Revd Kjetil Kringlebotten, MA in Theology
Presentation of project
Working title: Participatio actuosa and participatio Christi: A dogmatic, ecumenical and contemporary discussion of the notion of active participation in the liturgy, with emphasis on the relation between divine and human agency
My PhD explores active participation as metaphysical participation in the divine, asking asking these questions: What do we mean when we speak of participation in the liturgy, and how should we understand the relation there between human and divine agency? If God is the supreme agent of the liturgical act, how do we understand human participation in the same? How is it even possible to speak of human agency in this context, and why is it even necessary?
In this project I am continuing my previous work, including a peer reviewed article published in Studia Theologica, a very prestigious Nordic journal of Theology, discussing the relation between liturgical participation and participation in God. Past and current research on the liturgies and reforms tend to focus on history and concrete practices, particularly practical involvement, instead of its metaphysical underpinnings, though there are exceptions.
My primary supervisor is Simon Oliver, who has worked extensively on the metaphysics of participation and sacramental theology. I am also associated with the Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS), and this provides me with an excellent environment for an ecumenical study of the liturgy, because of the expertise of those who are connected to it and its interdisciplinary and ecumenical nature. I think I can provide expertise in Eucharistic theology and Lutheran theology, and its relation to other traditions. My experience as a parish priest (2014-2018) provides a grounded theological contribution, as theology always starts with concrete ecclesial practices.
This project engages the limits of liturgical reform and the relationship between dogma, theology, and liturgy. The relation between divine and human agency and between liturgical participation and participation in God has not been particularly in focus in studies of the later reforms (even to the point of being downplayed), and I believe my project will make a contribution not only to the scholarly field but also to those working with reforms in the various churches. I do also believe that, as we come to understand better what it means to participate, and what it means to participate in Church, we can also grow in our understanding of what it means to participate in society at large, and how we can better engage people not just liturgically but also culturally and politically. And in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the liturgical act we also need a deeper understanding of its actor(s).