Bishop Athanasius Schneider: The Catholic Mass Is an Act of Adoration

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Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

By Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Catholic Exchange, Jan. 21, 2022

Bishop Schneider and coauthor Aurelio Porfiri encourage the revival of public prayers, such as the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic adoration. He explains how genuflecting, kneeling, and prostrating oneself are all outward signs of reverence that demonstrate this inward action. Our duty, he declares, is to render “perpetual thanksgiving” to God at Mass. Indeed, as he solemnly asserts, “The Mass is the greatest and most important work of the Church.”

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in the book The Catholic Mass: Steps to Restore the Centrality of God in the Liturgy by Bishop Athanasius Schneider. It is available through Sophia Institute Press.


The Latin term adoratio originally meant a gesture of reverence made toward a worthy person or object, before whom one would bow slightly, touching the object of reverence with one’s right hand, while with one’s left hand wafting a kiss (ad os) toward the recipient of the adoration. We, however, must see this concept in the context of divine revelation, which teaches us that adoration means acknowledging that God is God and that we are creatures. This is the fundamental attitude of worship that is taught by divine revelation and Holy Scripture, for the most dangerous temptation for the creature is to make himself a god, to replace God with self. This was the sin of the fallen angels who sinned prior to man. Satan refused the act of adoration to God, to Him who is solus Sanctus, solus Dominus, solus Altissimus, as we say in the Gloria of the Holy Mass. St. Thomas Aquinas said: “The greatest of all [sins against God] seems to be for a man to give God’s honor to a creature.” …