Aquinas, Summa Theologica
objections: not a sign -- signs are open, not hidden or mysterious; sacraments can be oaths, and oaths are not signs -- but a cause: from sacro, to cause to be holy, to consecrate
- yet it's the outward showing of an inner sanctity; in this way it's a "sacred secret"
- "Signs are given to men, to whom it is proper to discover the unknown by means of the known. Consequently a sacrament properly so called is that which is the sign of some sacred thing pertaining to man; so that properly speaking a sacrament, as considered by us now, is defined as being the "sign of a holy thing so far as it makes men holy.""
sacrament is "that which is ordained to signify our sanctification"; consider the cause, form and end of our sanctification
both a reminder of the past and a foretelling of future glory
sensible objects used to signify the spiritual, just as Divine Scriptures present divine wisdom in the sensible object of a book
words used to signify concepts within the sacraments, turning sensible objects into spiritual instruments; words can be changed by intentions of person saying them; slight alterations do not destroy the sense or intentions of the words
Augustine: impossible to keep men together in one religion without sacraments; necessary that men be united in one true religion; therefore, sacraments are necessary for man's salvation
- man must be lead to things spiritual through things corporeal/sensible; God, knowing man's nature, provides sacraments to lead man to the spiritual
sacraments are spiritual remedies to wounds of sin; weren't necessary when man lived without sin
some sacraments before Christ's coming -- men were saved by faith in his coming before he came
are sacraments mere signs of grace of signs that cause grace?
- related causally by form, like fire by its own heat causing heat in other things
- related causally by instrument, through God
sacraments confer more than the grace of the virtues on the gifts, because even those who have the virtues and the gifts can/should take sacraments
character printed on man's rational soul
Baptism: door to sacraments, opens way for man to receive all others
the power of the sacrament comes from he who institutes it; therefore God institutes the sacraments; Christ produces inward sacramental effect both as God (power of authority) and as man (power of excellence)
ministers of the church work as instruments in the sacraments, acting by the power of one who moves them (God); so the ministers can be wicked, so long as they're acting like instruments (however, ministers can be acting wickedly by being irreverent to God)
"even an unbeliever can confer a true sacrament, provided that the other essentials be there"
however, can take away the truth of the sacrament by perverting it, e.g. performing it in mockery
Baptism is the greatest of all the sacraments; washing in actual water, cannot be reiterated
sacraments of Extreme Unction / penance are inferior because they remedy supervening defects
children saved by baptism alone, without the other sacraments
Penance shown by both deeds and words of sinner; sins are the remote matter of Penance; laying of hands isn't necessary, because no special grace is being given as with confirmation; necessary for those in sin (to make a full confession of them), but not absolutely necessary for salvation
- holds second place after baptism, confirmation and the eucharist
- twofold: internal (sorrow at one's own sin) and external (penance from priest)
- "One is said to repent in two ways, actually and habitually. It is impossible for a man continually to repent actually. for the acts, whether internal or external, of a penitent must needs be interrupted by sleep and other things which the body needs. Secondly, a man is said to repent habitually. and thus he should repent continually, both by never doing anything contrary to penance, so as to destroy the habitual disposition of the penitent, and by being resolved that his past sins should always be displeasing to him."
Penance "denotes an act of the will, and in this way it implies choice, and if this be right, it must, of necessity, be an act of virtue."
"every sin can be blotted out by true Penance"
God pardons fully -- no half-pardons
penance is a virtue; virtue is a habit of choosing according to right reason, and one's grief for things grievous is virtuous
penance is a kind of justice; one doesn't just sorrow for one's sinful actions but should pay restitution
penance is in the will
penance can be done from fear, hope, for pardon, charity, to avoid punishment
every sin can be blotted out by true penance -- but what true penance is ..?
impossible for mortal sin to be pardoned without penance