Monday, 18 April 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 45.

SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.

Q. What is the signification of the word sacrament ?

A. Among profane writers, it has several significations ; but, as it is used in the Scriptures and ecclesiastical authors, it is taken for a hidden or mysterious work; and in general is a visible sign of some holy thing.

Q. In what other sense are the sacraments of the new law a sign ?

A. St. Thomas says, they are a commemorative of Christ's passion and merit; a demonstrative of grace present, and a prognostic of future glory.

Q. What is a sign, and how many sorts of signs are there ?

A. A sign, in general, is what puts us in mind of something else ; of which there are two kinds, one natural, the other arbitrary. For instance, smoke is a natural sign of fire: the rainbow is a sign of God's promise, that there should not be another deluge. Gen. ix. Some signs are practical, others speculative. Of the first kind are the sacraments, which produce grace; of the second kind, was the brazen serpent, representing Christ's crucifixion.

Q. What is properly a sacrament of the new law?

A. It is a visible sign of inward invisible grace, instituted or appointed by Christ for man's sanctification.

Q. Can only God institute sacraments ?

A. As God is the only author of grace, so he only can ordain signs that are capable of producing grace.

Q. What has the council of Trent defined concerning Christ being the author of the sacraments ?

A. So as to be understood that Jesus Christ immediately instituted them: though such a power might have been given to his church instrumentally.

Q. What sort of sacrament was St. John Baptist's baptism?

A. The council of Trent defines, it had not the same effect with the baptism of Christ.f

Q. Are not holy water, blessed bread, and other consecrated things, sacraments ?

A. No, we call them sacramentals or signs only of holiness. They give not sanctifying grace, but only actual grace, as being outward parts of prayer; they cause not actual grace by their own force, nor has man power to assign actual grace to such things.

Q. Were there no sacraments before the law of grace? Which were they, and what effect had they?

A. The divine worship always required the rise of visible signs suitable to the state man lived in.

Q. What sacraments belonged to the law of nature ?

A. The sacrifices, and other outward tokens signifying a belief in the Messiah.

Q. What sacraments belonged to the law of Moses ?

A. They were very numerous, viz.: Circumcision, the paschal lamb, ordination of priests; and in general all their sacrifices were signs of what would happen under the law of grace.

Q. What effect had those sacraments ?

A. They were only speculative signs of sanctifying grace: Yet they conferred a legal sanctity, which consecrated the performers so far as to make them obedient to the law of Moses.

Q. What are we to believe as to the matter and form of the sacraments, and how are they to be conceived?

A. Eugenius the IVth, in his decree, in the council of Florence, which was held in the year 1439, declares, that every sacrament requires matter, form, and intention of doing what the church does. Now the matter and form, are not to be taken strictly and properly; but only metaphorically, that is, for some sensible thing, action, words or signs, to determine the meaning.