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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Davyboy, Nov 6, 2006.
I would just like to have some opinions about why the sacraments are so important to Catholics.
The sacraments are important to all Chrstians because they are God's procedure to give us extra measures of grace - unmerited favor.
Here is a definition of "sacrament" from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Why do we need "extra measures of grace"? Isn't God's grace sufficient?
I thought it was.:love2:
Former catholic here...and here is what i undestand from my up bringing.
The sacraments are so important for catholics because that is where their hopes of salvation come from.
Here is the kicker though, there are 7 sacraments and the vast majority, if not all, will only meet 6 of them since 2 of the 7 are marriage and priesthood (not compatible in catholic life).
That is also why there is so much emphasis on baptism and the communion...this is the 2 times they "experience" Christ's through his death and resurrection.
There is my thoughts, any other questions, just drop me a line.
.......and therein is the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth!
The sacrament of Marriage, Baptism and the Lord's Supper are observed as God gave them and almost all Christian groups have a practice or tradition surrounding the way they observe, practice, keep those sacraments.
However the RCC has an additional idea added - which is that you need to have 'certain powers" to officiate/conduct/bless/perform a sacrament "for it to work".
In Their view - the priest has magic powers to forgive sins and to convert bread into God. He "retains those powers" EVEN if he is excommunicated for heresy. He retains the power to "mark the soul" (in infant baptism for example?).
By creating this division between the sacred clergy and the profane laity the RCC creates a "monopoly" on grace and access to God since you can not get "forgiveness" through any other priests of any other churches and you can not get "your soul marked" by them and you can not have bread turned into God "by them".
A pretty neat trick if you can pull it off.
I always like getting it straight from the horse's mouth. Fortunately, this horse has a lot to say and its available online.
If grace is unmerited, then you can't earn it by doing rituals.
you bet. God gives us al we need, He withholds nothing we need, according to this verse.
If you believed preforming rituals were important for earning salvation they'd be important to you too.
The actual RCC "in practice" as it interprets "the meaning" in real life - of its man-made teachings --
]Magic “powers” of the RC Priest retained after excommunication[/b]
Catholic Digest – Jan 1995, pg 126
Q: Our former priest has been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church and h as opened his own Church, which he calls “Christ Catholic Mission”. He now has some kind of connection with what he calls the “Catholic Church of God and Christ” with headquarters in Missouri. More and more people are attending his church. Some are former Catholics, but those I asked did not know whether this priest still had the power[/b] of consecrating the bread and wine for Communion. Does he? M.M
A.Yes. But he commits a grave sin of disobedience if he is excommunicated… The priest’s Consecration can be valid, that is, there can be the [i]real change of bread and wine INTO the body and blood of Christ,[/b][/i] but it is illicit because of his excommunication and brings him no actual graces.
You sometimes hear that the reason the Church recognizes the validity of an excommunicated priest’s Mass, and his continuing power to forgive sin, is the salvation of the dying in cases of necessity. But the deeper reason is the mark of the Holy Orders, along with Baptism and Confirmation, puts on the soul.[/b]
Of course “Mark on the soul” is just a figure of speech to indicate the difference between the baptized and the nonbaptized , the confirmed and the nonconfirmed, the ordained and the nonordained. Once the status of a soul is established by any of the three sacraments, it cannot be changed by any human power so as to be like it was before the reception of these sacraments.
The apostate priest does not lose the power to confect the Eucharist or forgive sins through the sacrament of Penance. He does, by his apostasy, lose the power to do these things licitly, without sin.
The legal mechanics of all this is that only the bishop has the fullness of the priesthood, the power to govern. Consequently, the ordained priest must have the permission of a bishop to exercise the powers of Consecration and absolving. The bread and wine consecrated by an excommunicated priest truly becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, [/i but the priest and anyone who knowingly receives Communion from him is guilty of extremely serious sin.
As for how this "evolved" over time -- the RC Historians themselves are quite clear --
The Catholic historian Thomas Bokenkotter's best selling pro-Catholic book "a concise history of the Catholic church" makes it abundantly clear..
Ibid -Pg 49 speaks of the change that occurred in the 4th century
"the clergy at first were not sharply differentiated from the laity..the clergy married, raised families, and earned their livelihood at some trade or profession. But as the practice grewof paying them..they withdrew more and more from secular pursuits, until by the fourth century such withdrawal was deemed obligatory"
"at first the Christian presbyter or elder (as they were really known) avoided any resemblance to the pagan or Jewish priests and, in fact even deliberately refused to be called a priest[/b]. He (the real Christian leader) saw his primary function as the ministry of the word. ..but the image of the Christian presbyter gradually took on a sacral character."
"[b]the more elaborate liturgy of the post-Constantinian era, with its features borrowed from paganism, enhanced the image of the minister[/b] as a sacred personage. The ministry of the word diminished in importance when infant baptism became the rule rather than the exception, for infants could not be preached to. "
"before Constantine the whole church was considered the realm of the sacred (priesthood of all) as opposed to the profane world. After Constantine and the breakdown of the separation between the church and the world, the polarity between the sacred and profane was transformed into one between the sacred clergy and the profane laity"
"legislation to this effect was first passed at the local synod of Elvira, Spain and taken up by the popes beginning with Siricius (d. 399), who enforced clerical celebacy (which was adopted mainly on the grounds that sex was incompatible with the sacred character of the clergy)"
So there we have it on two short pages (49-50) of that telling work done by a Catholic historian - revealing the ongoing evolutionary process in the church that brings us to where we are today.
I think this question would have been better asked of Catholics.
As somebody else mentioned they value them because it is by the sacraments God conveys a measure of Grace.
I do have a correction to make concerning one of the other posts.
Luther did not regard Christ's presence as purely spiritual. He rejected transubstantiation because it went to far and tried to explain something that could not be explained. Luther maintained that Christ is physically present, but in a unexplainable manner.
I really wish people would use accurate materials when discussing the beliefs of others.
None are so blind as those who will not see. When we quote the best-selling Historians OF those "other groups" -- people who are THEMSELVES faithful followers OF those "other groups" we are going to far more objective, well read and well known sources than the occassional incidental-post-here where someone says "yes but I don't think the Catechism MEANS that".
We are asking those who are PUBLISHED and ACCEPTED as experts in WHAT the Catholic church is DOING -- AS WELL as taking the word of the Catechism showing the BASIS for the church DOING what it is DOING.
Instead of shooting the reporters - those Catholic sources that DO report the news - that DO state what THAT church is DOING - why not accept the facts and move on?
One may certainly choose to objectively question WHY the RCC is DOING what it is DOING (or why it DID what it DID) given the doctrines as stated in IT'S own catechism. One may choose to say "they have no basis for that practice IF ALL WE read is the Catechism" - and that is certainly a wonderful discussion to have.
But to blindly insist that they are not DOING what they are DOING -- is quite another thing altogether.
I think it's clear when someone understands Catholicism — that the sacraments are the most important idea, the most important reality in the Catholic faith. They constitute the very heart of Catholicism. They are what make Catholicism so unique and distinct.
The sacraments are built upon this idea, this theological principle of the good creation: that God created the world and he saw that what he made was "very good," as it says in Genesis. In other words, it isn't just the spiritual side of human life that is good whereas the material, physical life is evil. That view was rejected by the early Church. No, the Christian vision is that all of creation is a good creation, as God made it.
...so what do you understand by the word sacrament?
I understand a sacrament to be an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.
Or to put it another way: a means of "receiving grace." One doesn't and cannot receive "grace" through a sacrament--an absolute impossibility, and a teaching that is directly contrary to the Word of God.
The doctrinal issues concerning sacraments are all man-made, anti-Biblical, and superstitious.
For example, what is baptism? Baptism is simply symbolic. It is an outward sign. That much is correct. But an outward sign of what? It is a sign of a believer's death to his old life of sin, and his rising to a new life in Jesus Christ. It is a picture, a symbol, an outward sign of that which has already been performed within. It is not a means of grace. The only thing that the "ordinance" of baptism does for you is--it gets you wet, and nothing more.
Really DHK at glance the Apostles would disagree with you, it is kind of hard to call it symbolic when Paul talks of us being baptized into Christ's death and resurrection or when Peter calls it a washing of the conscience.
With God I would hesitate at being so cavalier to say anything is impossible. Remember with God anything is possible.