Jacques Maritain Center : Catechism of the Summa Theologica


Where is the Body of our Blessed Lord now?

It is now in heaven where our Lord ascended forty days after His resurrection (LVII. 1).

In what sense is it said that our Lord ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father?

In this sense, that He now enjoys the eternal peace of the blessedness of the Father, and that with the Father He has now the same royal and judiciary power over all things, a privilege which belongs to Jesus Christ alone (LVII., LVIII.).

Why, and in what sense, is judiciary power attributed to Jesus Christ?

Because Jesus Christ, as God, is the Wisdom of the Father, and the act of judging is an act of wisdom. and of truth; also because as man, Jesus Christ is a Divine Person; and because He has in His human nature the dignity of being the head of the whole Church, and consequently He is the head of all men who must be judged; further, because there resides in Him sanctifying grace in its fulness which makes Him capable of judging; and lastly, it is fitting that He who was judged unjustly should vindicate the rights of divine justice (LIX. 1-4).

Did our Lord commence to use this prerogative from the time of His Ascension into heaven?

Yes; and there is nothing that happens in the world which is not the effect of His government as He sits at the right hand of the Father. It is our Lord Jesus Christ, as God and as man, who ordains all things, whether it be question of human beings or of inanimate creatures, of angels good or bad (LIX. 5).

Will this power of our Lord over all extend also to the final and supreme judgment on the last day?

Yes; it is only then that He will exercise His power in all its fulness and perfection. It is only then that we shall appreciate the wisdom of His government of all things which are subjected to His royal and judiciary power; and by His judgment of men at the last day, each will receive fully what is his due (LIX. 5).

Does our Lord exercise His authority over both men and angels in the same way?

No; for although the good angels have received from God the Son their eternal happiness, and the bad angels their damnation, neither have received their deserts from the Son of God as man but as God. Whereas all men have received from Him, as man, the wherewith to reach eternal happiness. Moreover, God the Son, in so far as He is man, will pronounce the last sentence which will send the lost to their eternal sufferings on the last day. But both good and bad angels for ever are subject to His authority as man first of all from the day of His Incarnation, and more so from the day of His Ascension, all that they do to help man or to tempt him comes under the power and authority of Jesus Christ; and the good angels for their services will receive from Him, even according as He is man, their reward, and the bad angels the chastisement due to their wickedness (LIX. 6).



In what way did our Lord give to men the fruit of the mysteries accomplished in His person with a view to their salvation?

By instituting the sacraments (LX., Prologue).

What is meant by the sacraments?

They are certain outward signs or acts accompanied by certain words, which signify and produce certain graces in the soul (LX.-LXIII.).

How many sacraments are there?

There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony (LXV. 1).

Is there any reason why our Lord instituted seven sacraments?

Yes. The reason is derived from the analogy between our spiritual life of grace and our natural corporal life. Our corporal life comprises two perfections according as one considers the life of the individual or the life of the society in which he lives. As regards the individual, his life is perfected both directly and indirectly: directly by the fact that he comes into life, that he is nourished and that he grows; indirectly by the fact that he recovers health if he has lost it, and is completely restored if he has been seriously ill. In like manner in the spiritual life of grace, there is a sacrament which gives us that life, and this is " Baptism"; there is another which makes us grow strong therein, and this is "Confirmation"; another which nourishes us in this life, and this is the "Holy Eucharist." If we have lost this life by sin after Baptism the sacrament of "Penance" gives us back this life; and "Extreme Unction" wipes out the last traces of sin. As regards the society in which this life is lived there are two sacraments that assure its well-being and its continuance: for the spiritual side of the society there is the sacrament of " Holy Orders"; and for its material and corporal side the sacrament of "Matrimony" (LXV. 1).


Which is the greatest and the most important of all these sacraments, and the one to which the rest are directed and whereby they are in some sort perfected?

It is the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. For in this sacrament, as we shall see later, our Lord Himself is present substantially, whereas in all the other sacraments there is only a power or a virtue which comes from Him. Further, all the other sacraments would seem to be directed to the Holy Eucharist, as Holy Orders which effect the sacrament; or as Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, and Extreme Unction, which make one worthy or more worthy to receive the Holy Eucharist; or as Marriage which signifies it, in so far as it is a union. Lastly, one ends other ceremonies that refer to the reception of the other saCraments, almost always, by the reception of the Holy Eucharist; even after Baptism, if the one baptized be an adult (LXV. 3).


Are the sacraments instituted by our Blessed Lord necessary for obtaining the grace which corresponds to each one in particular, or is the receiving of these sacraments of counsel only?

These sacraments are absolutely necessary, in this sense, that if through one's own fault one neglects to receive them, one will not receive the grace corresponding thereto; and there are three of them which produce a certain effect such as can never come to be unless the sacrament be received (LXV. 4).

What are these three, and what is this certain effect dependent upon them?

They are Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders; and the effect spoken of is the character which each of these sacraments impresses on the soul (LXIII. 6).

What is this character?

It is a certain quality of the spiritual order, constituting in the higher and intellectual part of the soul a sort of power or faculty which effects that he who receives it participates in the priesthood of Jesus Christ (LXIII. 1-4.).

Is this character impressed on the soul indelible?

Yes, it will remain for ever once it is received, to the glory of those who reach heaven who have therefore shown themselves worthy to bear it; and to the confusion of those in hell who have misused it (LXIII. 5).

Which character marks men according to the likeness of our Lord and makes them able to participate in His priesthood?

The sacrament of Baptism (LXIII. 6).



What is the sacrament of Baptism?

It consists in an ablution, made with natural water, during which are pronounced over the person being baptized, by the person administering the sacrament, these words:" I baptize thee, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (LXVI. 1-5).

Can the same person receive the sacrament of Baptism more than once?

No; this sacrament can be received only once, by reason of the indelible character impressed on the soul (LXVI. 9).

Can the Baptism of blood, or the Baptism of desire, take the place of the Baptism of water?

Yes, the Baptism of blood, which is martyrdom and figures the Passion of our Blessed Lord, and the Baptism of desire, which consists in an act of the love of God through the action of the Holy Ghost, can both take the place of the Baptism of water; but in this sense, that the grace of Baptism can be obtained without the reception of the sacrament itself when this reception is impossible; but not in the sense that the character of the sacrament can be received apart from the sacrament itself (LXVI. 11).


Who can administer the sacrament of Baptism?

It can be administered validly by every human being having the use of reason and performing the rite correctly with the intention of doing what the Church intends when the Church administers it (LXVII.).

For Baptism to be administered licitlv what is required on the part of the person who administers it?

The person who administers Baptism must be in the conditions determined by the Catholic Church (LXVII.).

What are these conditions?

For Baptism to be administered licitly in the case when ordinary conditions are absent (in which ordinary conditions the priest himself administers it in conformity with the rules laid down by canon law and the ritual), or when in extraordinary circumstances it is administered by a deacon, there must be an urgent necessity for the administering thereof, that is there must be danger of death; and in such case anyone can licitly administer Baptism whether he be priest, or cleric, or layman, man or woman, or child who has attained the use of reason, or even a person who is himself not baptized, provided the correct rite be used and the person have the proper intention: always the order among the persons above mentioned should be followed, and it is only in the case of the absence of the preceding person that the following one may baptize (LXVII. 1-5).


Whenever Baptism is administered under normal conditions in the Church, or whenever the ceremonies of Baptism have to be supplemented, must there always be a godfather or a godmother for the newly baptized?

Yes, the Church ordains this by virtue of an ancient custom; and because it is fitting that there should be someone whose duty it is to watch over the newly baptized and instruct him in the things of faith and to see that he is faithful to the promises made at Baptism (LXVII. 7).

The duty of godfather or godmother is not then simply a formality but is a grave and important matter?

Yes, there is a strict obligation on the part of godfather or godmother to watch over their charge during life and to see that the things promised in Baptism are kept (LXVII. 8).



Are all men bound to receive Baptism?

Yes, they are absolutely bound to receive Baptism; for if an adult is able to receive it and yet does not, through his own fault, he cannot be saved. The reason is because by Baptism we are incorporated with Jesus Christ; but since Adam's sin no man can be saved unless he be incorporated with Jesus Christ (LXVIII. 1-2).

But do not faith and charity suffice to be incorporated with Jesus Christ by grace in order to be saved?

Without doubt, except that faith cannot be sincere, and charity or grace cannot be in the soul if a man separate them from Baptism through his own fault, for Baptism is the sacrament of faith and produces the first grace in the soul which unites us to Jesus Christ (LXVIII. 2).

Can then one receive Baptism in the state of sin, whether it be question of original sin which is the case for all or of personal grave sins in addition?

Yes; and for this reason Baptism is called the sacrament of the dead, for it does not presuppose grace in the soul as do the sacraments of the living; indeed its proper effect is to give the life of grace to those who have it not. If, however, it be question of adults who have committed mortal sins, in order for them to receive Baptism with fruit, they should renounce all affection for sin (LXVIII. 4).


In the case of adults must there be intention to receive Baptism?

Yes, otherwise the sacrament is null and void (LXVIII. 7).

Must they also have true faith?

Yes, if they would receive the grace of the sacrament; but not if they would receive the sacrament itself and its character only (LXVIII. 8).

In the case of infants, who can have neither faith nor intention, can they be baptized?

Yes, for the Church or those who bring them for Baptism supply both faith and intention in their case (LXVIII. 9).

May one bring infants to Church for Baptism against the will of the parents when these parents are Jews or pagans?

No, one may not do this; and if one do this one commits sin, for to act thus is to run counter to the dictates of the natural law in virtue of which a child, until able to look after itself, is in the custody of its parents. But if the child in spite of the parents be baptized, the Baptism is valid; and the Church has over this child all the rights in the supernatural order which are the consequence of Baptism (LXVIII. 10).


May one baptize the babe that is in danger of death in the mother's womb?

No, for until the babe is born it is not part of the society of men, in such wise that it comes under their action as regards the reception of the sacraments; one should in such a case recommend the babe to God and leave it to His care (LXVIII. 11, Obj. 1).

Infants that are born and die, and who do not receive Baptism, will they be saved?

No, they cannot be saved; for there is only one means of being incorporated with Jesus Christ and of receiving His grace, without which there is no salvation among men (LXVIII. 3).


May one baptize adults who are deprived of the use of their reason, such as idiots and those that are mad?

If they have never had the use of reason they must be treated as infants, and consequently can be baptized. But if they have had the use of reason, they cannot be baptized whilst they are in the state of insanity unless they shall have manifested some desire to be baptized in the past when they were in their right mind (LXVIII. 12).


When Baptism is received in such wise that there be no obstacle to prevent its action, are there any great effects produced in the soul?

Yes; for it unites man to the Passion of Jesus Christ, the fruits of which enter man's soul. Further, no trace of sin is left in him who is baptized, and there is no obligation of making satisfaction for past sins. By right, all the penalties of the present life are taken away by Baptism; but God leaves these with man until the day of the resurrection in order that he might be likened to Jesus Christ, and might gain much merit and show that He came to receive Baptism not for any good of the present life, but with a view to the attainment of the eternal boons in heaven (LXIX. 1-3).

Does Baptism also produce grace and the virtues in the soul?

Yes, because he who is baptized is united to Jesus Christ as to the head, from Whom all the members participate in the fulness of His grace and virtue; moreover there is received in a special way a grace of light for the, knowledge of the truth, and a grace of the divine fecundity for the production of good works proper to the Christian life (LXIX. 4, 5).

Are these last effects of Baptism also produced in the souls of infants?

Yes, except that these effects are in a state of embryo, as it were, or in a habitual state waiting to manifest themselves actually (LXIX. 6).

Is the opening of the gates of heaven a proper effect of Baptism?

Yes, because no trace of sin is left, and there is no penalty due to sin; for such are the only things that shut the gates of heaven since they were opened by the Passion of our Lord (LXIX. 7).

If an adult who is badly disposed were to receive Baptism, would he receive the above-mentioned effects?

No, he would receive only the character of Baptism; but by reason of this character which remains he can receive all the other effects as soon as he renounces his bad dispositions (LXIX. 9, 10).

Other than the effects proper to Baptism, are there certain effects attaching to the ceremonies of Baptism?

Yes, but they are of an entirely different order, and they are over and above the grace properly so-called of Baptism; they have reference rather to the removal of obstacles which might prevent one from receiving Baptism with all its fruits; and this is the reason why these ceremonies have not the nature of a sacrament but only the nature of a sacramental (LXXI. 3).


Is there not a peculiar dignity, and certain duties consequent thereon, attaching to those who have received the sacrament of Baptism with its indelible character?

Yes, for those who have received the grace of Baptism and carry in their soul for evermore the character thereof, according to the measure of their faithfulness to this grace, surpass in dignity and excellence the whole of creatures. They are children of God, and brothers of Jesus Christ; more, they are as it were a continuance of Jesus Christ Himself, who lives again in them. But so high a dignity demands that man lead a life of corresponding goodness, since he is united to Jesus Christ, who is the perfection of goodness.



Is the grace of Baptism sufficient in order to lead the Christian life in its perfection?

No; for the grace of Baptism is as it were only the grace of commencing the Christian life; it gives the spiritual life of grace but it does not make us grow therein (LXV. 1; LXXII. 7, Obj. 1).

What are the other graces which have this effect?

They are the grace of Confirmation and the grace of the Holy Eucharist (LXV. 1).

What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is that sacrament of the New Law whereby we receive the grace which makes us grow in the life of Jesus Christ received by the grace of Baptism (LXXII. 1).

In what does this sacrament consist?

It consists in an anointing done in the form of a cross, upon the forehead of the person being confirmed, with the holy chrism, and at the same time the following words are pronounced by the minister of the sacrament: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen" (LXXII. 2, 4, 9).

What does the holy chrism signify that is used as the matter of this sacrament?

It signifies the fulness of the grace of the Holy Spirit which leads the Christian through life and makes him spread around as it were the perfume of the Christian virtues. Indeed, the holy chrism is made of olive oil, which symbolizes grace, and the odoriferous plant of balsam (LXXII. 2).

What do the words pronounced by the minister, which are the form of this sacrament, mean?

They mean three things: The source or the cause whence is derived the spiritual strength which is the effect of this sacrament; this cause or source is the august Trinity. They mean also the strength itself conferred by the sacrament when these words are said: "I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation." Lastly, they signify the distinctive mark of a soldier of Christ, armed for the combats encountered in the Christian life; and this mark is the sign of the cross which is the instrument of triumph of our Lord and King Jesus Christ (LXXII. 4).

Confirmation then is, properly speaking, the sacrament of Christian manhood making the child into a man capable of withstanding all the enemies of his life as a Christian?

The sacrament of Confirmation is precisely this; and for this reason its ordinary minister is a bishop to whom it belongs officially to promote perfection in the Church of God (LXXII. 11).

Why is a godfather or a godmother given to those who are confirmed?

Because it is the custom to give instructors to those newly enrolled in an army (LXXII. 10).


Does the sacrament of Confirmation impress a character?

Yes; and for this reason it can be received only once (LXXII. 5).

If at the reception of Confirmation one is not in the proper conditions in order to receive its fruits, is it possible afterwards, by putting oneself in the proper conditions, to receive these fruits?

Yes; for the character remains and the fruits will come as soon as the obstacles are removed. For this reason it is a good thing to make the grace of this sacrament re-live in us.

Is it necessary for the reception of this sacrament that one be well instructed in the things of faith and in the Christian life?

Yes; and this not only to live a good life oneself, but to be able to defend the true Christian life against all who attack it (LXXII. 4, Obj. 3).


Does not the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist demand a great deal of instruction before one may receive it?

Yes, a great deal of religious instruction is required for the reception of the Holy Eucharist. As regards the degree of instruction required it often happens that the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is received before that of Confirmation, and in this case not so much instruction is required for the reception of the Holy Eucharist; but for Confirmation the subject should be instructed in things religious, not only to suffice for his own individual life but also to be able to defend them against those who attack them. But during the whole of one's life one should continually seek instruction in these mysteries.



What is the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

It is that mysterious repast in which, after the consecration (which makes Jesus Christ to be really present in the same state, under the sacramental form, as the victim immolated on Calvary), the body of our Lord Jesus Christ is given to be eaten, and His blood to be drunk, under the species or accidents of bread and wine (LXXIII.-LXXXIII.).

Is this sacrament necessary for salvation?

Yes; for it signifies the unity of the Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, to which everybody who would be saved must belong. But the fruit of the sacrament of the Eucharist can be enjoyed by anyone who has the intention of receiving the sacrament, whether he himself personally have this intention or whether the Church communicate it to him by the reception of baptism as is the case with infants (LXXIlI. 3).

By what names is this sacrament called?

In so far as it is a commemoration of our Lord's sacrifice on the Cross it is called a "sacrifice"; in so far as it signifies the unity of the Church, the mystical body of Christ, it is called "communion"; in so far as it foreshadows the glory of future happiness, it is called "viaticum"; and it is called the "Eucharist," which means the "good grace," because it contains Jesus Christ Himself, who is the author of all grace (LXXIII. 4).


When was this sacrament instituted?

It was instituted on the evening of Holy Thursday on the eve of our Lord's Passion: in order to console men after the departure of our Lord from this world; in order to show the relation of this sacrament with the Passion of our Lord, who is the only source of our salvation; and in order that by reason of circumstances so memorable the cult of this sacrament might be more practised among men (LXXIII. 5).

Was there any special type or figure of this sacrament in the Old Law?

Yes; in so far as it is an outward sign it was prefigured by the bread and wine offered up by Melchisedech. In so far as it is a sacrament containing the true body of our Lord immolated on the Cross, it was prefigured by all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, and especially by the sacrifice of expiation, which was the most solemn. In so far as it is a spiritual nourishment feeding our souls, it was figured by the manna which contained every flavour and every sweetness. But it was prefigured in an exceptional way by the paschal lamb which was eaten with unleavened bread after it had been sacrificed, and whose blood turned away the avenging angel (LXXIII. 6).



What is the matter of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

The matter of this sacrament is wheaten bread and wine of the vine (LXXIV. 1, 2).

What happens to the matter of this sacrament?

The substance of the bread ceases to be that of bread, and the substance of wine ceases to be that of wine (LXXV. 2).

What becomes of the substance of the bread and of the substance of the wine?

The substance of the bread is changed into the body of Jesus Christ; and the substance of the wine into His blood (LXXV. 3, 4).

What is this change called?

It is called "transubstantiation" (LXXV. 4).

By what means does this change or transubstantiation take place?

By the almighty power of God alone (LXXV. 4).

Is only the substance changed or is all changed in the bread and wine?

Only the substance is changed, for the accidents of bread and those of wine remain (LXXV. 2, Obj. 3).


What is meant by the accidents that remain?

By the accidents are meant those external realities which are perceived by our senses -- such as quantity, colour, taste, etc.; these alone remain, and they are the same as those which existed in the bread and wine before transubstantiation took place.

Why do these accidents remain?

In order that we might be assured of the sacramental presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Are the body and blood of our Lord, such as they are in themselves, here truly present by virtue of transubstantiation?

Yes, absolutely (LXXV. 1).


Is the whole of our Blessed Lord in the sacrament?

Yes; except that under the species of bread His body only is present by virtue of the words of consecration, and under the species of wine His blood only; but by concomitance, and because now the body and the blood of Jesus Christ are no longer and cannot again be separated (as they were when our Lord died on the Cross), wherever is His body there also is His blood and His soul; and wherever is His blood, there also is His body and His soul. As regards the Person and the Divinity of the Son of God, these had never been separated since the Incarnation from any single part of the human nature of Jesus Christ, not even when the body and soul of our Lord were separated by His death on the Cross (LXXVI. 1, 2).

Is our Lord wholly present under each part of bread and under each drop of wine?

Yes; He is wholly present, entirely, such as He is in Himself under each part of bread and under each drop of wine; but as long as the bread or wine remain undivided He is present there only once, but according as the bread or wine is divided into parts, He is present wholly under each part (LXXVI. 3).


Can one touch the body of Jesus Christ in itself by touching the accidents of bread and wine?

No; because the accidents are not accidents of our Lord's body but of bread and wine only (LXXV. 4-8).

Do these eucharistic accidents always remain in the state of eucharistic accidents after the consecration of the bread and wine?

No; for immediately after the communion when they are consumed they begin to alter and pass into another state. They can also alter and become corrupt through atmospheric conditions when they are left for too long a time (LXXVII. 4).

What happens when the eucharistic accidents of bread and wine cease to be accidents of the bread and wine which were consecrated?

Immediately the body and the blood of our Lord ceases to be present (LXXVI. 6, Obj. 3).

It is then only by reason of the consecration of the bread and wine and of the permanency of the accidents that Jesus Christ is present eucharistically?

Yes (LXXVI. 6, Obj. 3).

How does the consecration of the bread and wine come about?

By the pronunciation, given the proper conditions, of the following words : -- For the bread: "This is My Body." For the wine:" This is the chalice of My Blood, of the New and Eternal Testament, mystery of faith, Which for you and for many was shed unto the remission of sins.



Are there any special effects of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

Yes, the Holy Eucharist produces in the soul the treasures of grace that are ordained to man's salvation.

Whence is derived this efficacy of the Holy Eucharist?

This efficacy is derived principally from the fact that it contains really and truly the presence of Jesus Christ Himself, who is the author of all grace that leads to salvation. It is derived also from this, that it is the sacrament of the Passion of our Lord which is the cause of our salvation. It is derived also from the particular way in which we participate in the sacrament by receiving the body and blood of our Lord as nourishment. Lastly, it is derived from the fact that it represents the unity of the mystical body of Christ (LXXIX. 1).

Is it owing to these causes that the attainment of heaven is a special effect of this sacrament?

Yes, because Jesus Christ died that we might reach heaven; and the Holy Eucharist is a figure of heaven's banquet (LXXIX. 2).


Is the remission of mortal sin an effect of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

There is no doubt that this sacrament has the virtue to remit all mortal sins, since it contains Jesus Christ Himself; but since our Lord is in this sacrament under the form of spiritual food and since food is given only to the living, if anyone receive this sacrament in the state of mortal sin he cannot receive the effect of the sacrament. But if anyone approaches this sacrament believing in good faith that he is in the state of grace, whereas he is not, then the Holy Eucharist will blot out the sin (LXXIX. 3).


Does this sacrament remit venial sin?

Yes, for it is a food which restores and refreshes the soul; and it compensates for little defects of the love of God which every venial sin implies (LXXIX. 4).


Does this sacrament remit all punishment due to sin?

As a sacrament its direct effect is not to remit the punishment due to sin but to restore spiritually by a renewal of fervour which unites the sonl to our Lord. But by concomitance and by reason of the fervour of love it produces, indirectly it remits the punishment due to sin, not in its entirety, but according to the degree of fervour and devotion which is caused in the soul. As a sacrifice in so far as the victim of Calvary is offered to God this sacrament has the power of expiation; but this depends upon the amount of devotion with which one offers the Victim to God. This is the reason why even as a sacrifice, although it is of infinite value, its effect is not to remit all punishment due to sin but only to do so according to the measure of one's fervour and devotion (LXXIX. 5).


Does this sacrament preserve man from future sin?

Yes; and this is one of its direct and most wonderful effects; for it fortifies man interiorly against all that might endanger his life as a Christian. As the sacrament of the Passion of Jesus Christ, it is a sign that puts to flight the devils who were conquered by the Passion (LXXIX. 6).


Has this sacrament any effect upon others apart from those who reccive it?

Considered as a sacrament that refreshes the soul spiritually it has an effect upon him only who receives it. But as a sacrament of the Passion of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice it can have an effect upon those for whom it is offered up according as they are in the state to receive the fruit thereof (LXXIX. 7).


Do venial sins impede the effect of this sacrament?

If venial sin is committed at the moment of receiving the sacrament, for instance if one is wilfully distracted, or the heart is occupied with other things, there is an effect of the sacrament which is necessarily impeded; and it is that spiritual sweetness, all divine, attaching to the reception of the sacrament. But there is always a certain increase of habitual grace produced in the soul. If, however, it be question of past venial sins, there is no impediment whatsoever to any effect of the sacrament provided one approaches it with the proper fervour and devotion (LXXIX. 1).



Are there divers ways of receiving this sacrament?

Yes, one can receive it spiritually or sacramentally (LXXX. 1).

What difference is there between these two ways?

This difference: those who receive the Holy Eucharist sacramentally only do not receive its effects; whereas those who receive it spiritually receive the effects thereof, whether this be by reason of the desire which moves them, or by reason of the actual reception of the sacrament which carries with it always the fulness of the sacrament's effect (LXXX. 1).

Can only man receive this sacrament spiritually?

Yes, because only man can believe in Jesus Christ, having the desire to receive Him as He is in this sacrament (LXXX. 2).

Can this sacrament be received sacramentally by sinners?

Yes, sinners who have the faith and who know what is the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist can receive it sacramentally whatever sins they may have on their conscience (LXXX. 3).

Does the sinner who receives this sacrament with the consciousness of his sins commit a sin in receiving this sacrament?

Yes; he commits a sacrilege, because by receiving this sacrament which contains Jesus Christ Himself, and which signifies the unity of Christ's mystic body which cannot exist except by faith and charity, he violates this sacrament, because without charity he endeavours to unite Jesus Christ to himself; and it is only charity which unites Jesus Christ to His members (LXXX. 4).

Is this sin especially grave?

Yes, because it insults the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of His love (LXXX. 5).

Is this sin as grave as the external profanation of this sacrament?

No; for this latter sin implies the direct intention of insulting Jesus Christ in His sacrament, which is a sin of greater gravity (LXXX. 5, Obj. 3).

What is necessary in order to receive, as it behooves, this sacrament sacramentally?

First of all the use of reason, and the state of grace, and also the desire to gather the fruits of the spiritual life attaching to the reception of the sacrament (LXXX. 9, 10).


May one dispense altogether with the reception of the Holy Eucharist sacramentally?

No, unless there is no possibility of receiving it; and the reason is because no one can be saved without the grace of this sacrament; but it is impossible to have the grace of this sacrament unless one has at least the desire to receive it sacramentally as soon as occasion offers (LXXX. 11).

Are there certain times fixed by the Church when one is bound to receive this sacrament sacramentally?

Yes; and these times are for every man as soon as he has attained the age of reason and is sufficiently instructed in the nature of this sacrament; and during life at least once a year, during paschal time; and lastly, when one is in danger of death, when the sacrament is received under the form of the viaticum (Code, Canons 854, 859, 864).


May one receive the Holy Eucharist sacramentally every day?

Yes, provided the conditions aforementioned are kept, so as to receive it in a fitting manner (LXXX. 10).

Is one bound to receive the Holy Eucharist sacramentally under both species of bread and wine?

Only priests at the altar in the celebration of the Mass are bound to receive the sacrament sacramentally under both species of bread and wine. As to the faithful they must conform themselves to what the Church has determined; and in fact in the Latin Church it is received by them under the species of bread only (LXXX. 12).


Must one receive this sacrament fasting?

Yes, one must fast from the previous midnight (LXXX. 12).

May one ever receive sacramentally the Holy Eucharist without fasting?

Yes, there are certain occasions when the fast is not obligatory; for instance, in order to prevent the sacred species from being profaned. But apart from this case, one may receive the Holy Eucharist under the form of the viaticum when in danger of death. As regards those who are sick and who have been obliged to keep their beds for a month, and for whom there is no hope of immediate recovery, these may receive the Holy Eucharist once or twice a week even though they may on the same morning have already taken medicine or even food provided it is taken in a liquid form (Code, Canon 858).



Whose duty is it exclusively to consecrate the Holy Eucharist?

It is the duty of the priest exclusively, who has been validly ordained according to the rite of the Catholic Church (LXXXII. 1).

Is it also the priest's duty to dispense this sacrament?

Yes. But a deacon has the power to dispense the precious blood in a chalice on those occasions when the Church permits communion under both species; he is also able in case of need and in extraordinary circumstances to dispense communion under the species of bread (LXXXII. 3).

Can a priest who is in the state of mortal sin consecrate and dispense this sacrament?

He can do so validly, but he sins gravely in doing so (LXXXII. 5).

Has the Mass of a bad priest the same value as that of a good priest?

The value of the Mass is absolutely the same in either case in so far as it is of the sacrament of Christ's Passion. But as regards the prayers said during the Mass, those of the good priest have an efficacy such as those of the bad priest have not. But all these prayers have the same efficacy on the part of the Church in whose name they are said (LXXXII. 6).


Can an heretical, or schismatical, or excommunicated priest consecrate the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

He cannot do so licitly, but he can do so validly, for he is truly a priest; and provided he does so with the intention of doing what the Church intends in the celebration of this sacrament (LXXXII. 7).

Can a priest who has been defrocked validly consecrate?

Yes, because this degradation does not take away the character of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which is indelible (LXXXII. 8).

Can one without sinning hear the Mass of an heretical, schismatical, excommunicated, or of a notoriously unworthy priest, and receive communion from him?

It is absolutely forbidden under penalty of grave sin to hear the Mass of such a priest; or even of a notoriously bad and unworthy priest if by a public sentence the Church has deprived him of the right to celebrate; but otherwise one can hear his Mass and receive communion from him without sinning (LXXXII. 9).


What is meant by the celebration of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist or of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

It means that the act whereby this sacrament is confected constitutes a veritable sacrifice in the sense that it is an immolation according to the rite existing in the Catholic Church (LXXXIII. 1).

In what does this act consist?

In an immolation of the only Victim that is pleasing to God, namely of Jesus Christ Himself.

How is this act an immolation of Jesus Christ?

Because it is the sacrament of the Passion by which Jesus Christ was immolated on Calvary (LXXXII. 1).

What is meant by saying this?

By this is meant that just as on Calvary at the moment when Jesus Christ gave His life for the expiation of our sins His Body and His Blood were separated, so the act by which this sacrament is confected separates sacramentally the Body of Jesus Christ from His Blood; and this by the fact that there is a separate consecration for the species of bread and a separate consecration for the species of wine.

What follows from this?

It follows that the sacrifice of the Mass is the same as the sacrifice on the cross.

Is it a reproduction of the sacrifice on the cross?

Properly speaking, no; because the sacrifice of the cross took place only once; on the other hand, the Mass is not a reproduction of this sacrifice, it is the sacrifice itself.

May one say it is a representation of the sacrifice on the cross?

Yes, if by this one means that the Mass makes that sacrifice present for us; but it would be incorrect if one meant to say that it was only an image or a likeness thereof, for it is the sacrifice itself.

But how can it be the sacrifice itself since that sacrifice exists no longer, and, further, in the sacrifice on the cross Christ died, whereas now He can die no more?

In this sacrament there is truly the sacrifice on the cross as there is Jesus Christ Himself. For just as Jesus Christ is here present in Himself but under another form, since He is here under the species of the sacrament, in the same way the Passion and the immolation of Jesus Christ which took place on Calvary is here, not indeed under the same violent form but under the form of a sacrament: in such wise that under this sacrament there is in the same state of separation, which constitutes the immolation of the Victim, the same Body and the same Blood of Jesus Christ which were really separated on Calvary.

When one assists at the celebration of this sacrament, is it as if one assisted at the immolation of Jesus Christ on Calvary?

Yes; and we cannot perform an act of religion more pleasing to God, since it honours and glorifies Him above all else.

Is it for this reason that the Church desires we should assist as often as possible at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Yes; and the Church has even determined that on Sundays and certain feast days it is obligatory to hear mass (Code, Canon 1248).

Does one sin gravely unless one attends Mass on these days fixed by the Church?

Yes; unless one is absolutely impeded from being present.

What must one do in order to fulfil the obligation of assisting at Mass on the days aforementioned?

One must be present in the place where it is celebrated, and one must not do anything which is incompatible with so august a sacrifice; moreover, one must not be absent from its principal parts.

What are these principal parts of the Mass?

They come between the offertory and the communion inclusively.

What is the best way to hear Mass?

It is to be united with the priest, following him from part to part so as to pay attention to all that is said and done during the Mass.



What is meant by the sacrament of Penance?

It is that holy rite which gives back to men the life of grace which Jesus Christ gave them at baptism; and this by communicating to them again the fruit of His Passion if they have had the misfortune to lose it by sin (LXXXIV. 1).

In what does the sacrament of Penance consist?

It consists in certain acts and words, which show on the one hand that the sinner has quitted his sin, and on the other hand that God has remitted the sin by the ministry of the priest (LXXXIV. 2, 3).

Is this sacrament of particular importance to man, and one for which man ought to be especially grateful to our Lord, who instituted it?

Yes, of a truth; for owing to the fragility of our fallen human nature, even after having received the grace of Baptism, which brings the supernatural life to man, it is possible for him to lose this grace; and if Jesus Christ had not instituted this sacrament of Penance, man would have had no external sacramental means of getting back his life of grace (LXXXI V. 6).

If after having received this sacrament, man falls again into sin, can he receive it again?

Yes; for Jesus Christ in His infinite mercy towards the sinner has fixed no limit to the number of times one may receive this sacrament, which carries with it always remission and pardon of sin, the only condition being that man should be truly repentant (LXXXIV. 10).


Is there any special virtue which corresponds to this sacrament?

Yes, it is the virtue of penitence (LXXXV.).

In what does the virtue of penitence consist?

It is a quality of the supernatural order which inclines man's will when he has had the misfortune to offend Almighty God, to make good this offence by making satisfaction spontaneously to the Justice of God in order to obtain from Him pardon of the sin (LXXXV. 1, 5).

Does this virtue of penitence presuppose the concurrence of the other virtues?

It implies the concurrence of the other virtues. For it implies faith in the Passion of Jesus Christ, which is the cause of the remission of sins; it implies also the hope of pardon and the hatred of sins in so far as they are opposed to the love of God, and this presupposes charity. Further, since it is a moral virtue it presupposes the virtue of prudence. On the other hand, since it is a species of the virtue of justice, whose object is to obtain pardon of God by making voluntary satisfaction for an offence, it has to make use of the virtue of temperance by abstaining from what brings pleasure, and of the virtue of fortitude when it takes upon itself things that are hard and difficult, or when it supports them (LXXXV. 3, Obj. 4).

What is the object in view of the virtue of penitence in its act of compensation?

It is the appeasing of our sovereign Lord and Master, who has been justly offended by our sin; it is to come once more into the good graces of the best of Fathers whose love has been wounded (LXXXV. 3).

The act of the virtue of penitence is then something of great import, and one cannot renew it too often if one has offended God?

In some sort this act ought to be uninterrupted in so far as it implies an interior sorrow for having offended God; and as regards exterior acts of satisfaction, it is true there is a limit beyond which one is not bound to go; but if one has reason to think that his satisfaction is imperfect, it is to his interest to do his best in order to be entirely quit of debt towards God. It should also be remembered that in practising the virtue of penitence, one practises all the other Christian virtues (LXXXIV. 8, 9).



Is the proper effect of this sacrament to remit sins?

Yes, provided one receives it with true sorrow in the heart (LXXXVI. 1).

What sins does the sacrament of Penance remit?

It remits all sins that a man can have on his conscience and that come under the power of the keys as having been committed after baptism (LXXXVI. 1).

Can these sins be remitted without the sacrament of Penance?

If it is a question of mortal sins, these can never be remitted unless the sinner have the will, at least implicit, of submitting them to the power of the keys by the reception of the sacrament as soon as he is able to do so; but as regards venial sins, if the person is in a state of grace a fervent act of the love of God suffices without having recourse to the sacrament (LXXXVI. 2).

Does it follow then that only those who have mortal sins on their conscience have need of this sacrament?

No; for although the sacrament is necessary for them, it is of great help to those in a state of grace; first of all in order to purify them the more from past sins if perchance any of their past sins were mortal; and also to purify them from venial sins, and to strengthen them against future venial sin by an increase of grace (LXXXVII. 2, Obj. 2, 3).

If by the sacrament of Penance man has received pardon for his sins, and he should fall again into the same grave sins, is his state worse by reason of this second and perhaps repeated fall?

Yes, his sin and his state of soul is worse; not that his past sins which were remitted are imputed to him again by God, but by reason of his ingratitude and despisal of the great goodness of God (LXXXVIII. 1, 2).

Is this contempt and this ingratitude another sin added to his fall?

Not unless he has, in falling again, the direct intention of contemning the goodness of God; but his repeated fall is a circumstance which aggravates the gravity of the new sin (LXXXVIII. 4).

Is it then certain that by confession God pardons sins, and that once pardoned they are never imputed again to him who committed them?

Yes, this is absolutely certain (LXXXVIII. 1).


As regards the good in the soul which sin destroys, does the sacrament of Penance by its power make that good to re-live?

Yes, most certainly; the virtue of this sacrament makes that good which was destroyed by sin to re-live; and in such wise that if it be question of an essential good, which is grace, and the right to the vision of God which one loses by grave sin, both grace and this right to heaven is given back when one receives this sacrament in good dispositions. If these dispositions fall short in fervour of one's former dispositions, the essential good is in a measure lessened somewhat; but the whole of former merits re-live and one will receive proportionate recompense for them in heaven (LXXXIX. 1-4, 5, Obj. 3).

It is then important to receive the sacrament of Penance in the best possible dispositions?

Yes, for the effect of the sacrament is proportioned to the dispositions of him who receives it.

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