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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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SIMULATION, SACRAMENTAL

The simulation of a sacrament by changing secretly and unlawfully either the matter or the form or the necessary intention so that the sacrament becomes invalid and the recipient is led into error. One must distinguish, however, between simulation and pretense. In pretense, neither the matter nor the form of the sacrament is used; for instance, a confessor who has to deny absolution to a penitent expressly tells him of the fact, then recites some prayers and gives a blessing so that bystanders will not realize that absolution has been denied. Although it is sometimes permitted to pretend to administer a sacrament, for a sufficiently grave reason, simulation of the sacraments is never lawful.

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

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