Religious Facilitation Through Intense Liturgical Participation : A Quasi-Experimental Study of Swedish Pilgrims to Taizé

Jonas Eek

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


A considerably small amount of empirical research was found on the process of religious facilitation through liturgical participation and worship (cf., Heimbrock & Boudewijnse, 1990; Wikström, 1994a, 1994b). Using a quasi-experimental design, the present investigation therefore addressed this issue. The process of religious facilitation through intense liturgical participation was regarded as a Religious Event, where the liturgical Stimulus, the attitude Response, and the participating Organism interacted (cf., Malony, 1990, 1995). The hypotheses tested were derived from a social psychological familiarity theory, and aimed to examine: (1) how religious attitudes were affected by intense liturgical participation, (2) how liturgical familiarity prior to the liturgical participation affected both intrinsic religious attitudes and intrinsic religious attitude change as a consequence of the intense liturgical participation? Data from 301 pilgrims visiting the Taizé community were analyzed. A Swedish translation of the Francis Scale of Attitude towards Christianity (Francis & Stubbs, 1987) was used, together with two new Semantic Differentials of attitudes towards and experiences of service (OSAS) and worship (OSAW). Contradicting the religious facilitation paradigm, three attitude change groups were found as a consequence of the liturgical participation. These groups exhibited not only (1) attitude progression, but also (2) attitude stability, and (3) attitude regression. Data also questioned the familiarity theory. While, in line with the theory, initial intrinsic attitudes were predicted by liturgical familiarity, intrinsic attitude progression in Taizé, on the other hand, seemed to be forecasted by initial liturgical uncertainty. In general, there was a degree of complexity found in the liturgical reception process. At least three liturgical reception processes were identified, such that the liturgical reception was either a process of religious confirmation, religious facilitation, or religious inhibition through liturgical participation. It would be both useful and fruitful to generalize the results of the present study to theoretical and pastoral contexts other than that of Taizé. This is an important research task, which future research should address.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2001 Dec 5
ISBN (Print)91-628-5050-4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2001-12-05
Time: 12:15
Place: Samarkand, Akademiska Föreningen, Sandgatan 2

External reviewer(s)

Name: Rosén, Ann-Sofie
Title: Dr
Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  • Familiarity
  • Francis Scale of Attitude towards Christianity
  • Religious Facilitation
  • Taizé
  • Ritual
  • Intrinsic
  • Attitude Change
  • Keywords: Liturgy
  • Pilgrimage
  • General
  • systematic and practical Christian theology
  • Kristen teologi (allmän
  • systematisk och praktisk)
  • Theology
  • Teologi


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