Martos's treatment of the history of the sacraments is comprehensive and very enlightening, and presented in a clear and orthodox manner. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the Roman Catholic view of the sacraments or in Church history.
There are only two disappointing aspects. First, Martos's treatment of the later 20th century gives the impression that sacramental theology is now indefinite, but that this does not matter as long as the believer finds their concepts to be "doors to the sacred." Secondly, he has the rather annoying tendency to use American RC parishes as illustrations of the promise of
Vatican II fulfilled. For example, in his treatment of the sacrament of Reconciliation, he overly stresses "communal guilt" and such "corporate" sins as racism, and suggests that sacramental confession of individual sins fell by the wayside because of this new "awareness." Both are faulty concepts which he presents as if they were highly positive.
It is a fine reference work, but serious theological students will need to be certain it is one of several.
Discovering the history of how the sacraments were celebrated and changed over the last 2000 years makes them come to life as real encounters with the human risen Lord. Joseph Martos gives us a very readable, interesting and extremely informative new understanding of the sacraments in this updated, after the Second Vatican Council, rendition of his earlier work on this topic. Frequent confession went from non-existent in the first century, to encouraged, to condemned by a Church Council as conducive of frequent sinning and therefore a scandal, to encouraged again for spiritual growth by the Church today. Did you experience a roller coaster of emotions about confession? So did the Catholic Church, as outlined by Martos. Read about all of the sacraments and develop an entirely new appreciation of them, as our tradition presents them. When you whet your appetite on one, you'll want to read about them all. Do yourself a favor and grow in your Catholic Faith today - read the Doors to the Sacred.