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Friday, January 29, 2016

A Better Sacramental Theology?

Do Protestants need a better sacramental theology? You hear various Protestants saying this, but it strikes me oddly. The point of being Protestant is to deny the absolute necessity of sacraments for salvation. It's not at all to say that no one in that world has any sacred signs, or finds them important. It means that the essence of being Christian in that way is not sacramental, as such. A Catholic sacrament brings about what it signifies; the Protestant celebrates similar signs to testify to what has already occurred.

I will say that the Holy Spirit seems to be leading many Christians to appreciate sacred art and architecture, and I hope it leads people to re-think many things.

But realize that Catholic art and architecture is functional; it expresses and facilitates our faith and liturgical action. One cannot become "more sacramental" without exploring what it means liturgically, and thus, we're back to the Protestant-Catholic dispute itself. A Catholic confesses that God may work outside His sacraments as an expression of hope in a far-flung mercy. The Protestant says it as a statement of fact.

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