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207 Book Reviews treating the sacraments of initiation as a unit. Its organization corresponds , in fact, not to the familiar organic metaphor of the current Catechism, but rather—as an artifact of its adaptation from The Teaching of Christ—to the structure of the 1971 General Catechetical Directory, which was addressed to the clergy. This does, however, have one potentially positive effect; in a book directed to the laity, it helps to explain the importance and function of the ordained ministry in a way which is sometimes underemphasized today, and positively encourages priestly vocations. This book, as an extract of The Teaching of Christ, presents a valuable shorter catechism on the sacraments filled with a depth of sound teaching, which highlights in a way most relevant today the importance of the Eucharist and the great gift for all ages of Christ’s presence in his Church. Both of these very affordable short volumes, though they differ in approach, and may appeal to different readers, center devotedly on the sacraments as ways of entering into Christ’s Paschal mystery. Both are thoroughly ‘orthodoxological,’ expressing a love of the Church’s tradition of right worship, worship at once well-informed and transformative. As such, they answer the urgent need today for a catechesis of mind and heart which leads Catholics to a more profound understanding of our faith, and so to their knees in adoration and praise of the Mystery. Daria Lucas Spezzano University of Notre Dame Hans Boersma, Nouvelle Theologie & Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 336. Cloth. $ 130.00. Stephen Schloesser, S.J., associate professor of history at Boston College, makes the interesting assertion that the sweeping changes that rocked the world in the first half of the twentieth century necessitated a return in theology to considering “fundamental questions.” He argues that the juridical, polemical characters of the neo-scholastic theology that was en vogue at the time did not provide answers “big enough” to satisfy for the questions posed by modern men and women. In his book, Nouvelle Theologie & Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery, Hans Boersma traces the attempts by the nouvelle theologie to find answers big enough and meaningful enough to engage modern questions. In the first part of his book, Boersma provides a helpful sense of the historical and theological contexts which comprise the back- 208 Antiphon 15.2 (2011) drop for the rise of the “new” theology. In an attempt to preserve the absolute gratuity of grace and to conform to the rational structures of the day, Boersma recounts that neo-thomists maintained a duplex ordo notion of the world whereby the natural world and the supernatural realm existed in parallel orders with little, if any, interpenetration. The result was, on the one hand, a world without wonder which appeared to be untouched by Christ’s activity in the economy and, on the other hand, a supernatural realm which is so abstract that one can say almost nothing about it. This completely extrinsic portrayal of God’s grace caused profound theological problems by suggesting a rupture between such realities as theology and life, history and eternity, grace and human action, theology and spirituality and hierarchy and laity. Boersma notes that what united the members of the nouvelle theologie was a desire to overcome the separation between nature and supernature. They viewed a failure to do as preventing theology from providing convincing answers to the most fundamental question of all: how is it that God is both radically transcendent and radically immanent at the same time? The Church’s difficulty in answering this central question contributed to the sense that the Church was out-of touch with the daily lives and concerns of average Christians. The “big answer” that the nouvelle theologie provided to the question of divine presence was to move away from the juridicized, “Christian rationalism” (93) of the neo-Thomists and return to a focus on mystery as a central category in theology. Boersma very carefully and convincingly argues that the theologians of the nouvelle theologie sought to accomplish this by revitalizing a sacramental ontology. A particular strength of Boersma’s book is that, unlike many...


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pp. 207-209
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