THE SACRAMENTAL CHARACTER IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: A DYNAMIC REALITY ACCORDING TO VATICAN II AND CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGY
The aim of this dissertation is to explore the ontological and functional nature of the sacramental character, as can be learned from Christian tradition from biblical times until Vatican II inclusive. Emphasis in this study is placed on the sacramental character as it relates to the laity, especially in regard to the essence and meaning of Christian priesthood in daily living. The work underscores the dynamic nature of the sacramental character, explicated by the Christian's configuration to Christ, his commitment to worship and his mission to the world.^ The method followed is basically historical, but is also scholastic and systematic in that it explores the Thomistic tradition and its viability within current theological investigation, interpretation and application. Of special interest is reviewing the utilization of Thomistic thought by Matthias Scheeben, Vatican II theology and modern theologians.^ The teaching on the sacramental character has its origins in Sacred Scripture, but takes more definitive shape in the teachings of the Fathers, scholastic theologians, and in particular St. Thomas Aquinas, who demonstrated the commitment nature of the sacramental character to Jesus Christ, and its exercise through Christian worship.^ The speculative teaching of Matthias Scheeben sheds further light in the nineteenth century by his underscoring Christ's hypostatic union as the exemplar of the sacramental character. The Christian's power as priest, prophet and king derives from Christ, the priestly Mediator.^ In the study of the Vatican II documents and contemporary theology the relational nature of the sacramental character is disclosed, as it details the Christological--ecclesiological context of the Christ configuration as priest, prophet and king. These three offices of Christ are studied historically, with special emphasis upon the priestly office.^ Vatican II and contemporary theology reveal more clearly the mission dimension of the sacramental character, viz., the lay apostolate as a mandate to the world. The Christian is worshiper as priest, prophet and king, the foundation of which is Christ himself.^ The consequences of this study reveal a new teaching for the Christian lay person. Sacrosanctum Concilium, Apostolicam Actuositatem, Gaudium et Spes, and contemporary theology underline the Christian responsibility both ecclesially and extra-ecclesially in the world. ^
MICHAEL RICHARD PARISI,
"THE SACRAMENTAL CHARACTER IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: A DYNAMIC REALITY ACCORDING TO VATICAN II AND CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGY"
(January 1, 1987).
ETD Collection for Fordham University.