Transformation of Rituals

Research Context

Sacraments and ritual practices are among the central pastoral fields, not least at various turning points in personal and social life. Due to the multiple changes in religious landscapes and social conditions, these fields are subject to transformation. At the same time, rituals are currently experiencing a renaissance, which not least shows the emergence of "free rituals".

Various disciplines (including religious studies, liturgical studies) analyse rituals. The practical theological interest focuses on changes in the area of Christian rituals. These are scientifically analyzed and monitored; New forms and models are sought and promoted which are useful for people's lives. The research results are aimed at scientists in the field of theology and religious studies, at practitioners in Christian communities and churches as well as at those responsible for rituals in religious communities.


  • Discovery and research of new Christian rituals, especially in the field of free rituals
  • Working on the tensions between theological guidelines and practical problems in the area of sacraments and Christian rituals in research and counseling
  • Analysis of changes in the area of the sacraments and the pastoral care of the sacraments
  • Establishing an interdisciplinary exchange in ritual research


Church Choirs in Austria

  • Church Choirs in Austria – status and developments
    Empirical research project commissioned by the Liturgical Commission of Austria


Ongoing Dissertations

  • Eva-Maria Schmidbaur: Beichterfahrungen in Österreich aus der Perspektive der Priester und SeelsorgerInnen. Eine pastoraltheologische Untersuchung zur gegenwärtigen Beichtpraxis (Empirical Study)
  • Edina Kiss: Auswertung der Interviews zum Projekt „Sonntags-Gottesdienstkultur“
  • Stefan Gmoser: Gott zur Freude – Untersuchung anhand des Erwachsenenkatechumenats

Projects Completed


Johann Pock (lead)

Cooperation Partner:
em. o.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Franz Karl Praßl (Graz)

Former Team: Teresa Schweighofer, Edina Kiss, Hans Gerald Hödl


  • Johann Pock / Edina Kiss, A vasárnap megünneplésének kultúrája. Eg y empirikus tanulmány a Bécsi Főeg yházmeg yében, in: Praeconia 15 (2/2020), 85-92 (Übers. von “Die Kultur des Sonntags-Gottesdienstes“ von 2017).
  • Teresa Schweighofer, Das Leben deuten. Eine praktisch-theologische Studie zu Freier Ritualbegleitung (Studien zur Theologie und Praxis der Seelsorge 109), Würzburg 2019.
  • Johann Pock / Edina Kiss, Die Kultur des Sonntags-Gottesdienstes. Eine empirische Studie in der Erzdiözese Wien. Teil 1 in: Zf. Gottesdienst 51 (13/2017) 102-103; Teil 2 in: Zf. Gottesdienst 51 (14-15/2017) 112-113.
  • Christliche Rituale im Wandel. Schlaglichter aus theologischer und religionswissenschaftlicher Sicht, hg.v. Hans Gerald Hödl / Johann Pock / Teresa Schweighofer (Wiener Forum für Theologie und Religionswissenschaft), Vienna University Press: Wien 2017.  ISBN 978-3-8471-0778-1
  • Trauerrede in postmoderner Trauerkultur, hg. v. Johann Pock / Ulrich Feeser-Lichterfeld (Werkstatt Theologie 18), Berlin-Wien 2011.