Why, from its very beginnings, has the Church celebrated the sacraments, in particular baptism and Eucharist? Why, from its origin, has faith in Christ, which is expressed in a human, free, just, loving way of living, ruled by the gospel, also been expressed in the language of rites?
The Sacraments by Louis-Marie Chauvet offers reflections on the theology, celebration, and pastoral usage of the sacraments. It is a textbook version of Chauvet's, Symbol and Sacrament published by The Liturgical Press in 1995 that was acclaimed by theologians as offering a fresh theology of the sacraments from a perspective other than scholastic theology.
Fr. Louis-Marie Chauvet is a professor of sacramental theology at the Institut Catholique, Paris. He has published numerous works and is the author of Symbol and Sacrament also published by The Liturgical Press.
Chauvet's sacramental theology is remarkably balanced: he presents a thoroughly traditional theology but in an extraordinarily fresh and radical way. . . . Chauvet is one of the very best sacramental theologians writing today.
Louise-Marie Chauvet has followed his major work, Symbol and Sacrament, with this penetrating study that continues to elaborate his stimulating combination of sacramental theology, theories of ritual and symbol, and liturgical texts. Chauvet proposes that sacramentality is essential to Christian identity and shows how language and gesture in Christian rites are the place where scripture, sacrament and ethics are realized as experiences of the presence of the risen Lord whose grace transforms his people. It will be suited for a wide readership, not only of professional theologians but also of many who are concerned to relate the divine and the human in everyday life.
Gregory Woolfenden, Oxford
The Sacraments, with its attention to presence and absence, achieves what might be called a sacramental iconoclasm, which possesses broad ecumenical appeal and resonates with contemporary philosophy and concern for praxis.
It will challenge you to think about the sacraments in the broader scope of human and divine communication, and to appreciate them for their mystical core.
Chauvet has wonderfully succeeded in making his work on symbolic mediation classroom-accessible, clear, and pastorally sensitive. He offers a viable alternative to overly objectivist and subjectivist approaches to sacramental theology. This book, rich with examples, connects sacramental theology with contemporary culture.
Susan K. Wood, S.C.L., Associate Professor of Theology, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota