I have shared four important doctrines of our Catholic faith, namely, understanding the Bible, understanding the Church, the Office of the Pope and the Most Holy Eucharist, in the previous weeks’ bulletin. Now I am going to share two more doctrines.
The word Sacrament comes from the Latin word Sacramentum, which means an oath or a solemn vow. The Catholic Church defined a Sacrament, through the Council of Trent in the 16th century, as a visible sign of an invisible grace. Thus, we believe that Sacraments are visible signs and efficacious channels of God’s grace to all those who receive them with the proper disposition.
In the Roman Catholic Church, there are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance or Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and the Matrimony. The Church believes that these seven Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ. They are categorized as
• the Sacraments of Initiation: into the Body of Christ, the Church: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist
• the Sacraments of Healing: Penance or Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick and
• the Sacraments of Service: Holy Orders & Matrimony.
Whereas the Protestant Churches accept only two Sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, as instituted by Jesus. They consider others as sacred rituals and not Sacraments because there is no Biblical basis for them.
Veneration of Mary and the Saints:
The Catholic Church maintains the veneration of Mary, the Mother of Jesus from the 2nd century. Our faith is supported by the Biblical references to the Immaculate Conception, her Perpetual Virginity and her Assumption into heaven.
The Catholic Church also practices veneration of the Saints as models of our faith. They are declared Saints by the Church through canonization after having investigated the miracles performed through their intercession.
The veneration of Mary, Mother of Jesus and of the Saints is categorically rejected by the Protestants as unbiblical. Luther advocated that we should pray directly to God and not through the Saints.
Let us stand together firmly on our Catholic faith
Fr. Arul Joseph V.