The Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church

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  • 0:01 Listing of Sacraments
  • 1:00 Baptism & Eucharist
  • 2:02 Reconciliation & Confirmation
  • 3:04 Marriage & Holy Orders
  • 3:51 Anointing of the Sick
  • 4:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson will explore the seven Catholic sacraments of baptism, Eucharist, reconciliation, confirmation, marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. In doing so, it will also highlight penance and confession.

Listing of Sacraments

For anyone who grew up wearing a Catholic school uniform, today's lesson on the seven sacraments will definitely bring back some memories. For those who didn't, it'll be a brief introduction to these seven religious ceremonies, which the Catholic faith regards as a visible sign of the divine. In simpler terms, they're things Catholics believe will help one experience God's presence in their lives.

Since there are seven of these sacraments, those of us who didn't grow up wearing plaid skirts and thin ties to school might have a hard time remembering the content of today's lesson. For this reason, we're going to use a slightly lame and not at all scholarly mnemonic - Beliefs Every Real Catholic Must Have Amassed - as a memory aid.

Keeping this in mind, here are the seven. They are Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing the Sick. With the seven now named, we'll start with Baptism.

Baptism & Eucharist

Often seen as the first act of a lifetime commitment to the faith, baptism is often carried out by having the sign of the cross traced on one's forehead, then being either sprinkled or immersed in water. To a Catholic, this symbolizes that Jesus has washed away sin. Sometimes experienced as a child and sometimes experienced as an adult, Baptism is usually necessary for becoming a member of the Catholic Church.

Next in our list of Beliefs Every Real Catholic Must Have Amassed is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Catholic commemoration, almost reenactment, of the Last Supper, the final meal Jesus had with His disciples before he died. At this meal, Jesus instructed His disciples to remember His death by eating bread, which symbolized His body, and drinking wine, which symbolized His blood. The Catholic Church believes that when partaking of this sacrament, the bread and the wine of today actually become the body and blood of Jesus through what is called transubstantiation.

Reconciliation & Confirmation

Our next sacrament is that of reconciliation. Also known as confession or penance, reconciliation celebrates God's willingness to forgive sin and to bring the confessor back into the community of faith. In order for a person to receive this full reconciliation, most Catholic Churches believe a person must truly be contrite or sorry, they must name all their sins openly, and they must be willing to do what is known as penance, a sort of self-inflicted or voluntary punishment for sin.

Next on our list is confirmation. Very familiar to anyone who sat through its classes as a child, confirmation, in very simple terms, is training and maturing in the Catholic faith. Often requiring a person to take classes on Church history and Church doctrine, confirmation can be remembered as the confirming of a person's place within the Church. With this, Catholics also believe that they are sort of sealed with the Holy Spirit and His many gifts at this time.

Marriage & Holy Orders

Bringing back our little ditty, Beliefs Every Real Catholic Must Have Amassed, the next sacrament is marriage. Being a pretty easy one to remember, this sacrament is simply one's willingness to dedicate oneself to another in matrimony. Seen as a symbol for God's love and the human commitment to Him, marriage is held in high regard within the Catholic Church.

Holy Orders is the next in our line. Often referred to as ordination, the Holy Orders usually consist of the position of bishop, priest, and deacon within the Catholic Church. With the sacrament of Holy Orders, the Catholic clergy vow to lead others into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They also vow to supply the Eucharist for the lay members, or non-ordained members of the Church community.

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