Sacraments from other denominations


I am wondering why the Church recognizes some sacraments from other denominations, but not others. If a person is baptized in a Christian denomination ( from a minister but not an ordained priest) they are recognized as a truly baptized Christian. If a person is married in another denomination ( but not by an ordained priest) they are recognized as truly married in the eyes of God, and need an annulment to remarry a Catholic. I am assuming that the church refers to these as sacraments. Why then, isn’t the Eucharist recognized as an actual sacrament in the denominations that believe it is truly Christ they are receiving( Episcopalian and Lutheran for sure, not sure who else believes this.)

I also notice that people who were married outside the Church, but in a Christian church have an easier time getting an annulment than those who were married in a catholic church. I know someone who asked for an annulment and was never given one. She had to raise 5 children without a father figure for them, because she did everything right, but her husband committed adultery, abused her, and was an absent father. Then I know a guy who was married 3 times previously, who wanted to become a Catholic. He was given an annulment immediately. 3 of them, so he could marry again in the catholic faith. The same tribunal worked with each of these people. This is so frustrating for me to understand.


That is a good question! I will happily answer it!:slight_smile:

As to your first question, baptism is necessary for salvation. As a result, the Church believes that it is the will of God to recognize lay baptism. However, a lay person may licitly baptize only in danger of death. Otherwise, it’s illicit.

As to your second question, a priest does not administer the sacrament of marriage. The couple getting married confer the sacrament upon each other by saying, N. I take you as my lawfully wedded husband/wife. The priest just witnesses the marriage. Now, let’s say the couple decided to get married without any sort of person to witness the marriage. If there was a witness available to witness the marriage, and they chose to not have the witness present, the sacrament would be invalid and illicit. However, there are exceptions to this. For example, let’s say the couple were former Muslims in Saudi Arabia. They both converted to Christianity by baptizing each other. Since it would be too risky to have a Saudi witness the marriage, they could validly and licitly confer the sacrament of marriage upon each other without a witness.

God bless. :slight_smile: :highprayer:


As for your first part, you are speaking of who administers the sacrament. Baptism can be administered by anyone as long as they have the intention and use the words I baptize you in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Marriage in the Latin rite is administered by the couple and witnessed by the priest. The Church requires Catholics to have their marriage witnessed by a priest or deacon. Anyone not a Catholic are not required to do so. They may be married by anyone that leagally can marry them. I am talking about two baptized individuals. If they are not baptized than it becomes a natural marriage as opposed to a sacrament. But you did say sacrament so that presupposes that they are baptized.

As to your second part.

Without knowing why the decisison was made on your two cases it is foolish to comment on it but to state generally The Church doesn't annul marriages. It can't do so. The Church however can find that a marriage did not exist in the beginning and therefore find that it was null from the begining that is no marriage existed.


Because some require a person with valid holy orders to confect the sacrament, and others do not-- namely, only the two you mention, baptism and marriage. Baptism can be validly administered by a non-ordained person in or outside the Catholic Church. In an emergency, a Catholic lay person can baptize. This is because baptism is necessary for salvation and the Church gives permission for extraordinary circumstances, although a person with valid holy orders remains the ordinary minister.

In marriage, consent of the couple brings about valid marriage. The priest, deacon, or lay person representing the Church does so as the witness for the Church. Outside the Church, the consent of the couple also makes the marriage. If they are baptized, it is automatically a sacrament.

Because all other sacraments require a person with valid holy orders to bring them about-- confirmation, eucharist, reconciliation, anointing, ordination.

I am not sure where you noticed this, as it is not true. The grounds for a declaration of nullity are the same for all.

It is a shame that her husband did not uphold his vows. The things you list are not grounds for nullity, however. If she had grounds for nullity, then a decree would have been granted. One is not “given” a decree of nullity. Facts are investigated and a finding is reached.

Each case is different. It is unlikely that you have all the facts. First of all, a decree of nullity is not given “immediately”. Secondly, you do not mention the grounds but there clearly were valid grounds since a decree was issued.

I can suggest the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster to help you understand what a decree of nullity is and isn’t.


1ke, as usual, thoroughly answered both of your questions. I will add that the Church does not recognize any Protestant ministers as ordained; they are all members of the laity and can therefore only confect those sacraments that do not require the action of a priest or bishop. So it really makes no difference whether it is a Protestant minister or any other Protestant adherent baptizing or witnessing marriage.

Also, it is entirely irrelevant what the Protestant churches BELIEVE is happening in their Eucharistic offerings; it only matters what IS (or more correctly, what is NOT) happening.


I have no idea if it is easier for a non-Catholic to get an annulment, but common sense would dictate that it is. The reason is that non-Catholics are not required to marry in Catholic form, and thus many non-Catholics do not understand (or simply have no clue about) the essential requirements of marriage. There are plenty of non-Catholics that do not believe marriage is permanent, marry with no intent to have children, etc. With these issues being present at the time of consent, it is like the marriage would be declared invalid.


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