Review: Sacrament of Salvation: An Introduction to Eucharistic Ecclesiology

Sacrament of Salvation: An Introduction to Eucharistic EcclesiologySacrament of Salvation: An Introduction to Eucharistic Ecclesiology by Paul McPartlan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the back cover:

Celebrating the Eucharist brings to a focus the lives of Christian people in every diocese and parish. This fresh work by a rising theologian meets the growing need for an accessible introduction to a subject of fundamental importance: the way in which our understanding of the Eucharist can transform our understanding of the Church.

Using the Eucharist as an interpretive key, Paul McPartlan surveys the entire sweep of Church history, from its roots in the Old Testament through the foundation and unfolding of the Church over the last two millennia. This century’s great renewal is examined through the eyes of Henri de Lubac, who reintroduced the idea of the Church herself as the great Sacrament ‘which contains and vitalises all the others’. This is an understanding profoundly traditional but at the same time capable of generating consequences of extraordinary power and originality.

The book makes significant contributions to contemporary thinking on ecumenism, evangelisation and ecology. Concern for unity with other church arises from the recognition of a common Christian mission to the whole of humanity – and furthermore to all creation. How the ecumenical movement has reflected upon the Church is examined here, in connection with major ecumenical statements on the Eucharist.

Exploring the inner and outer aspects of the Sacrament of Salvation, Paul McPartlan considers questions of liturgy, structure and mission, proposing the need for a primate as ‘Eucharistic guardian’. He also examines the relationship between Baptism and the Eucharist, two sacraments that should never be polarised.

The book can be used as a textbook for the development of a Eucharistic understanding of the Church, but it is written for all who wish to explore this major theme and its application to issues of current debate.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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