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Joe Aqua wrote:

Hi, guys—

  • Who are the ministers of the Sacraments?, and
  • Who may receive the Sacraments?


  { Who are the ministers of the Sacraments and who may receive the Sacraments? }

Mike replied:

Hi Joe,

There is no one place where you can get a condensed answer to both of your questions, so I used a Wikipedia source and another table I put together myself to answer your question.

Credit goes to: Wikipedia authors and editors for the source of this first table.

Ministers of Sacraments in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church

Sacrament Ordinary ministers Extraordinary ministers




any clergy

in the absence of clergy, a catechist or other person designated by the local ordinary.

in emergencies, any person with the right intention, even if they are not baptized (in other circumstances the baptism is illicit but valid.)






  • Priests who are equivalent in law to a diocesan bishop for their subjects, or
  • who legitimately baptise or receive into the Church an adult, or
  • who are acting in danger of death for the person being confirmed or who have been specifically granted the faculty by the diocesan bishop.

(Invalid if administered by other priests or by persons who are not priests.)

The Eucharist
(its consecration)


bishop or priest None; always invalid if attempted by others

Distribution of Holy Communion


(including deacons)

Instituted Acolyte (This is licit only when there are, no clergy, not enough clergy or Instituted Acolytes available.)

Other laity can be deputed for this purpose. (Again, this is licit only when there are, no clergy, not enough clergy or Instituted Acolytes available.)




bishop or priest None; invalid if done by a layperson or by a priest without faculties (which the law provides for any priest absolving someone who is in danger of death.)

Anointing of the Sick


bishop or priest None; invalid if done by anyone else

Holy Orders


bishop#13; None; licit only by papal mandate and, if there are no co-consecrators, by papal dispensation, but still valid without these authorizations

Holy Orders
(priest and deacon)


bishop None; licit only if the bishop is ordaining his own subjects who are of the same rite or those who have been given dimissorial letters, and only if the bishop is ordaining in his own territory or with the permission of the local bishop

Holy Matrimony


husband and wife None; invalid if contracted other than before the local ordinary or parish priest or a priest or deacon delegated by them and before two witnesses (some exceptions to this condition are envisaged in canon law)


Who can receive the Sacraments of the Church in the Latin or Roman Rite

Canon Law states:

Canon 844 §1 states: Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone.



IV. Who Can Receive Baptism?

1246 "Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized."



IV. Who Can Receive Confirmation?

1306 Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation.123 Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that "the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,"124 for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete.



Who Can Receive Holy Communion?

Baptized Catholics who are in a state of grace can and should receive the Eucharist on a weekly basis at Sunday Mass and on Holy Days of Obligations.

One who has committed a mortal sin has to first go to Confession before returning to receiving Holy Communion.

On Sundays where one cannot receive the Eucharist because one is not properly disposed, one should make a Spiritual Communion in the pew while the other faithful are receiving.

Because there is not a Common Union in faith between Catholics and non-Catholics, non-Catholics may not receive the Eucharist.



Who Can Receive Reconciliation or Confession?

A Catholic who has reached the age of reason, age 7, may receive the Sacrament of Confession.

A Catholic always should receive their first Confession before they receive their First Communion.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) encourage families to go to Confession at least once a month.

Can a non-Catholic go to Confession?

Canon 844 §3 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist, and anointing of the sick to members of the Eastern churches not in full communion with the Catholic Church, if they spontaneously ask for them and are properly disposed. The same applies to members of other churches which the Apostolic See judges to be in the same position as the aforesaid Eastern churches so far as the sacraments are concerned (Canon 844 §3).

Paraphrasing what Cathy Caridi, an American Canon Lawyer who runs ( wrote: While many priests can provide moral guidance in order to get a moral issue straighten out, scheduled Confession times are meant for the faithful. If a non-Catholic is interested in discussing something with a pastor or priest, it would be more appropriate to schedule at time to meet with him by calling the parish rectory.

Anointing of the Sick


II. Who Receives And Who Administers the Anointing of the Sick?

In case of grave illness . . .

1514 The Anointing of the Sick "is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived."

1515 If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person's condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.

From the Code of Canon Law: “If there is a danger of death . . . Catholic ministers may lawfully administer these same sacraments [penance, Eucharist, anointing of the sick] to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the Catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed” (Canon 844 §4)

Holy Orders (bishop, priest, or deacon)


VI. Who Can Receive Holy Orders?

1577 "Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination." The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.

Holy Matrimony


Who Can Receive Holy Matrimony?
[About Catholic Marriage — FAQs]

Just as individual states have certain requirements for civil marriage (e.g., a marriage license, blood tests), the Catholic Church also has requirements before Catholics can be considered validly married in the eyes of the Church. A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements:

  1. the spouses are free to marry
  2. they freely exchange their consent
  3. in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another, and be open to children; and
  4. their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by Church authority.

I hope this answers your question,


Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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