Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 46.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. What is Calvin's opinion concerning the form of sacraments?

A. He pretends the words are not consecratory, but only concionatory or instructive, and serve only to nourish the faith of the receiver. An opinion condemned by the council of Trent, and manifestly false, as appears in the sacrament of baptism, where the infant has no faith, and is incapable of instruction.

Q. Were the matter and form of the sacraments determined and specified by Christ?

A. Most of them were specified. Yet several divines are of opinion, that the matter and form of ordination was only determined in general, it being left to the church, to specify the particular matter and form; which always were to be such, as expressed the power that was given. Whereby these divines easily reconcile the rituals of ancient times, among the Latins; and the difference between the Grecian and Latin rituals, where there is some variety in the matter and form. According to these divines, though Christ appointed the contract to be the matter of the sacrament of matrimony; yet the church has a power to specify the nature of the contract: as the council of Trent did, by declaring clandestine contracts, which before were only unlawful, to be afterwards void or null, and not a sufficient matter.

Q. Is it lawful to change the matter and form of the sacraments? And in what cases is it forbidden or allowed ?

A. An essential variation, makes the sacrament invalid. Now a variation is essential, if a different matter is made use of, or the sense of the form altered: but if the alteration happen only in the ceremonies, it is only accidental, and destroys not the sacrament; for instance, the form of baptism is valid in any language: as also, if through ignorance of the Latin tongue, one should say, ego te baptizo in nomine patris, et filio, et spiritus sanctus. If there be a doubt of the form, it is to be repeated conditionally. The form of baptism is invalid, if a person should say, I baptize thee in the name of God, or in the name of the Trinity, because they are not equivalent to the true form.

Q. Who are the ministers of the sacraments ?

A. Only bishops and priests, by their office; though the laity in some cases are the ministers; as for instance, a layman, in case of necessity, where a priest is not to be had ; as also heretics, schismatics, etc., may validly baptize, if they make use of the true matter and form, and intend to do what the church does; as it is defined in several councils against the Donatists. Neither is the state of grace requisite to the validity of the sacrament, in the minister; as it is defined against Wickliffe. Women may also baptize validly, and lawfully in case of necessity.

Q. Are ministers the causes of grace in the sacraments ?

A. They are only the instruments; God is the only principal cause, as he is in working miracles.

Q. Does the minister sin mortally, if he -administers a sacrament in the state of mortal sin?

A. Yes, but the ritual says, that if he has not an opportunity of confessing, he is to make an act of contrition.

Q. What if the minister is in the state of mortal sin, can a person receive a sacrament from him?

A. In extreme necessity he may: he may also without extreme necessity, if the minister is not denounced by the church; and even otherwise, if there is any urgent occasion; but if there is no urgent occasion, he co-operates with the sin; yet- care must be taken, not to judge rashly of the minster's state.

Q. What intention is required in the minister ? What effects do the sacraments produce ? In what manner do they produce grace ? What is the proper grace of every sacrament ? What number of sacraments are there in the new law ?

A. In the first place, intention, in general, is a violation, or act of determining of a thing by the means; it is requisite to every rational action, and much more to every religious action.

Q. How many kinds of intention are men capable of?

A. Chiefly three, viz.: Actual, which is accompanied with an actual attention of the mind, to the thing we are about. A virtual intention, is when the actual intention is judged to remain in its force, by not being expressly retracted, or interrupted by too long a time. An habitual intention is the facility of performing a thing, obtained by habit or custom, without any actual reflection, or virtual influence, upon the work.

Q. Apply these matters to the ministers of the sacraments ?

A. An actual intention is most desirable, a virtual intention is sufficient, an habitual intention is not sufficient.

Q. In what cases is there a defect of a sufficient intention?

A. If a minister performs the work in a ludicrous manner. If he retracts his intention. If he is asleep, drunk, or mad; he has either no intention, or only an habitual one.

Q. Is it necessary to intend the effect of the sacrament ?

A. No, otherwise heretics and Pagans could not baptize validly. It is sufficient to have an intention of doing what the church of Christ does, without considering which is the true church.