sacrament [Lat.,=something holy], an outward sign of something sacred. In Christianity, a sacrament is commonly defined as having been instituted by Jesus and consisting of a visible sign of invisible grace. Christianity is divided as to the number and operation of sacraments. The traditional view held by Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and certain Anglicans counts the sacraments as seven—Eucharist, baptism, confirmation, penance, anointing of the sick, matrimony (see marriage), and holy orders (see orders, holy). These are held to produce grace in the soul of the recipient by the very performance of the sacramental act (ex opere operato); the recipient need only have the right intention. Most Protestant denominations recognize two sacraments—baptism and communion, or the Lord's Supper. Protestants hold generally that it is the faith of the participant, itself a gift of God, rather than the power of the sacramental act that produces grace. A conventional division of the seven sacraments sets apart the "sacraments of the dead," i.e., baptism and penance, because they are for souls in a state of sin; the rest, "sacraments of the living," are conferred on souls in a state of grace.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Sacraments: Selected full-text books and articles

Christ, the Sacrament of the Encounter with God By E. Schillebeeckx Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1963
On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith: (De Sacramentis) By Hugh Saint Victor; Roy J. Deferrari Mediaeval Academy of America, 1951
The Bible and the Liturgy By Jean Danielou University of Notre Dame Press, 1956
The Idea of Catholicism: An Introduction to the Thought and Worship of the Church By Walter J. Burghardt; William F. Lynch Greenwich-Meridian, 1960
Librarian's tip: "The Sacraments: The Christian's Journey through Life" begins on p. 187
Liturgical Piety By Louis Bouyer University of Notre Dame Press, 1955
Librarian's tip: Chap. Twelve "Initiation into the Mystery: Baptism, Confirmation, Penance in the Mass"
The Protestant Faith By George W. Forell Prentice-Hall, 1960
Librarian's tip: "The Significance of the Word and the Sacraments for the Protestant Faith" begins on p. 222
Eucharistic Sharing: Revising the Question By Vanderwilt, Jeffrey Theological Studies, Vol. 63, No. 4, December 2002
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Treatises on Penance: On Penitence and on Purity By William P. Le Saint; Tertullian Newman Press, 1959
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