Aidan Nichols: The Ordinariates, the Pope, and the Liturgy

Fr. Aidan Nichols has made available the text of the talks he delivered at the Anglicanorum coetibus Conference in Canada. They appeared first on the Ordinariate Portal, and are offered here for your interest and discussion.

Part I may be found here.

Part II may be found here.

Here is the text of Part III (or read it on the Ordinariate Portal):

But when they come, how will they worship? Here we must treat of the Ordinariates and the question of the Liturgy. Most (suitably informed) people when they hear the phrase ‘the liturgical patrimony of Anglicanism’ will think among other things of robed choirs, harvest festivals, change-ringing, and the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge. Above all, however, they will think of Thomas Cranmer. But precisely this causes a problem, not merely because Queen Mary’s judiciary had him burned as a heretic but also (and more especially) because, for recent scholarship, Cranmer belongs firmly in the camp of the Protestant Reformers not least when it comes to his liturgical creations. Cranmer wrote masterly prose, solemn, though with a tenderness the more poignant for being occasional. Many of his phrases have passed over into the common treasury of the English language, and his better known prayers, or echoes of them, have come to mind for thousands of English people at critical moments of life. But the transposition of his work into a Catholic setting is deeply problematic, above all in what concerns his Order of worship for the Eucharist, since it is in the Eucharistic Order, as I’ve already had occasion to mention in connexion with Pope Benedict’s theology, that the heart of Christian Liturgy consists.

There can be little doubt that the Order of Holy Communion in the English Prayer Book tradition – starting with 1549, and moving through 1552 to 1559 where some slight recovery of Catholic ground was modestly extended in 1662 – is hostile to ideas of Eucharistic Sacrifice and even Eucharistic Presence. At the high point of radical Protestant influence, under Edward VI, it appears to have been because Bishop Stephen Gardiner of Winchester, a conservative on the Edwardine bench of bishops, argued that the First Prayer Book was susceptible of a Catholic interpretation that Cranmer determined to embark on making a more thorough job of it in 1552. The great Anglo-Catholic liturgiologist Dom Gregory Dix describes in the final chapter of his The Shape of the Liturgy his own dismay on looking into the context of the two Edwardine Prayer Books in Cranmer’s other theological writings. ‘[I]t is only painfully and with reluctance that have brought myself to face candidly some of the facts here set out, and I cannot but fear that they will bring equal distress to others’.[1] The benign view of Cranmer’s liturgical revision taken by most High Churchmen (though isolated critical voices had never been completely lacking), and, after the Oxford Movement, by ‘Prayer Book Catholics’, was, so Dix concluded, historically unsustainable. For Cranmer the Eucharist was instituted by Christ not so that his death might be offered to the Father but with the simple aim of its being remembered by us. The Second Prayer Book is the Eucharistic counterpart of the magisterial Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone: in Dix’s words ‘the only effective attempt ever made to give liturgical expression to [that] doctrine’.[2] Or as the then bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, writes in his highly appealing study of the Liturgy, Heaven and Earth in Little Space, Cranmer was concerned to ‘consecrate the congregation and not the eucharistic elements’.[3]

All this explains the rise of the Anglo-Catholic demand for the supplementation of the English Prayer Book and indeed its quasi-replacement by some version of the Western Missal. As to its content, the demand was doctrinally motivated, though it often took the form of a legal argument – namely, that the proper authorities of the two provinces of the mediaeval Church which formed the Ecclesia anglicana, the Convocations of Canterbury and York, had neither initiated the Prayer Books nor even authorized them except in the sense that they advised the clergy to make use of what was sometimes referred to as ‘the Parliamentary book’.

The problem was not the Divine Office, the daily offices of Mattins and Evensong, which were generally regarded as successful adaptations to congregational worship of the ancient Offices of Matins and Lauds, on the one hand, Vespers and Compline, on the other: offices that had become in the mediaeval period mainly the occupation of monastics and cathedral canons. Nor were the ‘occasional offices’ a difficulty, except in so far as the Burial Service omitted any explicit intercession for the souls of the departed (admittedly, not a minor matter). The stumbling-block was the rite of Holy Communion, but since this was absolutely central in the Tractarian programme for a reinvigorated Church life, it became in time not a hurdle to be surmounted but a road-block requiring a diversion from the route. Doubts intensified as to whether the original Tractarians had been right in regarding the Prayer Book as fit for use when considered as a manual of Catholic prayer. After the anti-ritual legislation of the mid-Victorian era – the 1874 Public Worship Regulation Act, which saw the imprisonment of Catholic-minded clergy convicted of so-called ‘ritual offences’, for periods lasting from four months to a year – Anglo-Catholics sat ever more lightly to the Prayer Book regime. They were increasingly willing to import prayers from the Sarum Missal, or even the Roman Missal as used by Latin Catholics of their own period, especially sections of the Roman or – as they sometimes termed it, with reference to its putative early history – the ‘Gelasian’ or ‘Gregorian’ Canon. In this way they hoped to make good the deficiencies of the Prayer Book liturgy seen as an instrument for celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice with, as the fruit of the consecration, the Real Presence. Where congregations might grow restive on hearing hitherto unknown and technically illegal adjustments to the Book, the added prayers were recited silently, or at any rate in a low voice.

Such anxieties about the Prayer Book Eucharist were not the only driving force behind the movement to look back to Sarum or look around at what Latin Catholics did in their own time. Anglo-Catholics also felt a need to enrich the rather vestigial ‘Propers’ of the Prayer Book for the celebration of the great seasons and major festivals; to add ‘Commons’ for commemorating the different categories of saints; and to provide other texts for Masses on special occasions, notably funerals. This led to the production of a flurry of Missals incorporating along with the official rites much material drawn from the Sarum or Roman (sometimes called ‘Western’) Use. The study of the publication history of these various Missals is a complex topic to which a helpful guide was provided in 1998 by Archdeacon Mark Dalby.[4] In effect, the 1662 liturgy, interpolated with some either silent or spoken Sarum or Roman prayers, became bit by bit the Roman Use or the Sarum Use, interpolated with some spoken Cranmerian prayers.

But there was not only the question of texts. There was also the matter of ceremonies. Anglo-Catholics held that ceremonial gave a practical demonstration of doctrine. But what items could be regarded as legitimate objects for ceremonial deployment in an Anglican liturgy? Putting this question sparked off a debate about what ‘ornaments’ could be used which paralleled the discussion, just described, about what texts were commendable. The word ‘ornaments’, signifying not decorations but the kinds of things to be utilized in the course of worship, derived from the famous ‘Ornaments Rubric’. That rubric was first printed in Elizabeth I’s Prayer Book, the Book of 1559, which specified that those ornaments should be employed which were in use in the second year of the reign of Edward VI. Writing in 1908, F. C. Eeles, in an influential pamphlet, argued that the rubric referred to what was in place in 1548, when the Sarum Liturgy was in full flood in England, but minus those features of Sarum practice for which no ‘time of ministration’ could be found in Cranmer’s First Prayer Book, the book of 1549.[5] This would mean, for example, that it was not lawful in Church of England worship to use the Paschal Candle, since the Sarum Holy Week services had been abandoned in 1549, nor should holy water be employed, because the First Prayer Book contained no blessing of lustral water, a precondition for this sacramental. By contrast, the use of incense was lawful, Eeles proposed, since incense grains need no blessing, and thus they could not be regarded as implicitly suppressed by the 1549 book. So likewise was the ‘Lenten array’, the buff-coloured cloths, decorated with symbols of the Passion, which were used to veil the altar and principal images in church in the Sarum arrangements for the Lenten season. Given the ground-rules he had established, Eeles was embarrassed by the so-called Advertisements of 1566 and the canons issued in 1603 and 1604 by Convocation, for these specified very minimal vestments for the celebration of the Holy Communion (a surplice in parish churches, a cope in cathedrals). Eeles took the view that such rulings were merely attempts to impose a minimum of decency in the Liturgy on Puritans.

Eeles’ manifesto should be seen in the context of the publication of the findings of a Royal Commission appointed to look into the acrimonious disputes about worship both before and after the Public Worship Regulation Act. Owing to widespread public distaste for the idea of throwing priests into prison just for their manner of worshipping God, the Act had rapidly become a dead letter but the problem it had been designed to solve, or at least limit, had not gone away. The Commission’s findings, published in 1906, were that neither the texts nor the ceremonial envisaged in the 1662 Prayer Book were meeting the religious needs of the present-day of Church of England – a coded reference to the growing strength of Anglo-Catholicism. This sage conclusion was followed by twenty years of ultimately pointless preparation of liturgical reform which culminated in the two proposed Prayer Books, 1927 and 1928, turned down with handsome majorities by the House of Commons. In any case, the ‘deposited books’ had already been widely rejected by Anglo-Catholics. Despite the concessions of the drafters to the Catholic element in Anglicanism (a more Catholic Eucharistic Order, prayer for the departed), Anglo-Catholics were affronted by the evident intention of the episcopate to use the new book to outlaw such practices as public devotions to the reserved Sacrament, and they considered the new Order far too unlike the historic Western Use to be a substitute for a Missal. The revised books included a post-consecratory ‘epiclesis’ prayer for the descent of the Holy Spirit to hallow not just those receiving Communion but the Gifts themselves (defended by the erudite student of the Sarum liturgy and bishop of Truro, W. H. Frere, on the grounds that it would make the Church of England a bridge between West and East). But as one commentator noted, ‘When highly placed advocates of the new Prayer Book declared that the Canon would stop the sounding of bells and gongs at the words, ‘This is my Body, etc’, all chances of its acceptance by Anglo-Catholics as a whole vanished’.[6]

There was also another view. Writing in 1923, in the midst of the projects of liturgical revision, in a pamphlet published by the Alcuin Club, a learned society of moderately High Church liturgists, Colin Dunlop accused Anglo-Catholics of introducing anarchy into the Church. In What is the English Use? An Inquiry into the Principles underlying the Conduct of Public Worship in the Church of England, Dunlop wrote: ‘Within its own sphere the authority of the national Church must needs be final. Every English clergyman was ordained on that understanding, clearly formulated, publicly proposed, and deliberately accepted. In the exercise of this rightful authority the Prayer Book was compiled in the sixteenth century and revised again in the seventeenth. Only on the supposition that the Church of England still posses that authority can it be revised again in 1923. It is on the assumption that the Church of England possesses no authority to determine for its own members the version of Catholicism which they shall accept, and the rites and ceremonies which shall express that version, that Anglo-Catholics have brought the system of the Church of England into general contempt, and created a situation which is indistinguishable from anarchy.’[7] For Dunlop, liturgical revision could only proceed by developing the Prayer Book, not by supplanting it, and a developed Prayer Book was not compatible with the ceremonial either of Rome or of mediaeval Salisbury. This was the position (when they were consistent) of ‘Prayer Book Catholics’.

Anglo-Papalists, above all, had no intention of heeding these words. In 1935 one of the best known of their clergy, Alban Baverstock, writing in collaboration with his confrere Donald Hole, in The Truth about the Prayer Book, declared the Tudor and Stuart books thoroughly compromised by the Erastianism of the manner of their introduction, as was shouted to the rooftops by the way the prayer for the king had precedence in the order of service over the collect for the day. ‘It is the aim of this historical study’, their preface announced, ‘to show that the book itself was imposed by the State upon the Church rather than by the Church of England on her children, and that its authority is primarily derived from the State’.[8] Baverstock and Hole had their own interpretation of the Declaration whereby Anglican clergy bound themselves to use of the Prayer Book, which in its then most recent (1865) version read, ‘I will use the form in the said Book prescribed and no other, except so far as shall be ordered by legitimate authority’. What was meant by ‘legitimate authority’ was of course Parliament, but the grammatical sense of the words allowed for the understanding that spiritual authority was in view. For the writers, since no Provincial Synod had ever abrogated the ancient Missal, even allowing it had the power to do so, an alternative book, enjoying full spiritual authority, was available. It was the Missal.[9] They did not propose the wholesale abandonment of the Book of Common Prayer, but they did think it needed to be radically supplemented, and that the only justifiable way in which to do so was by approximation to what they described as ‘the only Rite which really possesses full canonical authority’.[10] I have presented this background because it shows it is no simple matter to devise a version of the Anglican liturgical patrimony that is generally acceptable to Anglo-Catholics, never mind to the see of Rome.

This is true of Anglo-Catholicism globally – even if some versions of the Prayer Book, such as those derived from its Caroline variant in Scotland, and others in the former British colonies, are less objectionable, doctrinally speaking. That said, one must also register a further bifurcation of the situation as between England and much of the rest of the English-speaking world. In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, the Church of England obtained from the British Parliament a degree of independence to determine its own worship: thus the 1965 ‘Prayer Book (Alternative and Other Services) Measure’, and then in 1974 the ‘Worship and Doctrine Measure’. The liturgical commission established by the Church was ultimately responsible to General Synod, and this gathering, democratically elected so far as the Houses of Laity and Clergy were concerned, constituted a faithful reflection of the three parties within Anglicanism whose existence and history the first part of this essay outlined. Inevitably, then, Anglo-Catholics had their say in the process of devising or approving what followed: initially, the set of rites known as Series I, Series II, and Series III (from 1966 to 1973), next the 1980 Alternative Service-Book, and finally, in 2000, Common Worship. All these efforts had one thing in common. They abandoned the hopeless attempt to shape a liturgy acceptable to all the currents in the Church and devised instead books or, most recently, electronically available materials, consisting in a number of parallel rites among which an individual congregation with its pastor could pick and choose. This for the first time allowed official liturgical books of the Church of England to be far more consonant with a Catholic Eucharistic sensibility, albeit of course on this laisser-faire, self-selecting, basis. Strictly speaking, these were not revisions of the last English Prayer Book, that of 1662, but parallel rites.

At the same time, the expectations aroused by the reception in England of the agreed texts stemming from the first round of work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC I) and such events as the visit of Archbishop Michael Ramsey to Pope Paul VI and the visit of Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Robert Runcie, created a momentum whereby the great majority of Anglo-Catholic clergy rallied, seemingly spontaneously, to the revised Roman liturgy Paul VI had sanctioned in 1969. Many of those in Forward in Faith U. K. who favoured the ‘Rita’ solution (‘Rome Is The Answer’) were, in effect, Anglicans of the Roman rite.

But by the 1970s and 80s, when the ralliement of English Anglo-Catholics to the reformed Roman books took place – by coincidence, just at the time that the new liturgical collections, elements of which were Catholicism-compatible, were starting to become available in England, things looked very different elsewhere. The Anglican ‘continuing churches’ which, through the Traditional Anglican Communion, would form the lion’s share of potential entrants to the future Ordinariates overseas, had, by and large, already broken communion with mainstream Anglicanism in, for example, the United States and the former British Dominions in Canada and Australia. They took with them into exile the ‘English Missals’ or ‘Anglican Missals’ of the Catholic Revival, translated as these are into Cranmerian English and interpolated with some genuinely Cranmerian prayers, as well as versions of the Prayer Book (Scottish, American, or ‘colonial’) which did not cause the same degree of controversy among Catholic-minded Anglicans as had the 1662 book in England. Thus when in 1980 Pope John Paul II agreed to the establishment in the United States of a number of Anglican Use parishes under the terms of a ‘Pastoral Provision’ for former Episcopalians in that country, the liturgical text which emerged in this connexion, The Book of Divine Worship, reflected a good deal in the American Prayer Book tradition.[11] In those days, prior to the promulgation by Pope Benedict XVI of an apostolic constitution ‘liberating’ the older Roman rite, Summorum Pontificum, it was not feasible to suggest integration with features of the Prayer Book rites certain elements proper to the older Roman books. Instead, Prayer Book features were fused with elements of the Roman rite as reformed in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, although a version of the Roman Canon in ‘Tudor’ English taken from one of the Anglo-Catholic translations was permitted alongside the modern language version.

All this meant that when with the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus a small liturgical commission was established, with responsibility from the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to see to the needs of a new situation, some difficulty was experienced in establishing a template likely to be acceptable to all and sundry. Overwhelmingly, English Anglicans had abandoned both the Prayer Book Eucharist and that of the English Missal tradition. They had accepted the reformed Roman liturgy, often with a few variations (such as the placing of the Sign of Peace before the Offertory) supplied from modern Church of England liturgical revision, as well as, typically, including the most beloved of such short Cranmerian texts as the Prayer of Humble Access.

The English members of the commission were thus faced with a quandary so far as the Eucharistic rite of the Ordinariate was concerned. Although Anglicanorum coetibus conceded that the Ordinariate’s members could make use of the Roman books, the emphasis of the text lay on the provision of ‘books proper to the Anglican tradition’, once these had received approval from the Holy See (thus Anglicanorum coetibus III). But for the Eucharistic rite, there was for English Anglo-Catholics no suitable book that came to hand. This is why it was proposed to produce an Order generated by the same principles that had animated, in the Roman liturgy, the redaction of the Missal of Pope Paul VI. The principles are often labelled, not inaccurately, ressourcement, ‘going back to the sources’, and aggiornamento, ‘bringing up to date’. The English Prayer Book tradition was to be Catholicised by reference to its own principal ancient source – the Use of Sarum – while at the same time taking into account the best elements of contemporary worship available, whether from the Roman Missal of 1969 (but now in its third edition) or from modern Church of England best practice. In this process, what was objectionably Protestant about the Prayer Book Eucharist would vanish away, yet what would remain would still testify to ‘Anglican patrimony’, albeit in the new context of canonical as well as doctrinal and sacramental union with the Latin church. This describes, then, the draft forwarded in March 2011 for recognitio by the Holy See.

Baverstock and Hole had declared that in their opinion, revision of rites must wait until the ‘personnel of the Church of England has been more fully converted to the Catholic Faith’.[12] For this to take place they foresaw two steps. The first was disestablishment of the Church; the second was ‘pressing towards the goal of the Oxford Movement – the attainment of Catholic Reunion under the Primacy of the Holy See’.[13] The setting up of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (altogether freed from State supervision and united with Rome) created just the conditions in which substantial elements of the English Liturgy of the pre-Reformation period could be married with those features of the Prayer Book that still held the affection of many, together with the best products of Roman rite revision and its Church of England counterpart. The result may be considered the sort of Eucharistic Order Cranmer might well have established had he been doctrinally orthodox (and lived in the twentieth century).

There were no comparable difficulties attached to the other texts in the proposed English book: the daily Offices of Mattins and Evensong (to which, following the example of the 1928 proposed Prayer Book, an Office of Compline and a Day Hour were added; the Litany; the Lectionary (for the Office as well as for the Mass), and rites for marriage and funerals – though the inclusion in the latter of explicit prayer for the departed (and not simply for the bereaved) was strengthened by the addition of the Sarum rites for the commendation of the dead person which followed on the Requiem Mass. The calendar proposed was the current seasonal calendar of the Church of England, itself of Sarum origin, together with the cycle of festivals as found in the 1970 General Calendar of the Roman rite, and a number of English or British commemorations, in excess of those in the National Calendar for England and Wales (though not necessarily exceeding the total number if saints in the local calendars of English and Welsh [and Scottish] dioceses were to be added together). There was one unusual feature of the Office of Mattins. Following contemporary Church of England precedent, the second reading at Mattins could be drawn from post-biblical sources. In the context of the Latin church, the Roman rite Office of Readings is an obvious source for these, but the book drafted for the English Ordinariate contains an alternative cycle for Sundays and feasts taken from insular sources. A number of these are taken from patristic writers (Bede, Aldhelm), mediaeval sources (John of Ford, Mother Julian, Nicholas Love), and English Catholic martyrs (Fisher, More, Campion), but the larger number derive from the Anglican patrimony (the Caroline divines and their Restoration successors, the Tractarians with particular reference to Newman, and a selection of later Anglo-Catholic writers). It is, as it were, a testimony to what might have been had the English Reformation proceeded on Catholic lines, as did the Catholic Reformation in much of Continental Europe. No Baptismal liturgy or liturgy for Confirmation has been provided, on the twofold ground that Anglicanism has not produced a version of such a liturgy which has endeared itself to its faithful, and also that there is something especially fitting about the use in an Ordinariate of the rites of the Roman liturgy for Christian initiation, as a sign of belonging to the wider Latin church (and thus to the Catholic Church as a whole). The same congruence might well be ascribed to the use of the Ordination rites of the mainstream Latin church.


The early English ecumenist Father Henry St John, of the Order of Preachers, on his death in 1973, left among his papers a moving ‘testament’, possibly written as early as 1964. The son of a Herefordshire ‘squarson’, he had studied at St Stephen’s House in Oxford, sat at the feet of Darwell Stone at Pusey House, taken Anglican Orders at the hands of the bishop of Exeter in 1915, served his title at St Mary’s, Penzance. Then, through reading Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, he decided he must seek to enter full communion with the Catholic Church. From Hawkesyard, the Dominican house of studies in Staffordshire, he enlisted as a private soldier in the Great War, survived the mud of Passchaendale, and, when the Armistice came, entered the English Province of the Order which had taken responsibility for his instruction and reception. I record here the first and last words, respectively, of his Testament. This is how it opens: ‘Few Catholic priests can have had such concentrated Anglican antecedents and background as mine were. I can truly say that all the best things in Anglicanism are still in me at every human level, intuitive, affective and intellectual, integrated now into my Catholicism. These have been incorporated into my Catholic life, and I am very sure, perfected by it. But the roots of this composite are thoroughly Anglican, and I am deeply grateful for the ethos of the Church of England and its doctrine which had penetrated and built up the family, parents and brothers and sisters, in which I was bred.’[14] And here is how it closes: ‘Our vision of the future must be that one day there will still be the Catholic Church, the same in its essential structure and truth. Towards unity with her the Churches now outside the Catholic Church will move. The Church will open wide its arms and accept all that is good and true in custom and in usage, in ways of thinking, worshipping and government that these Churches have practised and valued in their separated life. By this the Church of Christ will be greatly enlarged and enriched. All that that the Catholic Church now stands for will still be the substance of the Church’s structure. In less essential things, there will be a far wider variety of custom and usage, as there was in the early days of the Church’s history. As I look back over more than 50 years, during which history has been in the making, that must be the vision of our ecumenical hope and prayer’.[15]

[1] G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (London: A. and C. Black, [1945] 1982, 2nd edition), p. 670.

[2] Ibid., p. 672.

[3] A. Burnham, Heaven and Earth in Little Space. The Re-enchantment of Liturgy (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2010), p. 32.

[4] M. Dalby, Anglican Missals and their Canons: 1549, Interim Rite and Roman (Cambridge: Grove Books, 1998).

[5] F. C. Eeles, The Ornaments Rubric. A Short Account of its History, with a List of the Ornaments it Requires (London: Mowbray, 1908).

[6] W. K. Lowther Clarke, The Prayer Book of 1928 reconsidered (London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, 1943), p. 46.

[7] C. Dunlop, What is the English Use? An Inquiry into the Principles underlying the Conduct of Public Worship in the Church of England (London: Mowbray, 1923), pp. 18-19.

[8] A. Baverstock and D. Hole, The Truth about the Prayer Book (London: Williams and Norgate, 1935), p. xii.

[9] Ibid., p. 78.

[10] Ibid., p. 80.

[11] The Book of Divine Worship. Being Elements of the Book of Common Prayer Revised and Adapted according to the Roman Rite for Use by Roman Catholics coming from the Anglican Tradition (Mt. Pocono, PA: Newman House Press, 2003).

[12] A. Baverstock and D. Hole, The Truth about the Prayer Book, op. cit., p. 80.

[13] Ibid., p. 81.

[14] H. St. John, O. P., ‘The Testament of an Ecumenist’, The Spode House Review 9. 102 (1973), p. 3.

[15] Ibid., p. 8.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

54 thoughts on “Aidan Nichols: The Ordinariates, the Pope, and the Liturgy”

  1. I recommend reading through all of them together to get the full scope of the argument, in which context part III makes much better sense. We should be grateful to have Fr. Nichols "on our side" as it were.

    1. It seems that many do not know much about the complicated history of the Church of England – more especially about the various 'Anglo Catholic' groups. The reaction to the setting up of the 'Ordinariate' is overwhelmingly positive, but I have been more circumspect in my reaction and that is not just due to the fact that my (yes my) previous Anglican’patrimony’ and former ‘theological convictions’ – which actually compelled me to view the ‘Church of Rome’ as having ‘erred’ in important matters – such that separation from Rome was an absolute necessity. But even trying to see things through the eyes of Anglicans more sympathetic towards visible reunion with Rome, I am hesitant to view this as something that would be acceptable to many of those it was aimed at.

      I don't for a minute doubt our Holy Father Pope Benedict's sincerity in this and I certainly don't see this as some underhanded scheme. Rather, Pope Benedict is responding to pleas by individual Anglicans and sincerely laying his cards on the table and saying, "come and join us if you can". In the scheme of things this is a sizeable step for the Catholic Church to undertake. The significance of Rome approving structures whereby former Anglicans can run their own churches with their own (married) clergy according to their own distinct liturgies with their own lines of authority distinct from (but not entirely independent of) ordinary diocesan structures is extremely generous. Previously, Rome's call was essentially "we're the True Church, the one Christ founded and you're not so come and join us for the riches of the Catholic faith, giving up what you currently have in Anglicanism". Now Rome's call is slightly more akin to "while we're the True Church founded by Christ, God has blessed you too and is now calling you to come and join in the fullness of the Catholic Faith while retaining some aspects particular to your Anglican heritage." When viewed in this light, I would accept that this is a more generous offer than Rome had previously been making.

      However, Anglicans are simply not a monolithic bloc and (so-called) Anglo-Catholics (the only group of Anglicans who will make the move to Rome under this offer; most other Anglicans are not terribly interested in joining the Church of Rome) are no less monolithic. For evidence of this just compare the differences between 'Forward in Faith' in the UK and the US or indeed the differences among many of the "continuing" Anglo-Catholic groups. The following "field guide to Anglican churchmanship" provides an enlightening look at the differences that exist within (so-called) Anglo-Catholicism. In the opinion of that author we have:

      a. Anglo-Papalist — Tridentine
      b. Anglo-Papalist — Modern (a peculiarly English breed of cat, he uses the Novus Ordo, the current RC services)
      c. Payer Book Catholic (a contradiction in terms!)
      d. The modern version of Prayer Book Catholic, not papalist and using the Anglican prayer book that's the standard where he is (Common Worship, US 1979 BCP, etc.)
      e. Anglo-Orthodox. Rare as hen's teeth, more so than Tridentine ACs, but they're out there. Also, c and d often see themselves as 'Western Orthodox' analogues to the Eastern Orthodox.

      Groups (a) and (b) are basically already Roman Catholic in all but name and with the exception of Rome's views on married clergy would have little pangs of conscience moving to Rome — with or without any "apostolic constitution" for former Anglicans. They have long since given up on most of their Anglican liturgical "patrimony" (to use Rome's choice of language) and are already using Roman liturgies. Groups (c), (d), and (e), on the other hand, have retained much more of their Anglican liturgical heritage and my main interest is in where they would fit in the scheme of things.

      The problem for Anglicans joining the new Anglican ‘Ordinariate’ is, as I see it, at least twofold. First, there are matters of doctrine. Unlike groups (a) and (b) there are still a few significant differences in doctrine between (c), (d) and (e) Anglo-Catholics and Rome. I'm not saying that an individual in one of these groups could not in good conscience join the Church of Rome. What I am saying is that many will not be able to. The Apostolic Constitution sets out that for all those joining the new Ordinariate — i.e. clergy and laity — the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate. Many Anglo-Catholics will have problems with some of its provisions and may not in conscience be able to join! Secondly, there is a question of just what aspects of the Anglican liturgical "patrimony" will be retained. My initial thoughts were that much of the 1662 Prayer Book — especially the Order for Holy Communion — would not be acceptable to the Church of Rome and would have to be heavily edited which leaves one asking whether what is left still expresses their Anglican patrimony in a way acceptable to them. You could not simply have a formerly-Anglican-now-Roman priest run a Book of Common Prayer 1662 Communion Service since it would offend against the doctrines of the Church of Rome. It's not just a question of cutting out a few phrases such as "by his one oblation of himself once offered" or "Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving". The Eucharistic Theology of the Book of Common Prayer doesn't just arise from the words that are said; rather, it also arises from the structure of the service and this structure would also have to be altered in some respects for use in the Church of Rome. A good example of a Roman Catholic liturgy approved for former Anglicans is available here (this liturgy is for former Anglicans in the United States and has not arisen out of the current announcement to set up personal ordinariates for former Anglicans). Looking at this service there are of course some clearly Anglican resonances in the wording, but unsurprisingly there are also some recognisably Roman words that offend against Anglican doctrine (which is not such an issue if you overcome the first problem I mentioned and assent to Roman doctrine). More importantly, the structure of the service has departed significantly from the classical Cranmerian approach. For some this won't present much of a problem, for others it will. One thing I would be interested to see is whether those who make the move can convince Rome to adopt an order for Holy Communion basically akin to the 1549 Order or indeed the Sarum Missal (since the Eucharistic Theology of the 1552, 1559 and 1662 Prayer Books is more explicitly Reformed than that of the first English Prayer Book of 1549 and its predecessor the Sarum Missal). Beyond Holy Communion, however, I think former Anglicans will have more success in keeping distinctive Anglican liturgy. I can imagine the Church of Rome giving permission for former Anglicans to run services of Evening Prayer with very few alterations rather than requiring them to run a Roman service of vespers. Will we see services of choral evensong in the Church of Rome? Who knows. It's a complete mess – I know that for certain.

      1. Kenneth Robinson

        Broadly speaking I agree with your analysis of current Anglo-Catholicism in the Church of England. But the irony of the present clerical membership of the British Ordinariate is that it is largely composed of clerics from c and d rather than a and b. The majority of those from a and b left after 1992 but also included members of c and d.

        Among surviving Anglo-Catholics, members of a and b, despite their mountains of tat, have stayed behind in their parishes acting as if there are no problems. What goes on in their heads and consciences only God knows. This gives the wishful impression to the Establishment that the foundation of the Ordinariate has been a failure.

        Most of those who have left are hoping that they will now remove photographs of the Holy Father from their sacristy walls and stop pretending that they are 'papalists'. Unprecedentedly the offer for union with Rome has come and generations of papalist prayers have been answered. But for these spade stole-wearing ritualists, sequins come first.

  2. As a Byzantine Catholic I am uncomfortable with an "either/or" approach to the purpose of the Eucharist. In the Byzantine Liturgy we pray "…make this bread the precious body of your Christ…and that which is in this chalice the precious blood… so that to those who partake of them they may be for the cleansing of the soul…" I believe that idea is present in both the older and newer forms of the Roman rite although in different words. In the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom we consecrate the elements "so that" the congregation may be consecrated. Any approach which excludes either seems more medieval and Reformation than apostolic in character. To say that "the fruit of the consecration [is]the Real Presence" without affirming that the fruit of the Real Presence is the sanctification of the Church leads to a lopsided view of both Eucharist and Church.

    1. Excellent, Father Fred, you articulated some of what I was thinking quite nicely! It is very good to have another Byzantine voice commenting.

  3. And even as a Western-oriented Catholic one could cite St. Augustine's articulation of the theme that we become what we consume in the Holy Meal, indeed the Fruit of the Eucharist IS the sanctification – and one might extend his thoughts in waxing more Eastern and adding "divinization" – of the Church.

  4. It is difficult to see how 'ressourcement' can be found in the Missal of Paul VI. The New Offertory is a fabrication based only very loosely on a passover thanksgiving prayer, and E.P. II is more of a departure from the Hippolytan Canon than a following of it. The fact that there is no evidence that the Hippolytan Canon was never actually used in worship should also be considered.

    The fact remains that the New Roman Mass of 1970 obscures the propitiatory nature of the Sacrifice and, in that respect, it ironically follows the heresiarch Cranmer. So why FiF wanted it is a real mystery. Was it a misplaced attempt to respond to papal œcumenical gestures? The influences of the 1960s are not those of our time. If the FiF people had had any true sensus catholicus in the first place, they would have wanted to fuse their patrimony with the ancient Roman Mass and not with what Benedict XVI called 'the banal on-the-spot fabrication' that is the New Mass.

    What is needed for all the ordinariates is the pre-conciliar Roman Offertory, the Gregorian Canon with its traditonal Consecration formula and no 'memorial acclamation', and the rest coming mostly from the prayerbook tradition but amended where need be by reference to the Sarum Missal so as to overwrite Protestant influences.

    As Fr. Nichols remarks, the B.D.W. of 1983 was arranged prior to S.P., when the ancient Roman Mass was mistakently thought by most to have been suppressed. The Anglican patrimony proceeded out of the Gregorian Roman Rite. Let it now return to it, bringing the treasures of both the prayerbooks and Sarum with it. The Anglican patrimony was in no way formed from novelties invented by Bugnini and company in the 1960s. So there is no need to incorporate those.


    1. This published talk seems quite different from what I heard in Mississauga.
      It seems now there will be one Anglican liturgy, composed by the former Church of England folk, for all. Am I reading the text wrongly?


      1. Well, it seems that Fr. Nichols said earlier that the commitee haven't been able to reconcile the English Missal tradition with the Prayerbook tradition of the other countries, and so there will be 2 ordinariate liturgies, one for England, originating in the Missal tradition, and one for the other countries, originating in the colonial Prayerbooks tradition. In this speech, what Fr. Nichols says is only about the English liturgy (As he is English).
        + PAX et BONUM

        1. I agree with Henri. My reading is that Fr. Nichols mentions the two traditions briefly and then moves on to the situtation for the English Ordinariate. But again, I hope a solution can be found for the 24 TAC applicants for Englad. The English Ordinariate currently has only 60 priests. Another 20, say, would add significantly to their number, no?

          What I am seeing so far is a Novus Ordo structure for Novus Ordo Anglicans. I am seeing a structure designed for the N.O. FiF people and then handed over to them. Where are the Missal FiFers (few as they are)? Where is Bishop Mercer and the TAC?


      2. "It seems now there will be one Anglican liturgy, composed by the former Church of England folk, for all."

        There was always going to be one liturgy. This was stated by the Ordinary of the England and Wales during his first press conference many months ago. But my understanding is that the commissions was in fact international with Catholic, COE, TAC and American (Anglican Use?) elements.

        My facts may be patchy, but this is my understanding.

        1. Dear Mr. Andrews:

          Archbishop Hepworth has also said that there will be two Mass texts: one for the English ordinariate and one for the other countries. What I am wondering is whether or not the latter will also be approved for use in England so that the TAC people there–whose educations have been less tarnished by training in heresy in Anglican theological colleges–will be able to benefit from it.

          No, I don't set myself up as anything. I merely represent a line of thought which is well developed by others and is known as Latin traditionalism. But a blog is not a scholarly forum and a place for endless footnotes. I stand by what I write here and others are certainly able to research the matter for themselves. In brief, Latin traditionalists allege that the N.O. Liturgy is valild and fulfils the four ends of prayer but that it is also seriously defective in its catechetical end. The reason is that the Consilium which 'composed' it was controlled by men who had Protestant and Modernistic tendencies and who turned to six Protestant ministers for advice. What the N.O. Offertory reflects, as well as E.P. No. 2 in particular, is a notion of sacrifice which is open to a Protestant interpretation: a Mass that is a memorial meal and a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise. The Catholic Mass is both those things but is primarily a propitiatory unbloody Sacrifice of Christ Himself to the heavenly father for the benefit of the living and the dead. NewMass does not deny this but can be celebrated so that it is not explicit. That makes the New Mass unacceptable, for it fails to express clearly and univocally its primary meaning. The Pope himself, I believe, is open to this objection. He likes the New Mass mainly owing to its lections and prefaces, not its Offertory and alternate 'canons'. He now writes about a 'merging' of the New and Traditional Roman Masses because he is aware of the problems.

          The Anglican patrimony, such as it is, is derived from the Traditional Roman Mass (including its Sarum Use) and not the Novus Ordo Missæ of 1970. The literary gems of this patrimony should be wedded to what is tried and true.


          1. I don't know about the other people here but I find your comments about NO Mass as opposed to the TLM rather tedious and incorrect.

            Actually I don't know what all the fuss is about- the Anglican Holy Communion service we had here in Perth as a child was virtually the same as the Catholic Mass except the Catholic one mentioned Our Lady and the Pope and in the Anglican one we shook hands at a different time. At the Cathedral the Anglican Mass which was High Church even mentioned Our Lady and the Pope. Also the Anglican services had better hymns and everybody sang unlike the Catholic where hardly anyone sings and the songs were more folksy. But at some Catholic Masses they did have the good old hymns and one would be hard pushed to find the difference between an Anglican service and a Catholic Mass.

            1. Brother Gilbert:

              Perhaps the dialogue between Traditionalist Catholics and some of our co-religionists is a subject for another blog. However, as a Traditionalist Catholic, I must say that I'm in agreement with P.K.T.P regarding some of the ambiguities, banalities, and the "horizontalness" that have crept into the way the Ordinary Form of the liturgy is sometimes celebrated.

              As you undoubtedly know, our current Pope, in his book "The Spirit Of The Liturgy", outlines his thoughts on this subject in a rather robust language. In his own words, regarding the Rite:

              "It is not "manufactured" by the authorities" (p. 166)

              This is a fundamental insight that applies to all forms of our liturgy, now including the forms rooted in the Anglican Patrimony.

            2. "I don't know about the other people here but I find your comments about NO Mass as opposed to the TLM rather tedious and incorrect. "


    2. PKTP, you seem to set yourself up as a judge of all matters liturgical? Plus, is it not a bit harsh to claim that the "FIF people' (are they not Catholic now?) lack a 'sensus catholicus'?

      1. I agree with Mr. Perkins: anybody looking at this with a fair mind would be inclined to say that perhaps the starting point of the reconciliation of the liturgy should not be the Missal of Paul VI but indeed that of Pius V.

        There are simply too many things omitted or otherwise sketchy with the current Missal to serve the purpose to which the Ordinariate committee must address.

  5. Speaking as a Roman who's attended many services at Bishop David Moyer's Anglo-Catholic parish of Good Shepherd Rosemont in suburban Philadelphia, let me suggest that a solution to the question of "what Missal should the Ordinariate use?"
    can be readily supplied by Bishop Moyer's ANGLICAN SERVICE BOOK, first published in 1991. I use it for my private devotions regularly and its even contains the Sarum Canon. I detect nothing un-Catholic in it, to use an old phrase.

    If it were presented to Cardinal Wuerl and his Censor Librorum as the proposed Missal for the U.S. Ordinariate, when erected, perhaps he might grant it his approbation.

    1. Might I respectfully direct your attention to the American Missal which was published in 1930 by the Society of St John the Evangelist and has been the service of choice by most Anglo-Catholic parishes in the United States. It contains the liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer according to the use of the church in the United States of America, with introits, graduals, and other devotions proper to the same, together with proper’s for additional holy days and saints' days and for requiem and votive masses.

  6. At this point it is all speculation. I am sure that there are some priests who are privy to what the Anglican Use Liturgy will be.

    As far as the US, the Anglo Catholics I have known, used one of the Missals and not the BCP.

    Hopefully we all will be surprised and joyful with the liturgy that will be used.

    1. "Hopefully we all will be surprised and joyful with the liturgy."
      And that in turn would be a surprise.

  7. From my Roman Catholic perspective:

    When answering the question "how will they worship?", I hope that the rich experience of those Catholic priests serving the Anglican Use parishes will be considered, as the broader understanding of the principle of subsidiarity would suggest, or even demand.

    In my opinion, an overly laboratory, or academic, approach to this question (valuable as it sometimes may be when answering more technical questions) is nevertheless only partial, and to be blunt, too hoi oligoi. Absolutely nothing can substitute for the actual, decades long, experience of serving an Anglican Use parish, that counts among its members people of various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. In the long run, Anglicanorum Coetibus will not be for former Anglicans only.

  8. There seems to be a good deal of "reinventing the wheel" by commenters on this thread, not all of whom seem to be well-informed, or informed at all, about these matters. Suffice it to say that I regard myself as fairly well-informed, and my information "fadges" with that of Henri and Mr. Perkins. There are two "eucharistic liturgies" before the CDF awaiting approval, one for England (and the rest of the UK?) and the other for the TAC world-wide. Neither one of them is particularly "Novus Ordo," except, perhaps, for the Novus Ordo's four Eucharistic Prayers (plus the "Coverdale" version of the Roman Canon).

    As to Bishop Mercer, from what I hear he could have been received and ordained right alongside the other bishops earlier this year, but he chose to remain where he is until all of the English TAC clergy had "made up their minds" about whether to enter the English Ordinariat (for there will be no separate "ordinariat-in-England" for them, and that has been made perfectly clear to them) or to remain outside the Catholic Church, and evidently some of the English TAC clergy cannot, or have not, made up their minds. Somehow his delayings puts me in mind of some phrases that George Boleyn (d. 1603), the witty Dean of Lichfield wrote in 1593 to his friend Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, about a petition that the earl was trying to get into Queen Elizabeth's hands through the good offices of Lady Mary Scudamore, one of the Queen's "Bedchamber ladies," and a cousin to both Boleyn and the Queen, and a friend of the Shrewsburys: "… I am afraide that your lordship is not like to heare in haste from my cosen Skidmore, who thowghe she be my good frende and cosen, whome I love well, yet is she one that is wonte to delaye more then needes and looseth many a tide for the takynge, thowghe she must watche for her tyde if she will speede her businesse." Scudamore's hesitations gave the victory to the Stanhopes in their quarrel with the Talbots; I hope analogous hesitations will not permanently relegate the English TAC and its people to the sidelines.

    1. I am astounded by your suggestion that Eucharistic Prayers II, III and IV from the latest edition of the Missale Romanum might be incorporated into the ritual books of the new ordinariates. Surely, these prayers are neither part of the rich and venerable inheritance of the pre-Reformation Catholic Church in England, nor do they belong to the — equally vast but more mixed in value — liturgical tradition that began with Thomas Cranmer.

          1. And I really would like to see in the new BDW the Eucharistic Prayer C of the 1979 BCP, with its poetic preface. It even does exist in Latin (btw, the new BDW should be translated in Latin, this is indeed part of the Anglican Patrimony, since the first Liber Precum Publicarum in 1560).

            Omnipotens Deus, Rex Universi, dignus es gloriam et laudem accipere.
            Gloria tibi in saecula.

            Mandato tuo, omnia facta sunt: magnum expansum caelorum, orbes lactaei, stellae, planetae, et haec terra fragilis, patria insula nostra.
            Propter voluntatem tuam, erant et creata sunt.

            Ex elementis primoribus humanum genus generasti, et nos cum donis memoriae, rationis et sollertiae beasti. Nos rectores creationis fecisti, sed discivimus a te, et fiduciam tuam prodidimus.
            Miserere, Domine, quoniam in conspectu tuo peccatores sumus.

            Identidem, nos tibi revocasti. Per prophetas et sapientes Legem tuam iustam revelasti. Ubi venit plenitudo temporis misisti Filium tuum, factum ex muliere,
            ut expleverit Legem tuam, et nobis viam libertatis et pacis aperuerit.
            Sanguine suo, nos reconciliavit.
            Livore eius, sanati sumus.

            Et ideo, laudamus te, nos iungentes cum choro caelesti,
            cum prophetis, apostolis et martyribus, cum omnibus in omni saeculo qui spe tibi conversi sunt, ad annuntiandum cum eis gloriam tuam, sine fine dicentes… (Sanctus).

            God of all power, Ruler of the Universe, you are worthy of glory and praise.
            Glory to you for ever and ever.

            At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.
            By your will they were created and have their being.

            From the primal elements you brought forth the human race, and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill. You made us the rulers of creation. But we turned against you, and betrayed your trust; and we turned against one another.
            Have mercy, Lord, for we are sinners in your sight.

            Again and again, you called us to return. Through prophets and sages you revealed your righteous Law. And in the fullness of time you sent you only Son, born of a woman, to fulfill your Law, to open for is the way of freedom and peace.
            By his blood, he reconciled us. By his wounds, we are healed.

            And therefore we praise you, joining with the heavenly chorus, with prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and with all those in every generation who have looked to you in hope, to proclaim with them your glory, in their unending hymn… (Sanctus).

    2. I feel obliged to venture out into the choppy waters of the "bloggosphere" to defend Bishop Mercer who is unable to defend himself. Whilst it is true to say that there has indeed been concern expressed in the worldwide TAC about his lack of reception into the Ordinariate, yet his decision to remain with his flock has been greatly appreciated both here at St Agatha's and overseas. Although time and tide wait for no man, as he is a religious he doubtless does not feel the need to seek undue recognition or glory and is content to wait humbly and patiently on the Lord whilst important matters are resolved.

      1. Dear Parishioner of St. Agatha:

        I can tell you that not a few members of the Traditional Latin Mass movement in Canada are praying for Bishop Mercer, Archbishop Hepworth, Bishop Wilkinson and all the TAC leaders and faithful every single day. In our movement, we have some experience dealing with a certain type of wolf who roams in the Latin Church. He is the liberal. Other wolves can be found in other places and in magic circles of all kinds. At the beginning of his pontificate, Benedict XVI asked us to pray "that the wolves not devour me". I know what he meant. There are certain people about now who will stop at nothing to turn the ordinariates into 'reformed' Roman structures that transmit not immemorial Catholicism but a different creed entirely. Fortunately, the Pope is not one of them.


    3. Dear Mr. Tighe:

      Please clarify re the two Mass texts awaiting approval. Which Offertory does each of them have?

      I don't care much about the alternating canons. I'm not as censorious as some here think me to be. I don't mind if Msgr. Newton aches to say the N.O. Offertory and E.P. No. 2. What makes me livid, however, is the thought that such things might be shoved down the throats of Bishop Mercer, Canon Gray or Fr. Hunwicke.

      On the matter of two separate ordinariates, the Pope will make the final decision, I'm sure. Section 1 of Art. 1 allows for two or more occupying the same territory, which is why the Torres Strait TAC has applied for a separate one in Australia. A second possibility is that the present TAC in England (and others) could form a society of apostolic life of pontifical right, working across all the Anglican ordinariates and having a proper liturgy other than that of the O. of Our Lady of Walsingham. It could have the 'Wilkinson Book', as I call it, rather than the 'Burnham Book' (e.g. the F.S.S.P. has the T.L.M. as its proper liturgy; so does the I.B.P.; although few know this, the I.C.R. even has a right to use the pre-1962 [1958] Holy Week rituals). Another possibility is a deanery for the TAC and friends within the English ordinariate, one having the 'Wilkinson Book' as its defining feature. Roman Canon law clearly allows for such a structure. Lastly, it is possible (should Rome allow it) that the TAC men could join, say, the Canadian ordinariate and yet work in England, for the structures are primarily personal, not territorial, which is why Scots can belong to the one for England and Wales; Japanese, to the one for Australia.

      The TAC people in England belong to a Missal tradition and their charism is untouched by any part of the N.O. They don't take so much as an "Amen" exclusively from the N.O., making them clean as the driven snow in my view. Their 24 men should be welcome, or even, say, 20 of them . 60 + 20 = 80 and 20 is ¼ of 80. Twenty men would be few indeed were more of the FiF to come across. But we have only 60 of the 500 to 800 FiF priests coming across. Bishop Mercer is a good man and he and his men should not be forced into the N.O. or any part of it. Liberals are always generous in allowing to others what they want for themselves. They preach 'live and let live' but don't practise it. Let's hope there's room in the Inn for the TAC, which has been knocking at Rome's door since 1999 and earlier, and not only since 2006.


      1. Mr. Perkins,

        I am afraid that I lack the any knowledge of how the Offertory is treated in either rite, but from what I have heard about one of them I would be rather surprised (and a bit disappointed) if it were found to contain the NO Offertory at all.

    4. What I have written above about Bishop Mercer's circumstances seems to be only half true, as I have been credibly informed, and what I have called "his delayings" seem to have been forced upon him by obstructively ignorant "outside forces" of a nature similar to to those that Archbishop Laud and the Earl of Strafford personified as "Lady Mora" in their private correspondence in the 1630s.

      One thinks, somehow, of St. John Chrysostom's gloomy reflections on his own episcopal order.

  9. I ask the learned interlocutors on this blog to please excuse any ignorance of Anglican Patrimony that I am about to display, but, on the assumption that there will indeed be two Anglican Use liturgies approved by Rome, my question is this: Could not each Ordinary decide to designate one liturgy as the ordinary form of the Anglican Use in his jurisdiction, while allowing the other form as the extraordinary form, on terms analogous to those set out by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum for the novus ordo and usus antiquior of the Roman Rite? This arrangement could be facilitated with even greater convenience if the propers and lectionaries of the two forms of the Anglican Use were the same, which would allow publishing the ordines missarum of both forms in the same book. Such a solution seems to me — as a poorly-informed outsider — to be a very Anglican approach to prayer books, and it would have the virtue of accommodating the liturgical customs of the significant number of TAC clerics alongside the FiF majority in the English ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, while recognizing that inverse proportions will hold sway in most other ordinariates. At any rate, I think it absolutely essential that the ordinariates avoid the anomalous situation with respect to the liturgical year that we now have in the Roman Rite, wherein our two calendars (1962 and 2002) contradict each other on many important points of the cycle of seasons and saints' days.

  10. Liturgy is obviously dear to us all and one hopes it won't be divisive but a source of our union.

    I am not a "traditionalist" in the common sense of the word. I admire and appreciate the old Mass and strongly believe that it would do the Church a great deal of good if it were celebrated more widely. However, I am not greatly attached to it-the poetic language of my childhood Anglican church (I have been Catholic for a number of years) has the favored place in my heart.

    Nonetheless, I am concerned about too great an influence of the Novus Ordo on the new Ordinariate liturgy(-ies), especially with regard to the Eucharistic prayers.

    The Novus Ordo can be an instrument of tremendous grace – and I believe that one can obtain Everlasting Blessedness having attending nothing else. Still, it leaves out so much – such a richness of Catholic liturgical expression and theology that the contrast with the more organic Form can be painful once you recognize it.

    There is also the issue of the aesthetics of the translation – even the newer translation. While I rejoice for the Anglican Use, it is bizarre to hear language from my Anglican childhood juxtaposed to the copy-and-pasted, ICEL translations present in the BDW. More than bizarre – it's jarring. The peaceful cadence English of the one shifting to the crude of the other is disturbing to prayer – and only highlights the distinction between "vernacular" and "vulgar".

    I don't want to appear to be complaining-I will be immensely grateful for whatever is offered to us. I do, however, hope to dispel any appearance that only self-identified "traditionalists" are concerned over this issue.

    The love and peace of Christ be with all of you!

  11. I reiterate a point I have made before: The Book of Common Prayer is not perfect, but it is far better than most later prayer books. The language used in liturgy does matter – enormously. If the language used is banal and trite people may endure it, but it drives many away; it is not the language of worship. As a believer in the Real Presence, I would have no objection if the Eucharistic liturgy in the BCP were to be altered to bring it fully into agreement with Catholic belief.

      1. Thank you, Jack, for not questioning my points. The truth can be tedious, especially to those who know it already and to those who refuse it constantly.


  12. Father Nichols speaks of "a draft" rather than "drafts" having been forwarded to the Holy See in March 2011 for 'recognitio'. He also states that the draft represented a process by which:

    "The English Prayer Book tradition was to be Catholicised by reference to its own principal ancient source – the Use of Sarum – while at the same time taking into account the best elements of contemporary worship available, whether from the Roman Missal of 1969 (but now in its third edition) or from modern Church of England best practice. In this process, what was objectionably Protestant about the Prayer Book Eucharist would vanish away, yet what would remain would still testify to ‘Anglican patrimony’, albeit in the new context of canonical as well as doctrinal and sacramental union with the Latin church."

    Given that every Ordinariate priest may (and I suppose in some circumstances where fulfilling a diocesan commitment "must") use a rite approved for general use, I would hope that whatever emerges later this year as an "Ordinariate use" will include, as Father Nichols puts it, "the sort of the sort of Eucharistic Order Cranmer might well have established had he been doctrinally orthodox".

    I am hoping that this means that one may expect both an "ancient" and a "modern" order of service but that there will be linguistic concordance within each.

  13. It would be really nice to see the Sarum liturgy itself, as it was before the English Reformation, be preserved even if limited in use. We are already seeing the ancient Dominican Rite making a comeback, alongside the 1962 Roman Missal. Would be cool to have a nice leather Sarum Hand Missal in my liturgical library at home. I liked the terms Roman Use and Sarum Use. Makes both forms sound distinctive. Great article!. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Whose "traditional lectionary" and whose "cycle of collects" and from which century, which locality, and which use is (in your private judgment) acceptable or not, and why?

      1. Disgusted,

        The cycle of collects and the Eucharistic lectionary in any classical version of the Prayer Book is the essence of the Anglican patrimony. The collects are mostly from the 1549 Book of Common Prayer; a few were added in 1662. About half are translations (the best possible in English) from the ancient Latin liturgy going back to at least the year 600. The Eucharistic lectionary in any version of the BCP edited prior to 1965 is essentially the same as that contained in the Sarum Missal, which is to say, quite ancient. Its origins are lost in the mists of time, but parts of it certainly go back to St. Jerome.

        The loss of this cycle of collects and this lectionary would mean that the Anglican liturgical patrimony would not be preserved in the Ordinariate.


  14. Thanks be to God that the old Eucharistic lectionary is being left in place! And I truly hope for a Missal for the Ordinariate that contains the Eucharistic Lectionary, Collects, Confession, Absolution, Comfortable words, Prayer of Humble Access, and the Thanksgiving unaltered from the 1662 BCP, an improved Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church (which would mention the Holy Father before the Queen), and a Eucharistic Canon which is unquestionably orthodox, but still based on the Scottish Communion Service. The order of service should, of course, be as close to the Mass as possible. And I hope for the Sarum Offertory Prayers, just to frustrate Mr. Perkins. :)

  15. "No Baptismal liturgy or liturgy for Confirmation has been provided, on the twofold ground that Anglicanism has not produced a version of such a liturgy which has endeared itself to its faithful…" Unfortunately, Dr. Nichols and the committee made a serious error here. The Baptismal liturgy of the BCP is quite loved and quite Augustinian.

  16. May I suggestion three simple guiding principals for liturgical publication?

    1. That the forms to be used be drawn from the historical Book(s) of Common Prayer to the greatest extent permissible to the Holy See. It disturbs me to read that the English clergy have long since abandoned the historical prayer books, though they may have done that for arguably solid theological reasons. Many of us "colonists" are wed in our affections to the antique Cranmerian prayer books. At the same time, however, as we cross over, most will tolerate whatever editing is necessary to make the forms pass theological muster.

    2. That there be only the minimum number of liturgical forms as are satisfactory to the overwhelming majority of parties concerned in the ordinariates worldwide. Greater uniformity will foster unity across the several ordinariates. The current Roman Missal, along with the traditional Latin Mass, will supply enough variety for everyone to use in addition to our own Anglican Ordinariate prayer book(s).

    3. That the language to be used in the liturgical forms be hieratic English. Our language, when compared with some foreign languages (e.g. Japanese) lacks the "vertical nature" that is so necessary when humble sinners approach the merciful Almighty. The lofty vernacular of hieratic Elizabethan English helps to restore that respectful attitude to our modern ears and tongues.

  17. I would hope and pray that the liturgy approved is not like the Novis Ordo Rite.
    I entered the Continueing Anglican movement because I could not attend the casual rite of the new mass and find Peace or Prayer. It is to Casual and not what I would need to return to communion with Rome. I must communicate with God at mass more tham communicate with my fellow man. I do not want to visit just before communion but to pray. Who realy wanted the kiss of peace with Christ on the Altar for us to prepare our hearts and souls for Reception of Him ?

  18. So many, many "experts" here. What an embarrassment of riches to be found on this blog. I don't know why the Vatican and the Ordinariate aren't here right now asking to be enlightened on how best to conduct their affairs as the fount of ALL knowledge is right here. Astounding.

    I'm truly surprised the majority of you haven't written to the Vatican/Ordinariate/whoever will listen to offer your expertise. After all, judging by your comments, they know nothing and you know everything.

  19. I believe that the Anglican ordinariates shall use the Anglican Missal from the 1930's, since it represents the most "Roman Catholic" interpretation and message of all Anglo-Catholic liturgical texts. If the Holy Father wants all priests to say the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, then then the Anglican Missal corresponds the closest to the Tridentine Missal. The only difference here would be that these ordinariate priests will have a special faculty to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacraments according to the Anglican Missal and the Tridentine Missal, for which the Anglican Missal is basically the Tridentine Mass in English. (I don't imagine an ordinariate priest saying the Novus Ordo because the it is Protestant in nature, and that is the very reason why they left the Anglican Communion because it was not holy enough!)

    In the Boston area I know of two Anglo-Catholic parishes that pretty much say the Tridentine Mass in English. The first one, All Saints Ashmont, has all-male clergy and altar servers, and uses Elizabethan English and Latin. The other one, the Church of the Advent, uses the Anglican Missal and says it in Latin, but they allow female altar servers and have female deacons and subdeacons, so their validity as a Roman Catholic Mass is doubtful. Both parishes are still technically in the Episcopal Church, although All Saints is a candidate to join an ordinariate.

    The parish I go to is a Roman Catholic parish affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston, where they say the Tridentine Mass in Latin, with the readings re-read and the sermon in Elizabethian English.

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