on the merit of the minister who administers them?
No, for the minister is only an instrument, an agent. It is not his piety which makes the effectiveness of the sacraments; for a sacrament given by a sinner is valid of it is administered according to the given rite and with the intention of doing what the Church does.
- How many sacraments are there?
There are five sacraments.
- What are they?
They are in order of their dignity: the baptism of water; the baptism of fire and of wind (consolamentum); the mystery of the great name also called the mystery of the seven voices and of the forty-nine powers (the order); the ineffable mystery (the eucharist), and the mystery of pneumatic unctions (extreme unction).
- Does not the Greco-Roman Church also accept other sacraments?
Yes, it accepts two more: marriage and penitence.
- Is marriage a sacrament?
No, but there has always existed in the Church a nuptial benediction which is a simple religious ceremony.
- Is penitence a sacrament?
No, but it is one of the subjective conditions required by all sacraments; sins being remitted by all sacraments, it is not necessary nor even useful that there be a particular sacrament for the remission of sins.
- How are the sacraments classified?
They are divided into two groups: those which remit sins in their time and those which remit them in all times.
- Which are the ones which remit sins in their time?
They are the baptism of water, the baptism of fire and wind and the mystery of the seven voices and the forty-nine powers which can only be received once.
- Which are the ones which remit sins in all times?
They are the ineffable mystery of pneumatic unctions which can be given as many times as you wish.
- Are the sacraments necessary for the deliverance of man?
Not all the sacraments are necessary for each one of us, but some are absolutely necessary, such as the first two, the baptism of water and the baptism of fire and wind.