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An eschatological critique of Catherine Pickstock’s Liturgical Theology

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Catherine Pickstock’s After Writing sets out to provide an account of liturgical time, subjectivity, and worship which is capable of surpassing the deconstruction of each of these in modernity and postmodernity. Her account of the way in which each of these is treated in the old Roman Rite, however, accentuates elements of ambiguity and deferral which erase two significant elements of traditional Catholic treatments of eschatology. The iterative element of growth and progress in holiness and Christian virtue is subsumed by continuous emphasis on ambiguity and deferral, while the promise of real eschatological novelty - that God seen now only in signs will be seen later face to face - is dissolved by an excessive valorisation of liturgical presence in the mode of signs. In order to avoid a postmodern reduction, then, it is better to embrace the liturgical vision of Joseph Ratzinger, in which liturgy and eschatology are both separated and united as different modalities of the presence of Christ, in which temporal liturgical life not only participates in but is directed towards a greater future fulfilment in the eschatological presence of God.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-508
JournalNew Blackfriars
Issue number1089
Early online date2 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019

    Research areas

  • Catherine Pickstock, Joseph Ratzinger, Liturgy, Eschatology, Temporality, Subjectivity, Worship

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