Liturgy of Nation-Formation: Patrick Pearse and the Theological Background of the Easter Rising of 1916
By Maciej Ruczaj
Volume 13, Issue 3, pages 412-428
The Dublin 1916 Easter Rising is most often analysed in terms of the ‘blood sacrifice’ concept and its ‘theatrical’ aspect with both rhetorical devices being ascribed to Patrick (Padraic) Pearse – poet, dramatist, and a crucial figure in the development of the discourse of Irish nationalism. This article proposes a reading of Pearse’s literary and political texts centred on the relation between the religious and the political. Starting with the delineation of the complex ‘translation of the sacred’ from the religious to the secular context, the article then examines the two above-mentioned key dimensions of the Rising, its sacrificial and ‘theatrical’ aspects, demonstrating their theological affinities. The two are interconnected through the thomistic theory of the liturgical sign, suggesting that the Easter Rising, as a crucial event in the construction of Irish nationhood, was devised and carried out per analogiam to the liturgical symbolism of the Catholic Mass.
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