Jacques Maritain Center : Elements of Moral Theology


§ 1. Sacraments in general

Since the doctrine of sacraments in general as well as of the sacraments individually belongs to Dogmatic Theology, only so much of it need here be indicated as is necessarily assumed in Moral Theology.

A sacrament is defined with theological precision in the catechism of the Anglican Church. It is (1) "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given to us, (2) ordained by Christ himself, (3) as a means whereby we receive the same and a pledge to assure us thereof." This definition is substantially one with that of other parts of the Catholic Church -- e.g., the catechism of Trent; sc., "a visible sign of an inward grace, instituted for oar justification." In a wider sense the word has been employed in the Church for any sign of a sacred thing, as the Pasehal Lamb in the old covenant, "sacrae rei signum" (S. Aug.) or for a hidden mystery outwardly signified, "sacrum secretum;" or for an oath as a sacred thing.

A sacrament is (1) commemorative of the Passion of Christ; (2) demonstrative of present grace conferred; (3) prognostic of future glory (Summ. Theol. III. lx. 3).

Requisites. It follows that three things are required to constitute a valid sacrament (1) "An outward and visible sign" for the eye, some material thing or action; (2) a form of words, a sign for the ear; (3) a person authorized to administer the sacrament, because it has been ordained by God as a means of sanctification, and He, through His agent, is the only one who can confer what is signified.

The first two requisites are based upon the nature of man (III. lx. 4). Divine wisdom provides for each thing according to its nature and limits; "to each according to his several ability" (S. Matt. xxv. 15). But it is natural to man to arrive at spiritual realities through sensible things and a sign is that by which one communicates with another. Hence, since the holy realities which are signified by sacraments are spiritual blessings by which man is sanctified, they are outwardly expressed by sensible things, just as God speaks to man in the Holy Scriptures in a similar manner.

Considered in themselves, sensible things do not pertain to the kingdom of God (S. John iv. 24; Rom. xiv. 17), but only as they are signs of those spiritual realities which belong to that kingdom.

(1) The material thing employed in the sacrament must be substantially that, according to the judgment and custom of men, which was determined by Christ for that purpose. For example, the Holy Eucharist requires bread and wine; nothing else can take their place; and the bread must be that, leavened or unleavened, which was so named and used at the time when our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist; the wine also must be what was known and used as wine. Any substantial change in this regard nullifies the religious act as sacrament. There is no sacrament. Thus some other article of food might be taken; or currant juice, or some other drink; but, even if ignorantly done, it would be a profane and idle imitation of a sacrament and destitute of inward grace.

(2) The form of words ("accedit verbum ad elementum, et fit sacramentum," S. Aug., Super Joan., 80) is grounded (a) on the nature of the Incarnate Word who took sensible flesh; (b) on the nature of man, since "faith comes by hearing;" (c) on the perfection of the sacrament itself, which is more fully expressed by spoken words than by visible signs. Thus the pouring of water may signify either ablution or cooling; but the words, "I baptize thee," manifest that the water is used to signify a spiritual cleansing.

The words employed are an inward thought outwardly spoken in whatever language is used among men. Thus the Greek Catholic will say in his language, "The servant of God, N., is baptized," etc., and the form for lay baptism given in the constitutions of Archbishop Peckham (1279) is "I crysten thee in the Name of the Fader, and of the Son, and of the Holy Goste." But the essential form and meaning are preserved. But this being understood, it must be also remembered that Christ, not man, is the author of sacraments, and that the determinate words and matter which are of Divine appointment are essential to the existence of a sacrament.

Hence it follows (a) that if either matter or form be essentially defective, there is no sacrament, and the priest must act accordingly, ignoring the so-called sacrament.

(b) There may he corrupt intention perverting the words; e.g., heretical denial of the faith may lead to a pretended baptism "in the name of God" or "of Christ," etc. There is no intention to do what Christ and the Church have appointed; there is no sacrament. Or a man at his table may say, "Let us eat and drink in memory of our Saviour;" or in a public assembly, under the influence of the so-called "temperance" movement, grape or currant juice may be distributed. Again there is absence of the requisite intention; there is no sacrament.

(c) Through inadvertence there may be "lapsus linguae." If more or less voluntary it will be a graver or lighter sin but the essential question will be whether the sense of the words has been materially affected or not. In the one case, there is no sacrament; in the other, the error does not affect it.

(d) A deaf mute cannot act as priest in the most essential parts of the priestly office. It is impossible to divide a sacrament so that one person should do the visible part and another use the requisite words.

Repetition in case of doubt. Sacraments were made for man, and should be repeated if there be prudent doubt of their validity. Charity, justice, religion demand this.

If there be no such grave doubt, it is sin to repeat them. But reverence for the sacrament requires that the repetition be made conditionally, either mentally or in spoken words. (See the rubric at the end of the Office for Private Baptism.) The words, "If thou art not already baptized," etc., are then audibly uttered, lest persons present may think that baptism can be repeated.

What has just been said applies especially to those necessary rites of the Church of God which can be celebrated only once, viz., Baptism and Holy Orders; in those the doubt need not be so great as in other cases in order that conditional repetition be justified.

But a merely light apprehension that the essential words have not been used will not justify repetition; it is to be taken for granted that all has been duly said and done.

The minister of the sacrament contributes nothing to it by his fitness or holiness, although he, like any other, may add his private prayer for special benediction upon it. The minister, the matter, the words, are one in this respect. God alone works the inward effect of the sacrament, for He alone can reach the soul. Grace is spiritual, and from God only. The "character" which is given by some sacraments as a "sealing" of the soul, can only come from Him who uses material agents instrumentally for His supernatural work.

The prayers which are used in conferring the sacraments are offered to God, not on the part of any individual, but from the Church, whose prayers are acceptable with God (S. Matt. xviii. 19). Any devout person may ask and be heard also. But the effect of the Sacrament is not from any grayer but from the merits of the Passion of Christ, whose power operates in and through His appointed means. The effect is not more because of a worthier ministrant, although the prayer may gain an added blessing.

The celebration of sacraments has rites and prayers added by the Church, like the consecration of the water for Holy Baptism; not that they are essential, but for greater solemnity and decency, and to excite greater devotion and reverence in those who receive the sacraments.

The Church cannot add to the sacraments, for "they are ordained by Christ Himself" (III. lxiv. 1, 2).

It follows from this that the sacraments can be validly administered by those who are in mortal sin, although for themselves they add new sin to their load of guilt by celebrating in such a state. The instrument acts only through the power of Him who uses it. So the physician who uses the art of his mind in healing others may himself be diseased in body; and the pipe through which water flows may be of silver or of lead.

The unbelief of the minister is parallel with any other sin of his. Whether he utterly lack faith or charity, he is still the instrument used by the power of Christ. He may utterly disbelieve that any effect will follow from what he does, but he is not ignorant that the Church for which he acts has faith, and that her faith is expressed in the commission which he has received from her. He acts as her agent, and her faith supplies the lack of his.

(1) But can one give what he does not possess? Can the unclean cleanse the impure? It is not the ministers of the Church who give or cleanse. That is done only by Christ through them by His own power (1 Cor. iii. 5).

(2) But is he not cut off from Christ, since only those who "dwell in love dwell in God"? Yes; but the instrument may be a dead one and cut off from any union with Him who employs it, and yet he may do all that He wills by it.

(3) What is lacking is not what is essential to the sacrament, but what is fitting for decency and reverence (III. lxiv. 5). (Lev. xxi. 17; see also the 26th Article of Religion.)

It follows, also, that there is no sin in receiving from such an unworthy minister of sacraments. For it is not the individual as such who is resorted to, but the minister of the Church; and, therefore, as long as he is tolerated by the Church in his ministry, he who receives a sacrament at his hands does not cooperate in the sin, but communicates with the Church which uses such ministry. But if the unworthy minister be suspended or degraded, then he who receives a sacrament from him does cooperate in the sin.

It has been said that those who are in a state of sin are guilty in administering the sacraments in such a state, since they are profaning most holy things. But there is no need of perplexity in this truth, as if the same person would sin also in refusing to celebrate the sacrament when it is his duty so to do; for he can repent of his sin. And if he will not repent he ought to be perplexed, for he sins in refusing or in not refusing to celebrate what he was ordained to perform. But in case of necessity he would not he sinning in baptizing one who could find no other minister, for even a layman would be justified in celebrating the sacrament in such a case.

So with regard to open and avowed heretics, cut off from the body of Christ. They may, and often do, neglect the essentials of a valid sacrament, giving neither it nor its grace. But they may fully observe the requisite form, and then their sacrament is valid and cannot be repeated, although the inward grace may be suspended in the recipient until he has found his place in the Lord's body. It is, of course, sin to receive the sacraments from such persons, and no inward grace can be expected therefrom, unless, perhaps, ignorance is an excuse.

It should be understood, also, that the power of conferring sacraments pertains to that indelible "character" which is further explained on page 566; and one who is suspended or degraded from his office does not lose this power, but he is deprived of the right to exercise it lawfully. He confers the sacrament, but sins in doing so; and he who receives it from him sins also, and fails of the inward part, unless ignorance excuse him (III. lxiv. 9).

What shall we say of mock sacraments? The Roman doctrine of intention presents serious difficulties, while the Anglican Church seems to have said nothing upon the subject. It is evident, however, that the sacramental action may have more than one meaning; it may be done either seriously or in jest. It could hardly be pretended that a profane mockery of Holy Baptism or Holy Eucharist was a valid sacrament because all outward requisites were present. There is presumed, at least, a serious intention of doing what Christ commanded and what the Church does.

But there is patent objection to a sweeping doctrine that true intention is always requisite -- sc., how can any one know another's intention? If, therefore, the intention of the minister be requisite for the perfection of the sacrament, a man can never be sure that he has received it, and must lack the assurance of salvation which it was intended to bestow. S. Thomas Aquinas's words are so moderate and judicious that they seem to be worth quoting in full (III. lxiv. 8): "Some say that the defect of mental intention in the minister is supplied in the case of children by Christ who inwardly baptizes; and in adults who devoutly seek the sacrament by their faith and devotion. And this might be well said as regards the ultimate effect, which is justification from sins. But as regards the 'character' which some sacraments imprint on the soul, it does not seem that devout faith can supply what is wanting in this case, for that is never imprinted except by a perfect sacrament. Therefore, others better say that the minister of the sacrament acts in the person of the whole Church, and in the words which he utters is expressed the intention of the Church, which suffices for the perfection of the sacrament, unless the contrary is outwardly indicated by the minister or the recipient."

"Perverse intention perverts the man's work, not another's. And, therefore, from the perverse intention of the minister is perverted what he does as man, not what Christ does; just as if some one with corrupt intention should carry alms to the poor, which his master had sent with kind intention." (The alms would be equally beneficial whatever the intention might be.)

Of course, this matter of intention should not be misunderstood; whatever view is taken of it, it does not apply to such cases of distraction as are liable to occur when one does not observe what he is doing while using the most solemn words and actions. In such a case the habitual intention of the soul is what counts, although there may be grievous sin in the negligent inattention.

The minister's obligation is to give the sacraments cheerfully and without pay. But he must deny them to the unworthy (S. Matt. vii. 6). This means, (1) that to the secret sinner privately asking, the sacraments must be denied.

(2) That to the open and notorious sinner privately or publicly applying, they must be refused (see the rubric before the Order for Holy Eucharist).

(3) That the secret sinner publicly presenting himself must not be rejected. Scandal, disturbance, and aversion on the part of others are grave public evils which must be avoided, and the priest is not a partaker of another's sin if he so avoid them.

Requisites in the subject of the sacraments. The recipient contributes nothing but his preparation for the supernatural work. He can only supply what is required of him as conditions for receiving the grace.

But distinguish what is required of him for a valid sacrament, from what is requisite for the inward part of it, the "res sacramenti."

The first does not require faith on his part; for if, unbelieving and in a state of sin, he should receive the sacrament, still it cannot be repeated, if it be a sacrament conferred once for all. Its effect is suspended until the spiritual obstacle is removed.

Again, in infants, of course, no preparation or intention is required. But in adults intention to receive is requisite for a valid sacrament, for none can be unwillingly baptized.

Other sacraments require that one shall have been previously baptized, for they are ordinances "of' the living," sacraments for the Church.

A "sacrament of the dead " -- i.e., of one uncleansed from his sin -- requires acts of faith, hope, and penitence. And the minister is bound, so far as lies in his power, to see that such spiritual acts are elicited from the candidate for spiritual blessing.

For the "sacraments of the living," still more is requisite. He that comes must be in a state of grace; for they are ordained for its augmentation, and they presuppose it. It is an added sin to receive the Holy Eucharist in mortal sin. (See the shorter exhortation to those proposing to receive.) "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord."

Why are sacraments necessary to salvation? (1) From the condition of human nature, which is led to spiritual things through corporeal and sensible things; (2) from the present state of man, who by sinning has subjected his affections to sensible things, and it was fitting that God should apply His remedies to the disease which makes man incapable of purely spiritual things; (3) from the character of man's pursuits and actions, which are chiefly engaged in corporeal things. Sacraments are ordained in tender mercy to him who would find it too hard to abstract himself entirely from the earthly, while also he must be withdrawn from superstitious use of material things and actions.

The grace of God is, indeed, sufficient for all; but God gives man that grace in a manner fitted to His creature,

The Cross of Christ is the sufficient cause of our redemption, but sacraments get their power from that, and apply that to the soul. "All we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death" (Rom. vi. 3).

The Passion of Christ has made the sacraments instrumental causes of grace; i.e., God bestows His gift through them. The instrument is nothing but a material channel for the virtue of the Divine agent (Tit. iii. 5).

This being assumed from Dogmatic Theology, now notice that there are some rites of the Church which cannot be repeated, because they stamp permanently on the soul what we have called a "character," like a seal on wax. Indeed "sealing" is the very word employed in Holy Scripture (2 Cor. i. 21). Such rites are Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders. Some spiritual power is received for self or for others, either way for God. Thus the baptized are made a "spiritual priesthood," participators in the eternal priesthood of the First-born among many brethren, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable with God through Him (III. lxiii.).

Such character or seal is indelible because it gives a share in the everlasting priesthood of Christ (Ps. cx. 4). The mutable soul of man may lose its grace through his own free will; but the character does not depend on man, but on Him who consecrates His people.

But what has been said applies only to the Christian rites which have been specified; not, for example, to the Holy Eucharist, for it is the completion and consummation of the Christian life in union with Christ; therefore it does not confer this sealing which is for a further end. Holy Eucharist can be many times repeated.

§ 2. Holy Baptism.

We must again assume from Dogmatic Theology what is necessary in determining the law of God. The outward and sensible part of the sacrament of Holy Baptism (the matter and the words) is clearly expressed in the catechism of the Anglican Church. It is (1) "water wherein the person is baptized (2) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The sacrament is an ablution, the "washing of regeneration " (Tit. iii. 5). There is no sacrament in the water as such; its consecration for its sacred use is a very expressive rite, but not an essential one. Compare in this regard the great sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The sacrament consists in the application of the water to the human body after the manner of an ablution; it is water "wherein the person is baptized."

The word which completes the sacrament is applied to the person receiving it; "I baptize thee," or the "servant of God, N., is baptized." And observe once more that in the other chief sacrament the word, the form of sacramental words, is applied to the elements, not to the recipient.

The inward part is man's justification and illumination -- "a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness; . . . by this sacrament we are made children of grace." "In baptism I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven."

In this washing of regeneration is applied to the soul a sealing consummated in Confirmation, an indelible charactor which marks it forever, whether in glory or in everlasting loss.

From these dogmatic truths follow --

(1) Nothing else can replace the element of water; that is Divinely appointed and no man can make a substitute. "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God" (S. John iii. 5).

(2) The benediction or consecration of the water, though not essential to the sacrament, is not needlessly to be omitted, for it is added as a becoming rite for greater solemnity and to excite devotion. The rubric does not expressly require it in case of private baptism; but it is indirectly suggested "if time and present exigence will suffer."

(3) Since the form of words contains two essential parts -- sc., (a) the indicating of the sacramental act which declares the intention of the Church and distinguishes the act from other ablutions, and (b) the naming of Him who inwardly baptizes, according to the commandment given to the Church (S. Matt. xxviii. 19) -- baptism "in the name of God," or "in the name of Christ," or any other such formula of heresy, is invalid. Such pretended baptism must be entirely ignored.

Immersion. It has been said above that the outward part of the sacrament is a corporeal ablution sighifying the inward ablation of sins. Christ "cleansed" the Church by the washing of water with the word" (Eph. v. 26). And this corporeal ablution may be by immersion of the whole body or of the head. This adds a new signification, not indeed essential to the outward rite, but very expressive of its inward part, the "burying with Christ in baptism."

Since the head is the principal member of the body and the chief seat of the soul, it, if not the whole body, is immersed, or water is poured on it. Such immersion was the usage of the primitive Church, as we find, for example, clearly indicated in S. Chrysostom's 24th Homily on S. John "We burying our heads in water as in a sepulchre, the old man is buried; submerged, it is hidden there, and again arises in the new life."

It is certainly wise to follow the more general usage of the Catholic Church through eighteen centuries, although the prevailing custom has usually the warrant of necessity or charity -- necessity in the case of the feeble and sick, who would otherwise die unbaptized or be put to the greatest risks; and it hardly need be said that sacramental obligations do not override the laws of natural right.

It is no less open to remark that three thousand persons cannot rationally be supposed to have been immersed in or near Jerusalem in one day (Acts ii. 41).

Charity may no less imperatively demand the alternative pouring (sprinkling, though valid, being illegal in the Anglican Church). The usual scruples of parents in the case of infants, the absence of sufficiency of the element, the severity of a northern climate rendering baptism in outdoor waters a risk of life, the feebleness of the recipient even when the baptism is not clinic -- all these and the like render needless any scruples respecting deviation from the prevalent rule of the Church in favour of the exceptional mode, which also has the sanction of every age of the Church.

The priest, of course, is bound to be sure that the water flows upon the head; for without this there is no significant washing. And indifferent or unbelieving carelessness in this regard is the ground for conditional baptism in the case of converts from religious sects more or less heretical with respect to sacraments.

Trine immersion or pouring. Either one or three ablutions is valid; the former signifying the unity of the Name, the latter the three Divine persons named. The laws of the Church in this regard have varied at different periods but our own ancient and still unrepealed rule points to the trine immersion or pouring. See also the 50th Apostolical Canon "If any bishop or presbyter does not perform the one initiation with three immersions, but with giving one immersion only, into the death of the Lord, let him be deposed. For the Lord said not, Baptize into My death [it is subordinate in signification], but, 'Baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'

Why cannot baptism be repeated when a convert is received into the outward communion of the Church? (1) Since it is the spiritual new birth, it can be had only once (S. John iii. 5; Heb. vi. 4). (2) We are baptized into Christ's death, and rise with Him into a new life; this can only once be done. (3) An indelible character is given.

The minister of Holy Baptism. The priest receives in his ordination authority to "dispense the word of God and His holy sacraments." This gives validity to his official acts; but he must also have jurisdiction in each particular application of his authority in order that it may be lawful. See Canons of the American Church, title i. 12, § 6 "No minister . . . shall officiate either by preaching, reading prayers, or otherwise, in the parish, or within the parochial cure, of another clergyman, unless he have received express permission for that purpose," etc. (Qu.: Parishioners leaving their parish for the official services of another priest? Has that other priest jurisdiction in such a case?)

As the title of the office of deacon indicates, it is not part of his official work to baptize. As a work of charity, in case the official minister of the sacrament is not accessible, he may baptize infants. So may a layman, but the deacon more fully represents the authority of the Church from which the sacramental commission proceeds, and may celebrate a solemn public baptism, which the layman may not do.

What the priest's conscience ought to tell him the Church has been careful to enforce so far as in her lies. See the unrepealed canons of 1603, Nos. 68 and 69 "No minister shall refuse or delay to christen any child . . . that is brought to him upon Sundays or holy-days to be christened, . . . convenient warning having been given him thereof before. . . . If he shall refuse to christen he shall be suspended by the bishop of the diocese from his ministry by the space of three months."

"If any minister, being duly, without any manner of collusion [false pretexts for not bringing a child to church], informed of the weakness and danger of death of any infant unbaptized in his parish, and thereupon desired to go up or come to the place where the said infant remaineth, to baptize the same, shall either wilfully refuse so to do or of purpose, or of gross negligence shall so defer the time that it dieth through such his default, unbaptized: the said minister shall be suspended for three months; and before his restitution shall acknowledge his fault, and promiso before his ordinary that he will not wittingly incur the like again."

Lay baptism. Unrepealed canons provide for this in case of pressing need; although the first rubric on the subject in the Order for Private Baptism names a "lawful minister." But, in the inquiries to be made respecting the child supposed to be baptized, the matter and the words are all that are named as essentials to baptism.

God has ordained for this sacrament the most universal element, essential to man's life, so that it is the rarest thing in his experience to be where water cannot be had. And so this sacrament, "generally necessary to salvation," can rarely be desired when it may not be had. In case of pressing need, then, any man, or, in his absence, any woman, should do this work of charity. It would be grave sin, however, for the layman to take the priest's official duty upon himself when God's ordained minister can be had for be would be offending against the reverence due to so great a solemnity.

It follows from this that baptism by heretics, by any out side of the Church's communion, is valid, if matter and words be duly employed. Provision is made for conditional baptism if there be prudent doubt concerning this; but the Church makes no question concerning the person who administered the sacrament.

(1) But how can an unbaptized man give what be does not possess? I answer that the minister of the sacrament supplies only the outward part; it is Christ who inwardly baptizes, and He can use all men at His will.

(2) But how can such an one be a minister of the Church, and receive another into the body of Christ to which he does not himself belong? But he can intend to do what the Church does, and we suppose that he employs the Church's form; and Christ's power is not bound to baptized men any more than it is limited to His sacramental means.

(3) But if such a man cannot receive the other sacraments, how can he do a greater thing, sc., confer one of them? The answer is that this sacrament is necessary to salvation, and therefore God provides for its administration generally where it is desired (III. lxvii. 5).

(See, further, a clear and fuller statement of the question in Blunt's Annotated Book of Common Prayer, Introduction to Offices for Holy Baptism.)

It is unseemly, to say the least, for a priest to baptize his own child.

Sponsors. Although the 29th canon of 1603 requires that they shall be communicants, and decent regard for the office would demand the same thing, yet our recent permission to parents to act as sponsors, if it be so desired, seems to be a relaxation of the older discipline; for parents may be, and in fact often are, godless people. Apart from this permission, it were better to have a single sponsor or none at all beside parents, rather than that there should be a profane mockery of a solemn obligation by nominal sponsors who have no intention of accepting the obligations involved. And the American Church makes provision for a contingency of this kind. Sponsors are to present the child, "when they can be had."

The parental relation is not directly recognized in the rite. God-fathers and god-mothers present the child, receive it from the priest, and are charged with its spiritual care, which they may see to directly or indirectly. For in the case of a Christian household it may often be assumed that parents will do their duty in the religious education of their children. But if there be reason to apprehend the contrary, the sponsors become directly answerable to God and the Church, so far as their power extends.

Private baptism is only lawful in case of "great cause and necessity." Of course, sponsors are not to be employed, for the child is required to be presented in church for a public reception there, when the sponsor's office is called for. (Qu.: Can a priest be permitted to violate the law of the Church when wilful lawlessness refuses to bring a child to church? May he plead the law of charity? Or must the sin lie at the door of those who know their duty and will not do it?)

The recipient. He who neither is baptized nor wishes to be baptized, cannot enter the kingdom of God (S. John iii. 5), for there is manifest contempt of the sacrament. But the desire proceeds from living faith, through which God inwardly sanctifies His creature; and since He is not limited to His own means, He may count the will for the deed, and inwardly justify without the outward sacrament (III. lxviii. 2).

Since the baptism of infants cannot lawfully be deferred, the rubric requires the pastor to admonish the people often that they defer not the baptism of their children longer than the first or second Sunday after their birth, or other holy-day falling between, unless upon a great and reason able cause. Such cause would doubtless be in many places the inclemency of the season. But parents should be also instructed not to let a mother's wish to be present stand in the way of dutiful obedience to a law based upon the great necessity of this sacrament.

But in the case of adults there is more than one reason why Baptism should not be hastily administered : (1) The Church takes reasonable care not to be deceived, examining the candidate's faith and morals; (2) she needs time for instruction and spiritual exercises of the candidate; (3) she has usually preferred such solemn times as the eve of Easter and Pentecost, although special exigency, peril, and the like will override such reasons for delay.

The sacrament is for sinners, ordained for their cleansing (Eph. v. 26). But habitual sinners, who have no fixed intention of abandoning every evil course of life, cannot be baptized. ("He who made thee without thy cooperation, will not new create thee without it" -- S. Aug.) (1) They cannot be incorporated into Christ, which is the object of the sacrament (Gal. iii. 27); (2) there can be no cleansing when the will to sin remains; (3) there must be no falsity in the sacramental sign; and the outward sign of coming for ablution is utterly false if there be no fixed desire for inward purification (III. lxviii. 4).

Conditions. (1) The candidate for Holy Baptism is a voluntary, if a passive agent. ("Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?") It would be manifest profanity, and no sacrament, if the forum were used for one who was forced, or in any way unwilling to receive it. Man can die to the old life only by free renunciation of it; he must intentionally desire the new life. If such a profanation of the holy sacrament should ever occur, it must be treated as void; the sacrament must be duly administered when time penitent sincerely desires it (III. lxviii. 7).

(2) While true penitence for time past and a purpose to lead a new life are required, and the priest must have reasonable assurance of this, a confession to him is not to be required. If the penitent wish so to do he is not to be refused; but no penance is to he imposed, no absolution given; the confession is only for deeper repentance; for truer confession to God, for more serviceable counsels respecting the new life.

(3) The justifying grace of God is given only to faith; therefore a right faith, explicit concerning the chief truths of time Gospel, implicit concerning all that God has revealed through His Church, is requisite (Rom. iii. 22). He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (S. Mark xvi. 16).

This is not requisite for time character which is imprinted by God only and which is not perfected through faith. If one be truly baptized without the true faith, say, into an heretical sect, the baptism is valid; but no remission of sins is given, since that requires faith. ("Dost thou believe all the articles of the Christian faith? I do.")

One who is baptized may not have full faith respecting the sacrament; but he must intend to receive what Christ instituted and the Church delivers; that is implied in the very act of presenting himself. ("Wilt thou be baptized in this faith? That is my desire.")

The baptism of infants. (See the 27th Article of Religion.) Rom. v. 17, 18, applies to infants as included in the human race. They are able to receive the grace from their Lord, the character from God. S. John iii. 5 is absolutely universal in its application. Herein, also, is secured, as far as is possible, the nurture of children in the Christian life. They cannot bring the intention which is required in adults, but the intention of others offers them and is warranted by the Gospel. "As from others they derive the sins which are remitted in baptism, so by others they believe" (S. Aug., Cont. duas epist. Pelag., i. 22).

The parents may be unbelieving, but "children are offered to receive spiritual grace, not so much by those who hold them in their arms as by the whole society of the faithful, by whose charity they are united to the communion of the Holy Ghost" (S. Aug., ad Bonifac., ep. 98).

Consent of parents. It is contrary to natural justice that children who have not reached maturity of conscience and judgment should be baptized without their parents' consent. (Qu.: Suppose that one parent consents and the other refuses?)

When they have reached such age as to be morally and spiritually responsible for their actions in what belongs to Divine and natural law, they are answerable for themselves, and may be baptized without their parents' consent. Human law then holds minors answerable for their actions in similar manner.

What shall we say of idiots and the insane? If the latter, in their previous rational state, penitently desired the sacrament, the suspension of outward manifestations of reason through brain disease is no hindrance to the grace of Christ which they need; they should be baptized. (Cp. Conf. S. Aug. iv. 4.) If they never expressed such a desire, and no charitable ground exist for supposing that they had inward desire and preparation, they should not be baptized.

But the case of idiots, born so, is like that of infants. They are human in their immortal spiritual nature, although its outward action is impeded by defective physical constitution. They should undoubtedly be admitted into the kingdom of God, wherein they may have their place when they are set free from life-long bondage (III. lxviii. 12).

§ 3. Confirmation.

Confirmation has its "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." That this sign was used and appointed by the apostles is unquestionable, and it was therefore virtually, if not actually, "ordained by Christ Himself as a means whereby we receive the grace and a pledge to assure us thereof."

But it holds a subordinate and complementary place with respect to Holy Baptism, as the means of conveying the seven-fold gifts which perfect the greater and more necessary sacrament. The new birth is only the first step towards moral and spiritual manhood. The natural virtues, as we have seen (Part I., page 69), need to be lifted up to the higher plane of the spiritual life, and the seven-fold gifts are ordained for this purpose, making the soul prompt to follow the guidance of the holy Spirit, and ready in His strength for conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil, not only inwardly for self, but outwardly against Christ's enemies.

This may justify Bishop Cosin's words, "The nature of this holy sacrament (for so we need not fear to call it in a right sense) will be more easily understood," etc.

But the Catechism of the Anglican Church excludes it from the rank of the two greater sacraments "generally necessary to salvation." Otherwise it would always he conferred, as the Eastern Church, adhering to primitive usage, confers it, at the same time with Holy Baptism.

It hardly needs to be added that wilful refusal, virtual contempt of God's ordinance, is a bar to salvation.

The visible sign or "matter." The Church has used as the matter of Confirmation either the laying on of hands, the sign of grace conveyed; or unction, the Scriptural sign of the Holy Ghost, or both of them. Both appear to have Scriptural warrant (Acts viii. 14; xix. 6. Heb. vi. 2. 2 Cor. i. 21. 1 John ii. 27).

Those who have regarded Confirmation as a sacrament in the narrowest sense of the word have not agreed respecting the essential matter, the visible sign. But the Anglican Church, by her action in recent ages, has shown that she regards the laying on of hands as the essential sign; the other as an added expression of significant meaning, which may be omitted without detriment to the rite.

The words or form. The Anglican Church does not seem to regard any form of words as essential to this ordinance, which fact again will distinguish it from the greater sacraments, wherein the words admit of no essential change.

The spiritual grace, as already intimated, is that of strength for spiritual combat. It is a further "sealing," in addition to that of Holy Baptism, and is so called in Holy Scripture. It also imprints a character. The spiritual priesthood of the Christian receives a grace for its outward manifestation.

The age for Confirmation. As a "sealing" and the complement of Holy Baptism, it naturally follows immediately after the greater sacrament (Tert., De Bapt. vii. 8; 5. Cypr., ep. 70). But the Anglican Church indicates the reason for deferring what is not absolutely necessary to salvation, saying, "To the end that Confirmation may be ministered to the more edifying of such as shall receive it, the Church hath thought good to order that none [hereafter] shall be confirmed but such as can say the creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and can also answer to such other questions as in the short catechism are contained; . . . to the end that children being now come to years of discretion [i.e., power to distinguish between right and wrong]," etc. Here is no fixed rule established respecting the age of confirmation; nor is there any rule elsewhere appointed. To the same effect, but more precisely, is the charge given to sponsors "Ye are to take care that this child be brought to the bishop to he confirmed by him, so soon as he can say," etc. With careful instruction according to the charge given, children should ordinarily be ready on or before the age of twelve, and they will have power of moral "discretion;" but circumstances certainly vary too widely for any more precise rule to be given.

Instruction of children. Both the English and the American Church make this very explicitly the duty of parish priests, and of deacons whose official duty it is "to instruct the youth in the Catechism." The 59th canon of 1603 begins, "Every parson, vicar, or curate, upon every Sunday and holy-day, shall, for half an hour or more, examine and instruct the youth . . . in the Ten Commandments, the Articles of the Belief, and in the Lord's Prayer and shall diligently hear, instruct, and teach them the Catechism set forth in the Book of Common Prayer." The American Church is less definite, although she orders to the same effect (title i. can. 19) "The ministers of this Church who have charge of parishes or cures, shall be diligent in instructing the children in the Catechism." Whatever may be said of "Sunday-schools," it seems quite certain that "Bible lessons" there are no substitute for this obligation, but rather, on the contrary, an immoral evasion of a sacred duty.

The American Church has even ordered the duty of the diocesan with regard to Confirmation (title i. can. 13, § 11) "Every bishop in this Church shall visit the churches within his diocese at least once in three years, for the purpose of . . . administering the apostolic rite of Confirmation," etc.

Requisites for Confirmation. (1) The unbaptized cannot be confirmed, for the grace is the complement of that of Holy Baptism. Baptism is the gate which admits to all Christian privileges; and outside of that door there are no sacraments. Therefore, if one discover that his reputed baptism was void, he should be again presented for Confirmation, even if he have gone to the bishop before. (The same principle applies to Holy Orders. An unbaptized person cannot receive the grace; he has never been validly ordained, even if the outward form have been celebrated for him.)

(2) Since Confirmation is a "sacrament of the living," he that receives it must be in a state of grace; he must bring a penitent and believing soul, according to his age and capacity; but the grace conferred, if rightly received, may deepen that penitence and faith. The faithful pastor has the one special opportunity in the life-time of his spiritual charge for the most direct and thorough private spiritual guidance. The age of the candidate, the tender and solemn feelings awakened, the dawning sense of responsibility to God and man, the special possibility at that period of a true conversion from the errors of childhood, open a way for God's priest to the inmost recesses of the soul, whither he may carry the Word of Life. Woe to him if he negligently prefer his own ease to this private ministration to each individual soul.

Such a time is an eminently proper one to encourage the young disciple to make his first confession, if, as is probable, his conscience, being awakened by the admonitions given, be not at rest. He will need little encouragement to "open his grief," although the Church has given no such exhortation to him as he will receive at the time of his first communmon.

(3) In case of doubt, conditional Confirmation is permissible, although the obligation is not to be pressed on one who reasonably thinks that he has received the sacrament.

The sick are to be confirmed if they desire and Confirmation can be had; but it is not to be urged as "necessary to salvation."

Finally, "there shall none be admitted to Holy Communion until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed." If fit and prepared for the lesser rite, he is fit and prepared for the greater, and not otherwise. But, also, if fit and prepared for the receiving of the Lord's Body and Blood, he cannot refuse the grace and the "apostolic rite" without the mortal sin of contempt of God's order. If the thing be known, it is an "open and notorious sin.

But the law of the Church which binds the priest's conscience always, because it is a negative precept, must not be misunderstood. As in the case of any other sin, a person who publicly presents himself while guilty of this contempt, cannot be excluded from Holy Communion without grave scandal. "Admission" must therefore be regarded as express consent given to a person's so presenting himself. A priest cannot give such consent without violation of law, which is an offence against God and man.

§ 4. The Holy Eucharist.

Moral Theology cannot present the law which binds our consciences respecting this transcendent mystery without assuming from Dogmatic Theology the revealed truth concerning it. The law is based on the truth. He that rejects the law virtually denies the truth. He that denies the truth knows no law claiming his obedience for which he must answer before the bar of God.

It is not possible here to do more than briefly to state the truth as the Catholic Church receives it, and in her liturgies gives it, teaches it, and confesses it by her faith before God. Lex credendi is both lex orandi and lex faciendi.

Many questions, also, regarding the manner of celebrating this august rite, answers to which bind the devout priest as part of his law, must be relegated to the department of liturgies and ritual.

First in order of time the Holy Eucharist is a sacrifice, a sacred thing offered to God in memory of the Cross and Passion of the Lord, a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the ineffable benefits of that meritorious sacrifice which it presents before God through the great High Priest. It is offered for the obtaining of "remission of sins, and all other benefits of Christ's Passion."

Secondly, it is a Holy Communion through which we participate in the perfect nature of Christ, perfect God and perfect man in one indissoluble unity, and through Him are united to one another in the mystical Body. It is the "Viaticum" as the appointed way to the future glory of the saints. We will consider the doctrine and the law of each.

(1) The Holy Communion. The outward part or sign is "bread and wine which the Lord hath commanded to be received."

The inward part, the "res sacramenti," is "the Body and Blood of Christ which are verily and indeed (spiritually) taken and received by the faithful," i.e., the baptized people of Christ.

Here at once we must notice a distinction between this sacrament and what we have previously examined. The inward part of Baptism is "a spiritual grace," whereas in the Holy Eucharist the inward part is distinct from "the benefits whereof we are partakers thereby." It is really and truly what is signified by the outward part. No such thing can be affirmed of Holy Baptism. The consecrated water is not per se the sacrament; that consists in the ablution with the use of the sacred Name; but receiving bread and wine in memory of the Lord's Passion is not the Holy Eucharist. This is completed in the consecration, although consumption perfects the sacrifice.

The sacrament, sign and thing, was ordained for the food of the soul. The consecration makes such food by the power of Him who is the Giver and the Food.

The truth of the Real Presence, then, is essential to a comprehension of the Divine law of the sacrament. The inward part of the sacrament is really and truly in, with, and under the outward part, but spiritually, not after the manner of natural bodies, because the Lord's body is glorified; therefore not locally subject to laws of time and space. This Real Presence, real because not figurative nor merely virtual, is admitted to be unimaginable, because our knowledge of body is derived through the senses, and the body of the Lord is not subject to the laws of sense. The Presence is discerned by reason and faith alone. "If thou hast spiritually understood the words of Christ respecting His Body, they are spirit and life to thee; if thou hast understood them carnally, they are still spirit and life, but not for thee" (S. Aug., Super Joan. 27).

But the Presence is the presence of Christ, God and Man; where His glorified Body is, there is His glorified Soul, and there, in special manner, is His Divinity, which was never separated, not even in death, from His human nature. The "res sacramenti" indeed is the glorified Body and Blood; but by natural "concomitance," all that Christ is, is there, making "His Flesh meat indeed, and His Blood drink indeed." He is in both parts of the sacrament, for they are one and not two; but He is there in different manner, and for different ends. Where His glorified Body is, there is His Blood, for "He dieth no more." But it is joined to His Body by natural concomitance, not by the act of consecration. And the case is similar in the sacrament of the Precious Blood. Both re-present the "full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice," but the sacrament of the Precious Blood specially represents that which was shed for the "remission of sins."{1}

Christ is not present after the manner of bodies with their three dimensions. However the consecrated elements are divided, the Presence is not withdrawn from any part. Each and every part is a perfect sacrament, outward and inward.

The law of the sacrament. The matter, the outward and visible sign, must be, (1) wheaten bread, the purest that can be obtained. The common article sold under that name, more or less mixed, may suffice for a valid sacrament; but believing reverence will certainly seek for something different, if it may be had; "the best and purest wheat bread that conveniently may be gotten" (English rubric).

It may be leavened or unleavened; and the laws of the Catholic Church from the earliest ages have differed in this respect; but the words of the English rubric as they now stand -- sc., "It shall suffice that the bread be such as is usual to be eaten " -- compared with the rubric of 1549, suggest that the law of the Western Church is not repealed, but only permission given to deviate from it for weighty and sufficient reasons. Very good reasons, based on decency and reverence, may be given for complying with the old law and custom of the English Church, as renewed at the Reformation "It is meet that the bread prepared for the Communion be made . . . unleavened and round, as it was afore, but without all manner of print," etc. "And men must not think less to be received in part than in the whole, but in each of them the whole Body of our Saviour Jesus Christ."

(2) The wine must be true wine; i.e., the juice of the grape, not that of currants, apples, or the like. Christ so constituted his sacrament, and man has no power to change it. The unfermented juice of the grape is certainly unlawful material; whether it annul the sacrament is, perhaps, an open question. But, also, it must not be overlooked that pure wine being liable to acetous fermentation, if that change be complete, there can be made no sacrament of the Blood. The consecration must be repeated with true wine.{2}

The mixed chalice, following the example of our Lord, who blessed the cup to which a little water had been added, has the warrant of all parts of the Catholic Church, was required by rubric at the Reformation, and is most expressively significant of the union of the Divine and human, first in the Incarnation, then in the Holy Communion. But the omission of the rubric undoubtedly suspends the law. Whether the opposite usage is now obligatory is quite another question. (See the recent judgment of the Archbishop of Canterbury.)

The quantity of water added must be very small.

The form. The words of consecration spoken in the person of Christ, who invisibly consecrates, are invariable. The nature of the sacrament itself is illustrated by comparing the variable words in communicating the faithful with the absolutely unchangeable form of consecration. S. Thomas Aquinas, III. lxxviii. 1, clearly presents the subject "This sacrament differs from the other sacraments in two particulars; first, that this sacrament is perfected in the consecration of matter; but other sacramental rites in the use of consecrated matter. Secondly, in those the consecration consists only in a benediction, . . . but in the Holy Eucharist it consists in a change which can be accomplished only by God's power. Hence the minister in this sacrament can only utter the words. [In Baptism he must pour the water; in Confirmation he must lay his hands on the candidate, etc.] And, therefore, the form of this sacrament, as suitable to the end, differs from other like forms in two respects. First, the others imply the use of a sign, as, 'I baptize thee' (or, 'Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands'). But the form of this sacrament expresses only the consecration of matter. And, secondly, other like forms are expressed, like those just given, in the person of the minister, either as doing the act, or claiming authority, or imploring the Divine gift (as in the absolution of the liturgy, 'Have mercy upon you,' etc.). But the form of this sacrament is uttered in the person of Christ, that all may understand that the minister contributes nothing to its perfection, but only utters the words" (while Another consecrates the elements).

The minister. The priest in his ordination receives authority to consecrate the Holy Eucharist. He is enjoined to be "a faithful dispenser of the Word of God and of His holy sacraments," of which this one is chief. But he needs power of jurisdiction if he exert his office for the benefit of the faithful. He is not a minister to all mankind, but to that flock committed to his care. And we have seen already (page 570) the law of the Church which regulates this jurisdiction.

If Holy Orders are indelible, however, lawlessness or any other sin -- e.g., heresy or schism -- does not take away the power of making a valid Eucharist. The priest sins in using his functions, and the res sacramenti gives him no spiritual grace, but rather that condemnation for unworthy approach to sacred mysteries of which the apostle speaks. And the faithful are certainly bound to avoid him, and not to be partakers of his sins (2 Ep. S. John v. 11).

Distinction, however, must be made between one who is publicly sentenced by the Church and one who is privately known to be wrong. For the latter is still the minister of the Church, and it is not partaking of his sin to join in his sacrifice where he has jurisdiction, and to receive the Holy Communion from his sinful hands.

Doctrine and law of reception. How can we express in few words the benefits which are partaken by a devout reception of the Holy Communion? They are all which Christ gives to the loving soul; for, in giving Himself, He, gives all -- (1) Increase of grace previously bestowed, sustaining and strengthening the spiritual life; (2) new gifts of grace according to devout prayer for it; (3) the weakening of sinful concupiscences, so that devout reception becomes a spiritual medicine for the weak; (4) through increase of love, and therefore more sincere contrition, pardon for venial sins committed; (5) union with Christ (S. John vi. 56); (6) union with His members in the one mystical Body; (7) preservation in future temptations; and, lastly, (8) the pledge of glory (v. 54).

This is a sacrament of the living, and he that eats niust first be cleansed (1 Cor. xi. 29). If he himself place impediments in his way, he cannot be united with Christ, though he receive His Body and His Blood. (See 29th Article of Religion.) He is not a "partaker of Christ;" i.e., he does not spiritually receive the precious nutriment of his soul.

The distinction, then, between a sacramental reception and a spiritual communion is real and fundamental. The sacramental may lack the spiritual effect, while, on the other hand, the rubric respecting the communion of the sick gives most explicit instruction concerning spiritual communion where there is a hearty desire and preparation for sacramental communion.

Children who have not reached the "age of discretion" are not in the Western Church admitted to sacramental communion, yet it would surely he derogatory to the love of their Saviour to suppose that the devout desire of the Church which brings them to Holy Baptism is unavailing for their spiritual communion with him.

But he that receives in mortal sin is further guilty of sacrilege. He signifies by his act that he is united with Christ and incorporated in the mystical Body, which cannot be without faith and love. Therefore he acts a profane lie.

He may do this ignorantly -- ignorant of the law which he has broken, but which does not excuse him for his ignorance; or, ignorant of his sin, because he has not examined himself as he is bound to do (1 Cor. xi. 28); and he sins in receiving, because his very ignorance is sinful. But, again, he may grieve for his sin, and resolve to avoid it, while he has not that perfect contrition which would spring from perfect love; then his contrition will be deepened in the reception itself. He has not sinned in the reception. Or he may have forgotten his sin even with due examination of himself; then his general contrition will doubtless make him a worthy communicant (III. lxxx. 4).

What was said (page 564) with reference to the minister's giving the sacraments to the unworthy need not be here repeated.

Fasting communion. Catholic custom and law are unvarying in this respect. The few exceptions only prove the rule. S. Augustine is trustworthy witness to usage when he says (Ep. ad Januarium, 54) that that custom "is observed throughout the world;" so that he is bold to say: "It pleased the Holy Ghost that in honour of so great a sacrament the Lord's Body should enter the mouth before other food."

The words "fasting communion" may be somewhat misleading, since fasts are an exercise of penitential devotion. Such fasting precedes the day of reception; but here the words simply imply that the Holy Food shall be the first to be taken on the day of reception, counting from the beginning of that day.

Communion in the evening naturally involves a violation of this law and custom.

Spiritual devotion, from which are gained the effects of this sacrament, naturally demands that the offering of the soul in Holy Eucharist be the first duty of the new day; and if an act of private thanksgiving be added, there will be, after reception, a decent separation made between the heavenly banquet and the common table of home, with the other occupations of the day.

At the same time, it should surely be remembered that "fasting communion" is not a moral law, but an outward observance, which, like any other positive law of Church or State, admits of exceptions. Even where the law is strictest, exception is made in ease of communion of the sick. And parity of reasoning may apply the same judgment to other cases of infirmity, especially in a rigorous northern climate. For no merely positive law overrides the certain demands of a weak, sickly nature; nor should such be deprived of sacramental communion when it may be had.

(Qu.: If necessity, which knows no law, compel a violation of the rule for the sake of charity, is there any good reason for partial abstinence?)

Decent reverence for the consecrated water of Holy Baptism requires that it be carefully removed; say, by an outlet at the bottom of the font, or otherwise. And yet that water is not a sacrament. But the sacrament of the altar is perfected in the consecration, and the res sacramenti remains there as long as the outward part endures in its natural condition of bread and wine. Hence comes the obligation of reverent consumption of what remains after communion, and the profanity of carelessness respecting fragments of the consecrated elements. Wilful negligence is due either to unbelief in the Church's doctrine or to sinful profanity.

Also, it will be seen that if taken from the church to the sick, or kept for that purpose, it is still the sacrament, both matter and thing.

The "Viaticum." Although the Greek Church gives the Holy Communion to infants after their baptism, the general law of necessity of sacramental reception seems to apply to those who have some use of reason, however imperfect it may be, and who can therefore offer some inward devotion in their receiving. This being understood, it appears that the Viaticum should be administered to all baptized persons who are old enough to receive it devoutly, and have shown some desire for it, some inward devotion to the Lord who died for them, some contrition for their errors and their sins, the minister putting the most charitable construction upon words uttered in feebleness, and perhaps in pain.

The fact that before the priest arrives to give the Viaticum the sick has lost his reason, can hardly be considered a bar to fruitful reception, if previously he were penitently desirous and prepared to receive it. The sick is like the infant receiving Holy Baptism, but has added his own faith and love to his spiritual needs. If he is to be debarred, would not distraction of mind at the instant of receiving be also a bar to fruitful reception on the part of the most sincere penitent who presents himself at the altar? Surely the love of Christ finds no obstacle in such a case. This also is the law of the Church whenever she has made any declaration upon the subject; e.g., of the Fourth Council of Carthage, can. 76: "If it is believed that he is dying, having sought reconciliation with God before his delirium, let him be reconciled by the laying on of hands, and let him receive the Holy Eucharist." One who has never had the use of reason, or has never shown evidence of penitence and desire for the Viaticum, must be left to his Judge. (Qu.: Can the deacon, in case of absolute necessity, carry the Viaticum and administer the same?)

Frequent communion is rather a matter of counsel than of precept. But the law of the Anglican Church fixes a minimum in three times a year. (Canons 21 and 22 of 1603): "Every lay person is bound to receive the Holy Communion thrice every year," "whereof the feast of Easter to be one." Christmas and Whitsuntide, though not named in those canons, are properly the other two seasons for receiving.

(2) The Eucharistic sacrifice is offered to God as "the memorial His Son has commanded us to make," saying, "Do this in remembrance of Me." It is offered as a sacrifice of thanksgiving "for the innumerable benefits procured unto us" by Jesus' Passion and Death, His Resurrection and Ascension, for it is not the sacrifice of a dead victim, but it is offered by a living High Priest who offers Himself. It is offered through the merits of our Saviour, and in its inward part offered by Him for the "obtaining the remission of sins and all other benefits of His Passion," for those who offer and for "all His whole Church."

It is then the duty of every priest to fulfil the function for which he was ordained and to offer this holy sacrifice as often as he may, the ordinary maximum being once daily, except on special occasions like Easter, Whitsunday, and Christmas, or when serving two congregations. The Anglican Church seems to have fixed no minimum; but as the question now before us is of the offering of the Christian sacrifice, not of the communion of the people, it is evident that the priest who has no cure is not released from his obligation of making frequently the Eucharistic oblation.

The American Church has omitted the rubric requiring the presence of some of the faithful at the sacrifice to represent the congregation. But the law must still be considered binding that, except in case of unforeseen accident, there shall always be some one at least to unite with the priest, and claim the promise that "when two or three are gathered in Christ's name, He will be with them."

Christ has been immolated once for all; but in this memorial sacrifice the "one, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice" is re-presented to God, and its effects become fruitful for us and for all in whose behalf it is offered (III. lxxxiii. 1).

Provision is made for fulfilling S. Paul's injunction through S. Timothy (1 Tim. ii. 1), at the Offertory prayer, and for the departed after the consecration, in the words "we and all Thy whole Church;" and although there is no positive law to that effect, there can be no good reason for not inviting the faithful to join inwardly in those special intercessions for individuals which the devout priest will desire to make at those periods in the liturgy.

{1} Two elements do not make two sacraments. There is one spiritual food (S. John vi. 56), though there are two outward parts, because it derives its virtue from the Passion of Christ which it commemorates, and in that Passion His Blood was separated from His Body.

{2} As there is reason for thinking that the consecration of the bread is completed before the other consecration is begun, it may be held that the previous consecration counts, and that the wine only, if it can possibly be obtained, need be consecrated.

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