The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine
protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service
of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.
Christ sent his apostles so that “repentance and forgive-
ness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.”
therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
mission to baptize, and so the sacramental mission, is implied in
the mission to evangelize, because the sacrament is prepared for
the word of God and by the faith
which is assent to this word:
The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the
Word of the living God. . . . The preaching of the Word is
required for the sacramental ministry itself, since the sacra-
ments are sacraments of faith, drawing their origin and
nourishment from the Word.
“The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build
up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because
they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith,
but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and ex-
press it. That is why they are called ‘sacraments
The Church’s faith precedes the faith of the believer who
is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacra-
ments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles—whence
the ancient saying:
lex orandi, lex credendi
legem credendi lex
according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]).
The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she
prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living
For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or
manipulated at the will of the minister or the community. Even the
supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy
arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious
respect for the mystery of the liturgy.
4 §§ 1, 2.