The sacrament is a pertaining to worship Rite covering a dimension Sacré E and producing an effect whose source is God, which gives its grace. It is the symbol and the means of an alliance between God and the men.
The word comes from the Latin sacramentum , term formed starting from the root sacr- , “crowned, taboo”. It acted in the beginning of a deposit made to the priest of a god, like guarantee in good faith, accompanied by a solemn oath. Thereafter, the term meant personal and voluntary oath, in opposition to the jusjurandum , collective and obligatory oath.
The Greek equivalent of “sacrament” is “mystery”.
In the Christian religion
Until the 12th century, many rites or traditions had with the eyes of faithful values of crowned and effective sign. One could count, before a clear definition of the notion of “sacrament” and his distinction of “sacramental”, up to 12 of these rites.
What distinguishes the sacraments of sacramental is that only the sacraments were instituted by Christ (and " promulgués" by the Apostles) and that they get infallibly the grace that they mean.
The sacrament of the baptism “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” is mutually recognized like valid by all the Churches (catholic, orthodoxe, Protestant), because the comprehension of its significance is the same one and it is not essential that it is an ordered minister who confers it.
In the Churches Catholic and orthodoxe
The seven sacraments of the Churches catholic and orthodoxe are:
- the Eucharistie,
- the Confirmation,
- sacrament of reconciliation (also called sacrament of Penitence), i.e. the Confession,
- the Oiling of the patients (also called sacrament of the patients, in the past extreme unction)
- the Marriage,
- the sacrament of the order,
- the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharistie (two first being received only once and leaving an indelible mark),
- the sacraments of cure : Confession, Oiling of patients (received each time that is necessary),
- the sacraments of the service : Marriage, order.
One also distinguishes:
- the sacraments with characters : Baptism, Confirmation, Order which marks the heart of the faithful one.
The Mariage is insoluble until death; only the remarriage of the widowers/widowed is possible. There does not exist Divorce but a separation of the bodies can be marked by the ecclesiastical courts without allowing a remarriage obviously. In certain cases, a canonical lawsuit in nullity can establish that the preceding union did not exist and is thus not opposed to a new marriage.
The order includes/understands 3 degrees (Diacre, priest, bishop) and, leaving an indelible mark, cannot be repeated for the same degree. The marriage of the priests and the bishops is defended by the Church for reasons for ecclesiastical discipline which are not related to the nature of the sacrament and could be repealed or modified by simple decision of the pontifical authority, as it was the case for ordination diaconale men married in the Catholic church; the ordination of married men as priests (but not bishops) is possible in the Churches of the East (orthodoxe and catholic).
Normally, these sacraments are conferred by the priest, except:
- Baptism, which can be conferred by the deacon and even, in the event of need, by very laic, even not baptized,
- Marriage, that the husbands give each other one to the other, but in front of Church (the priest or the Diacre which blesses the union),
- the order, which can be given only by the bishop.
The Excommunication means the temporary ban, for one baptized, of the access to the sacraments (Eucharistie in particular). It is about a disciplinary measure which is always raised to the article of death, if excommunicated the request to receive the last sacraments (confession, eucharistie and extreme unction).
The orthodoxe Catholic church and Churches recognize mutually that the sacraments that they confer are “valid”, because the apostolic Succession their ministers (bishops in particular) is real and because the comprehension of their significance is the same one. Because of the absence of “communion”, it is not possible with the Fidèle S to reach the sacraments indifferently in one or the other Church, except in the event of need with the article of death.
These Churches also know “sacramental”, i.e. signs aiming at sanctifying the life of the believers. In part the blessings, the dedications (people or places) form, the funeral, the Sacre of certain sovereigns, exorcisms.
In the Protestant Churches
The Protestant Églises define the sacrament as the sign, associated with the Word of God, who represents (= makes present) the Christ, gift of God to human, such as itself instituted it in the New Testament.
In general, they recognize only the Baptême and the Cène (or Eucharistie) as sacraments, basically because the definition of the sacrament is different. However, some Églises Lutherans also recognize like sacrament the Pénitence. The sacraments are effective by and for the faith, by the action of the Holy Spirit.
The Quaker S do not recognize any sacrament.
The protesting baptism is recognized by the Catholique S and the orthodoxe S, and reciprocally, except for certain currents which rename their members. For example, the Protestants evangelic baptize professing them. Certain orthodoxe currents do not recognize all the baptisms.
Protestantism practices (with nuances according to the Churches) the Confirmation, and the Bénédiction of the marriage, as well as the pastoral Consécration (or Ordination), without regarding them as sacraments. The confession arises more of the pastoral dialog , and there is naturally a spiritual accompaniment of dying, but no particular ceremony, a fortiori sacramental, is associated with these two fields (except in certain Churches which practice the oil oiling for the patients).
In the Church Anglican
The Église Anglican recognizes a certain value with the sacrament of confirmation and a less value with the four other sacraments.
In the apostolic Catholic church irvingienne
In the Church of Jesus-Christ of the Saints of the Last DaysIn the Church of Jesus-Christ of the Saints of the Last Days, the sacraments are called “ordinances of the priesthood”, or “ordinances”. One distinguishes the ordinances necessary for safety in the eternal Vie (baptism, gift of the Holy Spirit, ordination to the priesthood of Melchisédek, equipment and celestial Mariage) from those which are not it (blessing of child, patriarchal Bénédiction, blessing of health, blessing for advising and comforting, paternal blessing, put aside, blessing of the tomb, dedication of a temple, a church or another building, dedication of one country to the preaching of the Gospel, etc)
In the religion cathare
The cathares did not recognize any value with the above mentioned sacraments. They had one sacrament: the Consolamentum , at the same time baptism and sacrament of the order. It was received by double taxation of the hands and the Word.
Alternative use of the word sacrament
The religious positivism developed by Auguste Count defined seven sacraments.
In France, one knows also the republican Baptême .
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