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'Quick Help' Page: Are There Sacraments Outside The Church?

 

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Are there Sacraments outside the Church?

 

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Although some Sacraments may be given outside the Church, they are, in reality, Catholic Sacraments. For example all valid baptisms, even if given outside the Church, are actually Catholic Sacraments "being used unlawfully" (St. Augustine) by heretics and schismatics. Furthermore, the illustrious St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, has taught that Sacraments which are received outside the Church – even if they are truly Sacraments – are not profitable for salvation unless the recipient returns to the one true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church...

"(A Sacrament) does not profit the receivers while they receive it in heresy (or schism), consenting with the heretics (or schismatics)..." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"And therefore, whatever men have that belongs to the Church, it profits them nothing towards salvation outside the Church." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Outside the Church baptism can be put in you but it cannot avail you (inesse potuit, non prodesse)." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

And of course, for those Sacraments which require priestly powers, they are much less likely to be found outside the Church since they may only be conferred by validly ordained priests. And even if a man who remains outside the Catholic Church does somehow have valid orders (e.g. a priest that 'left the priesthood' for a heretical sect), his inappropriate administration of the Sacraments would be illicit...

"Consequently, since the Church deprives heretics, schismatics and the like, by withdrawing their subjects from them either altogether or in some respect, in so far as they are thus deprived, they cannot have the use of the keys [priestly powers]... Wherefore, just as, were a heretic to be without wheaten bread, he could not consecrate, so neither can a prelate absolve if he be deprived of his authority, yet he can baptize and consecrate, albeit to his own damnation." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")


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