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Remembering Joseph Martos - Died March 24

04/07/2020 9:06 AM | Anonymous

Remembering CTSA member Joseph Martos who died on March 24, 2020.  To date, an obituary has not been posted on the web.  In its place, I provide you with his biography as posted on his website.


Joseph Martos is a retired professor of religion and philosophy living in Louisville, Kentucky, where he divides his time between writing, social activism, and public speaking. He has held full-time teaching positions in Louisville KY, Allentown PA, Cincinnati OH, and Sioux City IA, and he has taught summer courses in over a dozen universities in the United States, Canada and Australia. Earlier in his career, he was a high school teacher and, before that, a parish religious education director. He did graduate study in philosophy and theology at Gregorian University and Boston College, and he earned a doctorate from DePaul University in Chicago, writing a dissertation on Bernard Lonergan’s theory of transcendent knowledge. Dr. Martos has written seven books on the sacraments, the most popular of which is Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church. He has also co-authored four books on spirituality with Fr. Richard Rohr, and he has co-edited two books on Christian history and church practices with sociologist Pierre Hégy. May God Bless America: George W. Bush and Biblical Morality, written just prior to the 2004 election, was on religion and politics. His book, The Sacraments: An Interdisciplinary and Interactive Study, has an accompanying website, Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and Reconstructing Catholic Ritual, written for an academic audience and published in 2015, documents the historical development of Roman Catholic doctrines about the sacraments, proves that they are based on misinterpretations of biblical and early church texts, and shows why they have become disconnected from the lives of Catholics today. Honest Rituals, Honest Sacraments: Letting Go of Doctrines and Celebrating What’s Real, published in 2017, makes the same argument for the general reader, using less technical language and suggesting ways to develop authentic sacramental practices in the future. His current project is reworking a course about Bernard Lonergan’s Insight: A Study of Human Understanding into an online program that can be accessed by people who are interested in learning how the human mind works by becoming familiar with their own cognitional operations. Dr. Martos has a continuing interest in world peace, social responsibility, and ecology. He has taught courses on Christian ethics and he has been a member of local and national organizations such as Pax Christi, Bread for the World, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Amnesty International. As a member of his parish’s social justice committee, he has visited Nicaragua and reported on conditions there, and he has also made trips to rebuild hurricane-damaged homes. He is an avid news reader and distributes internet articles daily to people interested in national and world affairs through his free news service, NewsLinks.Dr. Martos and his wife Arden live in a Victorian house in Old Louisville, where they are active members of the neighborhood association. Both remarried, between them they have eight children, fourteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren (accessed on 4/7/20 at

Eternal rest grant to Joseph, O Lord,
and let light perpetual shine upon him.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


  • 04/07/2020 9:27 AM | Dolores L Christie
    What a shock! The first time I met Joe, he joined a lunch group at CTS. I remember thinking how strange for such a quiet, slight guy to write such a massive book on sacraments. He was a delight as part of the entertainment at CTS, attended that meeting and CTSA for many years and continued to contribute generously the to the theological community. And he was clearly much too young to leave us.

    Dee Christie
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  • 04/07/2020 3:17 PM | Robert E Doud
    Knew Joe Martos as a great guy and fellow student at Huntington seminary on Long island, later overlapped at De Paul in Chicago, then at a few CTS meetings along the way. RIP. Joe
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  • 04/07/2020 6:30 PM | Mary M McGlone, CSJ
    I didn't know Joe, but when I was teaching sacraments in a seminary in the mountains of Peru, a Maryknoll friend gave me Doors to the Sacred - and it was the key I needed in a place with almost no library. It was great - his historical perspective provided the jumping off point to challenging the guys to inculturate the sacraments. Mary M. McGlone, CSJ God Bless him and welcome him through that door!
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    • 04/07/2020 8:01 PM | Regina Oliva
      I also was shocked to hear the news. Joseph Martos has been and will continue to be a light in the darkness for me. Rest in peace.
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  • 04/07/2020 9:52 PM | Gideon C Goosen
    Preparing school teachers in the 80s and 90 Martos was the name everyone knew when speaking of sacraments. That was in the institution now known as the Australian Catholic University. The good that people do lives on. Thank you Joseph Martos. Rest in peace!
    Gideon Goosen
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  • 04/08/2020 5:30 AM | Anonymous
    I also did not know Joe personally, but his book made the biggest impression on me when I was a student, and I remember his thoughts and ideas every time I discuss the sacraments with students and learners. May the angels guide you into Paradise, Joseph. - John Falcone
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  • 04/08/2020 9:03 AM | Anneliese Sinnott
    Joe was a wonderful member of the board of ARCC. He kept us all informed about current events via internet. We will miss him.
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  • 04/09/2020 6:47 PM | Neil Ormerod
    I read Joe's book on the sacraments during my studies (did anyone not read it!). Most informative. I got to meet him at various CTSA conferences and we'd chat over our common interest in Lonergan. Over the years I'd receive an occasional email from him and we'd exchange a few ideas. The last time was 8th February this year. We exchanged a few emails and I sent him a piece I had written on the historical Jesus. I expected to hear back from him. I'm now shocked to hear of his passing. May he now be enjoying the vision of God when all our theological conundrums will be resolved.
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  • 04/10/2020 3:51 PM | Eugene Finnegan
    too was saddened yesterday when I heard the news of the passing of Joe Martos. I only got to know Joe during the past fifteen years. We both shared a love of the history of the sacraments. I proofread by email his last few recent books. We had a great disputed correspondence together. He was meticulous when it came to historical accuracy, but his conclusions were often flamboyant. He always insisted on his Lonergan perspective, no matter what. He so wanted the world to look at things the way that he did. He had a great passion to have the sacraments mean something to everybody everywhere. His extinguished fire will be missed.

    Gene Finnegan
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