Monday, 25 April 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 47.

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. Why do the Scriptures and ancient fathers never mention the number of the sacraments to be seven ?

A. They never mention the number to be two; it is sufficient to mention the things. So the Scriptures never mention, that there are twelve principal articles of our belief, to which all the rest are reduced; neither do they ever mention the word trinity or consubstantiality. There was no occasion to mention the number, until the dispute arose, and this it was, which made the church mention the number, which she defined in the general councils of Florence and Trent.

Q. Do not the number of orders, viz.: Episcopacy, priesthood, deaconship, etc., increase the number of sacraments?

A. No, they are all resolved into priesthood which is the plenitude of orders; all the others are as it were, species or branches of priesthood.

Q. What do you say as to the dignity, and necessity of the sacraments respectively?

A. It is defined by the council of Trent, that they are not all equal in dignity, and that the eucharist is the most excellent, as being the fountain of all grace. As to the necessity, it is defined by the council of Trent, that they are necessary to salvation; but some in one manner, and some in another. For instance, baptism is absolutely necessary for infants. Baptism and penance are necessary for the adult, either actually or in desire. Matrimony is necessary for the whole, but not for every particular. Order is necessary for those, who perform the sacerdotal functions. The eucharist, confirmation, and extreme-unction, are necessary, according to the precepts of God and his church, at certain times, but not absolutely, when not obtainable.

Q. As there are a great number of ceremonies made use of in administering the sacraments, let me have your opinion of them ?

A. Ceremonies are external performances, made use of either by Christ, the apostles, or the church afterwards; not essential to the sacraments, but instituted for decency, and to promote devotion.

Q. Is it lawful for any particular person, or r even national church, to alter the ceremonies?

A. No, if they are approved of, and practiced by the whole church, and handed down by tradition, from the earliest times of Christianity; because these are supposed to have been in use, from Christ and his apostles. Such as those are exorcisms, sufflation, the sign of the cross in baptism, anointing, imposing of hands, etc.

Q. Is it not superstition, to make use of ceremonies ?

A. By no means, superstition is to make use of outward performances, expecting blessings from them, which neither nature, nor appointment, can promise or produce. The ceremonies the church makes use of, are in the nature of prayer, of which they are a part. Now God has annexed certain blessings to prayer.

Q. But are not many of the ceremonies ridiculous, and a hindrance to true devotion, by their number?

A. Not at all; they are significative, and represent all the pious duties of the Christian religion; and if any appear ridiculous, the church takes care to retrench them, and reform herself in all matters of discipline.
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.