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SACRAMENTAL CHARACTER

The indelible sign imprinted on the soul when the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the priesthood are received. This sign is indelible because it remains even in a person who may lose the state of grace or even the virtue of faith. It perdures at least until death and most likely into eternity. It is a sign because it signifies that the one baptized, confirmed, and ordained bears a special and unique relationship to Christ. It is a character because it permanently seals the person with a supernatural quality, comparable to the character that identifies each individual as a distinct personality. It is finally a character because it empowers the one who receives with the abilities that no one else possesses. In essence the sacramental character assimilates a person to the priesthood of Christ. From this primary function, secondary functions flow, in increasing order of sublimity, from baptism through confirmation to holy orders.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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