Introduction • xxi
of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist), the Sacraments of
Healing (Penance and the Anointing of the Sick), and the Sacraments
at the Service of Communion (Marriage and Holy Orders). Through
the Sacraments, God shares his holiness with us so that we, in turn, can
make the world holier.
C. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived
The third section of this text offers an extensive exposition of the founda-
tions of the Christian moral life. Themes of covenant, grace, happiness,
sin, forgiveness, virtues, the action of the Holy Spirit, the call to love God
The title “Father of the Church” has been given to those whose
sanctity and teaching served to help others understand, defend,
and pass on the Faith. Those who have achieved this distinction
lived from the earliest days of the Church up to the last Father in
the West (present-day Western Europe), St. Isidore of Seville (sixth
century), and the last Father in the East (present-day southeastern
Europe and Asia Minor), St. John Damascene (seventh century).
The golden age of the Fathers in the fourth and fifth centu-
ries included such figures as St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St.
Athanasius, and St. Gregory Nazianzen in the Eastern Church, and
St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine in the Western Church.
The title “Doctor of the Church” has been applied to persons from
any era in the Church’s history whose sanctity and writings have
had a profound influence on theological and spiritual thought.
Doctors of the Church include such figures as St. Thomas Aquinas,
St. Catherine of Siena, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Teresa of Ávila, St.
John of the Cross, St. Robert Bellarmine, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.