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authoritative, innate power. As man He had another Pius X condemned twelve propositions of the Modpower which St. Thomas calls “the power of the prin- ernists, who would attribute the origin of the sacracipal ministry” or “the power of excellence" (III, ments to some species of evolution or development. Q! Ixiv, a. 3). "Christ produced the interior effects The first sweeping, proposition is this: "The sacraof the sacraments by meriting them and by effecting ments had their origin in this that the Apostles, perthem. : The passion of Christ is the cause of our suaded and moved by circumstances and events, justification meritoriously and effectively, not as the interpreted some idea and intention of Christ" (Denprincipal agent and authoritatively, but as an instru- zinger-Bannwart, 2040). Then follow eleven proposiment, inasmuch as His. Humanity was the instru- tions relating to each of the sacraments in order (ibid., ment of His Divinity” (ibid.; cf. III, Q. xiii, aa. 1, 3). 2041-51). These propositions deny that Christ im
There is theological truth as well as piety in the old mediately instituted the sacraments, and some seem maxim: “From the side of Christ dying on the cross to deny even their mediate institution by the Saviour. flowed the sacraments by which the Church was (4) What does Immediate Institution Imply i saved” (Gloss. Ord. in Rom. 5; St. Thomas, III, Q. Power of the Church.-Granting that Christ immediIxü, a. 5). The principal efficient cause of grace is ately instituted all the sacraments, it does not necesGod, to Whom the Humanity of Christ is as a con- sarily follow that personally He determined all the joined instrument, the sacraments being instruments details of the sacred ceremony, prescribing minutely not joined to the Divinity (by hypostatic union): every iota relating to the matter and the form to be therefore the saving power of the sacraments passes used. It is sufficient (even for immediate institution) from the Divinity of Christ, through His Humanity to say: Christ determined what special graces were into the sacraments (St. Thomas, loc. cit.). One who to be conferred by means of external rites: for some weighs well all these words will understand why Catho- sacraments (e. g. baptism, the Eucharist) He deterlics have great reverence for the sacraments. Christ's mined minutely (in specie) the matter and form: for power of excellence consists in four things: (1) Sacra- others He determined only in a general way (in gements have their efficacy from His merits and suffer- nere) that there should be an external ceremony, by ings; (2) they are sanctified and they sanctify in His which special graces were to be conferred, leaving to name; (3) He could and He did institute the sacra- the Apostles or to the Church the power to determine ments; (4) He could produce the effects of the sacra- whatever He had not determined, e. g. to prescribe ments without the external ceremony (St. Thomas, the matter and form of the Sacraments of ConfirmaQ. Ixiv, a. 3). Christ could have communicated this tion and Holy Orders. The Council of Trent (Sess. power of excellence to men: this was not absolutely XXI, cap. ii) declared that the Church had not the impossible (ibid., a. 4). But, (1) had He done so power to change the “substance" of the sacraments. men could not have possessed it with the same per- She would not be claiming power to alter the substance fection as Christ: “He would have remained the head of the sacraments if she used her Divinely given auof the Church principally, others secondarily" (ibid., thority to determine more precisely the matter and ad 3). (2) Christ did not communicate this power, form in so far as they had not been determined by and this for the good of the faithful: (a) that they Christ. This theory (which is not modern) had been might place their hope in God and not in men; (b) adopted by theologians: by it we can solve historical that there might not be different sacraments, giving difficulties relating, principally, to confirmation and rise to divisions in the Church (ibid., ad 1). This Holy orders. second reason is mentioned by St. Paul (I Cor., i, (5) May we then say that Christ instituted some 12, 13): "every one of you saith: I indeed am of sacraments in an implicit state?. That Christ was Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and satisfied to lay down the essential principles from I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul'then which, after a more or less protracted development, crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of would come forth the fully developed sacraments? Paul?"
This is an application of Newman's theory of develop(3) Immediate or Mediate Institution.—The Coun- ment, according to Pourrat (op. cit., p. 300), who procil of Trent did not define explicitly and formally that poses two other formulæ; Christ instituted all the sacall the sacraments were instituted immediately by raments immediately, but did not himself give them Christ. Before the council great theologians, e. g. all to the Church fully constituted; or Jesus instituted Peter Lombard (IV Sent., d. xxiii), Hugh of St. Victor immediately and explicitly baptism and Holy Euchar(De sac., II, ii), Alexander of Hales (Summa, IV, Q. ist: He instituted immediately but implicitly the five xxiv, 1) held that some sacraments were instituted by other sacraments (loc. cit., p. 301). Pourrat himself the Apostles, using power that had been given to them thinks the latter formula too absolute. Theologians by Jesus Christ. Doubts were raised especially about probably will consider it rather dangerous, and at confirmation and extreme unction. St. Thomas re- least“male sonans". If it be taken to mean more than jects the opinion that confirmation was instituted by the old expression, Christ determined in genere only the Apostles. It was instituted by Christ, he holds, the matter and the form of some sacraments, it grants when he promised to send the Paraclete, although it too much to development. If it means nothing more was never administered whilst He was on earth, be- than the expression hitherto in use, what is gained cause the fullness of the Holy Ghost was not to be by admitting a formula which easily might be misgiven until after the Ascension: “Christus instituit understood? hoc sacramentum, non exhibendo, sed promittendo" IV. NUMBER OF THE SACRAMENTS. (I) Catho(III, Q. Ixii, a. 1, ad lum). The Council of Trent lic Doctrine: Eastern and Western Churches.—The defined that the sacrament of Extreme Unction was Council of Trent solemnly defined that there are instituted by Christ and promulgated by St. James seven sacraments of the New Law, truly and properly (Sess. XIV, can. i). Some theologians, e. g. Becanus, so called, viz., baptism, confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Bellarmine, Vasquez, Gonet, etc. thought the words penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony. of the council (Sess. VII, can. i) were explicit enough The same enumeration had been made in the Decree to make the immediate institution of all the sacra- for the Armenians by the Council of Florence (1439), ments by Christ a matter of defined faith. They are in the Profession of Faith of Michael Palæologus, ofopposed by Soto (a theologian of the council), Estius, fered to Gregory X in the Council of Lyons (1274) Gotti, Tournely, Berti, and a host of others, so that and in the council held at London, in 1237, under now nearly all theologians unite in saying: it is theo- Otto, legate of the Holy See. According to some logically certain, but not defined (de fide) that Christ writers Otto of Bamberg (1139), the Apostle of Pomeimmediately instituted all the sacraments of the New rania, was the first who clearly adopted the number Law. In the Decree “Lamentabili”, 3 July, 1907, seven (see Tanquerey, "De sacr."). Most probably this honour belongs to Peter Lombard (d. 1164) who the Augsburg Confession retained three as “having in his fourth Book of Sentences (d. i, n, 2) defines a the command of God and the promise of the grace of sacrament as a sacred sign which not only signifies but the New Testament”. These three, baptism, the also causes grace, and then (d. ii, n. 1) enumerates Lord's Supper, and penance were admitted by Luther the seven sacraments. It is worthy
of note that, al- and also by Cranmer in his "Catechism” (see Dix, though the great Scholastics rejected many of his "op. cit.”, p. 79). Henry VIII protested against theological opinions (list given in app. to Migne edi- Luther's innovations and received the title "Defender tion, Paris, 1841), this definition and enumeration of the Faith" as a reward for publishing the "Assertio were at once universally accepted, proof positive that septem sacramentorum" (recently re-edited by Rev. he did not introduce a new doctrine, but merely ex- Louis O'Donovan, New York, 1908). Followers of pressed in a convenient and precise formula what had Luther's principles surpassed their leader in opposialways been held in the Church. Just as many doc- tion to the sacraments. Once granted that they were trines were believed, but not always accurately ex- merely "signs and testimonies of God's good will pressed, until the condemnation of heresies or the towards us", the reason for great reverence was gone. development of religious knowledge called forth & Some rejected all sacraments, since God's good will neat and precise formula, so also the sacraments were could be manifested without these external signs. accepted and used by the Church for centuries before Confession (penance) was soon dropped from the list Aristotelean philosophy, applied to the systematic of those retained. The Anabaptists rejected infant explanation of Christian doctrine, furnished the ac- baptism, since the ceremony could not excite faith in curate definition and enumeration of Peter Lombard. children. Protestants generally retained two sacraThe earlier Christians were more concerned with the ments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, the latter use of sacred rites than with scientific formulæ, being being reduced by the denial of the Real Presence to a like the pious author of the “Imitation of Christ", mere commemorative service. After the first fervour who wrote: “I had rather feel compunction than know of destruction there was a reaction. Lutherans reits definition” (I, i).
tained a ceremony of confirmation and ordination. Thus time was required, not for the develop- Cranmer retained three sacraments, yet we find in ment of the sacraments—except in so far as the the Westminster Confession: "There are two SacraChurch may have determined what was left ments ordained of Christ Our Lord in the Gospel, that under her control by Jesus Christ—but for the growth is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord. Those of knowledge of the sacraments. For many centuries five commonly called sacraments, that is to say Conall signs of sacred things were called sacraments, and firmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme the enumeration of these signs was somewhat arbi- Unction, are not to be counted for sacraments of the trary. Our seven sacraments were all mentioned in Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt the Sacred Scriptures, and we find all of them men- following of the Apostles, partly are states of life altioned here and there by the Fathers (see THEOLOGY; lowed in the Scriptures but yet have not like nature and articles on each sacrament). After the ninth of sacraments with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, century, writers began to draw a distinction between for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony sacraments in a general sense and sacraments prop- ordained of God" (art. XXV). The Wittenberg erly so called. The ill-fated Abelard ("Introd. ad theologians, by way of compromise, had shown Theol.", I, i, and in the “Sic et Non”) and Hugh of willingness to make such a distinction, in a second St. Victor (De sacr., I, part 9, chap. viii; cf. Pourrat, letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, but the op. cit., pp. 34, 35) prepared the way for Peter Lom- Greeks would have no compromise (Pourrat, loc. cit., bard, who proposed the precise formula which the 290). Church accepted. Thenceforward until the time of For more than two centuries the Church of England the so-called "Reformation the Eastern Church joined theoretically recognized only two "sacraments of the with the Latin Church in saying: by, sacraments Gospel" yet permitted, or tolerated other five rites. proper we understand efficacious sacred signs, i. e. In practice these five "lesser sacraments" were neceremonies which by Divine ordinance signify, contain glected, especially penance and extreme unction. Anand confer grace; and they are seven in number. In glicans of the nineteenth century would have gladly the history of conferences and councils held to effect altered or abolished the twenty-fifth article. There the reunion of the Greek with the Latin Church, we has been a strong desire, dating chiefly from the Tracfind no record of objections made to the doctrine of tarian Movement, and the days of Pusey, Newman, seven sacraments. On the contrary, about 1576, Lyddon, etc. to reintroduce all of the sacraments. when the Reformers of Wittenberg, anxious to draw Many Episcopalians and Anglicans to-day make the Eastern Churches into their errors, sent a Greek heroic efforts to show that the twenty-fifth article translation of
the Augsburg Confession to Jeremias, repudiated the lesser sacraments only in so far as they Patriarch of Constantinople, he replied: "The mys- had “grown of the corrupt following of the Apostles, teries received in this same Catholic Church of ortho- and were administered 'more Romamensium'”, after dox Christians, and the sacred ceremonies, are seven the Roman fashion. Thus Morgan Dix reminded his in number—just seven and no more" (Pourrat, op. contemporaries that the first book of Edward VI alcit., p. 289). The consensus of the Greek and Latin lowed "auricular and secret confession to the priest", Churches on this subject is clearly shown by Arca- who could give absolution, as well as "ghostly coundius, “De con. ecc. occident. et orient, in sept. sacr. sel, advice, and comfort", but did not make the pracadministr.” (1619); Goar (q. v.) in his “Euchologion' tice obligatory: therefore the sacrament of Absoluby Martène (q. v.) in his work “De antiquis ecclesiæ tion is not to be "obtruded upon men's consciences as ritibus", by Renaudot in his "Perpétuité de la foi a matter necessary to salvation" (op. cit., pp. 99, 101, sur sacraments” (1711), and this agreement of the 102, 103). He cites authorities who state that'"one two Churches furnishes recent writers (Episcopalians) cannot doubt that a sacramental use of anointing the with a strong argument in support of their appeal for sick has been from the beginning", and adds, "There the acceptance of seven' sacraments (cf. Tanquerey, are not wanting, among the bishops of the American "De sacr.”, i, 24; Pourrat, op. cit., pp. 84, 85). Church, some who concur in deploring the loss of this
(2) Protestant Errors.-Luther's capital errors, primitive ordinance and predicting its restoration viz. private interpretation of the Scriptures, and jus- among us at some propitious time" (ibid., p. 105). At tification by faith alone, logically led to a rejection of a convention of Episcopalians held at Cincinnati
, in the Catholic doctrine on the sacraments (see LUTHER; 1910, unsuccessful effort was made to obtain approGRACE). Gladly would he have swept them all away, bation for the practice of anointing the sick. High but the words of Scripture were too convincing and Church pastors and curates, especially in England,
frequently are in conflict with their bishops because of the two penance is the first in necessity: extreme the former use all the ancient rites. Add to this the unction completes the work of penance and prepares assertion made by Mortimer (op. cit., I, 122) that all souls for heaven. Matrimony has not such an imthe sacraments cause grace ex opere operato, and we portant social work as orders (loc. cit., ad 1 um). If see that "advanced" Anglicans are returning to the we consider necessity alone—the Eucharist being left doctrine and the practices of the Old Church. Whether out as our daily bread and God's greatest gift—three and in how far their position can be reconciled with are simply and strictly necessary, baptism for all, the twenty-fifth article, is a question which they must penance for those who fall into mortal sin after resettle. Assuredly their wanderings and gropings ceiving baptism, orders for the Church. The others after the truth prove the necessity of having on earth are not so strictly necessary. Confirmation completes an infallible interpreter of God's word.
the work of baptism; extreme unction completes the (3) Division and Comparison of the Sacraments.- work of penance; matrimony sanctifies the procrea(a) All sacraments were instituted for the spiritual tion and education of children, which is not so imgood of the recipients; but five, viz. baptism, confirma- portant nor so necessary as the sanctification of ministion, penance, the Eucharist, and extreme unction, ters of the Church (St. Thomas, loc. cit., a, 4). primarily benefit the individual in his private char- (d) Episcopalians and Anglicans distinguish two acter, whilst the other two, orders and matrimony, great sacraments and five lesser sacraments because primarily affect man as a social being, and sanctify the latter “have not any visible sign or ceremony him in the fulfillment of his duties toward the Church ordained by God” (art. XXV). Then they should and society. By baptism we are born again, confirma- be classed among the sacramentals since God alone tion makes us strong, perfect Christians and soldiers. can be the author of a sacrament (see above III). The Eucharist furnishes our daily spiritual food. On this point the language of the twenty-fifth article Penance heals the soul wounded by sin. Extreme (“commonly called sacraments") is more logical and unction removes the last remnant of human frailty, straightforward than the terminology of recent Anand prepares the soul for eternal life, orders supplies glican writers. The Anglican Catechism calls bapministers to the Church of God. Matrimony gives tism and Eucharist sacraments generally (i. e. unithe graces necessary for those who are to rear children versally) necessary for salvation”. Mortimer justly in the love and fear of God, members of the Church remarks that this expression is not "entirely acmilitant, future citizens of heaven. This is St. curate”, because the Eucharist is not generally necesThomas's explanation of the fitness of the number sary to salvation in the same sense as Baptism (op. seven (III, Q. lv, a. 1). He gives other explanations cit., I, 127). The other five he adds are placed in a offered by the Schoolmen (see Pourrat, op. cit., pp. lower class because, “they are not necessary to salva177, sqq.) but does not bind himself to any of them. tion in the same sense as the two other sacraments, In fact the only really sufficient reason for the existence since they are not necessary for everyone" (loc. cit., of seven sacraments, and no more, is the will of Christ: 128). Verily, this is interpretation extraordinary; there are seven because He instituted seven. The yet we should be grateful since it is more respectful explanation and adaptions of theologians serve only than saying that those five are "such as have grown to excite our admiration and gratitude, by showing partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly how wisely and beneficiently God has provided for are states of life allowed in the Scriptures" (art. XXV). our spiritual needs in these seven efficacious sings of Confusion and uncertainty will be avoided by acceptgrace.
ing the declaration of the Council of Trent (above.) (b) Baptism and penance are called “sacraments V. EFFECTS OF THE SACRAMENTS.—(I) Catholic of the dead”, because they give life, through sancti- Doctrine.—(a) The principle effect of the sacrament fying grace then called "first grace", to those who are is a two-fold grace: (1) the grace of the sacrament spiritually dead by reason of original or actual sin. which is "first grace", produced by the sacraments The other five are "sacraments of the living", be- of the dead, or "second grace”, produced by the sacracause their reception presupposes, at least ordinarily, ments of the living (supra, IV, 3, b): (2) The sacrathat the recipient is in the state of grace, and they mental grace, i. e., the special grace needed to attain give "second grace", i. e. increase of sanctifying grace the end of each sacrament. Most probably it is not (q. v.). Nevertheless, since the sacraments always a new habitual gift, but a special vigour or efficacy give some grace when there is no obstacle in the recipi- in the sanctifying grace conferred, including on the ent, it may happen in cases explained by theologians part of God, a promise, and on the part of man a perthat "second grace" is conferred by a sacrament of manent right to the assistance needed in order to act the dead, e. g. when one who has only venial sins to
in accordance with the obligations incurred, e. g., to confess receives absolution and that "first grace" is live as a good Christian, a good priest, a good husband conferred by a sacrament of the living (see St. Thomas, or wife (cf. Pourrat, op. cit., 199; St. Thomas, III, Q. III, Q. lxxii, a. 7 ad 2 um; III, Q. lxxix, a. 3). Con- lxii, a. 2). (b) Three sacraments, baptism, confircerning extreme unction St. James explicitly states mation, and orders, besides grace, produce in the soul that through it the recipient may be freed from his a character, i. e. an indelible spiritual mark by which sins: “If he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him” some are consecrated as servants of God, some as (James, v. 15).
soldiers, some as ministers. Since it is an indelible (c) Comparison in dignity and necessity.—The mark, the sacraments which impress a character can Council of Trent declared that the sacraments are not be received more than once (Conc. Trid., sess. not all equal in dignity; also that none are superfluous, VII, can. 9; see CHARACTER). although all are not necessary for each individual (2) How the Sacraments cause Grace.— Theological (Sess. VII, can. 3, 4). The Eucharist is the first in controversies. Few questions have been so hotly dignity, because it contains Christ in person, whilst controverted as this one relative to the manner in in the other sacraments grace is conferred by an in- which the sacraments cause grace (St. Thomas, IV, strumental virtue derived from Christ (St. Thomas, Sent., d. 1, Q. 4, a 1.). (a) All admit that the sacraIII, Q. Ivi, a. 3). To this reason St. Thomas adds ments of the New Law cause grace ex opere operato, another, viz., that the Eucharist is as the end to which not ex opere operantis (supra, II, 2, 3), (b) All admit the other sacraments tend, a centre around which they that God alone can be the principal cause of grace revolve (loc. cit.). Baptism is always first in neces- (supra 3, I). (c) All admit that Christ as man, had sity; Holy orders comes next after the Eucharist in à special power over the sacraments (supra, 3, 2). the order of dignity, confirmation being between these (d) All admit that the sacraments are, in some sense, two. Penance and extreme unction could not have the instrumental causes either of grace itself or of a first place because they presuppose defects (sins). something else which will be a "title exigent of grace" (infra e). The principal cause is one which produces by St. Thomas seem clearly to indicate that the sacraan effect by a power which it has by reason of its own ments act after the manner of physical causes. He nature or by an inherent faculty. An instrumental says that there is in the sacraments a virtue produccause produces an effect, not by its own power, but tive of grace (III, Q. Ixii, a. 4) and he answers objecby a power which it receives from the principal agent. tions against attributing such power to a corporeal When a carpenter makes a table, he is the principal instrument by simply stating that such power is not cause, his tools are the instrumental causes. God alone inherent in them and does not reside in them percan cause grace as the principal cause; sacraments manently, but is in them only so far and so long as can be no more than his instruments "for they are they are instruments in the hands of Almighty God applied to men by Divine ordinance to cause grace (loc. cit., ad lum and Zum). Cajetan, Suarez, and in them” (St. Thomas, III, Q. Ixii, a. 1). No theo- a host of other great theologians defend this system, logian of to-day defends Occasionalism (see Cause) which is usually termed Thomistic. The language of i. e. the system which taught that the sacraments the Scripture, the expressions of the Fathers, the Decaused grace by a kind of concomitance, they being crees of the councils, they say, are so strong that nothnot real causes but the causæ sine quibus non: their ing short of an impossibility will justify a denial of reception being merely the occasion of conferring this dignity to the sacraments of the New Law. grace. This opinion, according to Pourrat (op.cit., Many facts must be admitted which we cannot fully 167), was defended by St. Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, explain. The body of man acts on his spiritual soul; Durandus, Occam, and all the Nominalists, and “en- fire acts, in some way, on souls and on angels. The joyed a real success until the time of the Council of strings of a harp, remarks Cajetan (In III, Q. Ixii) Trent, when it was transformed into the modern sys- touched by an unskilled hand, produce nothing but tem of moral causality". St. Thomas (loc. cit., III, sounds: touched by the hands of a skilful musician Q. lxii, aa. 1, 4; and “Quodlibeta", 12, a. 14), and they give forth beautiful melodies. Why cannot the others rejected it on the ground that it reduced the sacraments, as instruments in the hands of God, sacraments to the condition of mere signs.
produce grace? (e) In solving the problem the next step was the Many grave theologians were not convinced by introduction of the system of dispositive instrumental these arguments, and another school, improperly causality, explained by Alexander of Hales (Summa called the Scotistic, headed by Melchior Cano, De theol., IV, Q. v, membr. 4), adopted and perfected Lugo, and Vasquez, embracing later Henno, Tournely, by St. Thomas (IV Sent., d. 1, Q. 1, a. 4), defended by Franzelin, and others, adopted the system of instrumany theologians down to the sixteenth century, and mental moral causality. The principal moral cause revived in our days by Father Billot, S. J. (“De eccl. of grace is the Passion of Christ. The sacraments sacram.”, I, Rome, 1900, pp. 96 sq., 107 sq.). For are instruments which move or entreat God effeccontroversy on this subject, see “Irish Eccles. Rec- tively and infallibly to give his grace to those who reord", Nov., 1899; "Amer. Eccl. Review”, May and ceive them with proper dispositions, because, says June, 1900, Jan. and May, 1901. According to this Melchior Cano, “the price of the blood of Jesus Christ theory the sacraments do not efficiently and immedi- is communicated to them” (see Pourrat, op. cit., ately cause grace itself, but they cause ex opere op- 192, 193). This system was further developed by erato and instrumentally, a something else—the char- Franzelin, who looks upon the sacraments as being acter (in some cases) or a spiritual ornament or form- morally an act of Christ (loc. cit., p. 194). The Thomwhich will be a “disposition" entitling the soul to ists and Suarez object to this system: (a) Since the grace ("dispositio exigitiva gratiæ"; "titulus exigi- sacraments (i. e. the external rites) have no intrinsic tivus gratiæ",
Billot, loc. cit.). It must be admitted value, they do not, according to this explanation, exert that this theory would be most convenient in explain- any genuine causality; they do not really cause grace, ing " reviviscence” of the sacraments (infra, VII, c). God alone causes the grace: the sacraments do not Against it the following objections are made: (a) operate to produce it; they are only signs or occasions From the time of the Council of Trent down to recent of conferring it. (B) The Fathers saw something times little was heard of this system. (B) The “orna- mysterious and inexplicable in the sacraments. In ment", or “disposition", entitling the soul to grace this system wonders cease or are, at least, so much reis not well explained, hence explains very little. (Y) duced that the expressions used by the Fathers seem Since this “disposition" must be something spiritual altogether out of place. (7) This theory does not suffiand of the supernatural order, and the sacraments ciently distinguish, in efficacy, the sacraments of the can cause it, why can they not cause the grace itself? Gospel from the sacraments of the Old Law (cf. Bil(0) In his "Summa theologica" St. Thomas does not luart, “Summa St. Thomæ", ed. Lequette, tome VI, mention this dispositive causality: hence we may rea- p. 137). Nevertheless, because it avoids certain difsonably believe that he abandoned it (for controversy, ficulties and obscurities of the physical causality see reviews sup. cit.).
theory, the system of moral causality has found many (f) Since the time of the Council of Trent theolo- defenders, and to-day if we consider numbers alone, gians almost unanimously have taught that the sacra- it has authority in its favour. ments are the efficient instrumental cause of grace Recently both of these systems have been vigoritself. The definition of the Council of Trent, that ously attacked by Father Billot (op. cit., 107 sq.), the sacraments contain the grace which they sig- who proposes a new explanation. He revives the old nify”, that they “confer grace ex opere operato” (Sess. theory that the sacraments do not immediately cause VIÍ, can. 6, 8), seemed to justify the assertion, which grace itself, but a disposition or title to grace (supra was not contested until quite recently. Yet the end e). This disposition is produced by the sacraments, of the controversy had not come. What was the neither physically normorally, but imperatively. nature of that causality? Did it belong to the phy- Sacraments are practical signs of an intentional order: sical or to the moral order? A physical cause really they manifest God's intention to give spiritual beneand immediately produces its effects, either as the fits; this manifestation of the Divine intention is a principal agent or as the instrument used, as when a title exigent of grace (op. cit., 59 sq., 123 sq.; Pourrat, sculptor uses a chisel to carve a statue. A moral op. cit., 194; Cronin in reviews, sup. cit.). Father cause is one which moves or entreats a physical cause Billot defends his opinions with remarkable acumen. to act. It also can be principal or instrumental, e. g., Patrons of the physical causality gratefully note his a bishop who in person successfully pleads for the attack against the moral causality, but object to the liberation of a prisoner is the principal moral cause, a new explanation, that the imperative or the intentional letter sent by him would be the instrumental moral causality, as distinct from the action of signs, occasions, cause, of the freedom granted. The expressions used moral or physical instruments (a) is conceived with