This article by Joseph Martos, published recently in the National Catholic Reporter, reflects the thinking set out in his book Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and Reconstructing Catholic Ritual (published December 2015; parts of the book are free to read online at: http://wipfandstock.com/deconstructing-sacramental-theology-and-reconstructing-catholic-ritual.html ).
The article and his book challenge much of the current thinking in Catholic sacramental theology. Professor Martos argues that sacraments were originally couched in the language of what early followers of Jesus the Christ were actually experiencing and living out in their daily lives. Only later did the sacraments start to be expressed in the intellectual, abstract and legalistic language of scholastic theology, philosophy and Canon Law, often for socio-legal purposes. Intellectual consent to poorly understood dogmas and doctrines replaced living the religious experience and intention of the sacraments as expressed in their liturgical celebrations. This has caused the sacraments to lose relevance and credibility in the spiritual lives of many Catholics.
Martos argues that the current theology of the sacraments no longer reflects how Catholics actually experience them in church and live them out, or fail to live them out, in their daily lives. Removed from their scriptural and lived experiential basis “they often don’t connect with real life.”
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