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SACRAMENTS OF THE LIVING

The sacraments that require the state of grace to be received fruitfully. They are confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, and the priesthood. Of these four, however, confirmation, matrimony, and priesthood are received validly even in the state of grave sin. So that a person is really confirmed, married, or ordained, but does not obtain the graces associated with the sacraments until the state of grace is recovered. The Eucharist is also truly received by a person not in the state of grace but who commits a grave sin of sacrilege if he or she culpably approaches Holy Communion while estranged from divine friendship. The sacrament of anointing is in a class by itself, since it can be fruitfully received even in the state of grave sin. But it is considered a sacrament of the living because it should be received in the state of grace. Under certain conditions, however, it also restores sanctifying grace.

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

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