Consolation in Rite and Word in the Later Middle Ages

Ronald K. Rittgers

in The Reformation of Suffering

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795086
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950171 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

Consolation in Rite and Word in the Later Middle Ages

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This chapter examines the pastoral literature that was available to the majority of clergy in the later Middle Ages, arguing that this literature has relatively little to say about suffering, except for its treatments of the sacraments of penance and extreme unction, where a verbal ministry of consolation is joined to a ritual ministry of sacrament and sacramentals. The chapter examines the content of this verbal ministry of consolation in depth, showing how it stressed divine mercy and grace and how it assumed and promoted a vital link between suffering and penance for sin. The chapter also examines the training of clergy, arguing that a significant minority were well equipped to care for suffering souls, and discusses lay expectations of priestly ministry.

Keywords: pastoral literature; penance; extreme unction; sacramentals; grace; clergy; suffering souls; priestly ministry

Chapter.  10924 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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