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: CT2141C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


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


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


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


Explain the scriptural foundations for the sacramentality of Christian covenantal marriage.


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


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

Unit sequence

The unit is compulsory for ordinand students and recommended for other students completing a Bachelor of Theology degree. It provides a grounding in two of the seven Sacraments of the Church, complementing CT2121C/3121C and CT2131C/3131C. Prerequisites: CT1100C and CT1110C. The foundational unit on Sacraments and Liturgy is highly recommended.


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

Indicative Bibliography

  • 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.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

1,250-word essay

1250 25.0

1,250-word essay

1250 25.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

500-word tutorial paper

500 10.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

500-word tutorial paper

500 10.0
Written Examination

1 hour written examination

0 30.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000