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Fr. Arthur Tonne  |  bio


This 1950 book of Fr. Arthur Tonne is a goldmine of information about the sacramentals of the Roman Catholic Church. It is comprehensive and even unique for offering explanations about certain sacramentals not readily available elsewhere.


As Fr. Tonne explains in his first chapter, Sacraments in General:


"The sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself; the sacramentals were founded by Christ’s Church."


And continuing he clarifies:


"Do we have to use sacramentals? Does a Catholic have to wear a scapular, or use holy water, or pray the Rosary? Strictly speaking, no. The sacraments are necessary for salvation; the sacramentals are not necessary. Nevertheless, the prayers, pious objects, sacred signs and ceremonies of Mother Church are means to salvation."


A total of 59 sacramentals and their importance in the supernatural life of a Catholic are explained by Fr. Tonne, from the Sign of the Cross, to Holy Water (see the image gallery for the full chapter), the Pope's Blessing to Vigil Lights (see the Table of Contents in the image gallery for a full list).

Discover the richness of the Church's sacramentals in this incredible resource!

194 pages, softcover.



Fr. Peter Stravinskas

Editor of The Catholic Response

I was introduced to the work of Father Tonne by my father when I was a boy in grammar school. Father Tonne’s pithy and punchy prose, coupled with his grasp of Catholic doctrine and ability to communicate deep truths in comprehensible fashion made him a favorite of mine all through my seminary years of studying homiletics.


Romanitas Press is to be congratulated for reprinting these classics of spirituality and homiletics. Seminarians and priests will benefit greatly from this material which will provide good starters for their own preaching; the spirituality of lay folk will be enhanced by a prayerful reading of these works. (Catholic Response Magazine—March-April 2020)


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A Tonne of Knowledge: Feasts of Our Lady and Sacramental

"Until just recently, I had no idea who Fr Arthur Tonne was..." (read more) Joe Sales (blogger, Stumbling from Sin to Sainthood)

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A fascinating and inspiring read, not only providing valuable information on the sacraments and the various sacramentals they entail, but each chapter commences with an interesting historical story, which even youngsters would enjoy.


Among the many enjoyable chapters, I liked the one on “Ashes” as it not only provides an inspiring story but is a valuable reminder of what receiving holy ashes on Ash Wednesday is all about—oftentimes forgotten! Ellie Christie (author of Catholic children's books)


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Romanitas Press has republished another wonderful work by Msgr. Arthur Tonne this time on the sacramentals. With nearly 60 entries this should prove one of the definitive devotional works on the sacramentals in print.


Sacramentals are excellent means for Catholics to help in their path towards perfection. Rather than being viewed as some sort of superstitious charm, they are, as Msgr. Tonne states: “the means for securing heavenly help for those who use them properly” and “anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to help devotion, and thus secure grace and take away venial sin or the temporal punishment due to sin.”


It is one way that distinguishes us from Protestants who typically frown upon any such usage having a barren conception of the material world. We see Our Lord throughout the Gospels using matter to be the instruments of His healing work. So similar to sacraments—although not efficacious to the same degree—sacramentals produce grace indirectly by disposing the soul through actual grace. It indicates that all of creation has been blessed by God and that the Catholic Church has set aside certain objects to be used in a sacred manner.


Many of us are aware of the use of the brown scapular and the rosary as sacramentals but how many of us know that there are sacramentals of agriculture and industry, that the taking of the religious habit or that the Church has entire rituals dedicated to the blessing of certain objects all widening our concept of sacramental use?


Although not strictly necessary, it would be fool-hearted for any Catholic to despise such usage engulfed, as we are, in our hyper-rationalist age. We can easily look back on the Middle Ages with an air of superiority for their abundant use of sacramentals but perhaps they were more attuned to the mystical and heavenly. Perhaps our proper use of sacramentals can help stir our hearts towards a greater devotion to supernatural realities in which our ancestors breathed and lived. Msgr. Tonne’s book is certain to aid us in this lofty endeavor! Congratulations to Romanitas Press! Alex Barbas (owner of Arouca Press)

Talks on the Sacramentals DMG-CLEAR

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