In the light of its own history, the Catholic theology of the Eucharist, as it is generally understood today, is revealed as a splinter tradition whose deficiencies call for fundamental reformulation. The valid aspects of that theology (for example, the recovery of the role of the Holy Spirit in the new Roman Eucharistic Prayers) must be identified and integrated with the faith and practice of the first theological millennium when the lex orandi was not so dominated by the lex credendi. In the third theological millennium, more attention to the content and structure of the classical Eucharistic Prayers of both East and West will result in a Catholic systematic theology of eucharistic sacrifice that is not only truer to its biblical and patristic foundations but also—of ecumenical import—closer to some of the theological insights of the Protestant Reformers.
These highlights of The Eucharist in the West illustrate the great value of this posthumous work. Conceptually complete, but in only rough draft form at the time of Father Kilmartin's death, it has been edited and prepared for publication by Robert J. Daly, SJ
Chapter one describes the characteristics of the eucharistic theology of the Western Latin Fathers. Chapter two identifies the more important orientations and developments of the Catholic tradition from early medieval Scholasticism up to the first part of the twelfth century. Chapter three singles out the special contribution of early Scholasticism to Latin eucharistic theology. Chapter four functions as a bridge from early Scholasticism to high Scholasticism by outlining the general approach to a synthetic theology of the Eucharist which was obtained at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Chapter five treats eucharistic theology from high Scholasticism to the Council of Trent. Chapter six summarizes the dogmatic teaching of the Council of Trent. This is followed in Chapter seven, by a treatment of salient features of post-Tridentine eucharistic theology. Chapter eight includes an analysis of the practice and theology of Mass stipends. Chapter nine includes a detailed analysis of Aquinas's theology of the eucharistic sacrifice. Chapter ten offers an account of some recent contributions to the formulation of a theology of the eucharistic sacrifice which have contributed to the modern average Roman Catholic synthesis.
Robert J. Daly, SJ, is a professor of theology at Boston College and former editor of Theological Studies.
Edward J. Kilmartin, SJ (1923-1994), professor for liturgical theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, taught theology first at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology and later at Boston College. He served as director of the doctoral program in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame.