conditional sacraments


This may be a silly and confusing question, but if a sacrament was meant to be administered or received conditionally because of doubt whether it had been done properly before, would it invalidate it if the person who needed to have the proper intention and had previously been aware that the sacrament was to be undertaken conditionally forgot at the actual time of the sacrament to “make the condition” even in their thoughts?

So what I’m really asking is if the need for a sacrament to be administered conditionally in case of doubt is only a matter of lawfulness or the need to avoid misleading people about whether the sacrament can be repeated – or if it affects validity if the sacrament had not actually been received on the previous attempt.

If you answer, please let me know your source of information or that you have expertise in the area. Thank you. If you think you might be able to answer accurately if only you had any idea what I was talking about, please let me know that too.


It is not necessary for the recipient to allude to the condition but only to place the intention to receive the sacrament. Some kind of intention would have to be presumed as placed by the act of presenting oneself for the sacrament. The recipient has done so twice, and therefore, a virtual intention is manifestly present. A virtual intention is sufficient (virtual intention is distinguished from actual intention in that the former lacks the attention of the intellect). Moreover, the formulary for the condition pertains to the minister (e.g., if you have not been baptized , then …) rather than to the recipient.

While baptism, confirmation, and holy orders (in grade) are not repeatable, the primary focus is upon establishing the valid administration of the sacrament in the second ceremony with certitude for the salvation of souls and clarity of the canonical condition of the individuals involved. Given the weight of those elements, liceity need not be forced into the discussion.

If the first ceremony resulted in the valid reception of a sacrament, then the second ceremony is not efficacious. If the first ceremony did not, then the second ceremony is efficacious.


It is not clear whether this is a theoretical or actual situation, and I, for one, would be reluctant to respond without clarification. PM if desired.


I don’t understand the question.
I am unaware of any possibility allowed for conditional sacraments, other than baptism, in which case it is the intent of the minister, matter and form of the sacrament, and whether or not it actually took place at all that is in question.

closed #5

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