The Frat Boys of Nidaros SeminaryJan 24th, 2011 | By Tim A. Troutman | Category: Blog Posts
From the letter Cum, sicut ex to Sigurd, Archbishop of Nidaros (a city in Norway), July 8, 1241:
Since as we have learned from your report, it sometimes happens because of the scarcity of water, that infants of your lands are baptized in beer, we reply to you in the tenor of those present that, since according to evangelical doctrine it is necessary “to be reborn from water and the Holy Ghost” (John III:5) they are not to be considered rightly baptized who are baptized in beer.
Shortly thereafter the fraternity was disbanded and the seminarians were ordered to brew tea instead.
Well we’ve been told we needed some more humor on CTC so there it is. This does, however, lead into a more serious point regarding the sacraments. All sacraments have both form and matter. And not just any matter, the matter must signify. If it does not signify what it effects, it is not a sign; and since all sacraments are signs of divine grace, if it is not a sign then it is not a sacrament.
Water, not beer (sorry frat boys), was chosen for baptism because it signifies the cleansing from sin which baptism actually effects. It could not have been beer because beer is not a sign of cleansing. The same goes for the other sacraments: some matter, which of itself does not effect grace (water does not cleanse from sin even if you use it three times), when combined with the proper form (intention, formulae, etc.) actually effects grace because of God’s promises. This is Catholic sacramentalism — more on that doctrine in the future…