Archive for the ‘Church’ Tag

In-World Church Sacraments?

The Anglican Cathedral in Second Life is up at the top of the hill, with its associated chapel in the foreground.

Occasional discussion has been popping up again within the past months on religion in virtual worlds such as Second Life.  As I’m a believer in the validity of at least some aspects of religious practice in world — I’ve devoted over 20 articles here to my activities at the Anglican Cathedral in Epiphany region — I’ve been curious about the matter, and would like to weigh in briefly.

First, let’s get the groundwork out of the way.  Most people, at least, don’t particularly worry about church sacraments unless they happen to be a member of churches in the “liturgical tradition” — such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church (or its various other sisters in the Anglican Communion), or the Lutheran Church.  Sacraments are defined in the Christian tradition as “a Christian rite (as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality.” (Merriam-Webster Online).  Since the fracturing of the Catholic Church during the Reformation, there has not been a complete agreement on how many of the “great rites” are true sacraments — gotta love doctrinal wars, don’t ya?  The Catholics give seven:  baptism, confirmation in the church, Holy Eucharist (Mass), penance (confession), anointing of the sick, holy orders and matrimony.  Anglicans see only two, baptism and the Eucharist, as “true” sacraments, as they were directly instituted or sanctioned by Christ; the Orthodox traditions call the list of seven the “major sacraments,” but see almost anything the Church does as being of a sacramental nature.  You can see how messy this gets in the long run; arguments over such things have resulted in many a schism over the past twenty centuries.

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