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Intention 

In terms of sacramental theology, proper intention is required on the part of the minister of the sacrament or sacramental rite. If the proper intention is lacking, the sacrament or sacramental rite is not understood to be valid. For the minister of the sacrament, the minimal intent is "to do what the Church does" in terms of the particular rite. For example, a priest might go through the motions of a baptism for a dramatic production or demonstration but lack the intention to baptize anyone. Such a dramatic portrayal of a baptism without the intent to baptize would not be a valid sacrament. Similarly, a couple who exchange marriage vows at a wedding rehearsal are not understood to be married. At that moment their intent is to rehearse a ceremony that will happen in the future, not to make the vows of marriage. Proper intent might also be lacking at a marriage due to insanity, intoxication, mistake, or force. Lack of proper intent on the part of one or both of the couple in the wedding would be grounds for annulment of the marriage. A sacrament or sacramental rite would not be valid if the recipient had reached the age of reason and intended not to receive it. A valid sacrament or sacramental rite is not received against one's will. Proper intention is essential for sacramental validity. See Sacramental Rites; see Sacraments; see Validity (Sacramental). 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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