Abstract and Keywords
Over the twentieth century, sacramental theology developed from a largely juridical study focused on the requirements for valid celebration to a broader emphasis on the liturgical worship as a means of developing and sustaining Christian identity. From a definition of the sacraments that firmly distinguished them from other ritual acts, Catholic reflection gradually came to see these as more closely connected to other liturgies and private devotions. At the same time, new developments in history, theological anthropology, and ritual studies led to the belief that active participation of laypersons is essential to effective liturgy, and thus sacraments. The rites themselves, both sacramental and non-sacramental, were seen as the encounter of human agency with God’s mysterious grace and a legitimate source for theological reflection. By the end of this period, the efficacy of the sacraments was linked to the full expression of Christian identity, including culture and ethics.
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