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Consumerism and the Sacraments: Theology Professor’s New Book Addresses Effect of Consumer Culture on Catholic Sacraments

Pictured is the cover of Timothy Brunk's book, "The Sacraments and Consumer Culture."

Consumer culture is closely connected to individualism, according to Timothy Brunk, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and it is having a corrosive effect on the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. In his book, The Sacraments and Consumer Culture, which received the 2021 Catholic Media Association first place award for books on the sacraments, Dr. Brunk addresses how consumerism threatens the necessary communal dimension of sacramental celebrations.

Literature does exist on the relationship between consumer culture and sacramental worship, but Dr. Brunk’s book is the first to provide analysis of all seven sacraments with more depth than other journal articles on the subject. He also assesses how sacramental worship can provide resources for Christian discipleship in today's consumer culture.

"Consumer culture poses one of the most comprehensive and subtle challenges to Christian faith and discipleship. While many books have offered general accounts of this tension, The Sacraments and Consumer Culture focuses on each sacrament: the challenges that each face in a consumer culture and the resources they provide for the Church to live its mission more fully. Along the way, Brunk considers both the history and contemporary practice of the sacraments,” says reviewer Vincent Miller, PhD, professor, Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton and author of Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture.

At Villanova, Dr. Brunk teaches courses in sacramental theology, liturgy and culture, and pastoral care of the sick. He earned his doctorate from Marquette University.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.