Doors to the Sacred
Rev. Dr. David Adams St. John, Adj. Professor of Sanctus Theological Institute
Doors to the Sacred: by Jospeh Martos Table of Contents
Expanded Edition Liguiori/Triumph
PART ONE: A HISTORY OF SACRAMENTS
1.Sacraments in All Religions 3 11. The Beginnings of the Christian Sacraments 19 1. Israel and the Roman Empire 19
2. The Early Christian Community 23 3. The Patristic Period 27 4. The Sacramental Seal 32 5. Augustine and Afterward 40
111. The Development of the Catholic Sacraments 47 1. 'Seven Liturgical Sacraments 48 2. Sign and Reality 51 3. The Sacramental Character 56 4. Aritstotle, Aquinas, and the Sacraments 60 5. Legalism, Nominalism, and Magic 65
IV. Catholic and Protestant Sacraments 77 1. Luther and the Protestant Reformation 80 2. Trent and the Catholic Counter-reformation 88 3. The Modern Centuries 94
V.The Sacraments Today 103 1. Twentieth-Century Developments 104 2. Contemporary Sacramental Theology 109 3. Contemporary Sacramental Practices 125
PART TWO: HISTORIES OF THE SACRAMENTS
VI. Baptism 143 1. Parallels and Precedents 143 2. Baptism and Christian Initiation 144 3. Baptism in the Middle Ages 156 4. Baptism in Modern Times 166 5. Baptism in Contemporary Catholicism 171 Contents
V11. Confirmation 179 1. Parallels and Precedents 179 2. Receiving the Holy Spirit 181 3. From Consignation to Confirmation 186 4. Confirmation in Modern Times 193 5. Confirmation in the Contemporary Church 196
V111. Eucharist 203 1. Parallels and Precedents 204 2. From the Last Supper to the Liturgy 208 3. The Mass & Eucharist: Middle Ages 225 4. The Lord's Supper & the Modern Mass 241 5. Liturgy, and Eucharist in the 20th cent.253
IX. Reconciliation 268 1. Parallels and Precedents 269 2. Repentance and Reconciliation in Early Christianity 3. Confession & Penance:the Middle Ages 284 4. The Modern Sacrament of Penance 299 5. Sacramental Reconciliation:Church Today307
X. Anointing 318 1. Parallels and Precedents 318 2. Healing and Anointing in the Early Church 321 3. From Anointing the Sick to Anointing the Dying 325 4. The Modern Sacrament of Extreme Unction 332 5. Return to Anointing of the Sick 336
X1. Marriage 343 1. Parallels and Precedents 344 2. Early Christian Marriage 347 3. Secular to Ecclesiastical Marriage 360 4. Marriage in the Modern Church 373 5. Marriage in Contemporary Catholicism 379
X11. Ordination 392 1. Parallels and Precedents 393 2. Christian Ministries and Sacred Orders 396 3. Holy Orders in the Middle Ages 417 4. The Modern Catholic Priesthood 430 5. Ministries in the Church Today 439 Conclusion: Sacraments and the Future 457
This is a very interesting and well-written book giving a sweeping and yet detailed look at the history of sacraments in general and, more specifically, at the history and development of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Given the blessing of such fascinating subject matter, Martos has presented it in a very organized and logical manner, at once keeping the reader's interest and actually creating more interest and curiosity as he develops each section historically and philosophically.
The book is divided into two parts.
Part One is "A History of Sacraments":
Sacraments in All Religions, The Beginnings of Christian Sacraments, The Development of the Catholic Sacraments, Catholic and Protestant Sacraments, and The Sacraments Today. Part Two is called "Histories of the Sacraments" and takes detailed looks at each sacrament (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing, Marriage, and Ordination), following their development through the centuries, and finally looks at their various roles in the church today.
I have to agree with the National Catholic Reporter's assessment of the book, "Martos gives an amazing amount of detail and yet never confuses the reader. He even manages to translate the philosophical terminology of medieval sacramental theory into understandable language (no mean achievement in itself). .. No English speaking student of theology, teacher of religious education or interested Christian will have an excuse for not knowing the intriguing history of the sacraments. No careful reader will have reason for not better appreciating the need for doors to the sacred."
The author states that "the single thread that runs through this book and ties all the chapters together is the notion that ideas and experiences, thinking and doing, theory and practice, mutually influence each other over the course of time." In other words, sacramental development through the centuries was made up of many fits and starts, backtracking, dead ends and untried ways; and that in each of them, experience gave rise to ideas, that caused changes in behavior and experience, which in turn brought about new ideas that lead to new experiences etc.
PART ONE Chapter 1: Sacraments in All Religions
"Surprising as it may seem to Roman Catholics, every religion in the world makes use of sacraments." Thus begins Mr. Martos as he defines the term "sacrament" in its most general form. The term comes from the Latin sacramentum, which originally meant a pledge of money or property which was put up by parties in a lawsuit, deposited in the temple, and which was forfeited by the loser or breaker of the contract A later use of the term was as an oath of allegiance made by Roman soldiers to their commander and to the gods. The word was later used by Christians, in the second century, in their attempts to explain, in a way their Roman contemporaries could understand, the ceremony of Christian initiation. As Christianity began to replace polytheism in the Roman Empire, the original meanings went by the wayside and the Christian definition became more prominent
As time went on, by the twelfth century, the term "sacrament" was used only to refer to the seven church rituals. By the sixteenth century and beyond, Protestants limited the use even further, as they did not recognize all seven of these rituals of the church.
Of course, the term has not been exclusive to the church. In popular usage, it has come to mean many things, but they all boil down to a broad definition: "A sign or symbol of something which is sacred and mysterious". In this sense/ states the author, all religions of the world are full of sacraments.
Rather than being transition rituals, they are intensification rituals which call to mind beliefs and intensify values which are held by those individuals who participate in them. Sociologically, they are thought of as "rites of passage" or "rites of celebration".
"In recent years Catholic theologians and educators have leaned heavily on this sociological interpretation of ritual in explaining the meaning and function of sacraments in the church. They have suggested that sacramental ceremonies can be understood as symbolic expressions of sacred realities which are recognized and accepted by those who have faith."
Finally, in his general look at sacraments in world religions, Martos takes a brief look at some general kinds of sacramental rituals which bear some similarity to the sacraments of the Catholic religion; water rituals, rituals of initiation, ritual meals, ritual sacrifices, atonement rituals, healing rituals, funeral rituals, marriage rituals, and ordination rituals. In doing so, he shows that in each of these types of rituals, there is a general, symbolic meaning: "The meaning is entrance into the community, of participating in its life and values, of perpetuating or serving the community."
Seeing the Catholic sacraments in the context of other religious sacraments does at least show that
• the Catholic sacraments are not odd as religious phenomena
• the general meanings that Catholics find in their sacraments are also important in other religions
• Catholic rituals are valid ways of entering into and validating those meanings, reaffirming them and deepening understanding of them
"Rituals are not escapes from life but intensifications of it"
Chapter 2: The Beginnings of the Christian Sacraments
''What was visibk in the Lord has passed over into the sacraments." - Pope Leo the Great
"Catechisms used to say that the sacraments were instituted by Christ, and Catholic theologians still acknowledge a sense in which this is true. Historically speaking, however, we have to say that there is no direct evidence that Jesus of Nazareth left his companions with a well-defined and complete set of sacramental rituals as those that later developed in the church."
They shared special meals, prayed together, baptized new believers and imposed hands on them/ anointed the sick and appointed leaders.
But the followers of Jesus lived in a world which was familiar with sacraments:
• Israel found God in its own history and events in the lives of its people. For them, history was sacred, and, in a sense, "Israel's history was its most important sacrament."
• Israel's history provided revelations that came from beyond man - from God alone.
• Israel's second sacrament was its scriptures, the record of that holy revelation from God through its own history.
• Israel also had other sacramental aspects: sacred rituals, objects, places, and persons.
"So the first followers of Jesus, who were Jewish, grew up in a unique sacramental tradition, a tradition in which God spoke to humankind through persons and events, a tradition in which sacred meaning was revealed in actions and records of those actions."
In AD 70, the Roman armies leveled Jerusalem and almost totally severed Christianity from its Jewish cultural roots. From this point on, the followers of Jesus began to adopt the cultural practices of the Greek Christian communities.
But much of the Greek religion lost its value (its gods had failed) and the Roman "religion" was very political and geared to the preservation of the empire. So those who looked for deeper meanings in life had to look elsewhere. They found them in the mystery cults.
Common to these cults was the mysterion, a sacred ritual in which the sacred meaning of myths was revealed. "Nothing is higher than these mysteries/' said Cicero. "They have sweetened our characters and softened our customs; they have made us pass from the condition of savages to true humanity. They have not only shown us the way to live joyfully, but they have taught us how to die with a better hope."
In this world of official state rituals and sacraments of the mystery religions, the Jewish converts to Christianity found much familiarity. Though while not taking any of these rituals as their own, they borrowed the term, mysterion, and made it a permanent part of the Christian sacramental vocabulary.
Probably the most amazingly effective sacramental rite in the early church was the laying on of hands. "Undoubtedly it was a sacramental action, for it was a symbol of something which could not be seen, of the spirifs being 'poured forth' upon the converts."
Scripture speaks of other sacramental actions in the early Christian church:
Speaking in tongues, prophesying and interpreting, healing and prayer, and a mutual confession of sins.
"What is important to remember is that the scriptural passages about these sacraments in the early Christian community are usually descriptions or based on descriptions of religious experiences. Although they were familiar with sacraments in the Jewish and Greek cultures, those who wrote about the early Christian sacraments had no pre-established theology which they could use to explain what they were experiencing. Instead, they had to develop their theology as they went along, relying on what they remembered of what Jesus had said and done, relying on the religious interpretations given by the spiritual leaders of the community, and relying on their own insight into what they and others experienced."
Under the guidance of the "Fathers of the Church" in the second through the sixth centuries, the church's sacraments developed into a set of rituals.
It was Tertullian who first used the word, sacr amentum, in a Christian sense. Because of his influence on other writers, it became the general term for the Christian ceremony of initiation which at that time consisted of; baptism, the imposition of hands, and participation in the eucharistic meal.
Eventually the pagan meanings of mysterion were forgotten. Soon, they only spoke of the Christian mysteries.
John Chrysostom: "A mystery is present when we realize that something exists beyond the things that we are looking at"
The Church Fathers relied on the Bible in developing their theology:
John Chrysostom: "Let us believe God in all things and deny him nothing, even when what is said seems contradictory to our judgment and our senses. We should do this in the mysteries, not looking merely at the things before our eyes but keeping his words before our mind. For his word cannot deceive, whereas our senses are easily deceived. And so, since the word says, 'This is my body'/ let us be convinced and believe, and let us look at it with the eyes of the mind."
They also relied on their experience:
Cyprian of Carthage: "As soon as the stain of my former life was washed away through baptism's birth-giving wave, a calm pure light filled my breast. And as soon as I drank of the heavenly spirit and was given a new manhood through a second maturity, in an amazing way doubts began to vanish, secrets started to reveal themselves, what was dark grew light, apparent difficulties cleared up, seeming impossibilities disappeared."
As time passed/ baptism evolved from a simple bathing into a rich/ symbolic ceremony/ and the eucharist developed from a simple meal into an elaborate liturgy.
"To these fathers the effects of the sacramental rites were patently real, for the 'sacramenta' enabled Christians to participate in the sacred and mysterious realities which were of the utmost importance but beyond complete human comprehension."
The church fathers worked to develop a logical understanding of their sacramental practices. One theory developed (which has remained part of Catholic sacramental theology up to the present day) is that of the sacramental seal.
"Eventually they came to the understanding that receiving the Holy Spirit meant somehow receiving the image of God on one's soul, or being impressed with God's seal."
Controversies came up over the doctrine of the seal. It was common church practice that a person could be baptized or ordained only once. The spiritual seal could never be lost The Bishops (at Aries in 314) decided this to be the case. Donatus and his followers did not agree. They believed that apostate clerics cut themselves off from the church and therefore from the action of the Holy Spirit
St. Augustine answered this dispute with the solution that there must be two effects of baptism - one permanent and one that could be lost through sin. The permanent effect was the seal. The other effect was God's grace which could be lost through sin.
Augustine's identification of the sacrament with the seal and his distinction between the sacrament and its benefits were to have three long-lasting consequences in Catholic theology.
1. It focused attention on the idea that the meaning and effect of a sacramental ritual were the properties of the rite and not of the minister.
2. It solidified the habit of speaking about the sacraments' being administered and received.
Contemporary Catholic theology:
• Sacraments as signs of grace
Not challenged by reformers so not addressed by Council of Trent
• Sacraments as encounters with Christ
Edward Schillebeeckx - The sacraments are outward signs that reveal a transcendent divine reality
• Sacraments as symbolic actions of the church
Kari Rahner - No historical evidence that Jesus personally instituted all seven sacraments - but he did institute a sacramental church so Christ instituted everything the sacraments signify
• Sacraments as symbols of human meaning
The sacraments are invitations to be more fully human - to live up to the ideals that the rites represent
• Sacraments as transformations of human reality
Bernard Cooke - Sacraments are experiential. They introduce and intensify the Christian experience of life for those who participate in them
• Sacraments as interpreted in different ways
Process thinking, charismatic theology, and liberation theology
• Sacraments as liturgical acts
Lex orandi, lex credendi - The law of prayer is the law of faith, or, What we pray as a church is what we believe as a community.
1. Catholic sacraments are liturgical rituals
2. Liturgical texts or written rites have a special significance
3. Attention should be given to the experience of the rituals
Contemporary sacramental practices:
Theological pluralism is on the increase.
Acculturation - translating existing meanings into cultural forms
Inculturation - developing new rites especially for a given culture
There is an increase in ecumenism.
Catholics agree with Protestants that there should be more emphasis on the Word of God, so there are more readings, and more attention to Bible study. Sermons have become a more important part of the liturgy.
Baptism in the Spirit - practiced by both Pentecostal Christians and Pentecostal
Cursillo de Cristiandad - the "short course in Christianity7'
Marriage Encounter - a weekend of talks, prayer and time together
Focolare Movement - a week long experience in Christian Community
PART TWO Histories of the Sacraments
In Part Two, Martos takes each sacrament separately and traces its particular history through the ages. In most cases, he breaks each history down into; Parallels and Precedents, Its Early Church or Middle Ages development, and its modem expression. Much more detail is given on each sacrament, and many involved details regarding changes in its practice and the theology behind it are presented. As a result, the book bogs down a bit and one wonders if one can absorb all the information. As for me, I find it useful to not be too concerned with the details, but to discover an appreciation for the general trends of how each sacrament changed throughout the history of the church, and, more importantly what that means for us as practicing Catholics today.
Rather than try to completely outline the history of each of the sacraments covered in the second half of the book, I find it more interesting and useful to concentrate on what I find to be the most interesting aspect of each.
Chapter 6: Baptism
Baptism has undergone many changes throughout its history. This ritual has been practiced with total immersion in water, with a pouring of water/ and a sprinkling of water. It has been done both prior to one's expressed belief in Christ and after one has believed. Yet, as Martos states/ "through it all there is a continuity which is greater than the differences."
Water baptism was an important part of Christian initiation from the beginnings of the church and on through its spread into the Roman Empire.
People of certain "professions" were not allowed to become members of the church. This included prostitutes, pimps/ makers of idols/ actors/ entertainers/ gladiators/ and soldiers. They had to give up their chosen professions first - and then the lengthy preparation/ known as the catechumenate/ was more ethical in content than it was doctrinal.
In the fourth century/ as the practice of Christianity became more accepted in Roman society/ catechumens were allowed to attend Sunday liturgies and both baptisms and the eucharist were celebrated more openly - in public buildings rather than more secretively in homes.
The belief that the unbaptized were condemned to hell/ along with the high rate of infant mortality in those days/ ultimately prompted parents to have their children baptized right after birth rather than waiting until the once-yearly liturgical baptism.
What I found of interest regarding baptism are the various thoughts and their development regarding infant baptism. Why baptize babies? Cyprian of Carthage provided the answer using the words of Romans 5:12-21. He contended that baptism
"washed away the guilt contracted by the human race in Adam's fall, and that this was why the church encouraged parents to baptize infants."
Complete immersion in baptism remained the practice of the eastern church while in the west/ immersion came to be replaced by pouring water over the child's head.
"The New Testament and the early fathers agreed that faith, not fust baptism, was needed for salvation. When adults were baptized they could be asked what they believe in, as indeed they were each time they were washed in the baptismal water. Clearly now infants could not make such a response of faith. In fact, it was even customary for the baptismal sponsors to speak in the child's name when it was asked to renounce the devil and when it was asked whether it believed in the doctrines of the creed. And so, the solution to the problem of the need for faith in baptism was suggested in the baptismal ritual itself: it was the sponsors who supplied the needed faith, at least until the child was old enough to speak for itself. Thus the role of the sponsors, or godparents as they were sometimes called, was changed. Instead of being guarantors of the candidate's faith before baptism, they were now guardians of the child's faith after baptism, and they were considered responsible for making sure that the child received religious instruction and remained a good Christian as it grew up."
This take on baptism and the role of the sponsors effectively reversed the role of the sponsors - making them guardians of the candidate's training and nurturing. It created a much more active and supportive role for the sponsors (and the parents of the child). I am pleased that this is one of the emphases placed on baptism today -especially in our church.
/"'Finally, an important change occasioned by infant baptism - although there were other causes as well - was the separation of the traditional initiation ritual into distinct steps. During the patristic period the entire ceremony that preceded the Easter liturgy was known simply as baptism (although each dipping or pouring was also called baptism). It included all the exorcisms and prayers and anointings besides the washing in water and the final anointing or imposition of hands by the bishop, and it was followed immediately by the intitiate's first participation in the eucharist."
In the fourteenth century, the custom of baptizing infants took the force of law. Episcopal and conciliar decrees ordered that infants be baptized anywhere from a day to a week after birth. This was to protect them from "the peril of dying with original sin on their soul."
The New Testament speaks of baptism in terms of death and resurrection, hi the Patristic era, baptism involved a personal commitment witnessed and approved by the Christian Community. In the Middle Ages/ sacraments were understood as causes as well as signs. So, today, in contemporary Catholic theology, the meaning of baptism is still salvation, but the meaning of salvation is becoming more experiential and less metaphysical.
In the Revised Rite of Baptism for Children, issued in 1969, the introduction as well as the prayers and the expressed symbolism of the rite put less emphasis on washing away original sin and much more on incorporation into the body of Christ, being born to new life, and living by the light of faith. (Am I reading this right? Can it be that the Church is leaning in the direction of believing that baptism is not necessary for salvation?)
"At least we can say that baptism remains a door to the sacred for most Catholics because it is still a ritual through which they enter a religious society which stands for a sacred meaning of life and which opens the way to experiences of the sacred in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. "
Chapter 7: Confirmation
Confirmation as a separate sacramental ritual did not exist before the third century and did not become a regular practice until the fifth century and it was not until the Middle Ages that it became definitely separated from baptismal initiation.
"Its position in contemporary Catholicism is unclear. The Roman church has retained the •practice of baptizing its members in infancy and confirming them afterward, but the significance of the separated ritual is unsettled. The rite which is now called confirmation has meant different things in different periods of history, and theologians today are hard put to say which is the meaning of the sacrament."
Around the turn of the third century, Tertullian stated that those who were baptized were washed spiritually clean by an angel, and they did not receive the Holy Spirit until the bishop laid hands on them. However, several developments made it
increasingly difficult for bishops to preside over all the baptisms performed in the territory. 1. When Christianity became official/ large numbers of people wanted to be baptized into the church. 2. Infant baptisms increased greatly and the once-yearly rite was necessarily performed at churches other than the episcopal cathedral. 3. The increase in missionary baptisms precluded the presence of a bishop. As a result, in the west/ the imposition of the bishop's hand was gradually replaced by anointing or consignation as the rite by which baptism was completed.
Problems: Medieval theologians had no difficulty accepting confirmation as an ecclesiastical sacrament but they did have difficulty explaining it.
The scholastics believed that if it was a sacrament/ like the others/ where was its "matter" and its "form"?
It could not be easily shown from Scripture that confirmation was instituted by Christ as/ say/ baptism was.
The medieval theology of confirmation/ which has remained to the present modem period/ is that by confirmation Christians grew in grace and were strengthened in faith. The "matter" of confirmation was defined as the anointing with chrism/ since this was found in all medieval rites; and the "form" of confirmation was the formula that the bishop pronounced as he did the anointing. ("I sign you with the sign of the cross and I confirm you with the chrism of salvation/ in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"). The ordinary minister of the sacrament was the bishop but it allowed that priests could be delegated to perform the rite provided the chrism had been blessed by the bishop.
"There is at present no uniform age for confirmation around the Catholic world, and no uniform theology of the sacrament, for disagreements about the proper age for confirmation usually go hand in hand with disagreements about the meaning of the rite."
What I find interesting about Confirmation is the lack of a clear understanding of its place in the church. As Martos states, according to contemporary Catholic writers, Confirmation is "a. sacrament in search of a theology."
Chapter 8: Eucharist
The earliest written record of the last supper of Jesus and the Lord's supper of the early Christians was in the letter Paul sent to the church in Corinth in approximately the year 57.
During the first three centuries the interpretation of the eucharist as a sacrifice and sacrificial meal became more popular.
Between the fourth and sixth centuries, eucharistic worship evolved from a comparatively brief and simple ritual meal into a richly elaborate ceremonial liturgy.
There is much that I find of interest in studying the Eucharist. But in the history of the Eucharist, as covered by Martos, what I find to be of interest is the belief in the "real presence" and the questions posed by the scholastic theologians: At what point in the mass did the sacrifice take place? And, of even more interest: How were the bread and wine changed into the body and blood of Christ?
All of these theologians agreed that "what took place in the mass was "the memorial and representation of the true sacrifice and holy immolation' which Christ had made on the cross." (As stated by Peter Lombard). But when in the mass did that occur? Some thought it took place when each separate element was consecrated. Others thought it took place upon the breaking of the host, or its consumption by the priest
Of more interest is the question of how the elements changed. Two explanations were offered:
Consubstantiation - the belief that the substance of Christ was added to the material of the elements when the words of consecration were spoken. Both elements are present in the sacrament. This was the view of Martin Luther and remains to this day the belief in the Lutheran Church. Christ is "in, with, and under, the elements".
Transubstantiation - This stems from the belief that no two substances can occupy the same space. This view is explained by the belief that during the consecration the bread and wine are "annihilated" by the power of God and that the body and blood of Christ take their place. In other words, the reality or substance of the elements change while their appearances remain unchanged.
Thomas Aquinas accepted the theory of transubstantiation and developed it in such a way that Catholic theologians could accept for centuries to come. First, he noted that Eucharist, unlike the other sacraments, was not a sacred action but a sacred object The "matter" is tile bread and wine. The "form" is Christ's words spoken over them by the priest. According to Aquinas, the physical appearance of the bread and wine is only a "sacrament", a sacred sign of a spiritual reality. The consecrated elements were both "sacrament and reality", as they both signify and ARE the body and blood of Christ. His view of what was ONLY reality in this sacrament differed from other theologians. His answer was that it is not Christ as present in the elements that is the reality. It is Christ as received in communion, "for when the host and wine were consumed the sacrament disappeared and only the reality of Christ's presence remained".
"For Aquinas, then. God's purpose in giving the eucharist to the church was not to make bread and wine an object of worship (although he agreed that it was proper to venerate the sacrament) but to give Christians a means of spiritual nourishment... the experienced presence of Christ in the eucharist was a result of his real presence in the sacrament under the appearance of bread and wine. That real presence was not a physical presence but a metaphysical presence, and so it could not be perceived by the eye but only by the mind."
At the Council of Trent, the bishops produced three documents on the eucharist one on the blessed sacrament (1551), one on the reception of communion (1562), and one on the mass as a sacrifice (1562).
In the first, they stated: "Our Lord Jesus Christ/ true God and man, is truly, really and substantially contained under the appearances of bread and wine." This was viewed as not necessarily a physical presence but it was a real presence, "localizable" in the sacrament, and not just a spiritual presence in the minds of believers. In other words, they are saying that the correct understanding of the real change in the elements is that of "transubstantiation".
The second decree dealt with communion and defended a Catholic position which had been challenged by the protestant reformers. Catholics do not have to receive both the bread and wine in order to receive Christ in communion. The whole Christ is found in every particle and every drop. Therefore he is found in either element separately.
In the third decree the bishops presented the understanding of mass as a sacrifice and defended the liturgical practices of the day.
"Although the Catholic church officially still recognizes the doctrines of the Council of Trent as its own, Catholicism in general is quietly laying them aside. Its theologians no longer speak about the mass as a sacrifice, its preachers and catechists no longer urge special devotion to the blessed sacrament, and its congregations no longer attend the Latin mass that the Tridentine dogmas defended and explained. The term 'transubstantiation', once found in every Catholic catechism, is virtually unknown to younger Catholics, and even tJw word 'mass', though still in popular use, is disappearing from the Catholic theological vocabulary."
The Catholic explanation of the consecration, since the Middle Ages, has been that of transubstantiation. But in the modern era, two other views have popped up:
Transfinalization - the idea that the final reality of any created thing is determined by its maker, and not by what it is made of. This theory was put forward in order to, perhaps, allow Catholics and Protestants to come to an agreement regarding the eucharist, but alas, neither accepted it.
Transignification - the idea that significance or meaning is a constitutive element of reality. Gestures and words can be realities. Therefore Christ changed the meaning of a common Jewish ritual to a memorial of his death and resurrection, and he changed the meaning of the bread and wine from what they signified to the Jews to a sacrament of His body and blood. So by changing the meaning/ He changed the reality. Ultimately, in mass, when the meaning of the elements changes, their reality changes for those who have faith in Christ and accept the new meaning that he gave them.
"Despite its apparent orthodoxy, the Catholic hierarchy has had some difficulty in accepting transignification as an explanation for the eucharist. To many of them transubstantiation seems to be part and parcel of the Catholic belief in the real presence, and so to change the explanation of it seems tantamount to changing the doctrine itself."
Chapter 9: Reconciliation
The early Christian penitential practices did not differ much from the Jewish practices. It appears that the only ritual of forgiveness in the early church was baptism. There was a belief at that time that one forgiveness of sins was sufficient, especially in light of the "fact" that Christ s second coming was imminent. But that did not happen, so they had to rethink the problem of converts who fell away and then wanted to be readmitted to the church.
Eventually a formal, public ritual of repentance was developed that took place at the beginning of the worship service. By the third century, those who wanted to rejoin the Christian community would confess privately to the bishop. He would impose some type of penance, and upon completion of the penitential period, the bishop would publicly impose his hands upon these individuals and welcome them back into the community.
"This public penitence was sacramental, for it was a sign both to those who witnessed it and to those who endured it that God was merciful to the contrite and that the church was a place where people could find salvation from their sinful ways. And it was an effective
sacrament, for by the conversion of the heart that it demanded, the communal support that it provided, and the public approval that it gave to repentance it brought about a real release from sin - if not from all sin, at least from scandalous behavior."
Private confession developed, which was followed by the priest imposing a certain penance upon the individual. What if penitents died before completing their penance? The practice changed. In the years between 1000 and 1200, there was a complete change in the words the priest said after hearing the penitents confession. Originally, it was a passive, "May God have mercy on you and forgive your sins." Ultimately, it changed to, "\ absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" Now penitents were absolved from their sins immediately after confessing, and the penances were performed after absolution.
Eventually two views developed regarding confession. Some believed that contrition caused the remission of sins and others believed that absolution was the effective cause. In attempts to reconcile these differing views, some distinctions developed that were of great importance to later theology.
One was the distinction between "mortal" and "venial" sins. Venial sins were minor offenses, easily pardonable. Mortal sins, however, were those that were considered "death to the soul".
Another was the distinction between "imperfect" and "perfect" contrition. Imperfect contrition was that which was only motivated by fear of retribution. Perfect contrition was that which recognized that sin had no place in the heart of someone who loves God.
The third distinction had to do with the punishment of sins. It was a distinction between "temporal" and "eternal" punishment. Absolution forgave the eternal punishment, but penance had to be done for temporal forgiveness.
Today, there are actually three forms of the rite of reconciliation in the Catholic Church. One private. One public. One combined form. These new forms of the rite stress the idea of reconciliation rather than absolution, and encourage the use of scripture in addition to the prescribed prayers.
Chapter 10: Anointing
The Gospels are full of accounts of Jesus performing miracles of healing and the disciples of Jesus shared in this ministry of healing. In other New Testament books, there is much evidence of physical healing continuing to be a sign through which people came to believe. Just read the book of Acts. However, indications of a healing ministry during the next few centuries in the early church are scant, but the practice did continue in one form or another.
By the fifth century, Alexandria and Antioch had definitely adopted the practice of anointing the sick, but the first known ecclesiastical rite for anointing the sick dates from the ninth century.
What I find most interesting in regard to this sacrament, is how it went through some radical changes through the centuries. It has been variously known as "anointing" and "extreme unction", and these terms give a clue as to the different views of the sacrament. Was is for the sick, or for the dying?
During the Middle Ages, when people received reconciliation from the church on their deathbed, they were also anointed. However, lay people began to refrain from having priests anoint them when ill because if they recovered from their illness after receiving penitential anointing, they were bound by ancient canons prohibiting business pursuits, marital relations, etc. Because of this, and because of the fact that in the Middle Ages serious illnesses were often fatal, the priests began to anoint only when people were dying.
In the twelfth century, theologians disagreed over who should receive the anointing, and when. To children? To the insane? To the unconscious? At the beginning of a disease, or when it had run its course? Did it have to be requested?
The one thing that everybody agreed on, though, was that this sacrament was without question instituted by Christ.
Eventually, the rite was simplified and made easier to administer, and only one priest was required to do the anointing (previously, three or more priests were required). Also, the anointing came to be given only at the end of a sickness, when death seemed imminent. Prayers asking for healing were eliminated from the simplified rite. Rather the prayer was along the lines of "Through this holy anointing and his tender mercy, may the Lord forgive whatever sins you have committed." This is what the theologians of the Middle Ages had in mind when they developed the doctrine of extreme unction. But gradually extreme unction became more of a sacrament for the sick rather than a sacrament for the dying. As a result, the name became misleading and the sacrament ultimately came to be known as anointing.
The modern form of anointing in the Catholic Church is seen as both an anointing of the sick and of the dying. It is an assertion that neither disease nor death are ultimate. It is an affirmation for Christians that they are not alone in their suffering and it is a statement of the belief in resurrection, whether it is in this life or in the life to come.
"How that affirmation is made, haw that opportunity is taken, and how the statement is interpreted may vary from one person to the next, and yet the symbolic ritual of anointing remains a sacramental door which opens the way to any and all of them."
Chapter 11: Marriage
Marriage in the early church was regarded as a sacrament in the broad sense of Martos' definition, but it wasn't until the twelfth century that it came to be regarded as a sacrament in the same sense as baptism and the other official sacraments.
The early church fathers did not say much about marriage, but when they did, they spoke of it as an important aspect of Christian life - not as an ecclesiastical institution. Marriage was very much an institution officially regulated by the state. Even after Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire (380), there were no great changes in the civil marriage laws.
The biggest problem, as seen by me church, was the problem of divorce and the ease with which divorces could be obtained.
Late in the fourth century, in the east, it was customary for a priest or bishop to give his blessing to the newly married couple. Then in the fifth century, especially in Greece and Asia Minor, me clergy began to take a more active role in the marriage ceremony itself. Eventually, the marriage ceremony developed into a liturgical activity.
By the eighth century, liturgical weddings were common and were performed in the church, rather than in the home as was the custom. Soon it came to be that the priests blessing was essential for the joining of two people in a Christian, sacramental marriage.
"The same view persists in the Orthodox churches today, for which marriage is a sacrament of Christian transformation, a transition ritual from one state in life to another which both effects that transition and symbolizes its spiritual goal. Just as baptism both initiates a person into the kingdom of God and symbolizes the sinkss way that life in the kingdom should be lived, so marriage unites and consecrates two persons in fidelity to each other and symbolizes the love and respect that married people should always have for each other."
By the twelfth century there was an established church wedding ceremony that was conducted entirely by the clergy.
In respect to marriage, what I find most interesting is that many theologians had trouble accepting marriage as a sacrament in the formal sense of the term. Even Peter Lombard, although considering it a sacrament, believed that marriage was different from the other six official sacraments because it was a sign of something sacred but not a cause of grace.
Augustine said that marriage was a sacramentum because it was a sign of the union between Christ and His church, and it was a sacred pledge between husband and wife. But what was the sacramental sign in marriage? Many thought it should be the priests blessing since in the wedding rite it corresponded to the part that the priest played in other rites. But others suggested that it should be the physical act of intercourse between the spouses since this physical union could be taken as a sign of the spiritual union between the incarnate Christ and his spouse, the church. (This belief must continue to have an affect on the practice of annulment). Still others thought it should be the spiritual unity of the married couple since this union of wills was closer to the actual way Christ and the church were united with each other. All of these theories came to be abandoned.
Eventually, the sacramental sign in marriage came to be viewed as the consent the spouses give each other at the beginning of their married life. This made it possible to regard the marriage bond, or contract, as the sacramentum et res (sign and reality).
"And what of marriage as a 'door to the sacred'? Is it that now? Or has it ever been that? It is, and it has been, despite the fact that much of the history of marriage in the Catholic church has been a legal history, and despite the fact that the sacramental theology of marriage was for a long time formulated injuridicial terms.
"It is a door to the sacred because it is, indeed, a sign of the spiritual union of Christ and His church, and the wedding ceremony celebrates the sacred value of marriage in a Christian culture, it initiates the man and the woman into a style of life that is modeled on this relationship."
Chapter 12: Ordination
I was looking forward to reading about the history of ordination. In fact I thought it would be one of my favorite sections of the book (second only to the chapter on Eucharist). However/ I found it to be the most uninteresting and tedious of all the chapters. So rather than try to repeat the history of ordination, I am going to write about the one aspect I found to be of lasting value.
The most significant aspect of this look at the history of ordination/ I felt/ was Martos' discussion of ministries in the church today.
Following the Second Vatican Council/ The Catholic Church published "The Constitution on the Church". It "affirmed that priests were equal to bishops in priestly dignity even though they did 'not possess the highest degree of priesthood' and they were 'dependent on the bishops in the exercise of their power'. They were therefore 'cooperators', 'aids', and 'instruments' of the bishop in the exercise of his pastoral office. Their function as priests was first and foremost the celebration of the eucharistic liturgy, but the administration of the other sacraments was also important, and they were to lead the faithful by their preaching and example as well.
^The 'Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests' explained that through their connection with bishops priests were successors of the apostles and inheritors of the priestly ministry that Christ had bequeathed to his church. They were therefore ministers of Christ in service to others, preaching during the liturgy and also teaching groups and individuals in a variety of circumstances. For this reason they were to be men of prayer, seekers of spiritual perfection, and imitators of Christ."
I put the above statements in bold because I believe these words convey the key to the sacrament of ordination. Reread it in the present tense, and it reads as a vow one might make as one takes Holy Orders in the priesthood:
Although not possessing the highest degree of priesthood, I am equal to the bishop in priestly dignity.
I am dependent on the bishop in the exercise of my power. lama cooperator, an aid, and an instrument of the bishop in the exercise of his pastoral office.
My function as priest is first and foremost the celebration of the eucharistic liturgy, as well as the administration of the other sacraments as well.
I am to lead the faithful by my preaching and by my example.
Through my connection with the bishop, I am a successor of the apostles and an inheritor of the priestly ministry that Christ bequeathed to His church.
Therefore, I am a minister of Christ in service to others - preaching during the liturgy and teaching groups and individuals in the way of the Lord.
I am to be a man of prayer, a seeker of spiritual perfection, and an imitator of Christ.
"It is unlikely thai the seven sacraments . . . will disappear from Catholicism. Besides reaffirming the connection between the church of today and the church of the past, these rituals continue to sacramentalize significant moments in the lives of Catholics and allow them to keep in touch with the sacred realities that lie at the heart of their faith. So even though the outward appearance of these sacraments may change drastically in the cultural diversity of global Catholicism during the next decades, they will continue to function as ritual religious symbols md doors to the sacred in the Catholic church."
"The Dynamics of Ritual Celebration"
Joseph Martos, Ph.D.
Introduction by Sister E. Ryan:
Dr. Martos is professor Religious Studies and director of the Institute of Religion and Ministry at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also taught at Russell Institute. He has written several books, Sacraments and Doors to the Sacred. He speaks through out the U.S.
His own background of himself:
This is his forth time in San Antonio. (ICW?). He was in the seminary during the 1960's and studies in Rome at Gregorian University. He left the seminary and studied at Boston Collage and finished at DePaul University. After his graduation he was a parish DRE. He got a job in Sioux City, Iowa to teach a course of the sacraments. He discovered there was no book available on the history of the sacraments and researched the history and finally wrote a book on the subject. He is considered a Sacramental Theologian. He never got a course of the sacraments while he was in the Seminary.
Write up in brochure about this workshop:
An examination of liturgical workshop from the perspective of ritual celebration, especially how recent research in ritual studies contributes to our understanding of liturgy.
Workshop notes taken--this is no a word for word account:
What do we do for worship when we get together, especially if there is no presider. The number of priest is declining, therefore forcing us to look how we worship. There is a danger and an opportunity. We have the opportunity to be more creative in our Sunday worship. We can be more creative than if we have to follow the prescribed procedures. We can be more creative that with a Eucharistic Service. We will be talking how we will understand Eucharist worship today and in the future.
Dynamics of Celebration:
Ritual is looked as human. (Referring to in the Social Sciences.) We will not get into the theology of ritual this morning. Dr. Martos has his own convictions and he says people should do their own theologizing. He wants to help you to learn your own Eucharistic theology.
We will talk about four areas of "Ritual". We will talk about (1) Individual Ritual, (2) Group ritual, (3) the meaning of Ritual and (4) Communal Ritual.
Ritual is doing same thing in approximately same way every time we do it. An example of a daily ritual would be awaking each morning, getting up, brushing our teeth, etc. All ritual is learned--we are not born with them and we have to practice rituals. Person rituals are called skills. When skills are socially disagreeable or harmful they are called habits. All rituals are made up of little rituals. Everything that is true of an "individual ritual" is true of "Group Rituals". There is Repetition meaning practice.
GROUP RITUAL: (ALSO CALLED SOCIAL RITUAL)
There are two dimensions In-Group Ritual:
1) Transition--going from one way of relating to another, "Rights of Passage" for example; graduation, wedding, ordination.
2) Celebration--the intensification of meaning and value.
In the Church there are Rights of Passage, the Sacraments. Six of the seven Sacraments move us from one state to another. (The Eucharist is the one that does not.)
MEANING OF RITUAL
Meaning does not come from ritual itself--if a being from Mars came to Earth--how would he know what shaking hands meant? Meaning comes from Referent--what the celebration refers to.
EXAMPLE: A BIRTHDAY PARTY
In any celebration, there are layers of meanings as there are layers of involvement. The meaning of the Birthday party for the individual is be celebrate becoming one year older, the meaning to others they know each other and are friends and relatives celebrating with you. Therefore meaning involves only those who know me. The birthday has a past, a present and a future. The person with the birthday has had prior birthdays, is having one now and will probably have others.
The levels of meaning are (1) Personal, (2) Group and (3) Social.
If a national holiday were substituted then there would be a greater Social meaning because others would be involved with that national holiday.
SUBSTITUTING NOW USING THE EUCHARIST:
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may not agree with social
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Social or Ecclesiastical
the early Church teachings
----Roman Catholic now----
----reality as church-----
When a theologian or a priest talk of the Eucharist they are talking on the ecclesiastical level (Social).
When a child say the Mass is boring--they are using the personal level.
The personal level is felt rather that thought.
The Ecclesicical level has control and tells us the meaning.
Some ritual is not in Canon Law. Non-Eucharistic Service--there are no rules--no rubrics.
Communion Service is not ruled out. (??? not sure of his actual words here)
COMMUNAL MEANING OF LITURGY
There is non-Eucharist worship --look at the Protestant Churches.
Many ways to show love--a person can receive wild flowers or roses--it all depends on the referent. What the ritual points to or expresses is not a meaning. The reference is always a reality, which has meaning. (???) Meaning itself is a thought.
Liturgy is meaning at communal level only to extent that it points to actual reality in the lives of people in the group. (?)
A Mass--people know other but no real relationship. The meanfulness revolves around the people they know. (???)
The meaning of the liturgy had been established by relationship in three ways:
1) Personal & Communal Sharing: experiences/faith journeys Protestant do this more than Catholics after they come to know the Lord, they do more personal sharing.
2) Communal Acting: people doing things together. This happened more in the past, i.e. raising a barn.
3) Interpersonal Caring: usually when tragedy strikes, people share grief.
In small Church Community, the Protestant Church does better. People care for one another. There are structures of caring to help one another.
In the New Testament the word "Love" is agape, an active word. Today we use it as "like", to like one another.
Ritual: learned by practice Liturgy: must be planned, then implemented, then revised (best to have a large group to do this) then steps start over again.
Complex Ritual: composed of lots of simple rituals.
Transition Rituals: Celebrate and bring about changes in peoples lives.
Meaning of Rituals: Comes from outside especially Communal Level is in direct proportion.