The Church: A Comprehensive Study in Ecclesiology
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By A. G. Sertillanges, O.P.
“I would not give up for anything,” François Mauriac once wrote, “the sacramental life dispensed to me by the Roman Church, which in truth is for me the source of life.” A. G. Sertillanges places his study of the Church’s sacramental life at the center of his all-encompassing ecclesiological examination. This placement is by no means accidental. Like Mauriac, Sertillanges is conscious of the primacy of the sacraments in the initiation and sustainment of Christian life. Bounding the chapters on the sacraments with treatments of the Church’s nature and purpose, its defining characters, its attitude toward the world, particular in regard to culture and politics, and its organization, Sertillanges shows that the Church is coherent only in its wholeness, just “as God is coherent, for His life in the Trinity is reflected in the Holy Church.”
The Church, when looked upon with the ‘simple eye’ of the Gospel, is its own defense.
Originally published in 1922, The Church remains a work of twofold importance: first, for its historical overview of ecclesiology prior to the Second Vatican Council; second, for its testimony to the “wondrous life” of the Church, “with its weaknesses and imperfections, the offspring of its existence in time, with its energies and untold beauties, visible or unseen.”