Sacramental Characters

Studies in Christian Ethics 19 (3):323-338 (2006)

Thomas Aquinas’s explanation of the (then new) doctrine of sacramental character can seem a crudely mechanical view of the causality of rites of church membership. It explains in fact the capacity and horizon for moral action in salvation history. Participation in the priesthood of Christ enables the believer to inhabit the pedagogy through which history is brought back to Trinitarian life. This sort of account, which is for Thomas the indispensable ground of moral theology, sounds archaic to many contemporary Christian readers who nonetheless want to excerpt from Thomas particular ethical conclusions. They fail to appreciate the challenge posed by change in the deep categories of moral performance—a change nowhere more consequential or invisible than in contemporary debates over sexuality
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DOI 10.1177/0953946806071556
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