Essentials of Catholic Theology - Lesson 4

The Seven Roman Catholic Sacraments

What is a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church? How are they celebrated? Why are there seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church? What is their significance? What does, "Christ's Pascal mystery" refer to? This course gives you the opportunity to understand more about what the sacraments are, how you celebrate them and why they are a central element of Roman Catholic theology.

Gregg Allison
Essentials of Catholic Theology
Lesson 4
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The Seven Roman Catholic Sacraments


A. Augustine

B. Nature-grace interdependence


A. Definition

B. Christ's Pascal mystery

C. Three types of sacraments

D. The sacraments as they relate to nature and grace

E. Ex opere operato


A. Two sacraments in Protestant churches

B. Why only two sacraments in Protestant churches?

C. What about the other five Roman Catholic sacraments?


  • Have you stopped to consider what Protestants and Roman Catholics have in common theologically and in practice? Thre are quite a few areas of agreement that can create opportunities for dialogue and fellowship. There are also significant differences in core principles and even differences in the way theological terms are defined. Key theological terms like grace, mercy, justification and sacraments have different meanings for each group. Listening to this lecture is a great opportunity for you to see the main similarities and differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics. It will also provide context for the other lectures in this course. 

  • The relationship between nature and grace, and also the interconnection of Christ and the church are the two foundational axioms on which everything in the Roman Catholic Church is structured. Everything from the nature of God to how creation works to salvation to church services to what happens after you die depends on these two ideas. Everything in Roman Catholic theology and practice is consistent with and determined by these two principles. 

  • On what authority does the Roman Catholic Church base their teachings and beliefs? What do they mean by general revelation and divine revelation? How and by whom is revelation transmitted and interpreted? What role does the Bible play in this process? Who makes up the Magisterium and what is their role? Why is the Catholic Bible different from the Protestant Bible? Understanding what the sources of revelation for the Roman Catholic Church are and how they transmit and interpret them will give you insight into their theology and practice. 

  • What is a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church? How are they celebrated? Why are there seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church? What is their significance? What does, "Christ's Pascal mystery" refer to? This course gives you the opportunity to understand more about what the sacraments are, how you celebrate them and why they are a central element of Roman Catholic theology.

  • In Roman Catholic doctrine and practice, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Why is this true? What are the elements of the Eucharist and what takes place with the elements when the Eucharist is celebrated? What effect does it have on the people that participate? How is the Protestant view of the Eucharist different? What difference does it make? Take some time to consider the meaning of the Lord's Supper and why it is important to you.

  • In Roman Catholic theology, what is required for salvation and how do you accomplish it? Part of the answer lies in understanding the interface of law, grace, justification and merit. Also law, remission of sins, regeneration and sanctification are involved, all within the context of the Roman Catholic Churchas both mother and teacher. Listen further to understand how these parts are connected and intertwined. Then compare Protestant theology? Which position is Biblical? 

  • Why is Mary mentioned throughout Roman Catholic liturgy and theology? What is Dr. Allison referring to when he says that Mary is not just a tangent of Roman Catholic faith, but that Mariology epitomizes the core of their theological system? Why is this the case? How does this affect how people worship God and practice their faith? How does this compare with a Protestant view of Mary? As you listen, consider why Mary was important and what her role was in the life and ministry of Jesus. 

This course takes a systemic approach to explain the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and gives a comparative assessment to evangelical theology in the areas of salvation, Jesus, the church, eucharist, baptism, and Mariology.

The quotes that Dr. Allison is reading are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an official catechism approved by the Roman Catholic Church.

Recommended Books

Essentials of Catholic Theology - Student Guide

Essentials of Catholic Theology - Student Guide

This course takes a systemic approach to explain the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and gives a comparative assessment to evangelical theology in the areas of...

Essentials of Catholic Theology - Student Guide

Essentials of Catholic Theology

Dr. Gregg Allison


The Seven Roman Catholic Sacraments

Lesson Transcript


The seven Roman Catholic Sacraments. When both Catholics and Protestants are asked what comes to mind when they think about the Roman Catholic Church, both more than likely will answer the sacraments. This topic is of great importance and interest. By way of definition. Augustine, from 354 to 430 A.D. defined a sacrament as a visible and tangible sign of an invisible, yet real grace. To illustrate elements of nature like water, oil, bread and wine through consecration by the church, become capable of receiving and communicating divine grace as baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist as one of the two axioms of Roman Catholic theology. This nature, Grace Interdependence is at the heart of the Catholic Church and its sacraments. We begin by looking at the sacramental economy. This central reality is called by the Roman Catholic Church, its sacramental economy. In this case, economy doesn't refer to a financial system, but to the communication or dispensation of the fruits of Christ's Pascal mystery. In the celebration of the church's sacramental liturgy, Christ's past school mystery is his life ministry and mission to save sinful human beings. The fruits of his saving work are the benefits that are made available to the Catholic faithful through the liturgy. The liturgy is the work of the Catholic faithful cooperating with the work of God such that Christ continues our work of redemption in with and through the church sacramental. The adjective associated with sacramental economy. Sacramental indicates that at the center of the church's transmission of Christ's saving benefits are the seven sacraments. They are of three types. The three sacraments of initiation are baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. These three sacraments together are foundational for the Catholic faithful who are born a new by baptism, strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life.


There are two sacraments of healing, Penance and Reconciliation and the anointing of the sick by these two sacraments. Christ has willed that his church continue in the power of the Holy Spirit. His work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. Three. The two sacraments at the service of Communion are holy orders and matrimony. These rights are directed toward the salvation of others and confer a particular mission in the church and serve to build up the people of God. What about the sacraments? Nature and grace. Through these rights, the grace of God is infused into the Catholic faithful, thereby transforming their character and readying them to love and engage in good works so that they can merit eternal life. Thus, they manifest the key principle of the nature, grace, interdependence. Moreover, as it is the Catholic Church that administers these sacraments, the sacramental economy depends on the Christ Church interconnection for its effectiveness and validity. X, Oprah, Oprah, Rato. The church insists that its sacraments are effective and valid. X, Oprah, Oprah literally by the work worked. That is when a sacrament is administered. It confers grace because a minister of the church acting in the person of Christ administers the sacrament. Its effectiveness and validity do not depend on the spiritual or moral state of the priest or bishop who administers the sacrament. Rather, by the fact that the sacrament is administered, it communicates divine grace. In more detail celebrated worthily in faith. The sacraments confer the grace that they signify. They are efficacious. They are effective because in them Christ himself is at work. It is he who baptize us. He who acts in his sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each signifies. Additionally, because Christ, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, is the acting agent, the administration of the sacrament cannot be rendered null and void by the one who administers them.


That is, the infusion of divine grace cannot fail if the sacraments are dispensed by spiritually corrupt and or immoral ministers. They operate 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. That is, the one who is more open to the grace of God receives greater benefit than the one who is closed and only goes through the motions. According to the Roman Catholic Church, there are seven sacraments, whereas according to Protestant churches, evangelical churches, there are only two sacraments or ordinances. Let's think about the two Protestant rights. Protestant churches administer only two sacraments or ordinances at the time of the Reformation. Leading Protestants like Martin Luther and John Calvin reduce the number of church rights from seven is practiced in the Roman Catholic Church to two. Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Indeed, one of the two marks of Protestant churches is the administration of these two, and only these two sacraments or ordinances. Of course, the other mark is the preaching of the Word of God. But the second mark of Protestant churches. Two sacraments or two ordinances. Why only two Protestant rights? The key reason for the reduction in number is that Christ only ordained two rights for the church to celebrate. He ordained baptism when he commissioned his missionary engaged church to baptize with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 2819 He ordained the Lord's Supper when, at his last supper with his disciples, he transformed that Passover feast into a covenant renewing rite featuring bread and wine. Matthew 2626 229 What about the other five Roman Catholic sacraments? For the same reason Protestants dismissed the other five Catholic sacraments? Let's take them one by one first confirmation.


Jesus did not ordained confirmation. Indeed, it is not treated anywhere in Scripture. To the sacrament of penance. When Jesus called people to repentance, he directed them to a total reorientation of their life involving a definitive break from sin. Matthew 417 Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. This is the proper understanding of the Greek word Matano eta repent as found in the Gospel. The Catholic notion of the Sacrament of penance is based on the Latin Vulgate, poor translation of Jesus's command. It renders meat anointed, repent as penitential adjetey, which in English is do acts of penance. However, Jesus did not institute a sacramental action involving contrition, confession of sins to a priest, absolution, or the granting of forgiveness and rendering satisfaction for make amends for harm done. Thus, the Catholic Sacrament of penance is not supported biblically. Three The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick does have an associated sign oil and has a biblical basis. James 513 to 17 And certainly Jesus healed many people. For example. Matthew For 23 to 24. Matthew 935 Indeed, one of the characteristics of his ministry and the Ministry of his disciples as well. One of the characteristics of their ministry was healing. For example, Matthew ten one in 8x5 16. At the same time, Christ himself did not ordain this action as a rite or sacrament of his church. Number four. As for Holy orders, neither did Jesus ordained Holy orders, which is the sacrament which consecrate men for the priesthood. Other New Testament writings specify the qualifications and responsibilities of church leaders, pastors, elders, deacons, Deacon Aziz. But they do not undergird the idea of a sacrament of consecration of ministers. Fifth and last matrimony.


As for the sacrament of matrimony, which gives grace to a new husband and new wife coming together in covenant marriage. As for this sacrament, Jesus certainly endorsed the permanent marriage of a man and a woman. Matthew 19 129. And Jesus honored the institution of marriage by performing his first miracle at a wedding of caner. John Chapter two versus 1 to 10. But Christ did not ordain it. Indeed, it is a creation ordinance. It has existed from the very beginning of human history. Genesis 218 to 25 and it is characteristic of the majority of men and women, according to Divine design. Genesis 126 through 28. But it does not exist as a church, right or sacrament. According to the Roman Catholic Church. These sacraments are valid and effective ex operate overall. Let's think for a moment about this expression. In the Reformation, Protestant churches moved away from the Catholic notion that the effectiveness and the validity of the sacraments is in terms of ex operate operated by the work worked. For example, John Calvin dissented from the Catholic notion that some sort of secret powers are attached to the sacrament and that they confer grace as long as the recipients do not impeded by being in mortal sin. Rather, Calvin closely tied the sacraments to the Word of God and faith. He insisted that any man is deceived who thinks anything more is conferred upon him through the sacrament than what is offered by God's Word and receive by Him in true faith. For Calvin, this emphasis on faith does not mean that the sacraments themselves are dependent on the receptivity of those who participate in them, but as aides to help Christians in various ways. They are promises or they are pledges that require faith to be of benefit.


Specifically, according to Calvin, the sacraments have effectiveness among us in proportion as we are helped by their ministry, sometimes to foster, confirm and increase the true knowledge of Christ in ourselves, at other times to possess Him more fully and enjoy His riches. But that happens when we receive in true faith what is offered there. Kelvin further tied the effectiveness of the sacraments to the Holy Spirit. Again, distancing himself from the notion of X operate or borrow again, quoting Calvin, They do not bestow any grace of themselves, but announce and tell us. And as they are, guarantees and tokens ratify among us those things given us by divine bounty. That is God's goodness. The Holy Spirit is He who brings the graces of God with Him, gives a place for the sacraments among us and makes them bear fruit. So we have discussed the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, focusing on this notion of their effectiveness, their validity being exculpatory or brutal. We've looked at the Protestant reduction of the number of sacraments from 7 to 2, and we've discussed then why Protestants have the rights of baptism and the Lord's Supper as the only two, because those and those alone were ordained by Jesus Christ for his church.