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From Thelemapedia

Part of the Thelema & Religion series

A sacrament is a physical thing or event that contains an element or reflection of the divine. The term is derived from Late Latin sacrmentum, from Latin, "oath"; from sacrare, "to consecrate"; from sacer, sacr-, "sacred". It is often used to describe ecclesiastical services, such as baptism, last rites, or ordination. However, a sacrament does not have to come from a church—it can originate from any source considered sacred (including the self).

Table of contents

Sacraments and the church

Roman Catholic Church

Sacraments are usually administered by the clergy to a recipient or recipients, and are generally understood to involve visible and invisible components. The invisible component (manifested inwardly) is understood to be God's grace working in the sacrament's participants, whilst the visible (or outward) component entails the use of water, wine, or oil that is blessed or consecrated.

The seven basic sacraments are Baptism, the Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders (Ordination), Confirmation, Penance, and Extreme Unction (Last Rites). The seven sacraments accepted by Catholicism are generally accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy, but these traditions do not limit the number of sacraments to these seven (e.g. some Christian groups consider foot washing to be a sacrament).

Catholics hold that the sacrament itself is an effective means of grace, and not merely symbolic. They traditionally practice seven sacraments but acknowledge that additional means of grace exist without sacraments. Roman Catholics also have sacramentals, acts of worship that differ from sacraments proper, but which are also means of grace. Items such as the rosary or the various scapulars and holy medals issued by some Roman Catholic groups are counted among these sacramentals.

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

Sabazius (2002) defines sacrament as "the specific religious rites used by a church in the activation, maintenance, and nurturing of the spiritual community." He considers the following to be the sacraments within the Gnostic Catholic Church, explaining that they "involve the atonement of the personality with the Self, which effects the harmonization of the individual life with the True Will and integrates the aspirant into Thelemic society as a 'member of the body of Initiates.'":

Crowley on the sacrament


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