Defining Liturgy, Ritual, Sign and Symbols


Catholicism distinguishes two distinct liturgical entities. The first involves the convectional use of the terminology liturgy to encompass all use of official rites that appertain to a church or a religious identity group. This is what interprets the temple liturgy rite in the Old Testament. Catholicism faults this convectional use of the term liturgy and instead uses the terminology to exclusively refer to a Eucharistic church official service. It thus excludes religious rites and church service unaccompanied by a Eucharist as merely canonical or official rites, which falls short of liturgical qualification (Barron, 2013). This Eucharist church service is referred to as mass in Catholicism and is liturgically distinct from other mass services concerning the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist. Student will achieve maximally if they adopt this phenomenon. It is advisable for students to make positive change to have a fluent impact of the same.



A ritual in a Catholicism context refers to the formalism, traditionalism and sacral symbolism that is stereotyped in a sequential activity performed in a sequestered place. This is achieved through ritualistic objects, actions and rhetoric as the form of communication with prefer of natural beings of forces to fulfill a human’s desires, interests or goals. Catholicism rituals exhibit the five bases that fasten a ritual paradigm. They include the formalism, traditionalism, sacral symbolism and rule governance premises. Formalism symbolism emphasizes on the authoritativeness of a sequestered and ordered actions, linguistic codes or oratorical intonation during a ritual performance. In Catholicism, the formalism premise is evident in the use of Latin linguistic codes during a mass service. Formalism emphasizes on the style aspect of the ritual rather than the content of the oration remarks. This invokes an authoritative, rigid and conformity to the ritual as a means of establishing an orderly society. Deviation from a ritual’s conservatism performance is thus regarded as deviance in a ritually identified society (McBrien, 2013).

Rituals’ performances appeal to a particular historic memorable event. In Catholicism, Jesus Christ performs the liturgical Holy Eucharist Sacrifice as a historical memorabilia of the Last Supper during the Roman epoch of history. In a clash premise emphasizes on the repetition of a timeless choreographed action in a ritual performance. It enforces bodily discipline or invokes meditation mood in religious rituals. On the other hand, rule governance premise demarcates the moral boundary of a ritual group any behavioral move of the community members in the course of a particular ritual event. Rule governance premise also intern individual behavior which falters off the moral limits. Lastly, sacral symbolism premise emphasizes on the consecration of certain objects or symbols as representatives of the preternatural being to whom the ritual is directed.


A sign is an object which creates a link between itself and the object it represents. In Catholicism, a typical example of a sign is the cross, which illustrates the connection between the crucifix as an object and its relationship to the Christian faith. The distinction between a sign and an object is evident in the crucifix role as a link rather than as a metaphor of the Christianity faith about the death and resurrection of Christ.


A symbol is an object used as a metaphorical representation or substitute of another object (O’Collins & Farrugia, 2003). In Catholicism, the Holy Eucharist celebration is a typical example. It takes the form of bread and wine to signify the body of Christ.

Barron, R. (2013). Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith. New York: Doubleday Religious Publishing Group.
O’Collins, G., & Farrugia, M. (2003). Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press.
McBrien, R. P. (2013). Catholicism: New Study Edition–Completely Revised and Updated. London: HarperCollins.

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