- rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, adoption, baptism, coming of age, graduation, or inauguration;
- communal rites, whether of worship, where a community comes together to worship, such as Jewish synagogue or Mass, or of another character, such as fertility rites and certain non-religious festivals;
- rites of personal devotion, where an individual worships, including prayer and pilgrimages such as the Muslim Hajj, pledges of allegiance, or promises to wed someone.
Within many Protestant Christian denominations, the word rite is used for important ceremonies that are not considered sacraments or ordinances. The 39 Articles of the Anglican Communion and the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church state "there are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord". As such, in the Anglican and Methodist traditions, the following are considered rites: "confirmation, reconciliation (confessions of sins), matrimony, holy orders and anointing of the sick". Similarly the "rites of the Moravian Church are Confirmation, Marriage, and Ordination". In the Lutheran tradition, Holy Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confession & Absolution are considered Lutheran sacraments, while Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Matrimony, and Holy Orders are rites.
Within the Catholic Church, "rite" often refers to what is also called a sacrament but should refer to the ceremonies associated with the sacraments, e.g. the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. In Roman Catholicism, for example, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is one of the three that are sometimes referred to as "the last rites", because they are administered to someone who was dying. The other two are Penance and Eucharist (administered as Viaticum in the case of a dying person). Since the Second Vatican Council, Anointing of the Sick is administered to those who are seriously ill but not necessarily in immediate danger of death. The term "rite" became widely used after the Second Vatican Council. While "rite" is often used synonymously with "sacrament," it is technically incorrect to say that one received a "rite" because the sacrament is what is received. The ritual consists of the prayers and actions that the minister of the sacrament performs when administering a sacrament. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that one has received "the last rites" as that person has really received "the last sacraments" by a minister following a ritual that has performed the "sacramental rite."
Within both Catholicism and Protestantism, the term "rite" also refers to a body of liturgical tradition usually emanating from a specific center. Examples include the Roman Rite, the Byzantine Rite, and the Sarum Rite. Such rites may include various sub-rites. For example, the Byzantine Rite has Greek, Russian, and other ethnically-based variants. For a full list of Christian liturgical rites, see Christian liturgy.
In addition, the same term was and still is, though less frequently than before, applied to an autonomous particular Church within the Catholic Church associated with a particular liturgical tradition. Of these, the largest is the Latin Rite or Western Church. There are also several Eastern Catholic Churches or Rites. For a full list of Catholic liturgical rites, see List of Catholic rites and churches.
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- Thirty-Nine Articles, Article XXV
- Articles of Religion (Methodist), Article XVI
- Lonsdale, Akasha (2010). Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?: What You Need To Know When Attending Religious Occasions. Kuperard. p. 20. ISBN 9781857335347.
- "Rites and Sacraments of the Moravian Church". Moravian Church of North America. 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
- Wilkins, Ronald J. (1984). Religion in North America. Wm. C. Brown, Religious Education Division. p. 159. ISBN 9780697019301.
Other sacraments of Christian tradition — confirmation, marriage, and orders — are, for Lutherans, rites of the Church only.
- What Are the Last Rites?