A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.
The external ritual by which a sacrament is performed and through which the distinctive graces of that sacrament are conferred. The Catholic Church believes that the essential element of each sacrament was originally determined by Christ, e.g., the pouring of water, and the Trinitarian formula in baptism. Other features of the sacramental ritual have been determined by the Church, acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.