Liturgical and Sacramental Theology


Rev. Brian Nichols Not offered in 2020

Recent scholarship has shown that 'liturgical theology' is distinct from a 'theology of liturgy' even though the terms are often used interchangeably. In a theology of the liturgy, the liturgy remains an object of theology whereas with liturgical theology the liturgy itself is the source of theology; it is the elucidation of the theological meaning of worship. With due reference to the ancient maxim Lex orandi, lex credendi (the law for prayer is the law for faith) and to the notion of human symbolic ritual activity, this unit will explore some of the Catholic Church's liturgical and sacramental rites. It will also examine how liturgical theology is an independent theological discipline with its own special subject (the liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church) distinct from other methods and theological disciplines. The unit will demonstrate that the liturgy, of its very nature, is always expressive of the faith of the Church.




intensive mode: 9.30am — 4.30pm


second level
  • two 1,500-word essays 2 x 35%
  • one 15-minute oral examination (1,000 words) 30%
third level
  • two 2,000-word essays 2 x 35%
  • one 15-minute oral examination (1,000 words) 30%


  • Fagerberg, David W. Theologia Prima: What is Liturgical Theology? 2nd ed. Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2004.
  • Irwin, Kevin W. Context and Text: Method in Liturgical Theology. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1994.
  • Kavanagh, Aidan. On Liturgical Theology: The Hale Memorial Lectures of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, 1981. New York: Pueblo, 1984.
  • Kubicki, Judith M. The Presence of Christ in the Gathered Assembly. New York: Continuum, 2006.
  • Lathrop, Gordon W. Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.
  • Power, David N. Sacrament: The Language of God's Giving. New York: Crossroad, 1999.
  • –. Unsearchable Riches: The Symbolic Nature of Liturgy. New York: Pueblo, 1984.
  • Saliers, Don E. Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine. Nashville: Abingdon, 1994.
  • Schmemann, Alexander. Introduction to Liturgical Theology. Translated by Ashleigh E. Moorhouse. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003. 
  • Vogel, Dwight E., ed. Primary Sources of Liturgical Theology: A Reader. A Pueblo Book. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000.