Dominus Est!

While walking home today, I decided to stop into the Vatican bookstore. I was just looking around and asked one of the store workers when Bishop Athanasius Schneider's new book, "Dominus Est," is coming out. Dominus est means, "It is the Lord," in Latin and is referring to the Gospel of John when Christ is recognized by John while Peter and John are fishing.

The book interests me, because the Liturgy interests me. It is about the posture and disposition of the one receiving Holy Communion and the practice of receiving Holy Communion on one's knees and on the tongue. This post is not an apologia for either of those practices, which remain the universal norm of the Church while Bishops and National Bishop's conferences are able to create other norms if they deem it pastorally expedient. Personally, I support and prefer the practice defended in this book, but I would like to limit myself to making a few brief comments on the orientation of the liturgy in general.

In the Catholic liturgy, there must always be a common orientation of all the assembly: versus Dominum, toward the Lord. Cardinal Ratzinger speaks of this at length in his book, "The Spirit of the Liturgy." The same Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this in his General Audience on St. Augustine a couple weeks ago, mentioning the practice of the priest in the early Church who proclaimed, "Conversus ad Dominum!" (Turn toward the Lord) after the homily, at which point the congregation would turn toward the East. This is the reason that Pope Benedict celebrated the Baptismal Mass in the Sistene Chapel "ad orientem," or toward the East, Christ our Lord, the rising Son that never sets. The orientation of our hearts toward the Lord is expressed in chant, gestures, movements and postures in Catholic Liturgy because human beings are not angels (pure spirit) or animals (flesh without a rational soul and will). We must express with our body, the movements and orientation of our heart. This is the context in which Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the Secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, puts his argument forward with respect to receiving communion kneeling and on the tongue in his forward to this book.

I plan on buying the book from the Vatican bookstore sometime this week when it comes out, and I will try to put some posts up on the general arguments and themes. Whether we receive Holy Communion standing or kneeling right now (both of which are certainly viable options according to the Church), let us always prostrate our hearts in loving adoration before the God who is love. "This is a real presence which includes every dimension of who Jesus is: body and blood, human soul and divine person. The consecrated Eucharistic species are the Lord and therefore command our adoration. We do not adore ourselves, nor the ordained priest, nor the Bible, even though these are vehicles for Christ's spiritual presence; we do adore the Eucharist, this blessed sacrifice made really present sacramentally." (Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago)

  1. gravatar

    # by Adrienne - January 29, 2008 at 6:18 PM

    Your wish is my command:)

    Looking forward to hearing more from this book.

  2. gravatar

    # by seminarianbrother - February 1, 2008 at 12:46 AM

    I am deeply interested in this book as well. My name is Craig Thomas, and I am a seminarian studying for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas here in the United States. I attend Conception Seminary College, and have a deep interest in liturgical norms. This book is something I would like to add to my collection, so if there is any way that someone might help me procure and English copy, I would be happy to reimburse them. My email is Thanks for everything guys!

    In Christ,

    Craig Thomas
    Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas

  3. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - February 2, 2008 at 2:40 PM


    I went down to the Vatican Bookstore today and picked up a copy of "Dominus Est". Unfortunately it is only in Italian. It is only about 70 pages. I read about half of it this evening and will put up a couple posts on it in the following days. Very interesting book. Know of my prayers Craig and keep the guys here at "Inumbris Sancti Petri" in yours.

  4. gravatar

    # by seminarianbrother - February 4, 2008 at 12:12 PM


    Thank you for your help, as well as this site. Today, you will be included in my prayers for Mass in about 30 minutes. May God Bless you in your endeavors.

    Craig Thomas

  5. gravatar

    # by Hieu - June 2, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    I am in VietNam, I know that this book are sell on internet,or vatican but i can't buy it, but i want to get it, i have no condition to get it now.

    I searched in internet but i can't find it ,

    anyone can help me, my

  6. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - June 28, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    I understand this book is now in print in English from Newmann Press:

    Click on Newmann Press

    Go to the bottom and click on "Order Form" and it is on the bottom of the form.