Term used in RC theol. to denote a certain spiritual mark said to be impressed on recipients of certain sacraments. If anyone says that in three sacraments, namely, baptism, confirmation, and order, there is not imprinted on the soul a character, that is, a certain spiritual and indelible mark, by reason of which they cannot be repeated, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Sess. VII, can. 9 on the sacraments in gen.). The character of Baptism is said to distinguish the baptized (including Prots.) as soldiers of Christ and subject them to the pope and canon law, and the character of order is said to set apart clergy from laity. Sometimes called sacramental seal. See also Sacraments, Roman Catholic.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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