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290

Part Two

received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God’s myster-

ies, has determined its “dispensation.”

34

Thus the Church has dis-

cerned over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there

are seven that are, in the strict sense of the term, sacraments insti-

tuted by the Lord.

1118

The sacraments are “of the Church” in the double sense

that they are “by her” and “for her.” They are “by the Church,” for

she is the sacrament of Christ’s action at work in her through the

mission of the Holy Spirit. They are “for the Church” in the sense

that “the sacraments make the Church,”

35

since they manifest and

communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of

communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.

1119

Forming “as it were, one mystical person” with Christ the

head, theChurchacts in the sacraments as “anorganically structured

priestly community.”

36

Through Baptism and Confirmation the

priestly people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy, while those of the

faithful “who have received Holy Orders, are appointed to nourish

the Churchwith the word and grace of God in the name of Christ.”

37

1120

The ordained ministry or

ministerial

priesthood is at the

service of the baptismal priesthood.

38

The ordained priesthood

guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments

through the Holy Spirit for the Church. The saving mission en-

trusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the

apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the

Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person.

39

The ordained

minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to

what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words

and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.

1121

The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy

Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental

character

or “seal”

by which the Christian shares in Christ’s priesthood and is made

a member of the Church according to different states and functions.

This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by

the Spirit, is indelible;

40

it remains for ever in the Christian as a

34

Jn

16:13; cf.

Mt

13:52;

1 Cor

4:1.

35 St. Augustine,

De civ. Dei,

22, 17: PL 41, 779; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

III, 64, 2

ad

3.

36

LG

11; cf. Pius XII,

Mystici Corporis

(1943).

37

LG

11 § 2.

38 Cf.

LG

10 § 2.

39 Cf.

Jn

20:21-23;

Lk

24:47;

Mt

28:18-20.

40 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1609.

1396

792

1547

1272, 1304

1582