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.

Unit code: CT2102C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Explain the thesis that the liturgical assembly and its action – particularly the sacraments – serve as the “primary locus” for the Christian’s encounter with God.


Identify the ways that Christ’s paschal mystery is at the heart of liturgical and sacramental celebration.


Use the liturgical and sacramental rites of the Church as theological sources.


Apply this knowledge to reflect on the celebration of the liturgy and the sacraments in the cultures in which they are likely to worship or minister.


Lectures, Tutorials, Seminars

Indicative Bibliography

  • Fagerberg, David W. On Liturgical Asceticism. Michigan: Catholic University of America Press, 2013
  • _ Theologia Prima: What is Liturgical Theology? 2nd ed. Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2004.
  • Irwin, Kevin W. Context and Text: Method in Liturgical Theology. Revised Edition. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2018
  • Kavanagh, Aidan. On Liturgical Theology: The Hale Memorial Lectures of Seabury–Western Theological Seminary, 1981. New York: Pueblo, 1984.
  • Lathrop, Gordon W. Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.
  • Power, David Unsearchable Riches: The Symbolic Nature of Liturgy. New York: Pueblo Publishing, 1984.
  • Saliers, Don. Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine. Nashville: Abingdon, 1994.
  • Schmemann, Alexander. Introduction to Liturgical Theology. Translated by Ashleigh E. Moorhouse. Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003.
  • Vatican Council II. Sacrosanctum concilium. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. 4 December 1963. In The Liturgy Documents: A Parish Resource, 4th ed. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2004.
  • Vogel, Dwight W., ed. Primary Sources of Liturgical Theology: A Reader. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

1,500-word essay

1500 40.0

1,500-word essay

1500 40.0
Oral Examination

15-minute oral exam

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 19 Jul, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-07-19 13:20:53 +1000