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The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a comprehensive and accessible resource for undergraduate, graduate, and seminary courses on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It offers an overview of the sacrament in terms of its anthropological, scriptural, historical, and theological roots as well as an analysis of the key components of the sacrament itself (matter, form, minister, recipient, etc.).
With the knowledge of a theologian and the skill of an historian, Robert Fastiggi links the Sacrament of Penance to its anthropological foundations, grounded in the recognition of human failure and the need for forgiveness. This anthropological foundation includes a brief overview of how non-biblical religions deal with sin and purification as well as the revelation of the human need for reconciliation presented in Sacred Scripture. He carefully unwraps the Old Testament and New Testament narratives that cover original sin, human rebellion, the need for reconciliation, conversion, forgiveness, and the remission of sin. Dr. Fastiggi understands the sacrament in the context of spirituality or ascetical and mystical theology. His section on the Sacrament of Penance in Church history lays out comprehensive overview of the development in the sacrament of Penance from the Patristic period to the period immediately before Vatican II.
At the heart of the new evangelization is the proclamation of Christ, who has come into the world to reconcile sinful human beings with the transcendent love of God. For those living today in a post-Christian world, the powerful message of God’s merciful love expressed through the sacrament of reconciliation is a most valuable way of knowing the “joy of the Gospel.”