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Catholic Dictionary

Term

VALID MATTER

Definition

That which is required, along with the prescribed words, for the valid conferral or production of a sacrament. The valid matter is, therefore, some sense-perceptible material or perceivable action that must be joined with the form, i.e., words or signs, to produce a sacrament. Thus the valid matter in baptism is natural water, that "washes" the person being baptized, by pouring, sprinkling, or immersion.