Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church, Revised & Updated

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A work of major importance, written for an ecumenical audience, Doors to the Sacred is a sweeping and detailed account of the historical and cultural evolution of sacramental rituals and practices.

Since its initial publication, the book has garnered widespread critical acclaim and has become a mainstay not only for students but for all thinking Christians who want to understand the past fully while making their present participation in the sacraments more genuine and intelligent. Martos has greatly expanded all of the bibliographic material and has incorporated the latest developments in theological study and inquiry. His focus is on the seven ecclesial sacraments of the Catholic Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing, Marriage, and Orders.

Though based on thorough research and impressive scholarship, Doors to the Sacred is written in a lively style that will be welcomed by a general audience.

488-page paperback; 6 x 9

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764807183
  • Publisher: Liguori Publications
  • Publication date: 4/18/2001
  • Edition description: REVISED & UPDATED
  • Pages: 488
  • Sales rank: 416,657
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Martos is a respected educator, speaker, author and authority on the interaction of religious experience, theological ideas, cultural developments and liturgical ritual down through the ages. His work is interdisciplinary, accessible, and takes a balanced approach. His website,, contains biographical and contact information, as well as significant material on these and related topics.

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Table of Contents

Preface XI
Introduction: History and Sacraments XIII
Part 1 A History of Sacraments
I. Sacraments in All Religions 3
II. The Beginnings of the Christian Sacraments 19
1. Israel and the Roman Empire 20
2. The Early Christian Community 23
3. The Patristic Period 28
4. The Sacramental Seal 32
5. Augustine and Afterward 40
III. The Development of the Catholic Sacraments 47
1. Seven Liturgical Sacraments 48
2. Sign and Reality 51
3. The Sacramental Character 56
4. Aristotle, Aquinas, and the Sacraments 60
5. Legalism, Nominalism, and Magic 65
IV. Catholic and Protestant Sacraments 77
1. Luther and the Protestant Reformation 80
2. Trent and the Catholic Counter-Reformation 88
3. The Modern Centuries 93
V. The Sacraments Today 102
1. Twentieth-Century Developments 103
2. Contemporary Sacramental Theology 108
3. Contemporary Sacramental Practices 127
Part 2 Histories of the Sacraments
VI. Baptism 147
1. Parallels and Precedents 148
2. Baptism and Christian Initiation 148
3. Baptism in the Middle Ages 160
4. Baptism in Modern Times 169
5. Baptism in Contemporary Catholicism 174
VII. Confirmation 184
1. Parallels and Precedents 185
2. Receiving the Holy Spirit 186
3. From Consignation to Confirmation 191
4. Confirmation in Modern Times 198
5. Confirmation in the Contemporary Church 201
VIII. Eucharist 209
1. Parallels and Precedents 210
2. From the Last Supper to the Liturgy 214
3. The Mass and Eucharist in the Middle Ages 231
4. The Lord's Supper and the Modern Mass 246
5. Liturgy and Eucharist in the Twentieth Century 258
IX. Reconciliation 275
1. Parallels and Precedents 276
2. Repentance and Reconciliation in Early Christianity 278
3. Confession and Penance in the Middle Ages 291
4. The Modern Sacrament of Penance 305
5. Sacramental Reconciliation in the Church Today 313
X. Anointing 325
1. Parallels and Precedents 326
2. Healing and Anointing in the Early Church 328
3. From Anointing the Sick to Anointing the Dying 332
4. The Modern Sacrament of Extreme Unction 339
5. Return to Anointing of the Sick 343
XI. Marriage 351
1. Parallels and Precedents 352
2. Early Christian Marriage 355
3. From Secular to Ecclesiastical Marriage 368
4. Marriage in the Modern Church 380
5. Marriage in Contemporary Catholicism 385
XII. Ordination 400
1. Parallels and Precedents 401
2. Christian Ministries and Sacred Orders 404
3. Holy Orders in the Middle Ages 425
4. The Modern Catholic Priesthood 437
5. Ministries in the Church Today 445
Conclusion: Sacraments and the Future 467
Index of Names and Topics 471
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2002

    Finest Book on the Scraments you will keep and underline for years!

    As Chancellor of a Small Ecumenical Catholic Semianry, Sanctus Theological Institute, we require all of our Students, in both formation and graduate study to use 'Doors to the Sacred' as a common thread for all of their studies. This book encompasses all aspects of the Christian Faith... Historical, Cultural, Sacramens, liturgical, in short.. a classic that meets the needs of all Christians in need of encouragement and growth. Dr. Joseph Martos does not stick to the 'Vatican Line', rather he speaks truth to truth. As an ecumenical, Indpendent Catholic I find the book essential to understanding the Catholic Faith in all it's dimensions and richness. You will be challenged and inspired. Martos presents historical fact to back up his studies and brings the early church alive, both in fact and spirit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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