Sacramental Theology Exam

The final version of the exam is copyrighted by Surrey University with whom St John's Seminary, Wonersh is associated. Here is my first draft of the exam. It gives you a good idea of what the students were asked.

Answer question 1 and one question from each of sections A, B and C (Time allowed: three hours)

1. Discuss what the faith and moral qualities of the minister contribute – and do not contribute – to the celebration of a sacrament.

Section A
2. Discuss how we might understand the theological notion of the character given in the sacrament of Baptism

3. Examine critically the scriptural and historical evidence which might support the practice of baptising infants.

4. Evaluate the theological importance of the development of the idea of baptism of desire.

5. Assess the evidence in the writings of the fathers of the Church for the existence of the sacrament of Confirmation.

Section B
6. Discuss the implications for the celebration of the Eucharist if Jeremias is correct in saying that the Last Supper was a Passover meal.

7. Examine the importance of Berengarius in the development of the theology of transubstantiation.

8. Discuss the continuity and discontinuity between the old testament sacrifices and the sacrifice of the Mass.

9. Examine the influence of Jansenism on the practice of receiving Holy Communion.

Section C
10. Discuss how the three “acts of the penitent” in the sacrament of penance have historically been expressed in the celebration of the sacrament.

11. Examine how the forgiveness of sins is part of the sacrament of anointing.

12. Discuss how the doctrine of the Catholic Church on marriage has developed through the teaching of the second Vatican Council and subsequent papal teaching.

13. “De Ecclesia [of Vatican II] went through very few drafts and it is fascinating to observe the brevity of debate concerning […] the sacramentality of the episcopate.” (Barratt) Why should this be “fascinating”?

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