Hello everyone. My devout Catholic friend and I got into an argument last night regarding the definition of sacramentals. I told him that the Rosary, relics, and scapulars are sacramentals as you will see in my exact words below. I was giving examples of sacramentals. He disagreed with me and said that they are popular piety. After the exchange below, we continued arguing in private message and I explained to him that rosaries, relics, scapulars, and other like things are both sacramentals and pious devotions but he refused to believe me unless I provided a Church document which stated this. He used the Catechism of the Catholic Church to back up his argument but I told him that he was misinterpreting it.
Can you please tell me which of us is right? I have always been taught, ever since RCIA, the argument that I made. If I am correct, could you please help me to find an official Church document which states what I said? I am not good at searching for official Church documents because they often have Latin titles and I the Vatican website’s search engine never works very well for me. I would appreciate your help.
He commented and said this:
- Sacramentals are things like (-al) the seven Sacraments (sacrament-), such as blessings and exorcisms. They are not popular piety, such as medals, pilgrimage, sign of the cross, rosary, veneration of relics, via crucis, scapulars, consecration, novenas, litanies, the Divine Office, etc.
- Sacramentals =/= Sacraments. Sacraments are holy rites (sacra-ments), which come from the Jewish sacraments: the sacrifices, the rites of purification, confession, feast days, etc. Jesus perfected these sacraments by His Baptism, Last Supper, etc., instituting the seven Sacraments.
- Sacramentals are not based on your disposition but on the Church’s prayers, because they are not Sacraments. You can’t receive the Eucharist in a sinful disposition, but you can pray the Rosary in sin, and if you pray well, than He Who prays with and in you to His Father, Himself, and Their Spirit will grant you contrition, Baptism or Confession, and new and eternal life with God.
I replied and said this:
The Rosary, relics, and scapulars are sacramentals.
He replied with:
no, they are popular piety
And then he also said:
Catechism 1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals,180 etc.