Definition of | Meaning of
Sacraments of the Living
Sacraments of the Dead
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Question / Issue:
of the dead/Sacraments of the living
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According to the
Sacraments of the dead we mean those Sacraments that may be lawfully received
while the soul is in a state of mortal sin [i.e.
Penance]. By the Sacraments of the living we mean those Sacraments that can
be lawfully received only while the soul is in a state of grace - i.e. free from
mortal sin ['Confirmation,
Holy Orders, and
Matrimony are called Sacraments of the living because those who receive them
worthily are already living the life of grace']. Living and dead do not refer
here to the persons but to the condition of the souls; for none of the
Sacraments can be given to a dead person." [Note: While no
Sacraments can be given to the dead, the
Sacrament of Extreme Unction may be given conditionally to those
'apparently' dead (e.g. when the person has no heartbeat, no brainwaves, no
breathing, etc.), since one cannot be certain that the soul has left the body
until the body reaches a certain, irreversible state (i.e. putrefaction).]
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