Worship Before Intimacy

One of the oft-heard comments about an inability to have every and any church building remain open, regardless of the ability to celebrate the Church’s liturgy in that building, is an appeal to ‘what about the community?’. It is, in my estimation at least, false and faulty thinking from the perspective of Catholic liturgical theology and ecclesiology, finding more foundation in non-Catholic thinking.

And, finally, I have found a Protestant theologian who seems to support my position!

Many mainline Protestant churches have developed a culture of intimacy for its own sake, so much so that intimacy has become “a primary liturgical value.” As Hughes points out,

Intimacy, or even community, however, is not the point and purpose of an assembly ostensibly gathered for the worship of God. By all means it may be a hoped-for byproduct of corporate worship, but when the priorities are reversed, the one becomes the other’s sublimate.

Steffan Losel, “Introduction”, in Gerard R. Hughes, ed. Steffan Losel, Reformed Sacramentality (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2017), xxvii, quoting Gerard R. Hughes, Worship as Meaning: A Liturgical Theology for Late Modernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 251.