Awe and reverence essential to worship



In a letter to the editor dated October 13, 2022, Fr. Joseph Creedon criticized a recent guest editorial by Fr. Nicholas Fleming (September 29, 2022).
Fr. Creedon suggested that, contrary to Fr. Fleming’s (supposed) contention, liturgical “pageantry, pomp and circumstance” represent a reactionary and wrongheaded impulse inconsistent with the proper worship of God. In theory, he has a sound point: our worship should avoid empty spectacle that merely delights the senses.
However, as best we can tell, Fr. Fleming didn’t call for such hollow ostentation. Instead, he recommended that we understand and celebrate the liturgy in a manner befitting the divine realities it expresses and communicates.
At the core of Fr. Fleming’s argument is a fact often neglected in the contemporary church: we are members of a royal and priestly people, called to offer sacrifice to God in and through Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, and to share in the holy banquet table reserved for children of the kingdom, whereby we partake in God’s own life.
For many of us - especially those of us who are younger - the solemn and austere beauty of the “usus antiquior” (the Latin Mass) is a powerful witness to this truth.
And, as we learn from the carefully prepared Mosaic liturgy of the Old Testament, and the glimpses of the heavenly liturgy in the New Testament, awe and reverence are essential to the right worship of God.
We thank Fr. Fleming for saying as much.

Tyler Rowley, Evan Cornell and Philip Primeau