The next point is the sacraments. While in the doctrine of justification, the fathers of Trent tried to have at least some approximation to the Protestant position, they didn’t try that at all in the realm of the sacraments. Here caution was unnecessary because every caution would have undercut the very essence of the Roman church, namely, to be a church of the sacrament. So the Council of Trent says: “All true justice starts, and if it has started, is augmented, and if it has been lost, is restituted, by the sacraments.” This is the function of the sacraments, I. e., it is the religious function altogether.
They didn’t say much about the way in which the sacraments are effective; they didn’t say very much about the personal side of him who receives the sacrament; but they formulated it in the following way: the sacraments are effective ex opere operato non ponentibus obigem , i. e., by their very operation for those who do not resist. — If you do not put before the effectiveness of the sacraments in yourselves an impediment (obicem ), something which prevents them from being effective, then they are effective, however you may be subjectively, ex opere operato – by their mere performance, by their very operation. Now this was another central point for the Reformers, that there cannot be a relationship to God except in the person- toperson relationship, in the actual encounter-with Him – I. e. faith. And this is much more than non-resistance; it is an active turning towards God. Without this, the sacraments are not effective for Protestants. For Catholics they are.
With respect to the number of the sacraments, which was reduced by Luther and Calvin to two sacraments, all seven sacraments are instituted by Christ. And this is de fide, I. e, a matter of Catholic faith, which means no historical doubt as to whether they are really instituted by Christ or not is allowed any more If you read in a Catholic book the formulation of a dogma and then under this formulation the two words “de fide,” then this means it is a matter of dogmatic statement of the Roman church which you cannot deny or doubt, except by risk of being cut off from the Roman church.