ST 403 The Church and Its Sacraments

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Module Level

Level 8

Time Allowance

4 hours on campus lectures during the weekend residentials (divided between 2 weekends) 6 hours live on-line lectures on Wednesday evening, 6 hours of self-directed learning, Assignment – 15 hours, Private Study – 24 hours.



Module Aims

  • To introduce students to the theological understanding of the Church as it emerges in scripture and as it unfolds in history.
  • To demonstrate an ability to critically assess the functioning of the Church today with respect to its origins as found in the New Testament Communities.
  • To present the ecclesial vision of Vatican II and the work of contemporary theologians.
  • To introduce the students to the sacraments in their ecclesiological context.
  • To understand the relations between symbol, sacrament and ritual and how this might help frame contemporary sacramental understanding.
  • To explore and assess the impact and importance of Vatican II (and the major theologians of that time) in the development of Sacramental theology.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • The Origin of the Church
  • Church and its relationship to the Kingdom
  • Models of Church
  • Magisterium, leadership and roles in the Church
  • A developing ecclesiology
  • The principles of Catholic sacramental theology
  • Rite and ritual: a secular-belief/sociological assessment of the sacraments
  • Contemporary Issues facing the sacraments today

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the mysterious nature, and our always developing understanding of the Church.
  • Recognise the relationship of the Church with the Kingdom of God.
  • Appreciate the Church as the universal sacrament.
  • Know the key principles of Catholic sacramental theology.
  • Recognise the importance of faith in a fruitful celebration of the sacraments
  • • Identify the issues relating to a more effective celebration of the sacraments in the context of the contemporary mission of the Church in Ireland.


  • SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Sacrosanctum Concilium, AAS 56 (1964) 97-138. • Lumen Gentium, 21 November 1964, AAS 57 (1965) 5-71. • Nostra Aetate, 28 October 1965, AAS 58 (1966) 740-744. • Ad Gentes, 7 December 1965, AAS 58 (1966) 947-990. • Dei Verbum, 18 November 1966, AAS 58 (1966) 817-835. • Gaudium et Spes, 7 December 1966, AAS 58 (1966) 1025-1120. ntes, 7 December 1965, AAS 58 (1966) 947-990. _____, Dei Verbum, 18 November 1966, AAS 58 (1966) 817-835. _____, Gaudium et Spes, 7 December 1966, AAS 58 (1966) 1025-1120.
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