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{{vm.product.SpProduct.Article}} Sacrament of Reconciliation
An Anthropological and Scriptural Understanding

Robert L. Fastiggi

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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.”

"Dr. Fastiggi presents a comprehensive, systematic analysis of the Sacrament of Mercy, so needed in our times. The anthropology of this sacrament contributes a greater understanding underlying the insistence of Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis that the New Evangelization begins with a renewed understanding of the importance of the Sacrament of Penance. This is a book that should be read by all who want to embrace the deeper meaning of repentance, asceticism and the grace of forgiveness that enables a disposition to live the virtues of faith, hope and charity in a secular world.

—Sister Esther Mary Nickel, RSM
Associate Professor of Theology
St. John Vianney Theological Seminary,
Denver, CO


"In his work, The Sacrament of Reconciliation, Professor Fastiggi offers a thorough examination of the Church’s teaching on the nature and purpose of this gift from her Lord. While helping us reclaim our understanding of Confession, he explains how the Sacrament meets the deepest need of sinners for forgiveness and moves them forward on the path to holiness. His study is a providential gift especially to confessors."

—Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron,
Archbishop of Detroit


“Dr. Fastiggi has provided an excellent resource for seminarians, graduate students, professors in theology, and lay Catholics who wish to understand the sacrament of Reconciliation and its place in the New Evangelization more deeply. It clearly explains the sacrament’s biblical foundations, essential components, and development in doctrine and practice through the history of the Church, especially with regard to recent magisterial teaching. I look forward to using this book in my teaching.”

—Lawrence Feingold, STD
Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary,
St. Louis, MO


“At last, we have in Professor Robert Fastiggi’s The Sacrament of Reconciliation: An Anthropological and Scriptural Understanding a book sorely needed in our time. It should be read by every priest, theologian, and seminarian, so as to deeply grasp the essence and power of this sacrament. Not only does Dr. Fastiggi provide a scriptural and historical overview for the sacrament, he also roots the sacrament in the context of the nature of the human person, and includes a discussion about sin and purification that even takes into account non-Christian cultures and other religions. This must-read book explains the theology of penance, as well as the practical elements of the rite. We find, in the end, the necessary and important role that this sacrament has in evangelization, which is nothing short of bringing the joy of Christ’s love and mercy to every person.”

—Paul Keller, OP, STD,
Associate Professor of Sacramental and Liturgical Theology
The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary,
Cincinnati, OH