Vol. 12 No.6 JUNE 1998
Sacraments at the crossroads
Sacraments and the promise of presence
Robert P. Imbelli
Our culture is marked by the absence of God. Robert Imbelli, a priest of the archdiocese of New York, who teaches systematic theology at Boston College, believes the sacraments are signs of Christ's presence among us. The task for the Church's catechumenate, is to 'structure a conversion therapy that weans from the anomie of absence to the promise of presence'.
The Eucharist today
'Formerly we seemed to focus on Calvary as if there were no Easter morning' writes Eugene Duffy, a priest of the diocese of Achonry and director of the western bishops' pastoral theology initiative. Here he shows how contemporary eucharistic theology takes into account the whole paschal mystery and focuses on the Mass 'as a whole stressing equally that it is a sacred banquet, a memorial and sacrifice'.
Keeping it in the family
In celebrating First Communion, children should be able to see the link between the sacrament, church and family. Here Janet Lash, who is a teacher with long experience in catechetics, shows how in one small church community this has been done. 'Some such domestic framework must be found if in our fragmented and pluralistic society, we Catholics are to have any hope of inculturating our children in the faith.'
Sacrament with an identity crisis
When should the sacrament of confirmation be celebrated? Paul McNally, a priest of the archdiocese of Birmingham who teaches theology at Newman College, has just completed a study on confirmation. Here he explains why the pastoral practice is so diverse, and urges that the sacrament is given back its true identity.
Looking at marriage
Caroline Dollard has been married for eighteen years to her husband, Kit. They work along side the community in the pastoral centre at Ampleforth Abbey offering a programme of retreats and courses for adult Christian formation. Here Caroline explores the meaning of the sacrament of marriage in today's world and reflects on their lived experience of it.
'When all else fails call the Catholic priest'
Mgr Paul Hypher, a parish priest in Newmarket, shows how the Church since Vatican II has been celebrating the sacrament of the sick not just as a 'last rite' but as a sacrament of healing. But this means that 'we need to continue to rethink our pastoral and sacramental attitude to illness and healing, to life and death and dying'.
Whom should we ordain?
Benedict J. Groeschel CFR
Below we offer two views of the priesthood. Fr Benedict J. Groeschel is one of the founding members of the Franciscan Friars of the renewal, a community in the Capuchin tradition which works in New York with the homeless and destitute. Here he describes the life and ordination to the priesthood of Eugene Hamilton.
Preaching and teaching the Word
Bridget Tighe FMDM
Bridget Tighe, a Franciscan Sister and principal of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology in Cambridge, offers a commentary on the Sunday lectionary readings for July.
Postscript: Fighting the good fight
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