Page 6, 21st December 1973

21st December 1973
Page 6
Page 6, 21st December 1973 — Christian Celebration: The Sacraments by J. D. Crichton (Geoffrey Chapman
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Christian Celebration: The Sacraments by J. D. Crichton (Geoffrey Chapman

£1.50) Fr. Crichton has followed his book on the new rite of Mass ' with this one on the other sacraments. It is equally firmly grounded in the texts and introductions to the rites. as published from Rome over the last five years.

Only penance is still to come, and this is covered in a final ' chapter of possibility and hope. Two general chapters deal with the symbolism of the sacraments and their relation to life.

Mainly the method consists in comparing new and old, show, ing exactly how the changes : help to make the rites more meaningful and effective for those who use them. History is called in to explain how the : anomalies now cleared away ever arose.

Fr. Crichton is gentle and persuasive in his commendation of change, and one hopes that he is not too late to persuade those others whose task should he to commend rather than

command.

But his book is much more than this. In old-fashioned terms one would have to use words like "theological understanding" and "spiritual depth" over and above "ceremonies of the Roman rite described." and the three would sit uneasily together.

Today it can be said more simply: here we have been given one of the finest expressions of authentic pastoral practice, the thought and prayer and love of a Christian community together with their pastor. The hook itself is celebration rather than performance.

No doubt such things would hardly be possible without the new rites themselves. Parish life can now become humanly meaningful through them, not despite them. But to say this is not to play down what is due to Fr. Crichton himself in this book.

Perhaps only those who have struggled as long and faithfully as he has done, and not only with old rites, who are enabled to make such splendid use of what has now been granted us.

Laurence Bright




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