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  1. Israel: The BeginningsChristian Sacraments • For Israel it was not nature but history that was sacred • Sacred History, filled with stories, filled with sacred meanings • The world is good • Man’s sin disrupts the harmony of life • People should be open to God’s call • Slavery is inhuman freedom is cherished • Justice a law are important but mercy and love are more important • It is possible to be chosen and loved despite mistakes • Prayer and worship of God is life’s purpose

  2. Israel: The BeginningsChristian Sacraments • Israel’s History was its most important sacrament • It revealed what could not possibly be their own invention or discovery • Things that only come from God • Sacramental experiences or “hierophanies” were a recorded part of Jewish History • Moses saw God in the burning bush • Samuel heard Him in the temple • Elijah felt His presence in the wind

  3. Israel: The BeginningsChristian Sacraments • Israel’s second most important sacrament was its scriptures • The record of Holy Revelation • It was enshrined and venerated, read and meditated • It was the Word of God • Given to Moses • Sung by psalmists • Recorded by historians • Spoken through the prophets • Reading it brought one in contact with history • Pondering it brought one in contact with God who spoke through those events

  4. Israel: The BeginningsChristian Sacraments • Israel also had sacramental aspects • Sacred rituals, objects, places and persons. • Deuteronomy and Leviticus • Things sacred unto the Lord • The temple, animals, utensils for sacrifice, the ark of the covenant, holy vessels and oils. • Places where the Lord appeared • Holy of Holies • Mount Sinai • Sacred Persons • Judges, Kings, Prophets and Priests through whom they made contact with God

  5. Israel: The BeginningsChristian Sacraments • The first followers of Jesus grew up in a unique sacramental tradition • God spoke to man through persons and events • Sacred meaning was revealed in actions and in the record of those actions • It did have its problems • In Jesus time Temple Rituals had grown to the point of excluding historical tradition • Early prophets denounced the abuse • Jesus denounced the abuse • God does not desire animal sacrifice Love for others is more important than the ritual of the law

  6. Roman/Greek: MysterionChristian Sacraments • The Roman Empire in its eastern provinces was largely Greek in language and culture • Official religion of the empire was impregnated with Greek myths and philosophy • Paul expanded belief in Jesus to Asia Minor and Greece the majority of believers became non-Jewish • In 70CE Rome leveled Jerusalem and forbade Jews to resettle there severing Christianity from its Jewish root • Christianity became almost entirely Greek in its cultural outlook

  7. Roman/Greek: MysterionChristian Sacraments • No similarities existed between Christianity and its Greek and Roman counterparts • Greek gods lost their popularity after Greece fell to Rome • Roman gods were a collection from all parts of the empire much like trophies. Their only true deity was the emperor and preservation of the empire. • Those who looked for deeper meaning in life found it in mystery cults and mystery religions whose origins are still primarily unknown.

  8. Roman/Greek: MysterionChristian Sacraments • Mystery religions and cults • All cults held in common the use of some sacred ritual through which they represented their myth. These sacred rituals as a group were referred to as mysterion. • Mysterion in Greek means “something hidden or secret” • The central ritual of each cult was closed to those not initiated into the cult • Members were sworn to secrecy • The rituals were meant to reveal sacred meaning

  9. Roman/Greek: MysterionChristian Sacraments • Cicero, ”Nothing is higher than these mysteries. 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 to die with better hope.” • There were then the equivalent of Sacraments in the Greek and Roman societies that paralleled early Christianity.

  10. Roman/Greek: MysterionChristian Sacraments • These included: • formal sacraments of the official state religion: oaths, offerings, oracle, prophecy (auguries), public festivals and family devotions • symbolic rituals which dramatized deeper religious meanings for those who sought them • These existed side-by-side with early Christian sacraments • Christian converts were familiar with the concept of sacrament

  11. Early Christian Communities: RitualChristian Sacraments • Paul’s letters are the earliest records of Christian community 50-65 CE • No general word (eg sacraments) was used to describe early sacramental actions. • Ritual sacraments included: • Baptism, (Acts 2:37-41; 8:34-39; 8:12-13; 16:32-34) • laying on of hands, (Acts 2:1-4; 19:4-6; 8:14-17) • sharing the Last Supper (I Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-27) • sharing the Word (Acts 2:22-36) • healing (Acts 3:1-10; James 5:14-15) • Confession of sins (James 5:16) • Charismatic sacramentals: • tongues, (I Cor 14:22-25) • prophecy

  12. Early Christian Communities: RitualChristian Sacraments • Later Greek-speaking Christians began to refer to these as “mysteries” • Latin translations of the Greek rendered “mysterion” as either “mysterium” or “sacramentum” • The New Testament never refers directly to any early Christian rites as “mysterion” • In Paul’s letters “mysterion” always used the more general meaning of “hidden meaning” • God’s Wisdom (1 Cor 2:7-13) • God’s message (Col 1:26-27) • God’s plan of salvation (Eph 1:9-10) • Christ (Eph 3:3-6)

  13. Early Christian Communities: RitualChristian Sacraments • The central sacrament of the early Christian communities was laying on of hands • Birthday of the Church the Jewish Feast of Pentecost • The coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4) • They somehow new that they could also pass this gift on (Acts 19:4-6) • Imposition of hands usually occurred after Baptism but could sometimes be delayed (Acts 8:14-17) • It was a symbol of something that could not be seen being “pored forth” upon the person (Gal 5:22-23)

  14. Early Christian Communities: RitualChristian Sacraments • These ritual actions, repeated generally the same way each time were sacramental because they symbolized realities which were invisible and mysterious even as their effects could be witnessed in others. • No pre-established theology existed to explain their experience • Theology developed as they went along relying on their • memory of Jesus, • leaders of their community • personal insights

  15. Patristic Period: TheologyChristian Sacraments • The patristic period “Fathers of the Church” lasted from 2nd to the 6th centuries • The most educated men of their day. Mostly Bishops in Greek they were referred to as pateres in Latin patres • They developed the church’s sacraments into a set of richly symbolic rituals • They developed their understanding as they went along • Checked their understanding against scripture and practices of their day • Often developing interpretations by reflecting on their own experiences

  16. Patristic Period: TheologyChristian Sacraments • They did not even have a general term to describe them • Nowhere do we find the term sacraments until the 2nd century • Clement of Alexandria compared the practice of non-Christians not being allowed to witness the sacraments of initiation to that of outsiders being barred from witnessing the pagan mysteries. • He spoke of the Rites of Christian Initiation being the same but only in this sense • When Christianity replaced paganism the term stuck to Christian rites until the pagan origin was eventually forgotten

  17. Patristic Period: TheologyChristian Sacraments • Mysterion also continued to hold the broader meaning of “something hidden or secret” • Christian writers included other mysteries much as Paul intended when he spoke of mysteries • The forgiveness of sins in Baptism • Christ’s death and resurrection • Christ’s relation to his Father and the Holy Spirit • Continued evil in the world • John Crysostom - “A mystery is present when we realize that something exists beyond the things we are looking at.”

  18. Patristic Period: TheologyChristian Sacraments • Tertullian in 210 first coined the Latin word sacramentum in a Christian sense • It already referred to Roman religious rites • He compared Baptism to to the rite applied to Roman army recruits • They were both initiations • They both marked a new way of life • It was an oath of allegiance • This became the general term for Christian initiation • Baptism, laying on of hands and eucharistic meal • Eventually every Christian ritual and everything in them

  19. Patristic Period: TheologyChristian Sacraments • Growing conviction that sacramenta were necessary for salvation from sin and death • In scripture John 3:5; 6:53-56 • In their own lives sacramental experience brought salvation and the deepest meanings and value of life

  20. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • The Sacramental Seal (Sacramental Character) • Philosophical theory which coherently pulled revelation and experience, belief and practice together for all ages • What does the Bible mean when it says Christians are “sealed with the Spirit”? • Why are some sacramental rites never repeated? • Is sacramental experience required for a sacrament to be effective? • Is the effectiveness dependant upon the holiness of the minister?

  21. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • The Sacramental Seal (Sacramental Character) • Some sacraments imprint a spiritual mark or character on the soul • Biblical Data concerning seal in the literal sense • In the Jewish context a seal was a stamp engraved in stone or an impression made in clay or wax • Seal was a sign of authority (Gen 41:42) • A mark of a documents authenticity (1 Kings 21:8) • A mark of legal validity (Jer 32:10 • A sign of ownership that could only be broken by the owner (Is 29:11)

  22. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • The Sacramental Seal (Sacramental Character) • Biblical Data concerning seal as poetic metaphor • Seven seals on the scroll in the book of Revelations • Seal of God placed on the foreheads of those spared during tribulations (Rev 5:1, 7:2-4) • God set his seal on the messiah making him his son (Jn 6:27; 10:36) • Sealed with the Holy Spirit as a sign of fianl salvation (Eph 1:13-14: 4:30 II Cor 1:22 • The first Christians felt inwardly changed, touched or stamped by God Himself)

  23. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • The Sacramental Seal (Sacramental Character) • From metaphor to reality • Anointing and being sealed became analogous • Anointing and sealing with the Spirit were spoken of in common • II Cor 1:21-22 • I Jn 2:20; 27 • Acts 2:33 The Holy Spirit is poured out • Ancient Israel anointed its kings • Messiah literally means anointed one • Early Christian thinkers considered receiving the Holy Spirit As a kind of spiritual anointing

  24. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • The Sacramental Seal (Sacramental Character) • Over the course of centuries • Gradual discovery of the pertinent biblical texts and their relationship • Gradual building of the relationship between the Holy Spirit being poured out in the water • Gradual building of relationship of the sealing of the Holy Spirit through the anointing • Gradual connection between seal (in Greek sphragis which was a branding iron for sheep) and the mark of the brand as Christ the Good Shepherd marked his sheep • Permanent non-removable spiritual seal marking one as a follower of Christ

  25. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • The Sacramental Seal (Sacramental Character) • St Cyril of Jerusalem • “Come forward and receive the mystic seal so that the Master will recognize you. Bu numbered in Christ’s holy and faithful flock and he will place you at his right hand.” • St Theodore of Mopsuestia • “This signing which has been given to you is the sign that you are now marked as one of the sheep of Christ, and as a soldier of the Kingdom of heaven.”

  26. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • Giving and Receiving the Sacramentum • Apostasy and the re-baptism/re-ordination controversy • Persecution under Diocletian (303) • Council of Arles (314) decided no re-administration was necessary • Donatus Bishop of Carthage disagrees. Only the church has the Holy Spirit if you step outside you loose the power. • Began 70 years of theological conflict and debate

  27. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • Giving and Receiving the Sacramentum • Augustine (Bishop of Carthage 395-430) • Arguing from practice to theory • If heretics and apostates are not re-baptized then Baptism must somehow be permanent regardless of any sins committed • If those baptized by heretics are not re-baptized then the effects of Baptism must be independent of the orthodoxy of the minister • Baptism does not permanently guarantee a sinless life • There must be two effects of Baptism • The permanent effect of the seal which could not be lost • The effect of Grace which could be lost through sin • The seal and the sacrament (rite) are so closely associated that their effectiveness is not effected by the effectiveness of the minister. The sacrament was Christ’s not the ministers.

  28. Patristic Period: TheologyCatholic Sacramental Theology • Giving and Receiving the Sacramentum • Augustine (Bishop of Carthage 395-430) • Identification of the sacrament with the seal and distinction between the sacrament and its benefits had three effects in Catholic Theology • It emphasized that the meaning and effect of a sacramental ritual were properties of the rite not of the minister. • It solidified the habit if speaking about sacraments as a seal (an indelible character) being administered and received. • It enabled future theologians to draw a distinction between sacraments and fruitfulness. Sacraments can be effective without ever being spiritually fruitful. • Still “sacramentum” was understood broadly “a sign of a sacred thing”

  29. Medieval Period: StandardizationCatholic Sacramental Theology • Hard times for the Church 6th-11th centuries • Italy in ruins with the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west • North Africa and the middle east under Moslem control • Greek provinces isolated geographically and culturally • Germanic invasion and subsequent missionary efforts • Missionary monks armed with the book of the gospels, the creed, and the sacramental means of salvation • Plagued by illiteracy and lack of education • Slow re-Christianization of the continent

  30. Medieval Period: StandardizationCatholic Sacramental Theology • Sacraments undergo their greatest change • Baptism reduced to simple rite of water and words. • Penance becomes private and repeatable • Frequent anointing becomes extreme unction • Liturgical practices began to center around seven major rituals • Baptism of infants and concerts • Confirmation of Baptism by the Bishop • Penitence and forgiveness • Anointing of the dying • Ordaining of priests • Uniting of people in marriage • Eucharistic liturgy or Mass

  31. Medieval Period: StandardizationCatholic Sacramental Theology • 12th Century • Barbarians converted • Europe experiences relative political peace and prosperity • People have time to read and build schools • Desire to understand what it meant to be Christian • Trying to find explanations of the mysteries celebrated in ritual • Renewed interest in scripture, the writings of the fathers and statements of early councils • Bewildering variety of texts read for the first time in 600 years. Scholars began collecting “sentences” commentaries and summaries of what they read

  32. Medieval Period: StandardizationCatholic Sacramental Theology • Hugh of St. Victor, Paris • Considered Augustine’s definition of sacrament too broad. • He proposed to narrow the scope naming today’s seven as well as the church, holy water, blessed ashes, the sign of the cross and vows • Peter Abelard • Considered the number to be six leaving out Holy Orders • Peter Lombard, Paris • Published an extensive four part collection of sentences covering every theological issue of his day • The last section contained a section on the seven principle ecclesiastical sacraments practiced in the twelfth century • Because of the books popularity this became the accepted norm

  33. Medieval Period: StandardizationCatholic Sacramental Theology • Peter Lombard, Paris Offered a new definition of sacrament • “Something is properly called a sacrament because it is a sign of God’s grace, and is such an image of invisible grace that it bears its likeness and exists as its cause. • This differentiated the sacramenta rituals which were observed to act out the meaning of the effect they were supposed to cause from sacramentals which were signs but not causes of grace • From that time on things that could be considered sacraments in a broad sense were no longer given the name sacramenta. • Though not solely Peter Lombard’s idea his book became the teaching tool for years to come.

  34. Medieval Period: StandardizationCatholic Sacramental Theology • 13th Century the highpoint of Catholic sacramental theology • Berenger of Tours attacks “real presence” in the Eucharist. “Something has to be either a sign or the reality it can not be both” • Augustine’s influence He emphasized only two distinctions • sacramentum - visible sign • res - real thing pointed to • Three fold distinction in reference to the sacraments • sacramentum tantum - the element which is only a sign • sacramentum et res - the element which is both sign and reality • res tantum - the element which is only reality

  35. Medieval Period: StandardizationCatholic Sacramental Theology • Three-fold analysis of the nature of sacraments • Provided a conceptual scheme that enabled an approach to a variety of theological questions • the nature of the sacramental character • the meaning of valid and invalid sacraments • the nature of sacramental causality • Allowed reference to the sacramentum res the reality of the sacrament which was administered and received • Differentiated between the reality received and the rite itself • Resulted in a philosophical explanation of the sacramental effect that was produced by each of the seven major liturgical rites

  36. Aquinas/Aristotle: VocabularyCatholic Sacramental Theology • Aristotle provided a philosophical vocabulary for Aquinas to work with substance and accident, matter and form, power and activity, instrumental and necessary, cause and effect • For Aristotle Everything has two aspects • sense - It can be experienced by the senses - matter • meaning - It can be understood for what it is - form • Aquinas spoke of the matter and form of the sacraments • For Aristotle Science meant a knowledge of the causes of things working backward from effect to cause • Aquinas applied the causal method to sacraments. Sacraments became causes of the Christian life.

  37. Aquinas/Aristotle: VocabularyCatholic Sacramental Theology • Aquinas attached every aspect of Christian life in one way or another to sacrament. • Sacraments themselves were not their ultimate cause. • The ultimate cause was God himself. • For Aristotle sacraments would be considered instrumental causes with God being the necessary cause • Aquinas saw sacramental rituals and signs as the necessary cause • because man requires signs as a necessary part of human communication.

  38. Aquinas/Aristotle: VocabularyCatholic Sacramental Theology • Sacraments were seen then as both instrumental and necessary • Both the minister and the recipient must have the intention of participating in a sacramental rite • That intention must be the same effect desired by God for the sacrament to be effective • Sacramental realities are • Supernatural powers orienting a person to receive grace • The sacramental graces as God-given gifts.

  39. ReductionismCatholic Sacramental Theology • Sacramental celebration is a communal response to God’s call in Christ, a response involving words and gestures, vocal and silence. • What matters is the communities movement in faith towards God • The legitimate desire to explain sacrament led to ever more precise and narrow definitions of the certain words and actions it took to make the sacrament effective • Slowly inevitably the celebration of community was reduced to basic elements • To truly see sacrament we have to eliminate this reductionism

  40. LegalismCatholic Sacramental Theology • Francis Gratian (1140) The Agreement of Disagreeing Canons, A comprehensive treatise on Canon Law • A collection of letters, decrees, and directives of popes, bishops, and councils • It sited opinions on both sides of matters and include Gratian’s opinion • Its concern was administration and regulation of the sacraments not theology • It assisted in bringing uniformity to the rites

  41. LegalismCatholic Sacramental Theology • Bonaventure and Scotus saw sacraments as signs • Aquinas saw sacraments as causes • Aquinas won out and so those causes had to be strictly regulated and administered as treasures of grace • This also led to an emphasis on proper performance of the rituals. • Validity - This eventually led to minimalism and the setting of minimum standards. • Proper matter and form • Proper minister • Proper intent • Liceity - Only legal if in accordance with all regulations of cannon law

  42. NominalismCatholic Sacramental Theology • Bubonic Plague “Black Death” Middle Ages • Education vacuum Aquinas is misunderstood and reversed • The first cause was God through the Incarnation • The rites worked because they were divinely ordained by God • They caused their effects automatically simply by being performed • Canon law guarded their effectiveness • They are necessary for salvation • Salvation resides in the church alone • All arguments carried the weight of the authority of the Church and the Church fathers “Via Antiqua” the old way • Some Theologians divided into schools of thought • Domonican - Aquinas • Franciscan - Bonaventure or Scotus

  43. NominalismCatholic Sacramental Theology • Bubonic Plague “Black Death” Middle Ages • “Via Moderna” The Modern Way • Rejected the past metaphysical and scholastic approaches • Decide that logic and critical reasoning of Aristotle without the insight of Aquinas is the way • Their focus became words and the way words were used rather than the thoughts conveyed • They focused on the real world and eliminated the symbolic • William of Ockham even denied that it was possible to prove there was only one God • Meister Eckhart preferred the intuitive truth of mystical experience to the uncertain truth of philosophy • Without philosophy to balance canon law and legalism became predominant

  44. MagicCatholic Sacramental Theology • A magical attitude invaded the liturgical sacraments and other practices • Special prayers to Mary and the saints were certain to be heard • Gazing intently at the cross or Blessed Sacrament would assure a son being born • Touching relics of martyrs or saints could cause miracles to occur • Chanting the proper holy phrases would keep temptation away • Making a pilgrimage to holy places would earn merit in heaven • Reciting certain prayers in certain ways could cancel all punishment in purgatory • Making a donation to Church could release a soul from purgatory • None of this was ever officially sanctioned by the Church

  45. The Protestant RevoltCatholic Sacramental Theology • Reformation from within 13th century Lay movements • Francis of Assisi supported evangelical poverty with the Friars Minor • Dominic de Guzman founded the Order of Preachers who became missionaries throughout Europe • Albigensians protested the immorality and worldliness of clergy. They were massacred by crusades • Peter Waldo was excommunicated for preaching voluntary poverty without the permission of the Bishops • John Wycliffe argued against ecclesiastical abuses in England with no effect • John Hus attacked the authority of the Roman Popes and greed of the clergy. He was convicted of heresy and burned at the stake.

  46. The Protestant RevoltCatholic Sacramental Theology • Reformation from within 13th century Clergy movements • 1123-1517 nine general councils concerning clerical and political abuses • The Printing Press • The Renaissance • Martin Luther An Augustinian Monk • Catholic theology was unintelligible • Scholasticism was unscriptural • Clergy was corrupt • Faithful overcome with superstition • The attack was too pointed and too adamant for Rome to tolerate. Luther was excommunicated.

  47. The Protestant RevoltCatholic Sacramental Theology • The fundamental difference was not theological but philosophical. An attempt to fill the void in sacramental theology. • Martin Luther - Personal religious insight was trusted over official church doctrine. It was faith not performance of ritual that brought assurance of God’s mercy • John Calvin - Sacraments were not channels of grace but reminders of the grace that God was always bestowing • Ulrich Zwingli - Sacraments are simply signs of Christian belief; through them a believer indicates he belongs • Reduced sacraments to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (both with and without the real presence)

  48. Council of TrentCatholic Sacramental Theology • Council of Trent 25 years later The Counter Reformation (1565) • 50% of its decrees dealt with sacraments • Rejected all but the medieval scholastic view of sacraments • Defined the role of scripture in the church • The doctrine of original sin • The meaning of justification • The veneration given saints • Belief in purgatory • The value of indulgences

  49. Council of TrentCatholic Sacramental Theology • Council of Trent • Strictly defined the line between Catholicism and Protestantism. Authoritatively drew the line in the sand. • Theology based on the collective experience of the church not on purely personal experience of salvation • Council of Trent - Defined dogmatically • No more debate over how many sacraments • No disagreements about the nature of the sacraments • No debate over ex opere operato, three of the sacraments conferred indelible characters on the soul • No more debate over their institution by Christ.

  50. Council of TrentCatholic Sacramental Theology • Open questions • The manner in which Christ instituted • The philosophical explanation of sacrament causality • The metaphysical nature of the sacramental character • Trent shifted the emphasis from central to peripheral issues • Standardized the liturgical rites • Opened up development of sacramentals