Pedro Rodríguez e-mail(Inicie sesión)

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Pedro Rodríguez e-mail(Inicie sesión)


The present investigation tries to place the significance of the sacraments within the unified concept of faith and of Christian life which the Roman Catechism offers. The author focuses his efforts on a theological understanding of the treatise de sacramentis within the ordo doctrinae of the Catechism: 1. De Symbolo Apostolorum. - 2. De Sacramentis. - 3. De praeceptis Decalogi. - 4. De oratione dominica.

The author first studies the outline of the principle catechisms of the period, the catholic ones (St. Peter Canisio, Bartholomew Carranza, Erasmus, Gropper), as well as the protestant ones (Luther, Calvin, the Catechism of Heidelberg) with the aim of observing the theological purpose of the corresponding ordo doctrinae and comparing it with the Roman Catechism.

After demonstrating through Garcia Suarez the character of doctrinal and literary model which the catechism of Carranza offered to the editors of the Roman Catechism, the author points out how extensive was the reorganization of the Roman Catechism made with respect to the ordo doctrinae of Carranza: the sacraments, in contrast to the Spanish catechism, are now situated as a continuation of the Symbol and before the Decalogue. This order has its precedent in Erasmus and the sequence Symbol-Sacraments in Gropper (whose influence on Carranza -and in that measure on the Roman Catechism- Tellechea points out).

The author, without excluding other possible models, thinks that the principle doctrinal source of this option can be found in the catequetical work al St. Thomas Aquinas (opuscules In Symbolum Apostolorum and above all in De articulis fidei et Ecclesiae Sacramentis), of which the ordo doctrinae is identical to that of the Roman Catechism. But

the author is more interested in the doctrinal content than in the genesis of the Catechism, and more concretely in the theological significance of the book de Sacramentis after the Symbol. In this sense the author finds decisive the commentary which the Catechism makes concerning the clause communio sanctorum in which the Church appears as communio sacramentorum. Having the identical point of view as Thomas Aquinas and Tradition, the Roman Catechism considers the exposition of the sacraments as an appropiate part of the exposition of the mystery of the Church: the catequetical sequence Symbol-sacraments expresses this profound unity.

The placing of the book de sacramentis before the Decalogue also has a profound doctrinal significance: in contrast with Luther, who places the Decalogue at the beginning of his catechism in order to stress the impossibility of fulfilling the law and man's consequent need to throw himself upon the recources of the Faith, the Roman Cathechism, having established the primacy of Faith, places the sacraments immediately after, as actions of God which justify and give grace and with which the Christian indeed fulfills the law of God and can struggle effectively in order to reach heaven. Strengthened and reassured through Faith and the sacraments, a consideration of the precepts instills confidence and a sense of value. The Catechism stresses that the works of justice, indicated in the Decalogue and which are likewise works of love, procede from the virtues, but are given to us, increased and are recuperated through the devout use of the Sacraments.

The ordo of the Roman Catechism, the author concludes, is fundamentally a diptych of strong biblical and patristic roots: on the one hand the mystery of faith professed (Symbol) and celebrated (Sacraments); on the other, human existence in the faith -fides quae per caritatem operatur-, unfold in Christian conduct (Decalogue) and filial prayer(Pater Noster).


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