Elective Unit                                                                 (Min. No. 8)
2nd semester Thursday evening


This unit aims to present with ecumenical sensitivity the origin, meaning and purpose of the Christian sacraments. It begins by outlining foundational concepts upon which contemporary sacramental theology rests, including the importance of symbol, ritual, Jesus as primordial sacrament and the Church as fundamental sacrament. Using this framework, the unit then undertakes a survey of the seven sacraments, paying particular attention to their historical, symbolic, liturgical and pastoral dimensions. Finally, the unit explores and evaluates more recent directions within sacramental theology as a discipline.


One foundational unit in Systematic Theology


Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. articulate the importance of foundational concepts such as symbol and ritual in defining and describing sacraments
  2. discuss the importance of Jesus Christ as primordial sacrament and the Church as fundamental sacrament in defining and describing sacraments
  3. identify significant developments in the historical evolution of the sacraments
  4. analyse the sacraments in terms of their key historical developments, symbolic meanings, and liturgical expression
  5. explain how the sacraments manifest the presence and work of the Holy Spirit
  6. articulate the eschatological, missiological and ethical dimensions of the sacraments
  7. evaluate recent research and directions within sacramental theology as a discipline.


2000 word essay (30%); 1000 word seminar paper (20%); 3000 word essay (50%)


Chauvet, Louis-Marie. The Sacraments. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2001.

Cooke, Bernard. Sacraments and Sacramentality. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1983.

Lawler, Michael. Symbol and Sacrament: A Contemporary Sacramental Theology. Omaha, NE: Creighton University Press, 1987, 1995.

Martinez, German. Signs of Freedom: Theology of the Christian Sacraments. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2003.

* Martos, Joseph. Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Ligouri, MO: Triumph, 2001.

Mitchell, Nathan. Meeting Mystery: Liturgy, Worship, Sacraments Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2006.

Noll, Ray. Sacraments: A New Understanding for a New Generation. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1999 (2nd printing 2001).

Osborne, Kenan. Sacramental Theology: A General Introduction. Mahwah, N.J: Paulist Press, 1988.

Rahner, Karl. The Church and the Sacraments. New York: Herder and Herder, 1963.

Schillebeeckx, Edward. Christ the Sacrament of Encounter with God. New York & London: Sheed & Ward, 1963.

Vorgrimler, Herbert. Sacramental Theology. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1992.

Wainwright, Geoffrey, and Karen Westerfield Tucker, eds. The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.