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Ethics in Religion | Liturgy and Worship


Critical realism as a lens of thought is not new to theological inquiry, but recently a growing number of theologians have been using its conceptual frameworks to guide their thought on how social structures function theologically, and how ethics might function in light of its insights. This article pulls these developments into the nexus of liturgy and ethics, applying critical realist categories to contemporary understandings of how liturgical celebration (and the structures thereof) form, inform, and/or malform Christian ethical imaginations and practices. The article begins with a brief survey of the main tenets of critical realism and their histories in theological inquiry, and argues that a main gift critical realism can offer liturgical and sacramental theology is a structural understanding of liturgical narrative- and value-building. Having described this gift, the article moves to a concrete application of this method in liturgical theology and its implications for ethics: addressing consumerism as a culture that can be both validated and challenged by liturgical and sacramental structures. The article ends with some brief suggestions for using and shifting liturgical structures to better facilitate the Christian conversion of consumerism.


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