Code of Canon Law for Catechists: The Sacraments

Authored by Fr. Arnold Rosney in Issue #33.4 of The Sower

We continue to look at how catechists can benefit from a better understanding of the Code of Canon Law, looking at the seven sacraments.

The seven sacraments are treated in Book IV ‘The Sanctifying Function of the Church’ of the code of canon law under canons 849-1165. The sacraments as ‘the principal elements of the liturgy’ constitute three-quarters of Book IV under seven titles corresponding to the seven sacraments.

The canons give primary emphasis to the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist in accordance with the norm in canon 842.2 which states;

‘The sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Most Holy Eucharist are interrelated in such a way that they are required for full Christian initiation.’

The canons in Book IV of the Code are on the whole concerned with what is minimally necessary for validity in the Latin Church. Nine preliminary canons (cc. 840-848) introduce the canonical teaching on the sacraments. For those engaged in the ministry of catechesis four canons are of particular importance and relevance in how they carry out the task of evangelization in fidelity to the teaching of the Church. They are canons 840, 841, 843.2, and 846 which treat the following: definition of the sacraments (c. 840); requisites for the validity of the sacraments (c. 841); duties of ministers and others (c. 843.2), and observance of liturgical laws (c. 846).

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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