Kerygma and the liturgy: encountering the risen Christ in Dom Odo Casel's Mystery theology

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Theological Studies


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: William H. Johnston


This thesis begins with a meditation on the role of Christ's Resurrection in the life of the early and modern Church. In light of the evangelistic fervor that marked the apostolic era on account of the first Christians' experience of the Resurrection, this thesis argues that the Resurrection retains a central role in any attempt to reinvigorate the Church's missionary efforts, in particular the recent Magisterial project of the New Evangelization. Rejecting apologetics as a way to reorient evangelization around the Resurrection, I turn to the biblical Emmaus story to argue for the privileged role of the liturgy as a place of evangelistic encounter with the Risen Christ. Turning, then, to the 20th century German Benedictine liturgist Dom Odo Casel, I spend the remainder of the thesis, with the help of the Catholic Magisterium and the theological debate his work occasioned, exploring his unique and controversial assertion that the Paschal Mystery, the historical event that so radically reordered the lives of the first Christians, is substantially present in the sacraments. Though the majority of Catholic theologians reject his assertion, as I am also inclined, I will argue that post-conciliar sacramental theology has nevertheless thrown the baby out with the bath water" by underemphasizing essential evangelistic elements of liturgical worship. Indeed, I lastly argue that by retrieving and clarifying Casel's unique assertion, we can help to recover his important central insight and so articulate a kerygmatic liturgical theology for the New Evangelization."


Casel, Odo, 1886-1948, Jesus Christ Resurrection, Evangelistic work Catholic Church, Paschal mystery, Religion, Theology, Odo Casel, kerygma, liturgy, New Evangelization, Charles Journet, Paschal Mystery, sacraments, sacramental theology, Mass, Liturgical Movement, Maria Laach, substantial presence of the Paschal Mystery

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