The question, often raised in Protestantism, is: How many sacraments.? Up tothe 12th century there were many sacramental activities. Which of them were most important was partly always clear, namely, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and partly very much open to changes. Therefore it took more than a thousand years of Church history to discover that seven sacraments are the mcst important. After this was discovered, these seven often draw upon themselves the name “sacrament” in a special sense. This is very unfortunate for the understanding of what sacrament is.

We must always distinguish the universal concept of the sacrament: the presence of the holy. Therefore sacramentalia are going on in churches all the time, namely activities in which the presence of the Divine is experienced in a special way. The fact that there are seven, has traditional, practical, Church-political, psychological, and many other reasons (behind it). But there are seven in the Roman church. There were five for a long time. In the Protestant churches there are two. There are at least in some groups of the Anglican church, actually and even theoretically three. But that doesn’t matter. The problem is : “What does sacramental thinking mean?” not “How many sacraments?” And this is what Protestants must learn; they have forgotten it.

In the Roman church there are still the main sacraments: baptism and the Eucharist. But there is also penance as the center of personal piety. There is ordination which is the presupposition for the administration of all the other sacraments. There is marriage, as the control of the natural life. There are confirmation and extreme unction, as supporting sacraments, In the development of the life of the individual, (we see the raison d’etre) , the biographical reasons, for some of the sacraments; and other sacraments stem from the establishment of the Church. In any case, there they are, and now they are de fide; but it was not always the case.