"It would be foolish not to recognize that placing sacramental discourse prior to, above, and in a role which subordinates theology in the modern academic sense is a difficult if not incomprehensible move to many people. We generally think of the two sorts of discourse the other way around, theology coming first and sacramental discourse very much later as a possibly implied excursus off the former. Sacramental discourse in fact is often thought of as theological adiaphora best practiced by those with a taste for banners, ceremonial, and arts and crafts. It is regarded as an academically less than disciplined swamp in which Anglican high churchmen, Orthodox bishops, and many if not all Roman Catholics and other are hopelessly mired."
"The tradition has never seen the Church as having any purpose or work different from Christ's own. The Church's concerns have always been with the Gospel translated into act, matter, time, and space, with the various cultures the Church has touched being renovated as an inevitable result not directly stiven for. Not only is there little conscious reflection on culture as such in the pre-Renaissance Church, but there is surprisingly little ex professo writing about the Church itself distinct from World and City. Thomas Aquinas, certainly one of the greatest theologians of the Church East or West, wrote no self-contained tract on ecclesiology. Rather, what he does say about the Church is almost wholly contained in the third part of his Summa Theologiae, which is about the sacraments. It is as though until the modern era, the Church was considered simply as the city center of a restored World, occupied with doing the business of God by faith in Christ. It is now necessary to illustrate what this means in practice."
On Liturgical Theology, Fr. Aidan Kavanagh, OSB