Baptism is the sacrament in which someone who believes
in Jesus receives the Holy Spirit, who removes all sins
(both original and personal), and makes the believer a
child of God and heir to Jesus’ kingdom.
Besides the sacrament of water Baptism, the Church
teaches two other forms:
a) Baptism of Desire, which is received by someone who
believes in Jesus but has not been able to receive water
Baptism (such as a catechumen).
b) Baptism of Blood, which is received by someone who
sacrifices their life for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom.
1. The words "Baptism" and "to baptize" do not appear in
the Old Testament.
2. Although the Old Testament does not use the word
Baptism, Judaism did have a purification rite, which was
used to admit Gentiles into the Jewish religion.
3. The Catholic Baptismal ceremony, mentions many Old
Testament events which speak prophetically of Jesus’
gift of sacramental Baptism.
a) the Spirit breathing on the waters (Gen. C1:2)
b) God saving Noah in the ark (Gen. C7)
c) Moses leading the Israelites through the Red
Sea (Ex. C.15)
d) Joshua's crossing of the Jordan River to claim the
Promised Land (Jos. C3)
John’s Baptism comes to the foreground
4. All four gospels speak of John baptizing in the
5. John’s baptizing is not limited to Gentiles who
wanted to become Jews but everyone, Jews and Gentiles,
were invited to receive his Baptism.
6. Mark writes, "All the Judean countryside and the
people of Jerusalem went out in great numbers. They were
being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they
confessed their sins" (1:5). (This text is obviously the
basis for Mt.3: 5-6 and Lk.3:3.)
7. All four gospels contrast the Baptism of John with
the Baptism of Jesus. John’s Baptism is of water. Jesus’
Baptism is with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Mt.3:11,
Mk1:8, Lk3:16 and Jn1:34) These texts show clearly the
greater divine power of Jesus’ Baptism.
8. John's Baptism prefigured and prepared for the more
powerful Baptism of Jesus. John constantly
proclaimed, "One more powerful than I is to come after
me" (Mk1:7 also Mt3:11 and Lk 3:16).
9. The extensive reporting on John's ministry by all
four gospels witnesses to the great importance John had
in preparing the way for Jesus’.
10. It is certain that John's Baptism was a passing
phenomenon giving way to Jesus' Baptism, which has been
administered for two thousand years. This is shown by an
event at Ephesus. St. Paul discovered some disciples of
John at Ephesus who knew and received only "the Baptism
of John." He instructed them in the Baptism of Jesus and
then baptized them (Acts 19:1-7).
BAPTISM OF JESUS
11. The New Testament provides extensive teaching on the
importance and effects of Jesus' Baptism.
After the Resurrection
12. After Jesus rose from the dead, "he showed them (the
apostles) in many convincing ways that he was alive,
appearing to them over the course of forty days and
speaking about the reign of God" (Acts 1:3).
13. Besides convincing the apostles that He had truly
risen, Jesus gave them the Great Commission, their task
for the rest of their lives. "Go, therefore, and
make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy
14. Jesus promised salvation to those who obey His
command to be baptized. "The man who believes in it and
accepts Baptism will be saved" (Mk.16:16).
15. Jesus also spoke of condemnation to those who
refuse, "The man who refuses to believe in it will be
Acts of the Apostles
16. The Acts of the Apostles describes clearly that the
apostles fulfilled this Great Commission, preaching
everywhere and baptizing all who believed. The following
texts show that Baptism was the central gift for those
who believed the message.
a) Those who heard Peter on Pentecost Day: "Those who
accepted his message were baptized, some three thousand
were added that day". (2:41)
b) Samaritans who believed the preaching of Philip: "men
and women both accepted Baptism." (8:12)
c) The Eunuch to whom Philip explained the Scripture:
"Philip went down into the water with the Eunuch and
baptized him.” (8:38).
d) Cornelius and his Gentile family after hearing Peter
preach: "So he (Peter) gave orders that they be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ" (10:48).
e) Saul after meeting the Risen Jesus on the road to
Damascus was baptized by Ananias "He got up and was
f) Lydia from Thyatira after hearing Paul's preaching
"she and her household had been baptized." (16:15).
g) The jailer and his family when Paul preached to them
after the earthquake shook the jail. "At that late hour
of the night he took them (Paul and Silas) in and bathed
their wounds: then he and his whole household were
h) The Corinthians after hearing Paul: "Many of the
Corinthians, too, who heard Paul believed and were
17. The Acts of the Apostles gives a picture of the
early Church's missionary activity. Baptism is the clear
door into Christ's Kingdom.
St. Paul’s Teaching
18. Paul’s New Testament letters provide extensive
teaching on Baptism.
19. Baptism unites all believers under Jesus in a common
faith. “There is one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one
God and Father of all.” (Eph.4:5)
20. By Baptism, the believer really enters into the
death and rising of Jesus. “Through Baptism into his
death, we were buried with Him.” (Rom.6:4) “If we
have been united with Him through likeness to his death,
so shall we be through a like resurrection.” (Rom.6:5,
21. Baptism bestows the Holy Spirit:
“It was in one Spirit that all of us, whether Jew or
Greek, slave or free, were baptized unto one body.” All
of us have been given to drink of the one Spirit
22. Baptism makes us children of God.
“Each one of you is a son of God because of your faith
in Christ Jesus. All of you who have been baptized into
Christ have clothed yourselves with Him.” (Gal.3:26-27)
NECESSITY OF BAPTISM
23. Those who saw the Easter visions did not need to be
baptized, because Jesus Himself bestowed the Holy Spirit
24. For those who came later, Jesus had another plan to
bestow the Holy Spirit, namely, that those who believed
would tell others. These others, by believing this good
news and by being baptized, would receive the Holy
THE EFFECTS OF BAPTISM
25. Based upon all of these New Testament texts, the
Catholic Church teaches that the believer, by Baptism:
a) receives forgiveness of all sins. This includes
b) both original sin and all sins committed by the
believer before Baptism.
c) receives forgiveness of all punishment due to
1) an adopted child of God
2) a sharer in God’s nature
3) a temple of the Holy Spirit
4) a recipient of infused powers of faith, hope,
charity, and the sanctifying and charismatic gifts of
the Holy Spirit
26. The believer is incorporated into the Body of
Christ, the Church, receiving both a relationship to God
and to all the other baptized.
27. The believer receives an indelible spiritual mark.
This is called the spiritual character of Baptism.
(Confirmation and Holy Orders also bestow a similar
gift.) Because of this gift, Baptism needs to be
received only once. This baptismal seal consecrates the
person to participate in liturgical worship, to receive
the other sacraments, and to witness to all concerning
the riches available in Christ Jesus.
28. The goal of all Christian life is to remain faithful
to this baptismal seal until death.
The Ultimate Goal – Heaven
29. By receiving the Holy Spirit in Baptism, the
believer can directly experience God in heaven. Catholic
theology calls this gift the Beatific Vision.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BAPTIZED
30. An adult who receives Baptism accepts Jesus as
his/her Lord and must have a committal to follow Jesus
and live according to the new way of His kingdom.
31. A complete picture of Christian responsibilities can
only be gained by a constant reading of the Bible,
especially the New Testament, and by following the
teaching of the Catholic Church.
32. The power to live up to the baptismal
responsibilities comes only from the Holy Spirit, who is
already given to the baptized. "All who are led by the
Spirit of God are sons of God”. (Rom.8:14)
33. Accepting Baptism requires a radical and total
commitment to God’s kingdom. Unfortunately, too many of
the baptized have no idea of their responsi-bilities.
34. In the case of infant Baptism, the responsibility
rests primarily upon the adults who present their child
35. Unfortunately, while Baptism can be seen as an
important ceremony that certainly should be done, adults
can overlook the important obligations toward the
36. The primary obligation is that the parents
themselves be faithful members of the Church,
participating fully in Church life and attending mass
37. The parents must also provide the full Catholic
education and formation. Because the infant did not go
through the conversion process and personal choice of an
adult who chooses Baptism, the child must be provided
every opportunity for a Catholic upbringing Therefore,
these must be made up in the years ahead.
38. Parents should think of a full Catholic education,
within a Catholic school. Too often, secular priorities
and concerns lead parents to send their children to
public schools when Catholic education is available.
39. Getting their child baptized is frequently God's
fresh invitation for parents to return to, or to deepen,
their Church practice. They now have extra reasons to be
more faithful to religious duties.
(My thanks to the excellent article in the Catholic
Encyclopedia by P. T. Camelot.)
Confirmation is the sacrament by which a baptized person
receives a greater incorporation into the Holy Spirit
and the Church.
Relationship to Baptism
1. Confirmation is so closely linked to Baptism that
Eastern Churches have this anointing take place
immediately after Baptism is administered.
2. In the West, adult converts to the Catholic Church
also receive Confirmation at the same time as their
Baptism or Profession into the Church.
3. Therefore, only in the West and usually only in cases
of infant Baptism, are the two sacraments of Baptism and
Confirmation separated by a number of years.
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES
4. Isaiah prophesied concerning the Messiah. “The Spirit
of the Lord shall rest upon him.” (11:2)
5. Ezekiel promised God’s Spirit for a new Israel. “I
will give you a new heart and place a new Spirit within
6. Joel prophesied that this Holy Spirit upon the
Messiah would be given to all the people. “Then
afterward I will pour out my Spirit upon all mankind.”
The Gospel Picture
7. It might seem strange, but Jesus’ Baptism is the
gospel model for our Confirmation.
8. When John the Baptist saw the Spirit descend, he was
able to testify clearly that Jesus “is God’s Chosen
9. Jesus often promised an outpouring of the Holy
Spirit. “From within him rivers of living water shall
flow.” (Here He was referring to the Spirit whom those
that came to believe in Him were to receive.)
“If I go, I will send Him (the Paraclete) to you.”
New Testament Picture of
the Early Church
10. The Early Church had two classes of believers, those
who saw the Risen Jesus and those who believed in Jesus
through the preaching of eyewitnesses.
11. For those who saw the Risen Jesus, scripture records
special moments for their unique receiving of the Holy
Spirit, given to them for their worldwide mission.
Disciples Receiving the Spirit
12. The Risen Jesus appeared to the disciples on Easter
Sunday night: "Then he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins,
they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are
held bound’" (Jn.20:22-23). This text is often called
13. Another scriptural picture comes from Luke in his
Acts of the Apostles.
a) Jesus told the apostles not to begin preaching until
they received the special anointing of the Holy Spirit.
"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down
on you; then you are to be my witnesses" (1:8).
b) This promised coming of the Holy Spirit happened on
"the day of Pentecost": "All were filled with the Holy
Spirit. They began to express themselves in foreign
tongues and make bold proclamations as the Spirit
prompted them" (2:4).
14. Comparing John with Luke shows that John associates
the Holy Spirit with the forgiveness of sins, while Luke
(in the Acts) focuses on praying in tongues and bold
15. Obviously, the disciples' initiation into the
Kingdom is unique and not necessarily a model for
NEW TESTAMENT PICTURE
OF OTHER BELIEVERS
16. The New Testament shows the great concern of the
Early Church for a full initiation of all new believers
who had not seen Jesus.
17. Very important, therefore, are two texts in the Acts
of the Apostles in which already baptized believers are
prayed with for a second anointing of the Holy Spirit.
18. After Philip had preached and conferred Baptism upon
new believers in Samaria, Peter and John are sent. These
two "prayed that they (new believers) might receive the
Holy Spirit. It had not as yet come down upon any of
them since they had only been baptized in the name of
the Lord Jesus" (8: 15-16).
19. In Ephesus, Paul finds some disciples who have
received John's Baptism but had never even heard of the
Holy Spirit. After explaining about Jesus who sends the
Holy Spirit, Paul baptizes them in the name of the Lord
Jesus (19:5). Then, "as Paul laid his hands on them, the
Holy Spirit came down on them and they began to speak in
tongues and to utter prophecies" (19:6).
20. These two texts show believers experiencing a second
receiving of the Holy Spirit after their Baptism.
21. A special witness to this unique sending of the Holy
Spirit by the laying on of hands is, strangely enough,
Simon the magician who sees the Holy Spirit's wonders
and wants to buy the powers from Peter, "Give me that
power, too, so that if I place my hands on anyone he
will receive the Holy Spirit" (8:19).
22. These two texts in the Acts of the Apostles also
show the need for the person laying hands to have a
special office (e.g., Peter, John and Paul).
23. This linking of Baptism and the subsequent laying on
of hands is clear in Hebrews 6:1. "Let us, then, go
beyond the initial teaching about Christ and about
baptisms and laying on of hands”.
24. In the thirteenth century, the great St. Thomas
Aquinas taught that the visible manifestation of the
Holy Spirit upon Jesus in the Jordan was the model for
the Christian receiving the plentitude of the Spirit.
25. In the early centuries, Confirmation generally
comprised one single ceremony with Baptism, forming a
“double sacrament” (the words of St. Cyprian, Bishop of
26. With the multiplication of infant Baptisms
throughout the year and the increase of rural parishes,
it became impossible for the bishop to baptize everyone
(as had been done in the beginning).
27. In the Western Church, the strong desire to have the
bishop complete the Baptism, led to the separation of
the two sacraments.
28. At one point, a double anointing took place. As the
newly baptized came out of the baptismal immersion,
first the priest and secondly the bishop anointed the
person. This first anointing by the priest remains
attached to the baptismal sacrament when it is not
followed immediately by Confirmation.
29. From the third century on, a second rite of laying
on of hands that completes the sacrament of Baptism is
clearly attested to by Christian writers.
30. Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, writes about the
baptized being presented to the "leaders of the Church"
so that "by our prayers and by the imposition of hands,
they may receive the Holy Spirit and be perfected by the
seal of the Lord (Epist 73.9-Pl 3:1160).
31. In the third century, because the bishop baptized
most new believers, water Baptism and the laying on of
hands with anointing of oil were usually joined in the
32. In other cases, such as emergency Baptism or Baptism
by priests in rural areas, the bishop would
complete these Baptisms by the second rite of laying on
33. By the fifth century, Pope Innocent I recalled that
this completion of sacramental Baptism was reserved to
bishops and distinguished Confirmation from the regular
anointing given by all priests at Baptism.
34. Since then, the two sacraments have been clearly
distinguished in the Western Church.
ACTUAL BESTOWAL OF THE SACRAMENT
35. The New Testament texts stress the laying on of
hands to impart the Holy Spirit.
36. Very early, perfumed oil (chrism) was added,
highlighting the name Christian, which means “anointed”.
37. Confirmation is not absolutely necessary for
salvation. However, as part of the initiation rites, the
believer must not neglect receiving this sacrament.
38. Because Baptism and Confirmation are so clearly
linked, a true doctrinal dilemma exists. One theology
might limit Baptism too much to make sure that
Confirmation has clear effects. Another theology
might exalt Baptism so much that Confirmation is called
39. The clearest explanation is to see Confirmation as
an increase and a deepening of baptismal grace.
40. There are five clear effects:
a) a power to call God Father “Abba”
b) a power to experience Jesus as Lord and Savior
c) a greater control of the Holy Spirit through His
d) a greater bonding with the Church
e) greater strength to evangelize and to undergo
sufferings while confessing Jesus as Lord
THE CHURCH FULLY ALIVE!
41. By Confirmation, the Church proclaims and acts in
bold faith that the baptismal grace should claim the
believer's entire being (sanctifying gifts).
42. Unfortunately, the Church has not boldly proclaimed
the important role of religious experiences in releasing
fully this Confirmation anointing.
43. Also, the absence of charismatic gifts in the
Eucharistic assembly and the widespread ignorance of
charisms in the Catholic community violate St. Paul's
clear admonitions in 1 Corinthians:
a) “Now, brothers, I do not want to leave you in
ignorance about spiritual gifts.” (12:1)
b) “Set your hearts on spiritual gifts - above all, the
gift of prophecy.” (14:1)
c) "I should like it if all of you spoke in tongues.”
d) “Set your hearts on prophecy.” (14:39)
e) "... do not forbid those who speak in tongues"
44. Confirmation, therefore, is extremely important,
bestowing upon the believer vast powers of the Holy
Spirit which should be released, at various times,
throughout the person’s lifetime.
45. As the Church fully understands and preaches the
actions of the Holy Spirit, then Confirmation's effects
will be evident and the Holy Spirit will no longer be
"the forgotten Person of the Trinity”.
The Eucharist is a sacrament in which a baptized person
receives the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus
Christ under the species of bread and wine.
1. The Eucharist is both sacrifice and sacrament.
1. As a sacrifice, at all times, in every part of the
world, the Eucharist reenacts every day the death of
Jesus, obtaining the heavenly Father’s blessings upon
the whole world.
3. As a sacrament, the Eucharist has two aspects:
a) the Real Presence of Jesus under the appearance of
bread and wine
b) the receiving of Holy Communion by believers
4. This booklet, focusing on the seven sacraments, will
treat of the Eucharist as sacrament and will not explain
the Eucharist as sacrifice.
Preparing For the Eucharist (Old Testament)
5. The Eucharist as a holy meal is foreshadowed by the
Jewish concept of hospitality around the table.
6. The principal feast of the Jewish calendar was the
Passover which commemorated the Israelites' flight from
Egyptian slavery and recalled their final meal in Egypt
7. The most famous of all miraculous feedings in the Old
Testament was the manna provided in the desert (Exodus
8. Other multiplications of food happened:
a) Elijah the prophet multiplied the oil in the widow's
jug (1Kings 17:7-16),
b) Elisha the prophet multiplied the oil for the widow
(2Kings 4:1-7) and the barley loaves for the one hundred
men (2Kings 4:43-44).
9. These Old Testament stories prepared the stage for
New Testament miracles and for the Eucharist.
PREPARING FOR THE GIFT
Multiplication of Food
10. In the gospels, the multiplication of loaves and
fishes is reported six times, in all four gospels and
twice in Matthew and Mark (Mt 14:13-21, Mt 15:32-38, Mk
6:34-44, Mk 8:1-9, Lk 9:12-17, Jn 6:1-15).
11. Obviously, this miracle was extremely important to
the early Church, which saw this miracle as a preview of
Jesus multiplying His own Real Presence in the
12. In John's gospel, this multiplication is immediately
followed by Jesus' clearest and strongest remarks about
the importance of receiving Holy Communion (6:25-59).
13. Jesus' most important teaching on Holy Communion is
contained in John 6:52-58. In these few verses Jesus
a) Whoever does not eat and drink of the Eucharist has
no life (V53)
b) Whoever does receive Holy Communion, Jesus will raise
up on the last day (V54)
c) Whoever receives Holy Communion abides in Jesus
d) The recipient will have the same divine life that
Jesus has from the Father (V57).
The Last Supper
14. All four gospels describe the Last Supper, a clear
sign of its obvious importance.
15. Three gospels provide descriptions of Jesus' words
at the Last Supper: (Mt 26:20-30; Mk 14:17-26; Lk
16. The earliest New Testament teaching on the Last
Supper comes from St. Paul (1Cor, C11) and contains
a) At the Last Supper, Jesus said over the bread, "This
is my body which is for you, do this in remembrance of
b) Jesus said over the wine, "This cup is the new
covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it, in
remembrance of me" (V 24-25).
c) By receiving Holy Communion, the believer proclaims
the death of Jesus until He comes back (V 26).
d) Because of these truths, going to Holy Communion
unworthily is a sin against the Body and Blood of Christ
17. The three gospel accounts and Paul's description are
based upon Christian liturgical practices that existed
in Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome.
18. Therefore, the tradition of Christian Eucharist
obviously arose immediately after the Ascension of
Meals With the Risen Jesus
19. After Jesus rose from the dead, many vision accounts
centered on eating a meal:
a) "Finally, as they were at table, Jesus was revealed
to the eleven" (Mk 16:14).
b) The two disciples going to Emmaus didn't recognize
Jesus until the Eucharist. "When He (Jesus) had seated
himself with them to eat, He took bread, pronounced the
blessing, then broke the bread, and began to distribute
it to them. With that, their eyes were opened and they
c) After Jesus showed the apostles His hands and feet,
He asked, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him
a piece of cooked fish which He took and ate in their
presence (Lk 24:41-43).
d) When Jesus appeared to the apostles while they were
fishing, He had a charcoal fire there with a fish laid
in it and some bread.
"Bring some of the fish you just caught," Jesus told
them (Jn 21:9).
20. Peter speaks clearly of Easter visions taking place
" . . . but only by such witnesses as had been chosen
beforehand by God - by us who ate and drank with him
after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41).
21. This eating with Jesus after He rose from the dead
teaches two things:
a) the reality of Jesus' Resurrection
b) the ever available gift of experiencing the Risen
Jesus in the Eucharist.
Acts of the Apostles
22. After Pentecost, the early Church realized that the
newly baptized believers should come together regularly
for Eucharist. "They devoted themselves to the apostles'
instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of
the bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:43).
23. Paul celebrated Sunday Eucharist at Troas, "On the
first day of the week, when we gathered for the breaking
of the bread" (20:7).
EARLY CHURCH DOCUMENTS
Three church documents give extremely clear teaching on
Christian Eucharistic faith and practice:
1. The Didache
2. The Jerusalem Catechism
3. St. Justin's Defense of the Christians
24. The book called Didache (90 A.D.) records the
actions of the bishop presiding at the Eucharistic
The Jerusalem Catechism
25. The Jerusalem Catechism has many clear statements
about the Eucharist:
a) "Since Christ himself has declared the bread to be
His body, who can have any further doubt?"
b) "Since He himself has said quite categorically, ‘This
is my blood’, who would dare to question it and say that
it is not His blood."
c) "Therefore, it is with complete assurance that we
receive the bread and wine as the body and blood of
d) "Do not then regard the Eucharistic elements as
ordinary bread and wine; they are in fact the body and
blood of the Lord."
St. Justin's Defense of the Christians
26. Justin (Rome 155 A.D.)says the following:
Three conditions for receiving:
1) "No one can share the Eucharist with us unless he
believes what we teach is true."
27. 2) "He must be washed in the regenerating waters of
baptism for the remission of sins."
3) "He must live in accordance with the principles given
us by Christ."
Day of Gathering
a) "On Sunday, we have a common assembly of all our
b) "We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is
the first day of the week, and because on that same day
our savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead."
Explaining Christian Belief
a) "We do not consume the Eucharistic bread as if it
were ordinary food and drink."
b) The Eucharist "becomes the flesh and blood of the
incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained
in the Prayer of Thanksgiving."
a) Bread and wine and water are brought forward. The
president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of
b) The people give their ascent by saying "Amen".
c) "The Eucharist is distributed; everyone present
d) "The deacons take it to those who are absent."
e) "The collection is placed in the custody of the
president who "takes care of all who are in need."
27. Hippolytus in his "The Apostolic Tradition"
describes a full Eucharistic Rite and provides the basic
content for the second Eucharistic prayer. This
preserved document is the fullest and most important
source of the Roman liturgy in the second and third
CATHOLIC BELIEF IN THE REAL PRESENCE
28. Many Christian churches, while celebrating
Eucharist, do not believe in the Catholic doctrine of
the Real Presence and do not see the Eucharist as of
29. This doctrine of the Real Presence was always
believed by Catholics, because of the clear New
Testament quotes, and the many early Christian
COUNCIL OF TRENT
Even though Christianity was split in two (1054), both
Churches, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern
Orthodox maintained the full belief in the Eucharist
which was passed down from the Apostolic Tradition. Only
with the rise of Protestantism did the heresies about
the Eucharist begin to seriously shake the Catholic
Church. The Church gave its official response to these
false Eucharistic teachings at the Council of Trent
30. The Council responded to the false teachings of
Luther, who believed in the Real Presence but only at
the moment of receiving Holy Communion.
31. The Council also reacted against the more serious
errors of the other Protestant leaders who denied any
Real Presence and said that Christ was only dynamically
present (Calvin) or only symbolically present (Zwingli).
32. These two Protestant teachers stressed that
communion with Christ in the Eucharist is achieved only
by the faith of the recipient; a total shift away from
the true multiplication of Christ's Presence in our
33. The Council of Trent (1551) condemned all these
errors as clearly as possible: "If anyone denies that
the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity,
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole
Christ, is truly, really and substantially contained in
the most holy Eucharist, but says that Christ is present
in the Sacrament only as in a sign or a figure, or by
His power, let him be anathema."
34. In a positive teaching the Council of Trent
(1545-63) said: "After the consecration of the bread and
wine, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly,
really and substantially contained under the perceptible
species of bread and wine."
35. For the past 450 years, Trent has set the Catholic
Church on a clear road, totally committed to the
Eucharist as the Real Presence of Jesus and the summit
of worship of God.
Summary of Catholic Doctrine
36. The Real Presence of Christ within both the species,
bread and wine, results from the Eucharistic Prayer said
by the priest. This Presence continues as long as the
bread and wine remain incorrupt.
37. Christ is present, whole and entire, in each species
of bread and wine.
38. Catholics should receive Holy Communion whenever
they attend Mass. Assisting at Mass on Sunday is a basic
Preparation for Receiving
39. Holy Communion can be received only by the baptized.
(The holy water fonts at the Church entrances remind
Catholics of their baptismal gift, allowing them to
share at the Lord's table.)
40. The person must be fasting from food and drink
(except water) for one hour. This rule does not apply to
41. The person must be in the state of grace, that is,
not conscious of any serious sin committed since his or
her last confession.
42. The person should be filled with faith in Jesus,
with a loyalty to Jesus and a desire to spread His
43. Especially important is forgiveness and
reconciliation. "If you bring your gift to the altar and
then recall that your brother has anything against you,
leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled
with your brother and then come and offer your gift" (Mt
44. This reconciliation is symbolized by the Our Father
and the Sign of Peace within the Mass.
The Fruits of Holy Communion
45. Obviously a personal union with the Risen Jesus by
receiving Eucharist has effects beyond anyone's
understanding. However, the following certainly should
result from this gift
a) increases our union with Jesus. "He who eats my flesh
abides in me and I in him." (Jn.6:56)
b) as material food has many effects upon human life, so
this spiritual food affects our spiritual life of grace
c) Christ’s presence separates us from sin, cleanses of
past sins and preserves us from future sins. (The
Eucharist is not primarily ordered to forgiving serious
sin, which is the role of the Sacrament of
Reconciliation, but it certainly forgives any mortal
sins of which the person is not aware. The Eucharist
preserves from future serious sins.)
d) The Eucharist unites to the Church, knitting those
who receive more deeply into the Body of Christ.
e) “ Because there is one bread, we who are many are one
body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1Cor.10:
f) The Eucharist commits the believers to help the poor.
g) The Eucharist makes us aware of the division of the
Churches, awakening us to bring about reconciliation.
GETTING TO HEAVEN
46. The most important goal of the Eucharist is to get
us to heaven. Jesus likened the reign of God to a king
who gave a wedding banquet for his son. (Mt.22:1-14)
After many rejected the invitation, the king sent his
servants to invite all. This filled the wedding hall
with banqueters. (V.10)
47. The best way of getting to God's heavenly banquet is
to accept His weekly invitation to Jesus' earthly feast.
48. Every time Eucharist is received, the believer's
capacity to enjoy heaven is increased. As Holy Communion
increases our desire for heaven, sin is more easily
49. For the first eleven centuries, the Blessed
Sacrament was reserved in the churches for the sick
but not kept for adoration. This changed in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries, which saw the growth of
Eucharistic devotion culminating in the feast of Corpus
50. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the faithful
wanted to look at the host. Priests were told to raise
the host at the consecration for the people to see and
adore. A black cloth was hung behind the altar, so the
people could easily see the white hosts. Also, the
ringing of the bells announced this elevation.
51. Some priests made a second elevation before the Our
Father. Others turned around so the people could see.
Seeing the host became extremely important.
Unfortunately, some Church councils prescribed that all
heads be bowed. This was changed by Pope Pius X, who
urged the faithful to look at the host.
Feast of Corpus Christi
52. A tremendous change happened in the thirteenth
century with the establishing of the feast of Corpus
Christi. This devotion began by a direct initiative of
Jesus who appeared to St. Juliana, telling her that a
feast honoring the Real Presence should be established.
53. St. Juliana saw a vision of a full moon, disfigured
by a single dark spot.
54. Jesus explained that the feast of Holy Thursday
focused on the Eucharist as sacrifice. He wanted
another feast devoted to the Eucharist as His Real
55. Juliana made this vision known to the bishop of
Liege and in 1246, a diocesan feast of Corpus Christi
was established at Liege.
56. She also told James Panteleon (Archdeacon of Liege)
who was later elected Pope Urban IV (1261.)
57. In 1264, Pope Urban IV extended the feast of Corpus
Christi to the whole world. Supposedly, the impetus for
this proclamation came from a Eucharistic miracle (1263)
in which blood seeped from a host consecrated by Father
Peter of Prague at a Mass in Bolsena.
58. Due to this feast and the accompanying procession,
the monstrance came into great popularity, allowing the
people to see the host.
59. The people even wanted the monstrance to remain on
the altar after Mass. The bishops, allowed the continual
presence of the Eucharist at the altar but asked that
the tabernacle be constructed for greater reverence.
60. During the two thousand years that the Church has
had this Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, many
Eucharistic miracles have happened.
61.These miracles include a great variety of
manifestations. Such as the host bleeding; the host
taking on the appearance of flesh; the wine taking on
the appearance of blood and the hosts not decaying even
though centuries pass.
62. One of these miracles of the host bleeding was
actually filmed by a video camera (Betania, Venezuela,
December 8, 1991). This host is now kept in the Bishop’s
63. These miracles are often needed to remove doubts
about the Real Presence and to overcome the modern
rationalism which denies supernatural intervention.
64. Going to Mass and receiving Holy Communion have
always been the center of Catholic piety. This practice
has solid basis in the New Testament and in Church
tradition. Unfortunately, some Protestant reformers
refused to believe that Jesus could be "really, truly,
and substantially present" in the Eucharist. As a
result, in other Christian churches, the Eucharist is
often pushed aside to a lesser place than the central
worship which it deserves.
SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the penitent,
because truly sorry for his/her sins, confesses these
sins to a priest, who, in the name of Jesus and in the
power of the Church forgives those sins by the prayer of
absolution. Any sins forgotten by the penitent are also
forgiven. In reparation, the penitent accepts whatever
penance the priest imposes.
1. Reconciliation is the sacrament's newest name,
stressing the removal of any walls between God and the
person and between believers. "We implore you, in
Christ's name: be reconciled to God." (2Cor 5:20)
2. The name also stresses the oneness demanded among
believers: "Leave your gift at the altar, go first to be
reconciled with your brother and then come and offer
your gift." (Mt5:24)
3. God’s ministry of reconciliation is now given to the
Church. "All this has been done by God, who has
reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us
the ministry of reconciliation." (2Cor 5:18)
4. Penance was the official name of the sacrament before
Vatican Council II. This name stresses the internal
spirit of the person, called the penitent, who should
approach this sacrament with inner sorrow and a
willingness to change. This name also applies to the
prayers or spiritual task assigned by the priest after
the confessing of sins.
5. Confession is the popular name for this sacrament,
stressing the difficult duty of the penitents to examine
their conscience and to declare their sins to the
6. The forgiveness of sins was an important gift which
God gave to the Israelites, as is clear from the
7. In the Old Testament, God established:
a) sin offerings according to a person's state in life
(Lev. C4) and also special sacrifices for individual
sins (Lev. C5)
b) an annual special Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) “Once
a year atonement shall be made for all the sins of the
Israelites.” (Lev. 16:34)
c) a sin offering (one he-goat) for inadvertent sins of
the people (Num.15:22-24).
8. Sins were also forgiven through the intercession of
Moses (Ex 32:30-34)
9. Isaiah stresses God's gift of pardon: "I have brushed
away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like a mist."
(Is.44:22) and prophesies that the Suffering Servant
will “take away the sins of many and win pardon for
their offenses.” (Is. 53:12)
10. God's willingness to forgive reaches its height in
the promise of an entirely New Covenant, "for I will
forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no
more". (Jer.31: 31-34)
11. The gospels record four specific people who directly
received forgiveness from Jesus:
a) the paralyzed man: "Have courage, son, your sins are
forgiven.”(Mt.9:6) (cf Mk2:5, Lk5:20)
b) the penitent woman who washed His feet:
"He then said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven'".
c) the adulterous woman: “Nor do I condemn you. You may
go. But from now on avoid this sin.” (Jn.8:11).
d) the Good Thief: “I assure you, this day you will be
with me in paradise.” (Lk23:43)
12. Jesus foresaw His death as an opportunity for all to
receive forgiveness: “The Son of Man has come ‘to give
his own life as a ransom for the many’" (Mt.20:28)13. At
the Last Supper, Jesus repeated this promise:
"This is my blood, the blood of the New Covenant, to be
poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of
Jesus Giving Power to His Church
13. Jesus promised Peter the keys of the kingdom and the
power to bind or to loose. "I will entrust to you the
keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare
bound on earth, shall be bound in heaven; whatever you
declare loosed on earth, shall be loosed in heaven."
14. He later promised the same powers to the twelve
15. On Easter Sunday night, Jesus gave this power to his
disciples who were in the Upper Room: “Receive the Holy
Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven
them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.”
THE APOSTLES UNDERSTANDING
16. Many New Testament texts speak of receiving
forgiveness of sins through Jesus but some of these
obviously refer to Baptism. For example, in the Acts of
the Apostles, the basic preaching to accept Jesus as
Savior stressed the forgiveness of sins through Baptism.
17. Some New Testament texts, however, speak clearly of
the Church’s power to forgive sins committed after
a) James is clearly speaking to already baptized
Christians when he writes: “Hence, declare your sins to
one another and pray for one another, that you might
find healing.” (5:16)
b) Paul speaks of himself and the Corinthian community
reconciling a sinner. (2Cor 2:5-11)
c) John writes to the Church of Ephesus: “Keep firmly in
mind the heights from which you have fallen. Repent and
return to your former deeds.” (Rev.2:5)
d) And to the Church of Pergamum: “Therefore, repent! If
you do not, I will come to you soon and fight against
them with the sword of my mouth.” (2:16)
18. Therefore, many New Testament texts speak of
repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation for believers
after Baptism. This is the focus of the Sacrament of
Reconciliation, the forgiveness of sins after
EARLY CHURCH WRITERS
19. An early second century writer (the Shepherd of
Hermas) describes a second penance after Baptism that
was entrusted by Jesus to the Shepherd (i.e. the
20. Other early writers exhort all believers to
repentance for forgiveness of sins (Clement, Ignatius,
21. Early heresies denied the Bishop's power to forgive
sins, but Tertullian ("On Penance") holds out hope for
all sinners and urges them to use the liturgical penance
of the Church.
EARLY CHURCH HISTORY
22. Over the centuries, the exact form in which the
Church has forgiven sins has varied greatly.
23. Because the early Church existed primarily in
cities, the liturgical forgiving of sins was
administered directly by the bishop.
24. The early Church stressed forgiveness for three
grave sins: adultery, murder and sacrificing to idols to
25. This forgiveness was sought publicly and given
publicly after the performance of public penance
(sometimes only after years of penance).
26. Penitents approached the bishop on Ash Wednesday,
performed their public penance during Lent and were
reconciled on Holy Thursday.
28. As the Church expanded into rural areas, some
functions, such as forgiving sins, were exercised also
28. In the seventh century, the Irish monks came to
Europe to rekindle the faith. Their apostolic ministry
focused on private confession (as we have it today).
Frequently, the priest missionary carried a portable
confessional with him.
29. Since the seventh century, private individual
confession administered by a priest has replaced public
confession and public penance assigned by the bishop.
30. This confessional form exists today and includes the
gifts of frequent confession and forgiveness of venial
and mortal sins in one sacramental celebration.
31. Throughout history, two essential elements are the
a) The personal inner conversion shown by sorrow,
confessing of sins and acceptance of penance
b) God’s forgiving action through the Church’s priests
32. Every priest who hears confessions is bound by a
strict Church rule (C 1388) called the “sacramental seal
of confession”. By this seal, the priest must maintain
absolute secrecy concerning the sins told to him in
NEED FOR THIS SACRAMENT
33. The three sacraments of initiation (Baptism,
Confirmation and Eucharist) establish the believer in a
state of holiness. However, they do not abolish all
human weakness nor destroy the power of sin (called
concupiscence) within the believer. Although gifted by
the initiation sacraments with a holiness which requires
the exclusion of sin, the baptized realizes that “If we
say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves . . .” (1Jn1:8)
34. The baptized actually undertakes a life committed to
an uninterrupted task of constant conversion.
35. Daily experience shows that this task is not one
continual victory, but is always marred by some lapses,
sometimes of a serious nature.
36. By the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Church is
present when the Christian, under the power of inner
grace, wants to take up anew this task of constant
VALUE OF CONFESSING SINS TO A PRIEST
37. Modern psychiatry focuses on the value of describing
inner conflicts and sins.
38. Sacramental confession adds a spiritual dimension to
this process namely, the power of Jesus given to the
Church to actually forgive these sins and bring about
healing on all levels.
39. A frequent use of confession:
a) develops a spiritual honesty within the penitent
b) removes much inner conflict over guilt feelings
c) provides a forum for receiving spiritual advice
d) focuses the person on those aspects of life which
need special vigilance
e) frees from the powers of addiction
f) empowers the person for true holiness
40. Priests are trained to be merciful in this
sacrament, to be honest but never harsh with the
penitent. Priests and penitents must see this sacrament
as an instrument of God’s mercy.
Duties of the Penitent
41. The duties of the penitent are clear:
a) an honest examination of conscience to recall what
sins have been committed.
b) telling these sins to a priest
c) a sincere desire to turn away from these sins (even
though a frail human nature might commit them again).
d) some satisfaction to God by fulfilling the penance
imposed by the priest.
DIFFICULTIES WITH CONFESSION
42. Many Catholics experience special problems with this
sacrament, which frequently leads to the question, “Why
must I tell my sins to the priest?”
43. The root cause of this question usually lies in some
personal difficulty the Catholic is experiencing or has
44. The more common difficulties (with some answers) are
a) In previous confessions, the Catholic has not been
able to speak or to explain all his/her sins. Thus, the
past darkness has not been cleared up.
Mention in a general way the inability in the past to
confess everything. Most priests will not want to delve
into past memories.
b) There is a natural sense of shame and guilt
concerning personal sins. Even in human relationships,
admitting to sinful behavior is difficult.
Think of the joy that comes by getting the sins forgiven
and getting beyond the guilt feelings.
c) The Catholic has gone to confession in the past, told
their sins, and then committed these same sins again,
leading to discouragement.
Continue to use the sacrament. At times, there are
addictions, which are not removed immediately.
Confession often prevents the spread of the problem and
depression over past sins.
d) The Catholic is involved with serious sin that he/she
does not want to give up.
Just honestly submit all this to the priest confessor.
Confession itself is a first step not a final
OBJECTIONS TO THE SACRAMENT
45. Catholics wonder why they need to confess their sins
to receive forgiveness, while other Christian churches
do not teach this need.
1) Sacramental confession was a teaching of the Church
until Luther revolted in the 16th Century. The Greek
Orthodox Church has this Sacrament of Reconciliation
just as the Roman Catholic Church.
The rejection of this sacrament began with
2) Without this sacrament, the Protestant Churches do
not provide for their members the power and the
consolation of sacramental forgive-ness. In other words,
some special gifts of Jesus were lost in the 16th
Century Protestant denial of some Catholic sacraments.
46. Protestants claim that this sacrament is an excuse,
allowing Catholics to continue to commit sin.
1) God’s forgiveness and God’s mercy can be misused.
Obviously, some Catholics approach this sacrament with
far from perfect motives. However, most Catholics
approach the sacrament in great sincerity and find, in
this sacrament, a constant help to keep the
commandments, not a false freedom to continue sinning.
2) In Catholic history, many heresies claimed that any
Church practice of reconciling sinners was too lax.
Popes had to state the Catholic teaching that God’s
mercy is always available to the repentant sinner. Some
people are always scandalized by the Church reconciling
sinners to God. Even when Jesus forgave sins, many were
47. Reconciliation is an extremely important sacrament
because people are easily confused about moral issues.
People tend to believe that nothing is
wrong with what they are doing. Even Catholics who have
a correct sense of morality often wander from the
straight and narrow.
48. The confessional is a place of honesty and mercy.
The priest pronounces the sentence, “guilty, but
pardoned in Jesus’ name.” In many ways, the confessional
is the most consoling place on earth. A Catholic can be
assured of receiving God’s forgiveness while hearing the
words, “Go and sin no more.”
49. A priest friend deeply devoted to his ministry in
this sacrament had a favorite saying, “For most of us
the door to heaven is the door of the confessional.”
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK
The Anointing of the Sick is the sacrament by which a
baptized person receives forgiveness of their sins,
healing of mind, body and soul, and needed strength to
face death, when that ensues.
The Problem of Illness and Death
1. Illness and death present the gravest of human
problems, often leading to great anguish and sometimes
to despair and revolt against God.
2. Jesus, in the gospels, spends much time with the
sick. His power over sin, illness and death show that
“God has visited His people.” (Lk.7:16)
3. Often Jesus used signs to heal (spittle, laying on of
hands, mud and washing). These signs prefigure this
sacrament of anointing.
4. Paul wrote clearly that death entered the world
through sin "... through one man sin entered the world
and with sin death, death thus coming to all men". (Rom
5. Paul also claims a greater victory in Jesus, “much
more did the grace of God, and the gracious gift of the
one man, Jesus Christ, abound for all.” (Rom.5:15)
Anointing of the Sick
6. Jesus, however, overcame sin and death. Paul calls
this "the gracious gift of the one man, Jesus Christ,"
which is meant to "abound for all".
7. Some preview of Jesus' healing ministry exists in the
8. Moses healed those people who were bitten by the
seraph serpents by placing a seraph on a pole, "whenever
anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the
bronze serpent, he recovered" (Num 21:9).
9. Hezekiah was healed by Isaiah the prophet and fifteen
years were added to his life (Is 38:1-8).
10. Naaman, the leper, was healed as he washed in the
Jordan River at the Command of Elisha, the prophet.
11. Both Elijah (1Kg:17:17-24) and Elisha (2Kg.4:31-37)
raised someone from the dead.
12. Isaiah prophesies Jerusalem as a place of healing,
"No one who dwells there will say, 'I am sick'" (Is
13. As God led the Israelites out of Egypt, He declared,
"I, the Lord, am your healer" (Ex 15:26).
Anointing of the Sick
14. Although healing exists in the Old Testament, these
healing stories are not as frequent or as powerful as
those in the gospels.
The New Testament
Jesus’ Extraordinary Powers
15. Jesus manifests an extraordinary power of healing,
which led the crowds to bring all their sick to Him.
"After sunset, as evening drew on, they brought to him
all who were ill and those possessed by demons" (Mk
16. The results of Jesus' power are astounding: "As a
consequence of this, his reputation traveled the length
of Syria. They carried to him all those afflicted with
various diseases and racked with pain, the possessed,
the lunatics, and the paralyzed. He cured them all" (Mt
17. On three occasions Jesus raised the dead to life:
a) The daughter of Jairus: "Taking her hand he said to
her, 'Talitha, koum!'” which means, Little girl, get
up(Mk 5:41). See also Luke 8:40-56.
b) The son of the widow of Naim: "Jesus said, 'Young
man, I bid you get up.' The dead man sat up and began to
speak" (Lk 7:11-17).
c) Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary: "Jesus
called out loudly, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man
came out, bound hand and foot with linen strips, his
face wrapped in a cloth" (Jn 11:43-44).
Anointing of the Sick
Jesus Bestowing These Powers on the Church
18. Jesus promised that His healing ministry would
continue: "Signs like these will accompany those who
have professed their faith: they will use my name to
expel demons; ...and the sick upon whom they lay their
hands will recover" (Mk 16:17-18).
19. In fact, Jesus promised even greater powers: "I
solemnly assure you, the man who has faith in me will do
the works I do, and greater far than these" (Jn 14:12).
20. Jesus has fulfilled this promise. In two thousand
years, millions have been healed in His name
21. Especially in our day, the miracle working power of
the Holy Spirit is manifested in great signs and
The Ministry of the Apostles
22. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles
continued His healing ministry.
23. The Acts of the Apostles records Peter:
a) healing a lame man (3:1-9)
b) healing all upon whom his shadow fell. "The people
carried the sick into the streets and laid them on cots
and mattresses, so that when Peter passed by at least
his shadow might fall on one or another of them. Crowds
from the towns around Jerusalem would gather, too,
bringing their sick and those who were
Anointing of the Sick
troubled by unclean spirits, all of whom were cured"
c) healing the paralytic at Aeneas (9:32-35)
d) raising Tabitha from the dead (9:36-43)
24. Philip performed miracles in Samaria, "Many others
were paralytics or cripples, and these were cured"
25. The Acts record Paul with similar powers:
a) healing a lame man (14:8-10)
b) healing all by handkerchiefs: "Meanwhile God worked
extraordinary miracles at the hands of Paul. When
handkerchiefs or cloths which had touched his skin were
applied to the sick, their diseases were cured and evil
spirits departed from them" (19:11-12)
c) healing a lame man at Lystra (14:8-13)
d) raising the dead boy, Eutychus, to life
The Letter of James
26. The Council of Trent (1551) stated clearly that
"this sacred anointing of the sick ...is alluded to by
Mark but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated
by James ..."
27. Trent is referring to the Letter of James, "Is there
anyone sick among you? He should ask for the presbyters
of the Church. They, in turn, are to pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. This
prayer uttered in faith will reclaim the one
Anointing of the Sick
who is ill, and the Lord will restore him to health. If
he has committed any sins, forgiveness will be his.
Hence, declare your sins to one another and pray for one
another, that you may find healing" (5:14-16).
Obviously, this is an extremely important text!
28. The Council of Trent noted that Mark’s gospel
prefigured this text of James, when Mark wrote of
anointing with oil: "They (the twelve) expelled many
demons, anointed the sick with oil, and worked many
cures " (6:13).
29. By his clear words, James foresees a restoration of
bodily health resulting from this ritual prayer.
30. James also includes forgiveness of grave sins as a
power of this sacrament.
31. James describes a very ill Christian and the local
leaders of the Church (presbyters). He is not speaking
of the charism of healing but implies an extension of
the power of Baptism. ("In the name of the Lord" was the
way believers were baptized in the Acts.)
32. For believers, the moment of grave illness is a
special time to reaffirm their baptismal commitment.
History of the Church
33. Early writings make some references to this
anointing. In the early fifth century, Pope Innocent I
a) the letter of James refers to this sacrament
Anointing of the Sick
b) the oil must be blessed by the bishop
c) both bishops and priests can anoint
d) this anointing completes the Sacrament of Penance.
34. St. Augustine (5th century) "was accustomed to
visiting the sick who desired it in order to lay his
hands on them and pray at their bedsides." He also
incorporated James' admonition.
35. Hippolytus in his "Apostolic Traditions" (the
clearest and most detailed explanation of the late
second century Roman liturgy) has a formula for the
blessing of the oil for the sick.
36. The Council of Trent clearly explained the
a) the removal of sins if any still need to be expiated
b) comfort and strength
c) bestowal of hope in God's mercy
d) strength to accept the trials of illness
e) power to overcome the temptations of the devil
f) occasionally, restoring health to the body if this
would be for the advantage of the soul.
37. Although this sacrament is usually received by a
person in grace, it might be received by a person who
cannot confess their sins. In this case, the sacrament
forgives sins, as a direct effect.
Anointing of the Sick
38. Although Trent speaks of occasional restoration to
health, this sacrament has bodily well-being as an
essential effect because:
a) Bodily health and spiritual grace are interlocked in
this sacrament, which sees a oneness of the person's
body and soul.
b) Bodily infirmity can often hinder a person's oneness
with God. It is a disorder brought about by sin.
c) Often, the sick person, so consumed by the illness,
cannot focus on God.
39. The sacrament, even when not fully restoring to
health, should always remove those aspects of the
illness which are potentially destructive of grace.
40. Sometimes the sacrament’s power results in an inner
harmony, in a sudden cure or, at least, a more rapid
Preparing For Death
41. If the sickness leads to death, the person receives
a) strength against the final temptations of the evil
b) faith to be united with Jesus’ sufferings and even
consecrated to enter more deeply into Jesus’ passion
Anointing of the Sick
42. The sacraments of Penance and Eucharist (as
Viaticum, food for the journey) should also be received.
43. As three sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation and
Eucharist) constitute Christian Initiation, so three
sacraments (Penance, Anointing of the Sick and
Eucharist) constitute the final sacramental gifts of the
Church to the dying believer.
Matrimony is the sacrament in which a baptized man and
woman, by their mutual consent, enter into a spiritual
relationship and receive all the needed graces to
preserve their lifelong commitment to each other.
Marriage and Matrimony
1. In the Church’s terminology, marriage is a natural
contract. Matrimony is this same natural contract raised
to the dignity of a Church sacrament.
2. A valid marriage between a baptized man and woman is
also the sacrament of matrimony.
3. Based mainly upon Paul's teaching in 1Cor C7, the
Church has defined Christian matrimony as:
a. a covenant (sacred commitment)
b. between a man and a woman
c. to share their life together
d. to accept sexual relations which are open to the
procreation of children
e. this covenant is permanent (lasting until the death
of the partner)
f. and requires fidelity (the spouse cannot have sexual
relations with anyone else).
4. The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus restored
marriage to its original dignity and also conferred upon
the baptized unique graces to help them to live as
"married in the Lord."
Book of Genesis
5. Marriage occupies the very opening chapters of the
Bible (Book of Genesis).
6. Man is made in the image and likeness of God (Gen
1:26 and 27)
7. God made mankind male and female (1:27)
8. Procreation flows from God's special blessing (1:28)
9. After naming all the animals, Adam found that "none
proved to be a suitable partner" (2:20)
10. To solve this problem, God created woman directly
(2:22). The symbol of Adam's rib shows that woman is to
be at man's side (2:21).
11. Their marital relationship is so important that it
breaks other relational bonds. "That is why a man leaves
his father and mother”. (2:23).
12. This marital relationship is meant to be the deepest
and most intimate. Adam exclaims, "This one, at last, is
bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (2:23).
The Breakdown of God’s Ideal Relationship
13. The first book of the Bible also records the sin of
Adam and Eve causing the breakdown of the relationship
and the destruction of the initial intimacy:
a) Adam and Eve feel shame because they are naked (Gen
b) They disagree on the causes of their new problems
14. To counteract these problems caused by sin, God
begins immediately to help the couple. "For the man and
his wife, the Lord God made leather garments with which
he clothed them” (En 3:32).
15. God also moves to protect mankind from inflicting
unchangeable damage upon the human family. God stationed
“the cherubim and the fiery resolving sword to guard the
way to the tree of life.” (Gen.3:24)
16. This quick overview of Genesis reveals a clear
teaching on marriage:
a) God's focus in creation is the formation of parents
who would live in intimacy and multiply.
b) To foster this, God bestowed special gifts upon Adam
c) Although some of these gifts were lost, God still
intended parents to stay together, and to fulfill His
original plan of procreation.
Old Testament Practice
20. This ideal of marriage given in Genesis was rarely
attained among the Israelites, although the prophets
claimed that God's love for His people was totally
21. The increased power of sin eroded this marriage
ideal. Divorce, and even polygamy, are tolerated in the
22. The Old Testament, however, begins to point to the
ideal of marriage in the beautiful stories of Ruth and
Tobias, as well as the prophets' picturing of God as a
faithful husband to His people, Israel.
23. Jesus states clearly that He planned to restore
marriage as it was before the fall of Adam. (The Kingdom
of God inaugurated by Jesus has power to turn back the
effects of sin.)
24. Jesus' goal is the original creation plan of His
Father: "At the beginning of creation God made them male
and female; for this reason a man shall leave his father
and mother and the two shall become as one. They are no
longer two but one flesh" (Mk 10: 6-8).
25. Jesus saw Moses' granting divorce as a compromise
due to the stubbornness of the Israelites (Mk 10:5).
26. Jesus revokes Moses' power to grant divorce:
"Therefore let no man separate what God has joined" (Mk
27. Jesus blessed the holiness of marriage by attending
the wedding feast of Cana (Jn C2).
Paul’s Teaching on Christian Marriage
27. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul
gives extensive teaching on Christian marriage:
a) The married should stay together: “A wife must not
separate from her husband.”
b) If separated, the spouse cannot remarry: “If she does
separate she must either remain single or become
reconciled to him again.” Similarly, a husband must not
divorce his wife (1Cor. 7:11).
c) The couple should stay together even if the partner
is not a believer in Jesus. "If any brother has a wife
who is an unbeliever but is willing to live with him, he
must not divorce her” (1Cor 7:12).
30. The married couple should not withhold sexual
activity from the other: "The husband should fulfill his
conjugal obligations toward his wife, the wife towards
her husband" (1Cor 7:3).
31. Marriage is a legitimate choice for a believer: "To
avoid immorality, every man should have his own wife and
every woman her own husband" (1Cor 7:2).
32 Marriage is an honorable vocation: "The man who
marries his virgin acts fittingly" (1Cor 7:38). "Let
marriage be honored in every way" (Heb 13:4).
33. Marriage creates a life-long bond: "A wife is bound
to her husband as long as he lives" (1Cor 7:39). "A
married woman is bound to her husband by law while he
lives" (Rom 7:2).
34. Death of one's spouse frees the other to marry
again: "If her husband dies, she is free to marry again,
but on one condition, that it be in the Lord" (1Cor
MARRIAGE IN THE LORD
35. Paul saw Baptism making the believer a new creation,
which deeply and radically affected their lives.
36. The union of two believers in marriage was a unique
gift, called by Paul "marriage in the Lord." (7:39)
37. This marriage between two baptized believers was
different because if one departed the other could not
38 Even if the spouse dies, Paul allows remarriage "on
one condition, that it be in the Lord" (7:39).
MARRIAGE IN OUR DAY
39. Living a Christian marriage has never been easy.
However, the Christian culture supported couples in
their efforts. Today, marriage is under severe attack,
both in theory and through the extraordinary pressures
that militate against permanency, fidelity and the
raising of children.
Making a Choice
40. For most Catholics, the most important decision in
their life will be the choice of their marriage partner.
41. This selecting process takes time and is filled with
much pain and often, poor choices (see my pamphlet "How
to Marry the Right Person").
42. Certain basic rules will help in the selection
a) try to marry within your own culture
b) marry someone of your own faith (common religious
practice is the greatest power in binding a couple
c) Expect the person to keep the ten commandments
d) Look carefully at the home background (called the
family of origin)
e) Break off a relationship that involves:
- physical abuse
- severe verbal abuse
- alcohol abuse or drug abuse
- lying and failure to keep basic commitments
f) Get advice. Talk to those who love you. Listen to
your parents. Ask your siblings what they think. In
other words, don't make the decision totally on your
g) Above all, get your own life in order. Practice your
religious faith. Attend Church. Keep the Commandments.
In this way, your choice will not be the result of a
confused life style.
h) Do not have sexual relations before marriage. (This
is an important, but frequently seen as an out-dated
piece of advice.) Pre-marital abstinence shows that the
two people care about God's ways, have a respect for
each other and have the personal strength to postpone
immediate selfish gratification.
44. Advice on marriage fills volumes. The only advice
suitable for this booklet is the following:
45. Your Catholic tradition has a wealth of teaching
about life, especially the Ten Commandments, the duty of
weekly mass attendance, and a Catholic life style. This
Catholic tradition contains much wisdom. Accept it and
you will be blessed. Reject it and you will reap the
46. Today, birth control devices are freely distributed
in public schools which gives the wrong message - "Have
sex but make it safe sex."
47. Modern television and movies presuppose that young
people have sexual intercourse very early on, even in
the most casual of relationships.
48.. This cultural brainwashing fosters superficial
relationships. The partners, while having sexual
relations, have never sorted out their emotions and are
blinded to the real issues they should be honestly
49. Jesus taught just the opposite, asking a man not
even to look with lust upon a woman (Mt 5:28).
50. Pre-marital abstinence is no foolproof means of
choosing the right marriage partner, but it certainly
helps avoid choosing the wrong partner (and saves a lot
of devastating emotions).
PROBLEMS WITHIN MARRIAGE
51. Infidelity, like pre-marital sex, is seen as a
normal, to be expected, part of American life.
52. However, human nature hasn't changed and infidelity
introduces extremely difficult obstacles to marital
53. Experts agree, infidelity causes everyone to lose-
the person, the spouse and the children.
54. Don't be fooled into thinking that fidelity is no
longer an important aspect of marriage. You might find
yourself without a spouse or family because you bought
into the world's thinking.
55. Pornography is now a universal problem, available
everywhere. The following needs to be said:
a) Pornography is an addiction that can entrap anyone.
b) Once allowed to enter, pornography tends to quickly
spread and is difficult to overcome.
c) As the pornographic addiction grows within the
person, the spouse ceases to be the only source of
sexual gratification, and the marriage suffers.
d) When pornography becomes the only, or the main source
of sexual gratification, the marriage is in serious
trouble and the couple should seek counseling or a
return to the sacraments for help.
56. Americans are fed the big lie that abortions in a
medical facility are safe. No matter how well the
abortion is done, it cannot save the mother from the
terrible feelings that will flow for the rest of her
57. Abortion can kill marital love and deeply affect the
ability of parents to offer a guilt-free love to their
58. The most damaging effect comes when a wife has an
abortion because her husband threatens to leave. Often,
he leaves anyway. She ends up with no husband and no
58. It is important that couples agree before they marry
that there will never be an abortion at any time or in
any circumstances. If this commitment cannot be given
before marriage, then the couple should not marry.
59. No teaching of the Catholic Church is so
controversial, so contradicted even by other Christian
denominations or so unaccepted by its own members as its
teaching against the use of artificial contraceptives in
60. This happened because other Christian Churches
changed their moral teaching (Before 1930, every
Christian Church condemned contraception). Because of
this change, society now faces other serious moral
questions: abortion, premarital and extra-marital
sexuality and homosexuality.
61. A society imbued with a contraceptive-mentality
inevitably becomes a sexually permissive society,
because rejecting the union of sexual pleasure with the
duty of procreation leads logically to many other
selfish sexual decisions.
62. The Church teaches that God has built into the
woman's body a cycle of fertility and infertility. This
cycle is God’s plan for couples to choose to conceive or
not to conceive.
63. Unfortunately, this natural approach to implement a
couple's decision is set aside, as of little value.
64. In its place, our culture places birth control
pills, with many side effects, or mechanical means,
which allow the couple to have intercourse whenever they
wish. There is little need for the couple to communicate
or to abstain out of concern for the other party or for
the good of the family.
65. The contraceptive mentality also leads to abortion,
which is seen as a legitimate means of birth control if
contraceptive pills or devices fail.
66. Contraception encourages pre-marital sexual
activity, since the normal deterrent of a possible
pregnancy is removed.
67. Contraception totally changes lifestyles. Armed with
contraceptives, young couples feel quite free to
live together, to vacation together (like a honeymoon
couple) and to assume all the privileges of the married,
while refusing to accept the duties of married life,
because they have removed the procreative aspect of
68. In Jesus' time, a great debate took place among
Jewish rabbis concerning the reasons needed by a husband
to divorce his wife (Mt 19:3-7; Mk 10:2-12).
69. When Jesus was confronted with the divorce question,
he focused instead on the story in Genesis and how God
had made marriage in the beginning as a permanent
relationship (Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-9; also Lk 16:18).
70. Later, when the apostles claimed that Jesus'
teaching on the permanence of this commitment was
impossible to keep, Jesus spoke of the commitment to
God's kingdom (Mt 19:10-12; Mk 11:29-30). In other
words, because the Holy Spirit comes in all the
sacraments, Christian husbands and wives could keep the
marriage covenant until death.
71. From the above, we can see that Jesus planned to do
a) reestablish the marriage ideal described in the first
two chapters of the Bible.
b) bestow the power to live up to that ideal by sending
His Holy Spirit upon believers.
72. In the first half of the 20th century, the power of
the Spirit established a powerful Christian culture in
which divorce was rare. Unfortunately, evil powers have
destroyed that culture
73. Because reshaping the culture seems impossible, the
individual couple, to avoid divorce, must personally
immerse themselves in weekly worship and daily family
prayer. They must also turn off the television and make
a radical commitment to go against the culture. Every
other marriage will be swept away by our American
HOLY ORDERS - THE WORDS
Holy Orders is a sacrament whereby a bishop, by the
laying on of hands and the appropriate prayers, ordains
a baptized man to the order of deacon, priest or bishop.
Explaining the Vocabulary
1. The Church borrowed the word Orders from Roman usage
where it meant a social body distinct from the people
(such as the Roman Senate).
2. The Church used Orders to describe the clergy as set
apart from the people.
3. Later, the same word was used to distinguish among
the clergy in three different orders - of bishops, of
priests and of deacons.
4. The Church also borrowed the Roman word ordination
meaning the appointing of a person to a definite order.
5. From the earliest periods, Levites performed priestly
services in Israel. Their faithfulness to Moses resulted
in his official rewarding of them, "Today you have been
dedicated to the Lord" (EX 32:29).
6. Eventually, worship became centralized in Jerusalem
and, at the time of Jesus, priests were divided into
twenty-four groups that took weekly turns in the temple
(cf LK 1:5-9).
7. At one point, the priestly role in Israel included
guarding the temple, offering sacrifice, delivering
oracles and instructing people in the traditions of
8. Eventually, the priestly role was limited to offering
9. This offering of priestly sacrifice in Israel ceased
after 70 AD, when the Jerusalem temple was destroyed by
Authority and Sacraments
Because Holy Orders in the Catholic Church involves two
different aspects, authority and sacramental powers, we
will treat each separately.
Jesus Bestowing Authority
10. All four gospels give a clear picture that Jesus
chose twelve very special men as his apostles (MT 10:2;
MK 3:16; LK 6:13; JN 6:67).
10. Peter was the clear leader of the twelve and Jesus
gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven and
promised to build His Church upon him. "I for my part
declare to you, you are 'Rock" and on this rock I will
build my church and the jaws of death shall not prevail
against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the
kingdom of heaven" (MT 16:18).
12. Luke carefully notes that, after Jesus ascended into
heaven, the eleven remaining apostles returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 1:13) where Peter initiated an election
that resulted in Matthias being named to the place of
Judas (Acts 1:15-16).
13. This election shows the great importance of the
twelve apostles, the foundation of Jesus’ Church.
14. Even the heavenly Jerusalem will have the twelve
apostles as its foundation. "The wall of the city had
twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which
were written the names of the twelve apostles of the
Lamb” (Rev 21:14).
15. The Church sees in Peter and the other eleven
apostles the scriptural basis for the papacy and the
16. Because Jesus appeared to him on the road to
Damascus, Paul also enjoyed apostolic authority. "Last
of all, he was seen by me, as one born out of the normal
course. I am the least of the apostles"
17. Paul writes clearly, "God has set up in the Church,
first apostles ..." (1Cor 4:9).
The Church Passing On Authority
18. As the decades went by, and the original apostles
died out, the need to continue this apostolic office for
the sake of the Church became clear.
19. Paul laid hands upon Timothy, consecrating him to
the office of bishop. "For this reason I remind you to
stir into flames the gift of God that you have through
the imposition of hands” (2Tim 1:6).
20. Paul gave Titus the mandate to do the same. "For
this reason I left you in Crete, that you might .appoint
presbyters in every town, as I directed you" (Titus
21. This office of bishop is so important that Paul
gives lengthy instructions on the qualifications of a
bishop (1Tim 1:1-7), on his expectations of Timothy
(1Tim 4:6-5:24) and on the duties of an apostle
22. Paul instructs Titus on the qualities needed for
ordination (Titus 1:5-9) and Titus' own responsibilities
as a bishop (Titus 2:1-8). He also gives him advice for
the office (3:8-11).
23. These texts made evident that, by the end of the New
Testament, the rite of laying on of hands was a clear
method of passing on the apostolic authority bestowed by
24. Besides bishops, Paul’s writings attest to two other
offices – “the appointment of presbyters (Priests)”
(Titus 1:5) and the office of deacon (Phil 1:1 and 1 Tim
25. The letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (107 A.D.)
show that many local churches already had a three-fold
structure of orders - bishop, priest and deacon.
26. Besides teaching and governing authority within the
Church, bishops, priests and deacons are the ordinary
ministers of sacraments.
27. Bishops and priests have certain important
sacramental powers in common (i.e., both are equally
able) which are not shared in any way by others. These
a) celebrating Mass
b) forgiving sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
c) administering the Sacrament of the Anointing of the
28. Bishops alone can ordain men in the Sacrament of
29. Bishops are the ordinary ministers of Confirmation
although a priest can confirm in danger of death, at the
time of adult Baptism or receiving an adult into the
Church, and when given special delegation by the bishop.
30. All three (bishops, priests and deacons) are the
ordinary ministers of Baptism and the ordinary official
witnesses at the sacrament of Matrimony. They are also
the ordinary ministers in the distribution of Eucharist.
31. All three can officially preach the homily at the
Priesthood and the Unity of the Church
This linking of Holy Orders and Eucharist, and the
requirement of hierarchical communion is the important
foundation of the worldwide unit of the Catholic Church,
as shown by the following:
a) The Pope alone can name someone a bishop.
b) The bishop alone can call a man to the priesthood or
c) Since only bishops and priests can bring about the
Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the Catholic
Church has an extremely strong bond of unity called
d) Throughout the world, priests must be in union with
the bishop, and bishops must be in union with the Pope.
e) When the faithful celebrate Eucharist with their
priest, they actually express a unique worldwide
communion with all the Church.
32. Only the Holy Spirit bestows Church unity. However,
a primary instrument of His unity is the Eucharist, Holy
Orders, and hierarchical unity within the Church.
Discipline of Celibacy
33. The New Testament witnesses to a new understanding
in Jesus’ Kingdom, namely, the value of virginity.
34. Jesus himself praises those who “have freely
renounced sex for the sake of God’s reign” (Mt. 19:12).
35. Paul writes, “The unmarried man is busy with the
Lord’s affairs, consumed with pleasing the Lord.”
(1Cor7:32) and “The virgin – indeed any unmarried woman
– is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of
holiness in body and spirit.” (7:34)
36. Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, many Christians
in the early centuries embraced virginity for the sake
of the kingdom. At times, there were widespread
movements. Thousands followed St. Anthony into the
desert and great numbers followed St. Benedict into the
37. Eventually, this spiritual impulse for virginity
spread to those in Sacred Orders.
38. Often there were two groups of priests. Those who
resided in the city with the bishop remained celibate.
Those living alone in the rural areas married. This
discipline of celibacy exists even today in many
Eastern-rite Catholic churches.
Celibacy in the Latin Rite
39. During the first three or four centuries, no law was
promulgated prohibiting clerical marriage. Celibacy was
a matter of choice. However, a great number of clerics
40. The efforts of popes and regional councils began
introducing celibacy as a legal requirement for
receiving Holy Orders.
41. Over the centuries, the Church would experience a
decline in the practice of celibacy (e.g. 10th and 15th
century) which were followed by strong popes who
restored the discipline.
42. The greatest restoration came at the Council of
Trent (1563), which promulgated laws on celibacy, and
encouraged the establishing of seminarians for priestly
training (a task performed so well by St. Charles
43. Celibacy has always been a controversial aspect of
priesthood. Arguments against this discipline focus on
excellent men who would be priests if allowed to marry.
Other arguments say that a married priesthood would be
more credible and more in touch with the daily struggles
of the Catholic people.
44. Celibacy for priests has two special gifts:
a) Virginity is a sign of the presence of the kingdom.
b) “The unmarried man is busy with the Lord’s affairs”
45. The Catholic priesthood has been deeply embedded in
the special gift of celibacy for so many centuries. In
linking the two, priesthood and celibacy, the Church has
heard a special call of the Spirit.