Libri nostri: Renan B. Osborne, OFM, The Christian Sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, eucharist,
Antonianum, 63/2-3 (1988) p. 427-428
This volume is meant to serve as a text on these three sacraments of initiation. It is a volume on the theology of these sacraments, rather than on the liturgical aspects, although liturgical details quite naturally enter in to the discussions. One of the major trusts of the volume is to indicate the intrinsic theologìcal relationship between these three sacramentai rites, so much so that baptismal theology must also include the theology of confirmation and eucharist, and eucharistic theology must essentially by baptismal as well.
Bach of the sacraments is treated in a similar way: New Testament data; pertinent material from Church history; contemporary Roman Ca-tholic theology and ritual.
Each section begins with a clear statement of the defined teaching [ of the Roman Church on the respective sacrament. These defined state-ments by themselves do not and cannot form a theology of each sacrament. Further biblical, historical and liturgical material is needed to formulate a « theology » of baptism, of confirmation, and of eucharist. A strong emphasis is on the ecumenical aspects in the theologies of these sacraments, with special attention to Anglican and Protestant positions. There are many areas of convergence, which contemporary ecumenical dialogues have brought about.
More fundamentally, the role of Jesus as the primordial sacrament is emphasized. In many Roman Catholic books on theology, written after Vatican II, the discussion of Jesus as primordial sacrament has been treated only as it touches on sacramentai theology generally. This volume attempts to indicate how Jesus is the primordial sacrament of baptism, of confirmation, and of eucharist. In subtle ways, this ap-proach of Jesus as primordial sacrament reshapes the very theology of these sacraments of initiation.
Likewise, the Church as a fundamental sacrament remolds the theology of baptism, confirmation and eucharist. The ecclesiological cha-racter of each of these sacraments is heightened.
Since the three sacraments form a unity as far as Christian initiation is concerned, questions arise as regards current sacramentai practice, with baptism separated from eucharist and other sacraments placed between baptism and eucharist. The separation of confirmation from baptism is also questionable from a theological stance.