In the life of the Church these two sacraments are called “sacraments of service.” The unit will study the scriptural foundations of the Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders and their subsequent theologies as they emerged in the history of the Catholic Church. Attention will be given to the Scholastic period and the Reformation and the Catholic response formulated in the Council of Trent. A contemporary theology of the Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders will be developed through a study of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium of recent popes. A particular focus of the unit will be the nature of the relationship between these sacraments and the life and vocation of the Catholic Church as a whole.

Unit code: CT9141C (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Elucidate the Christological foundations of the Sacrament of Orders and their grounding in the Scriptures, as this is understood in the Catholic tradition.


Give a critical account of the historical and theological development of Church Order from the earliest Christian communities to the principal issues related to Ordained Ministry which emerge at the time of the Reformation.


Analyse in an articulate manner the principal theological themes found in Vatican II’s Presbyterorum ordinis and Pope John Paul II’s Pastores dabo vobis.


Explicate the scriptural foundations for the sacramentality of Christian covenantal marriage


Explain the historical and theological development of the Church’s understanding of the institution of marriage.


Cogently present in written form a theology of Christian marriage as an intimate communion of life and love marked by indissolubility, fidelity, and fruitfulness.


Demonstrate the capacity to research an advanced topic in the theology of the sacrament of Marriage or Holy Orders in a critically rigorous, sustained, in-depth and self-directed manner

Unit sequence

The unit is highly recommended for students completing a Masters of Theology (Coursework) degree. It provides a grounding in two of the seven Sacraments of the Church, complementing CT8610C. Prerequisite: CT8010C Prohibited combination: CT2141C/3141C


The teaching approach is designed to support advanced student inquiry and critical engagement with lectures and course reading materials. Opportunities are provided for advanced interactive modelling and the consolidation of self-reflexive practice

Indicative Bibliography

  • Dulles, Avery R. The Priestly Office: A Theological Reflection. New York: Paulist, 1997
  • Elliott, Peter J. What God Has Joined: The Sacramentality of Marriage. New York: Alba House, 1990.
  • John Paul II. Familiaris Consortio. Apostolic Exhortation, 1982.
  • ———. Pastores Dabo Vobis: I Will Give You Shepherds. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, 1992.
  • Kasper, Walter. Theology of Christian Marriage. Translated by David Smith. London: Burns & Oates, 1980.
  • Nichols, Aidan. Holy Order: Apostolic Priesthood from the New Testament to the Second Vatican Council. Oscott Series 5. Dublin: Veritas, 1990.
  • O’Collins, Gerald, and Michael K. Jones. Jesus Our Priest: A Christian Approach to the Priesthood of Christ. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Olsen, Glenn W., ed. Christian Marriage: A Historical Study. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2001.
  • Osborne, Kenan B. Priesthood: A History of the Ordained Ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. New York: Paulist Press, 1988.
  • Schillebeeckx, Edward. Marriage: Human Reality and Saving Mystery. 2 vols. Translated by N. D. Smith. London: Sheed & Ward, 1965.
  • Wood, Susan K. Sacramental Orders. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

2500-word essay on Marriage

2500 35.0

2500-word essay on Orders

2500 35.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

1000-word tutorial paper on Marriage

1000 15.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

1000-word tutorial paper on Orders

1000 15.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 4 Sep, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2019-09-12 12:01:56 +1000