General Principles of Sacramental Theology addresses a current lacuna in English-language theological literature. Bernard Leeming's highly respected book Principles of Sacramental Theology was published more than sixty years ago. Since that time, there has been a noted decrease, especially in English-language sacramental theology, in treatments of the basic topics and principles—such as the nature of the sacraments of signs, sacramental grace, sacramental character, sacramental causality, sacramental intention, the necessity and number of the sacraments, sacramental matter and form, inter alia—which apply to all of the sacraments.
Rather than deconstruct the Church's tradition, as many recent books on the sacraments do, Roger Nutt offers a vibrant presentation of these principles as a sound foundation for a renewed appreciation of each of the seven sacraments in the Christian life as the divinely willed means of communion and friendship between God and humanity. The sacraments bestow and nourish the personal communion with Jesus Christ that is the true source of human happiness. Recourse to the patrimony of Catholic wisdom, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, can help to highlight the sacraments and their significance within the plan of salvation.
This book will be of use in seminary, graduate, and undergraduate courses. It is further offered as a source of hope to all those seeking deeper intimacy with God amidst the confusion, alienation, and disappointment that accompanies life in a fallen world. The sacraments play an irreplaceable role in pursuing a Universal Call to Holiness that is so central to Vatican II's teaching.
Roger W. Nutt is associate professor of theology at Ave Maria University, Florida