ST 311 Sacramental Theology: The Eucharist and the Ordained Priesthood

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Module Level


Time Allowance

Lectures: 24 hours Tutorials: 3 hours Assignment: 15 hours Private study: 60 hours


Continuous Assessment: 40% End of semester examination: 60%

Module Aims

  • To situate the sacraments in their Christological and Ecclesial roots, leading to a detailed study of the Eucharist as the source and centre of the Sacramental Life of the Church.
  • To show the intrinsic connection between the priesthood of the baptized, the ministerial priesthood, and Christ the Priest.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of the course, the student will: • Understand the sacramental nature of the Church and its source in Christ the Sacrament of God • Appreciate the gradual development of sacraments and, at the same time, realize that the sacraments are rooted in Christ • Recognize the complementarity of the Eucharist as sacrifice and communion • See the Eucharist as mystery of light and mystery of faith • Have obtained an overview of the scriptural, patristic and medieval teaching on the Eucharist and the ordained priesthood • Have an in-depth knowledge of the teaching and perspectives of Vatican II and contemporary theology on Eucharist and priesthood • Have examined the principal texts of Vatican II and the post-conciliar documents on these two sacraments • Appreciate the teaching of the Church on women and the priesthood • Understand the apostolic origins of priestly celibacy • Understand the role and function of the permanent diaconate in the life of the Church
  • Indicative Syllabus: • Christ as sacrament of God; the Church as sacrament of Christ • History of the sacraments from Scripture, through the patristic and medieval period, to contemporary issues in sacramentality • The Eucharist as sacrifice and communion, rooted in the paschal mystery • The Eucharist as mystery of light and mystery of faith, anticipating the heavenly banquet • Old Testament Roots of Priesthood • Christ the Priest • Patristic, Medieval, Reformation and post-Reformation understanding of priesthood • Vatican II: Conciliar and post-conciliar teaching on priesthood • Women and the Catholic Priesthood • The Priest Configured to Christ; Free for the Lord and his People • History of the permanent diaconate in the Western Church. Pastoral implications of its introduction into the Church in Ireland