Why do we miss the rituals put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Friday, August 14, 2020 - 05:10 in Psychology & Sociology

For over a thousand years, the various prayers of the Catholic Holy Mass remained largely unaltered. Starting in the 1960s, though, the Catholic Church began implementing changes to make the Mass more modern. One such change occurred on November 27, 2011, when the church attempted to unify the world’s English-speaking Catholics by having them all use the same wording. The changes were slight; for instance, instead of responding to the priest’s “The Lord be with you” with “And also with you,” the response became: “And with your spirit.” The seemingly small modification sparked an uproar so fierce that some leaders warned of a “ritual whiplash.” The new wording has stayed intact, but that outsize reaction did not surprise ritual scholars. “The ritual reflects the sacred values of the group,” says Juliana Schroeder, a social psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. “Those [ritual actions] are nonnegotiable.” But in the midst of the global...

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