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A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace.

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Introduction

A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace. Most Protestant Christians recognise seven sacraments, baptism and the Eucharist. The Catholic Church recognises seven sacraments. Sacraments are public actions by which Christians receive grace, that is, experience the power and love of God in their lives. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance and reconciliation, anointing of the sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments for Catholics represent the high points of their lives and are closely related to the liturgy, the public worship of the church. The sacraments can also be seen as an expression of faith. When we are baptised we are given a new life. As we experience each sacrament we also experience God's love for us. The original sacrament for Catholics is Jesus, who in his own life, showed what God is like. The church too is a sacrament because it continues to show God's presence in the world. To emphasise on the on the Sacraments is to make a distinctive feature of Catholic Christianity. Christians believe that the more sacraments we fulfil the deeper our faith becomes in God. Therefore our relationship in God deepens. To be catholic means having faith in God. Being in a Christian community means we must love one another, attend mass regularly and develop our relationship with God through prayer. Christianity is a sacramental religion where Catholics start their 'new life' through Baptism and follow each sacrament as we develop our relationship with God. Our belief in the faith of the Church also develops. We go to get confirmed as a Christian later on in life so we can continue to follow God. ...read more.

Middle

This sees God as the liberator who sets people free, who sides with the poor and who hates injustice. A Christian who said: When I give food tot he poor, They call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, They call me communist. Is trying to emphasise that the poor welcome the generosity of others but those in power take it as an offence. An individual person may think that any personal effort to give or send aid is virtually useless. The Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is a voluntary service that much relief from poverty is given. It is the United Kingdom unit of Caritas International. It was set up by the bishops of England and Wales in 1962 to express the concern of the Catholic Church for overseas development. It is funded from the private charity of people who feel that they cannot allow world organisations, agencies of the United Nations and governments to be the only source of help for the developing Nations. A CAFOD group in a school or parish learns about the problems facing the poor, and they raise funds to support the self-help projects initiated by CAFOD. A committee of parishioners will sometimes act as a link between CAFOD and the whole parish. The projects of CAFOD are linked with community development, food production, water supplies and origination, preventative medicine, vocational training and adult education. Particular projects may include a village well: a rural dispensary; a mother and child nutrition scheme; a latrine programme in a slum. These projects aim at developing a healthy community. ...read more.

Conclusion

Faith is a living relationship with God. Other Christians, who believe that a priest should always refuse the sacraments to those who do not practice their faith, can argue why, if they don't attend mass, they should receive the sacraments. Many people would agree with this even if they weren't Christians. We can argue that although, for some reason, they don't attend mass they may want their child tot receive the sacraments and the Godparents appointed at the Baptismal Ceremony to carry out their promises and bring up the child in the faith. When the parents want their child baptised they must understand exactly what they are taking on. If this understanding is not there the priest may have to refuse baptism or at least postpone it. The priest may have to look at the needs of the community and would have to be careful that 'refusal' did not stigmatise a family. The influence of grandparents or close friends of the family may ensure that the child will be brought up in the faith. The family may need special consideration. This is where the Parish Community may support the weak faith of a parent who is trying to bring up a family in the love and knowledge of Jesus. It must be evident that there is a personal relationship with the Lord before the priest can accept a request for Baptism. So in conclusion, we can say that we know God is not bound by the sacraments. A child Baptised and brought up outside the life of the church can go on to live a life of faith. Those parents who have doubts or do not attend church regularly should find support and help from the church community not refusal. ...read more.

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