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Paschal Simultaneity in Time of Pandemic

12 October 2020

A Liturgical Theological Response to COVID-19

A connection is often posited between particularly intense and extensive exposure to suffering and especially incisive and energetic exploration of its theological significance. It is possible to identify a series of historical contexts in which especially concentrated, and distinctive, doctrinal, homiletic and devotional attention has been given to the theology of suffering. The Lisbon earthquake of November 1st, 1755, whose death toll was swollen by the numbers of worshippers trapped inside the city’s churches which collapsed in the course of All Saints’ Day Mass; the wholesale slaughter of the First World War and especially both the genocidal atrocities and use of atomic weapons in the course of the Second, are all regularly cited as examples. In face of COVID-19, it seems we are currently living through one such cultural moment. It is thus helpful to consider what can be learned through dialogue with inhabitants of previous ages whose theological sensibility was contoured equally deeply by suffering.

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