Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

This project, like my entire life, was worked out within a manifold web of dependency. Due to the generous support of the administration and the board of trustees of Ave Maria University, I recently enjoyed the benefit of a semester-long sabbatical. This book is the product of that sabbatical, for which I owe special thanks to my (then) department chairman, ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

In John 15:15 Jesus refers to his followers as “friends.” St. Thomas frequently took up this teaching of Christ to indicate the spiritual significance of the sacraments of the Church. Because, Thomas teaches, “it is the special feature of friendship to live together with friends,” it was most fitting that Christ should leave the Church the gift of his presence in the Eucharist. ...

Part I. Methodological and Doctrinal Considerations for a Theology of the Sacraments

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pp. 9-10

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1. The Sacraments as Theology: Wisdom and Theological Method

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pp. 11-21

Perhaps the single characteristic that most differentiates the via moderna from the view of the pre-Enlightenment Christians (and ancients) is the abandonment by modernity of the pursuit of wisdom as the aim of both profane and sacred learning. A significant factor to note in this drift away from the pursuit of wisdom, which has many cultural, political, and intellectual components, ...

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2. Sin, Redemption, and the Sacramental Economy of Salvation: The Theological Foundations of the Seven Sacraments

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pp. 22-46

In the Summa theologiae St. Thomas begins his treatment of the general principles of sacramental theology in question 60 of the Third Part, which immediately follows his prolonged meditation on the mystery of the Incarnate Word in questions 1–59. Thomas’s stated reason for this ordering is as follows: ...

Part II. Understanding the Sacraments as Signs

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pp. 47-48

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3. The Nature of the Sacraments as Signs

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pp. 49-65

The first two articles in Thomas’s treatment of general sacramental theology (ST III, qq. 60–65) place the sacraments in their genus (article 1) and species (article 2), respectively. Just as horse, dog, and cat all belong to the general category of animal, so also there is something specific to each that diversifies them within the animal genus. ...

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4. Sacramental Matter and Form

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pp. 66-73

The profundity of the holiness of the grace of the Holy Spirit cannot be reduced to a one-dimensional signification. The sacramental signs unify in their signification three related aspects of holiness. The sanctification bestowed by the Holy Spirit in the New Law of grace would not be possible were it not for Christ’s suffering, death, and Resurrection. ...

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5. Sacramental Intention

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pp. 74-87

Proper matter and form are not the only requirements for the valid celebration of the sacraments. The Church teaches that, in addition to the proper matter and form, the proper intention is needed. The “sacraments are accomplished by three elements,” the Council of Florence (1439) teaches, “namely, by things as the matter, ...

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6. The Necessity of the Sacraments

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pp. 88-96

What is the end or purpose for which Christ instituted the seven sacraments of the Church? The answer to this question is related to the very essence and nature of Christ’s own mission and the mission of the Church, which can be summarized in one word: holiness.1 The “Universal Call to Holiness” is one of the central teachings of the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution ...

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Part III. Sacramental Causality, Grace, and Character

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pp. 97-98

The effects of the sacraments (grace and character) and the nature of sacramental causality are so closely linked that it is best to pursue these topics in conjunction with each other. In fact, the necessity of the sacraments presupposes that the sacraments confer effects that make them necessary; ...

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7. Sacramental Causality

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pp. 99-137

Aquinas’s doctrine of the causality of the sacraments stands out as a unique contribution to the question of the operative power of the sacraments. It merits close consideration and integration with the ex opere operato doctrine of the Church, especially in light of criticisms that it has received by contemporary theologians such as Louis-Marie Chauvet.1 ...

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8. Sacramental Grace

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pp. 138-150

The Christian theology of grace begins with the doctrine of the triune God. This does not mean, of course, that God, who is uncreated and infinite, somehow gives himself additional perfections through grace. Rather, the doctrine of grace explains what it is that God gives to humanity, in addition to the created order, ...

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9. Sacramental Character

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pp. 151-165

The reality of character noted in this passage is an effect of the sacraments distinct from sacramental grace. As the passage from the Catechism just quoted indicates, character gives Christians a share in Christ’s priesthood, configuring them to Christ in such a way that by it they are ordered to the life of worship and various forms of service in the Church. ...

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10. Sacramentum Tantum, Res et Sacramentum, Res Tantum

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pp. 166-174

The distinction between sacramental grace and sacramental character, as well as the distinction between a valid sacramental celebration and a fruitful one, reveals the many-layered (or symbolic) nature of the sacraments. As an external rite or celebration, a sacrament is a brief, transient reality. ...

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11. The Institution and Authority of the Sacraments

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pp. 175-184

Consideration of the theology of the nature of the sacraments, their causality, and their effects brings our narrative back to some of the book’s initial questions. Indeed, if the sacraments were merely a kind of emanation of Christian sentimentality or experience, something like linguistic expressions or symbols of what the faithful hold dear, ...

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Conclusion: Principles of a Sacramental Spirituality

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pp. 185-192

The profundity of the sacramental patrimony of the Church is in need of reintegration with the everyday spirituality of the faithful. “Therefore in the Church,” the Second Vatican Council teaches, “everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: ...

Bibliography

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pp. 193-202

Index

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pp. 203-206