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Honest rituals are ceremonial actions that celebrate what is actually happening in people’s lives. Religious rituals, however, often celebrate beliefs and doctrines (e.g., the birth of Christ, God’s forgiveness of sins, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit) that have little to do with people’s experience. Martos argues that early Christian rituals were grounded in experiences such as conversion, community, commitment, and self-giving. Lacking a vocabulary to name such experiences, the authors of the New Testament and other early documents resorted to metaphors such as baptism into Christ, receiving the Holy Spirit, forgiveness by God, and the presence of Christ during worship. By the fourth century, however, those metaphors were taken to be unexperienced metaphysical realities rather than experienced realities. The medieval schoolmen developed philosophical explanations of what went on in church rituals, and the Catholic Church continues to teach that its sacraments are automatically effective despite growing evidence to the contrary. What if religious rituals were to regain their original authenticity? What if the guiding value in designing church ceremonies was honesty rather than liturgical correctness? After liberating the reader from doctrinal constraints, Martos invites Catholics into a re-visioning of the traditional sacraments and a reawakening of ritual imagination in non-Western cultures.
Catholic sacramental doctrine has lost much of its credibility. Baptized people leave the church, adolescents stop attending shortly after they are confirmed, supposedly indissoluble marriages regularly dissolve, few go to confession, and many do not believe in transubstantiation. Drawing upon his decades-long study of the sacraments, Martos reveals how teachings that seemed rooted in the scriptures and Catholic life have become unmoored from the contexts in which they arose, and why seemingly eternal truths are actually historically relative. After carefully constructing Catholic teaching from the church's own documents, he deconstructs it by demonstrating how biblical passages were misconstrued by patristic authors and how patristic writings were misunderstood by medieval scholastics. The long process of misinterpretation culminated in the dogmatic pronouncements of the Council of Trent, which continues to dominate Catholic thinking about the church's religious ceremonies. If the sacraments are released from their dogmatic baggage, Martos believes that the spiritual realities they symbolize can be celebrated in any human culture without being tied to their traditional rites.
Why is there so much worship and so little real commitment to living out the Gospel? How can there be so much participation in the sacraments and so little growth and transformation in most of our lives? In this challenging book of practical theology, Regis Duffy tackles vital questions that are seldom asked, let alone answered. Basing his argument solidly on the New Testament and core Christian teaching, Duffy shows how ritual, sacrament, worship, and community have real meaning and worth only when they function as effective symbols of transformation and renewed commitment. What is often lacking is not God's presence, but our own. By relating individual sacraments (Initiation Eucharist, Penance) to studies of the life cycle and stages of faith, Real Presence presents a compelling vision of what genuine participation in the Christian community involves throughout our lives. Contents: - The Cutting Edge of Faith: Commitment - Unearned Gifts and Their Symbols - Conflict as Crossroads for the Christian - A Question of Presence - The People in the Water - Servants at Table - Fragmented Stories - The Future Community Now.
Why is there so much worship and so little real commitment to living out the Gospel? How can there be so much participation in the sacraments and so little growth and transformation in most of our lives? In this challenging book of practical theology, Regis Duffy tackles vital questions that are seldom asked, let alone answered. Basing his argument solidly on the New Testament and core Christian teaching, Duffy shows how ritual, sacrament, worship, and community have real meaning and worth only when they function as effective symbols of transformation and renewed commitment. What is often lacking is not God's presence, but our own. By relating individual sacraments (Initiation Eucharist, Penance) to studies of the life cycle and stages of faith, Real Presence presents a compelling vision of what genuine participation in the Christian community involves throughout our lives. Contents: - The Cutting Edge of Faith: Commitment - Unearned Gifts and Their Symbols - Conflict as Crossroads for the Christian - A Question of Presence - The People in the Water - Servants at Table - Fragmented Stories - The Future Community Now.
"Character" has become a front-and-center topic in contemporary discourse, but this term does not have a fixed meaning. Character may be simply defined by what someone does not do, but a more active and thorough definition is necessary, one that addresses certain vital questions. Is character a singular characteristic of an individual, or is it composed of different aspects? Does character--however we define it--exist in degrees, or is it simply something one happens to have? How can character be developed? Can it be learned? Relatedly, can it be taught, and who might be the most effective teacher? What roles are played by family, schools, the media, religion, and the larger culture? This groundbreaking handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits. They approach good character in terms of separate strengths-authenticity, persistence, kindness, gratitude, hope, humor, and so on-each of which exists in degrees. Character Strengths and Virtues classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each strength is thoroughly examined in its own chapter, with special attention to its meaning, explanation, measurement, causes, correlates, consequences, and development across the life span, as well as to strategies for its deliberate cultivation. This book demands the attention of anyone interested in psychology and what it can teach about the good life.
Develops the claim that sacramental and liturgical practices are central means by which a Church shapes the faith, character and consciousness of its members. Explores the relationship between worship and belief, the relationship between corporate worship and the formation of Christian persons and communities within ecclesial tradition, and the relationship between worship and our knowledge of ourselves, our world and God. Argues that attention to the reform and renewal of worship and sacramental practice provides a framework for the theological, evangelical and sacramental renewal of mainline Protestant Churches.
Articles on all the religions of the world and the great systems of ethics; on every religious belief or custom and ethical movement; on every philosophical idea and moral practice. The Encyclopaedia embraces the whole range of theology and philosophy, together with aspects of anthropology, mythology, folklore, biology, psychology, economics and sociology. Every article has been prepared by specialists. Includes bibliographies and index.

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