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What Are Sacramentals?

On God's Payroll

EDDIE O’NEILL

While they are similar in name, sacraments and sacramentals have a unique and distinct role in the life of the Catholic Church. Sacraments are outward signs that give grace to those who receive them in a worthy manner.

Sacramentals, on the other hand, “are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them, men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1667).

Blessings Come First

Sacramentals are often a stumbling block for non-Catholics who don’t understand their need or person. For instance, before his conversion to Catholicism, Dr. Scott Hahn was a staunch anti-Catholic Presbyterian minister. In his talks, Hahn often tells the story of how he discovered his grandmother’s rosary. His…

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