Liturgical Dogmatics

How Catholic Beliefs Flow from Liturgical Prayer

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God is literally indescribable: "not-able-to-be-written-down". How can we do dogmatics when there is an absolute difference between the Creator and the creature? How dare we say anything about God without his permission?

God is incomprehensible, but he is not unapproachable. He gives access to himself in the liturgy he has given us. There, what dogma stammers to state, liturgy celebrates in mystical participation; what knowledge cannot fasten together, love unites.

Liturgical Dogmatics examines dogma in light of liturgy. It is not a theology of liturgy, because it does not look at liturgy; rather, it looks through liturgy to see the whole sweeping saving activity of God, which dogma describes. Through this lens, the author illuminates thirty-six classic dogmas in a readable and sometimes imaginative way. He shows that while dogma protects the mystery of divine love from heretical corruption, its final goal is achieved when the believer is united to that mystery in liturgical worship.

David Fagerberg

David W. Fagerberg is Professor of Liturgical Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He holds an M.A. from St. John's University, Collegeville; an S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School; and the Ph.D. from Yale University. His books include Theologia Prima (2003), On Liturgical Asceticism (2013), Consecrating the World (2016), and Liturgical Mysticism (2019).

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"Every theologian knows the dictum lex orandi lex credendi, but I have never seen a more thorough and satisfying application of it than Liturgical Dogmatics. With his customary poetic flair and mystical élan, David Fagerberg demonstrates how the liturgical act provides the proper matrix for understanding the Trinity, human nature, sin, grace, angels, and devils. Anyone interested in the Christian life will benefit from this tour de force of a book."
— Most Reverend Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles; Creator and Host, Catholicism film series

"If you think books on liturgy are for specialists and works of dogmatics are boring and dry, prepare to be surprised. And not just surprised, but moved and challenged and edified. David Fagerberg is a wonderful theologian and a marvelous writer, who draws the reader into the astounding mysteries, riches, and graces of the Faith."
— Carl E. Olson, Editor, Catholic World Report

"Liturgical Dogmatics portrays the liturgy's universal truths and will expand one's liturgical vision in ways scarcely imaginable."
— Christopher Carstens, Editor, Adoremus Bulletin; Director of the Office for Sacred Worship, Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin

"This book would serve well the continuing education of professional theologians in universities and seminaries as well as those involved in parish catechetical ministry. Above all, however, this book is a must-read for those who bear responsibility for preaching during the liturgy itself. Good homiletic preaching requires a deep understanding of how the liturgy allows us to see God, to know him, to know ourselves, and to respond with abiding gratitude in glory to God."
— Most Reverend Shawn McKnight, Bishop of Jefferson City, Missouri

"At the turn of the millennium Cardinal Ratzinger famously called for a new "'liturgical movement', a movement toward the liturgy and toward the right way of celebrating the liturgy, inwardly and outwardly." One can do neither if one does not know what the Sacred Liturgy is. Liturgical Dogmatics ensures that this is possible. Fagerberg's refreshing approach moves the study of liturgy beyond historical, ceremonial, and spiritual questions and gives it its rightful place?as the literally fundamental locus of the Church's experience of God's redemptive revelation in Christ. Theologians and liturgists ('pastoral', 'trad', or whatever) take note: this work will challenge and change you?for the better."
— Dom Alcuin Reid, Prior, Monastère Saint-Benoît, Brignoles, France; Author, The Organic Development of the Liturgy

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