Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 178 - Part II.

YOUCAT Question n. 178 - Part II. If a sacrament is administered by someone who is unworthy, does it fail to have its effect?    

(Youcat answer - repeated) No. The sacraments are effective on the basis of the sacramental action that is carried out (ex opere operato), in other words, independently of the moral conduct or spiritual outlook of the minister. It is enough for him to intend to do what the Church does.               

A deepening pening through CCC      

(CCC 1131) The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.     

Reflecting and meditating

(Youcat comment) By all means, ministers of the sacraments ought to live an exemplary life. But the sacraments take effect, not because of the holiness of their ministers, but rather because Christ himself is at work in them. In any case, he respects our freedom when we receive the sacraments. That is why they have a positive effect only if we rely on Christ.

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 1128) This is the meaning of the Church's affirmation (Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1608) that the sacraments act ex opere operato (literally: "by the very fact of the action's being performed"), i.e., by virtue of the saving work of Christ, accomplished once for all. It follows that "the sacrament is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 68, 8). From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them.       
(The next question is:  Who celebrates the liturgy?)   

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