Special Issue "Worship in a time of Pandemic: Fresh Possibilities and Troubling Inequalities"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Edward Foley
Guest Editor
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL 60615, USA
Interests: liturgy; practical theology; preaching; social justice; young scholars
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the world is now painfully acknowledging, the global pandemic of 2020 has triggered drastic changes across a wide swath of arenas: from education to business, from health care to politics. No less affected is the practice of worship in the midst of this health crisis and the parallel theologizing about evolving liturgical practices across world religions and in local faith communities. Not surprisingly, the rapidly evolving array of in-person as well as digital responses to COVID-19 have opened access to many worship events while simultaneously exacerbating existing inequities in worship. This Special Issue of Religion will examine the upheaval in worship practices sparked by this pandemic as well as the theologizing about these evolving practices.

This is new territory for the area of liturgics and for practical-liturgical theologians who reflect upon worship practices. For example, while multiple health care professionals are pondering the impact of this global health crisis on their medical practices, most pastoral ministers are scrambling to respond to governmental and ecclesial guidelines and restrictions with little time to ponder the short term—much less long term—effects of this required improvisation.

Based on the presupposition that worship itself is to be a just act, authors will give special attention to the ethical implications of such emerging liturgical practices in pondering how liturgy and the allied field of liturgical studies might contribute to distributive, racial, gender, and other forms of justice. Worship is such a presumed service of faith communities that seldom do they reflect upon the justice implications of the ways in which such worship is enacted. This is parallel, for example, to the lack of reflection by education systems on the justice implications of their pedagogical and social delivery systems. The radical and abrupt move to on-line education during the 2020 pandemic has exposed the possibilities and also the systemic inequities in existing educational systems. Analogously, a basic concern of this Special Issue of Religion is not only how worship communities are coping and improvising worship responses, or even how a few are theologizing about them, but, equally importantly, how the underlying ethical dimensions of worship and its performance, accessibility, and assessment in all of its ethical dimensions are being addressed. As yet, there is no sustained or widespread reflection on this topic, and this is a pioneering enterprise and breakthrough in theologizing on the topic.

Prof. Dr. Edward Foley
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • pandemic
  • worship
  • COVID-19
  • ethics
  • accessibility

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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