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No Trifling Matter

No Trifling Matter

Taking the Sacraments Seriously Again

By Msgr. Nicola Bux

220 pp

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About the Book

In No Trifling Matter, Monsignor Nicola Bux, a well-respected Italian professor of sacramental and liturgical theology, offers us a modern primer on the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Bux clarifies the purpose, significance, history, and spirituality of each of the seven “efficacious signs” by which, until the end of time, the Church diffuses the conditions of holiness to receptive people. To this positive exposition Bux adds a warning call regarding the deformations, equivocations, additions, and omissions threatening the primal symbolism of the sacraments in the postconciliar world. In a style at once learned and popular, Bux provides a user’s guide to the sacraments that will help Christians rediscover the mystery, beauty, and power of these immensely precious gifts of Christ, through which he renews his personal presence in every age.


“This timely and invigorating book offers an excellent introduction to the theology of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. The author sees clearly how sacramental theology and liturgical practice have lost their bearings and proposes fundamental principles from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church for charting a wiser course. He pleads the cause of continuity between the Church’s great tradition and her contemporary worship. He is above all a pastor who cares about the sanctification of souls and their unhindered access to the riches of grace provided by the sacred rites.”


OP, adjunct secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

“This book lays at our feet the provocative charge that, in truth, we no longer believe in the efficacy of the sacraments—and that this is the reason they are treated today as either didascalia or symbolic rites useful only for evoking what they signify. To aid the recovery of our sacramental life, Msgr. Bux draws upon a myriad of sources: historical, theological, canonical, Western and Byzantine, both forms of the Latin rite (Ordinary and Extraordinary), councils of Trent and Vatican II, and even lessons learned by examining errors in modern abuses. By weaving together these strands of our heritage, he seeks to revitalize the sacraments by a new evangelization.”


University of Notre Dame

“Nicola Bux’s No Trifling Matter provides an effective antidote to the liturgical toxins of anthropocentrism and didacticism that have spread from the most influential theologians of the twentieth century to the common experience of Catholic worship in the twenty-first. Some of the Catholic academic and liturgical establishment will not like this book. But the faithful—lay or ordained—who wonder what is wrong with many ‘celebrations’ of the sacraments today will find the answers here, along with a renewed appreciation of their meaning, power, and role. Bux’s book expounds the sacraments in general, each of the seven sacraments, and the sacramentals, from the perspective of a master of Catholic tradition who seamlessly draws from sources both ancient and recent.”


Holy Apostles College and Seminary

“This book is the product of a lifelong lover and scholar of the sacred liturgy, who is as comfortable citing the Fathers of the Church as post-Vatican II documents. Monsignor Bux writes with theological precision but in a manner equally accessible to the professional liturgist or cleric and to a well-catechized layperson. He is not afraid to tackle many of the neuralgic issues, doing so with clarity. This work will be a valuable text for use in Catholic high schools or colleges and should certainly be in the library of every priest and anyone involved in the planning and execution of the sacred rites.”


Editor, The Catholic Response

About the Author

Msgr. Nicola Bux, born in 1947 and ordained in 1975, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Bari, Italy, and teaches at the Theological Faculty of Puglia. Specializing in Eastern Christian theology, sacramental theology, and liturgy, Msgr. Bux has taught for various faculties, published extensively, and served as a consultor to dicasteries of the Holy See. He also serves as priest at a confraternity church in the heart of Bari.

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