Msgr. Burnham: Anglican Liturgical Patrimony

This paper on Anglican Liturgical Patrimony, written by Msgr. Andrew Burnham, was distributed at the recent Anglican Use Conference.

The vigorous discussion of ‘Anglican Patrimony’, a phrase used by Pope Benedict XVI in Anglicanorum cœtibus, has established two things for sure. One is that it is not only a liturgical tradition which former Anglicans bring into the Catholic Church: there is a sense in which ‘patrimony’ is far wider than that, and includes a whole cultural mindset and experience which is no less real for being hard to define. The other thing that the discussion has established is that, whatever it is, ‘Anglican Patrimony’ certainly does include a liturgical tradition, a tradition which is powerfully Benedictine, in its continued celebration of the public office, often within buildings that were abbeys and priories. It is also a tradition which, somewhat self-consciously, has adopted the Eucharist as its mainstay. This we all owe to the Oxford Fathers as much as to the Twentieth Century Liturgical Movement, which has influenced us all.

The trouble starts when we see some of the divergent directions in which the Anglican tradition has followed. One, undoubtedly, is that of the Ritualists, those nineteenth century Anglo-catholics who, believing that the Provinces of Canterbury and York had become separated from the Holy See by secular wickedness, believed that they should adopt as much of continental faith and practice as they could, living as if they were Roman Catholics. There is a whole history here, at times moderate and at times extreme and its liturgical footprints are found in the more moderate Anglican Missal and the English Missal, more ultramontane as time went on, compromising to a greater or lesser extent with the requirements of the Anglican rubrics as they celebrated what was, at its extremity, the Tridentine Mass in the vernacular. Another whole tradition, much more obedient to the Anglican heartland, could be called Prayer Book Catholic. Not so long ago, it seems, almost everyone was a ‘Prayer Book Catholic’. One endeavoured to profess the Catholic Faith but sought to express it in ways loyal to the Prayer Book. This deep loyalty to the texts characterised much Anglo-catholicism in the States. High Church Episcopalians have almost always looked askance at English Anglo-catholics and their anomalous liturgies. But many English Anglicans have also looked askance at Anglo-catholic anomy and sought to work synodically, at least from the mid-1960s, to bring about those structures and texts and emphases which more appropriately express a Catholic eucharistic understanding. Here things have been helped, as well as complicated, by the ecumenical consensus of the Liturgical Movement and we have been bewildered as much by Scottish Presbyterians lighting candles on cuboid stone altars as by Jesuits saying Mass in mufti over a coffee table. Throw into this mix the strong movement and longing, a century and more ago, for the lost age of the Sarum Use. Whether it was Percy Dearmer and the Parson’s Handbook or various editions of plainchant, there was the feeling that the English Church needed as much to recover what it had lost in a golden age of mediæval praxis and piety as to look for the reunion of Christians. Remember, in those heady days – until, really the Church of England re-invented itself as one denomination amongst many in the 1970s – ‘the Church’ in England meant ‘the Church of England’, whatever ‘the Romans’ or ‘the non-conformists’ thought about things.

The problem about all this history – and I must apologise for the rough and ready way I have laid it out, preparatory to what comes next – is that it becomes problematic to discern quite what the Pope would mean by ‘Anglican liturgical patrimony’. Ironically, he probably means not least what he witnessed in Westminster Abbey, in September 2010, and what he knows, as a good musician, of the English choral tradition. I say ‘ironically’ because this is probably the least accessible part of the Anglican tradition in terms of his ecumenical initiative in Anglicanorum cœtibus. We are not expecting a cœtus to form in Westminster Abbey nor in any English cathedral nor indeed from any major parish church. Ironically too, as our friends on the North American scene have often remarked, the English Anglo-catholics who have responded and are likely to respond to the Pope’s offer are the successors of the Ritualists, those who for many years have used the Roman Missal in English and used the Divine Office for their formation and daily devotion. But it isn’t entirely like that: a small but significant percentage of our groups are from a more avowedly Anglican liturgical background and they are looking eagerly to see what it is from Anglican sources that the Holy See will authorise for use in the Ordinariates. Watching them are others from congregations in the Church of England who are embedded in the Common Worship tradition, that is making full use of the Catholic-style ceremonies and texts which have increasingly become a feature of English Anglican worship, albeit often under-laid with a far from satisfactory doctrinal understanding of ecclesiology and sacramental theology.

A word now about the Book of Divine Worship. We in England pay tribute to the visionary nature of this book. It was, to a considerable extent, the transplanting of the Episcopalian 1979 Book of Common Prayer into Roman Catholic diocesan life, bringing in not just the texts but much of the ceremonial dignity and infrastructure which has given such beauty to American Anglo-catholicism. The careful mixture of a ‘Catholic’ richness and obedience to official formularies had made North American Anglo-catholicism distinctive and this mixture was now being brought into the full Communion of the Catholic Church. No wonder the parishes – though small in number – flourished so wonderfully. These parishes will surely be at the heart of the new American Ordinariate. But everybody knows that the Book of Divine Worship will not quite do now. I can’t speak about elsewhere in the world, but we know that it is too North American for England, which has a different Anglican tradition, especially as regards modern liturgical revision. We also know that, with the coming on-stream of the new English texts of the Roman Liturgy, the contemporary language stream in the Book of Divine Worship would create a cacophony. And, a generation on, everyone would like a new look at the Book of Divine Worship and what should be in it.

In order to prepare for the next stage, the emergence of the Ordinariates and their worshipping life, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith convoked a working party, under the chairmanship of Mgr Andrew Burnham, one of the former Provincial Episcopal Visitors, to advise on some of these issues. The focus has been mainly on preparing for the first of the Ordinariates, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, in England and Wales, but there has been some work on the wider questions. It is not yet entirely clear whether the highly desirable objective will be achieved of establishing an international English liturgical provision for the Ordinariates. It may be that the histories are too different, the expectations and experiences too. But it is worth continuing to strive for that. Some of the work, though painstaking, is quite straight forward. No one wishes to see the disappearance of the Coverdale Psalter. Everyone seems keen to make sure that that gem of Anglican practice, Evensong, is available to the Ordinariates, to enrich the Catholic Church. There is an expectation too that, in England, something like the marriage and funeral liturgies, broadly as revised in 1928, and reappearing as ‘Series One’, should be available to the Ordinariate. These beautiful liturgies are so in-grained that, along with Evensong, they will be a powerful tool of outreach and evangelism, in a context where something at least of Anglican Patrimony is to do with the way pastoral work is done in neighbourhoods and amidst communities. There is also an enormous wealth of English spiritual writing, hardly explored as yet in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church, which may enrich a more distinctively English Calendar. Some of this – quite a bit of it – will also be there for Ordinariates elsewhere in the world, whose Anglican origins have been informed by the liturgy and spirituality of the English Church.

You will appreciate that I am not quite in a position to unveil where the working party has got to. For one thing, it was meeting only a few days ago and its deliberations will have to be fed back to the Holy See before too much is public. What I can do is mention some of the directions in which we are heading. I think we can assume that distinct liturgical provision for the Ordinariates will be almost entirely in traditional language. That heads off the emerging difficulty of more than one idiom of contemporary liturgical English in the Catholic Church. I think too that we can assume that there will be an interim stage, when material from the Divine Office and for the marriage and funeral liturgies will be further tried and tested, with the expectation that Congregation for Divine Worship will substantially endorse and make permanent what is being done. I think we can assume too that the infrastructure of Calendar and Lectionary – in respect of the Lectionary perhaps a bit closer to the Roman Rite than that in the Book of Divine Worship, which is essentially the Episcopalian one. I think we can assume too that the Initiation rites – Baptism and Confirmation – and the rites of Ordination will be those of the Roman Rite. These are important, unitive moments and none of the corresponding rites from the Anglican Communion can adequately convey the understanding of what it is to belong to, and be an ordained minister within, the full Communion of the Catholic Church.

There are one or two lesser questions, upon which little progress has yet been made – such as ministry to the sick and dying – but the main area of work outstanding is, of course, the Mass. It is not that work has still to be begun in this area. Rather it is that the Congregation for Divine Worship, to whom the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has entrusted this task, needs to take time to study the issues carefully. Let me just remind you of what some of these issues are. One issue is the Sarum Use. At the Reformation, the Sarum Use was the predominant Use in England and, like the Ambrosian and Mozarabic liturgies, had not only local importance but also, as viewed by the criteria established by the Council of Trent, a long enough history to be regarded as having a permanent place within the Latin Rite. Now, as we know, the Sarum Use was suppressed not by the Catholic Church but by the Henrician Reformation. Broadly, does the Catholic Church regard that suppression as a final and fatal piece of iconoclasm or, in more propitious times, should something like the Sarum Use re-emerge after a long sleep? There are momentous consequences, including pastoral ones, in encouraging the adoption de novo of a liturgy largely unfamiliar to the worshippers. Then there is a second issue. What should be done about that rich Anglo-catholic tradition of using the Anglican Missal or English Missal? Here we are looking at the preferences of Continuing Anglicanism which, appalled by some of the trends in twentieth century liturgical reformulation and doctrinal revisionism, has found its liturgical life in these missals. What view should the Congregation for Divine Worship take of these missals, neither of which has been an authorised liturgical book in Britain, America or Australia, despite their frequent use in these territories. Thirdly, there are the Anglican liturgical books and resources which are authorised and used. This was broadly the area that the Book of Divine Worship has explored, taking the 1979 Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer and, essentially, dropping in the Liturgy of the Eucharist of the Roman Rite in place of the Protestant provision. That could be done with the Church of England’s Common Worship. There are no doubt similar strategies that could be adopted with regard to Australia and for former Anglicans in Africa and India. There are some obvious complications: just as the American Book of Divine Worship is often strange from an English vantage point, so Common Worship would seem strange in some other parts of the world. Or, rather, it may seem confusingly similar to the emergent English translation of the Roman Rite.

As you will see, these three issues – the Sarum Use, the Anglican and English Missals, the contemporary versions of Anglican liturgy – take us back into the early history of the Oxford Movement. There were strong arguments then for restoring the Sarum Use. There were strong arguments then for aligning faith and practice with the contemporary Catholic Church. There were strong arguments then too for attending loyally to the agreed Anglican texts and for seeking to revise them to strengthen their ability to convey Catholic teaching. The working party began work with the last two of these three issues dominant in the minds of its English members. Surely something should be built on the close co-relation of the contemporary language Eucharist in Common Worship with the Mass of Pope Paul VI: after all, here was the nexus explored and exploited by Anglo-catholics. Here was the opportunity at once to build on the Anglican liturgical experience and to align faith and practice with the contemporary Catholic Church. As became clear, however, the very similarity of eucharistic orders would lead to muddle and to the cacophony referred to earlier. It was decided also that the place of the Anglican and English Missals tradition, particularly in relation to North America and Australia, needed further study and consideration. Meanwhile the first tranche of texts submitted by the working party incorporated substantial elements from the Use of Sarum. Imagine liturgical history, so the conceit goes, had the emerging vernaculars of the Renaissance period not been vehicles of theological polemic. Imagine how things would have emerged had Dr Cranmer been a loyal servant of the Church, the Annibale Bugnini of his age. At worst, this conceit is a harmless game. At best, it might yet lead to the emergence of a fine Ordinariate eucharistic rite, including, after five hundred years’ torpor, some of the jewels of traditional Catholicism as found in the Use of Sarum.

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.

43 thoughts on “Msgr. Burnham: Anglican Liturgical Patrimony”

  1. Latin Mass Traddies would find the comparison between Annibale Bugnini and Thomas Cranmer ironically apt. Bugnini to them while loyal to the Pope, wrecked liturgical havoc, Cranmer on the other hand, stuck his right hand into the flames in rejecting the Pope as Antichrist, created liturgical glory.

    Now who among the two is the lesser evil? :)

    Perhaps the Ordinariate for former Anglicans will redeem the two clerics!

    1. I think few serious historians would report Cranmer's death without first noting that he had, as quickly as possible, rejected all his former positions and re-embraced unity with Rome. All this before the turning of the thumbscrews. I don't blame him – it is hard to face torture, especially if you had ordered it used on many yourself beforehand.

      If Mary Tudor had not been so embittered towards Cranmer for declaring her illegitimate and followed the practice of accepting his rejection of his former positions, the remembrance of Cranmer and the history of the Church in England may be quite different.

  2. In all, Mgr Burnham has provided a very reasonable approach to a liturgy for the Ordinariate, and he has also provided grounds for hope that beautiful language and something of the Prayerbook will survive.

          1. The implication was that it would be the "old" RSV or the new RSV (i.e. the Catholic Edition you are mentioning as published by Ignatius Press).

        1. Principal and foundation: a translation of Scripture to be used in the liturgy (a "pulpit Bible" our Protestant friends call it) needs to be as close as the original Greek and Hebrew as possible and still be English. When a text is obscure or ambiguous to listeners at the liturgy, it is the preacher's job to explain it — one of the jobs of a sermon.

          Whatever its undoubted aesthetic merits, The King Jimmy translation has its problems. True, the OT King Jimmy was translated by some of the best Hebraists of the day; we just have better Hebraists in our day. (And in Robert Alter we have the most accurate and most aesthetic translator since the days of the King Jimmy.)

          Yet with the NT the King Jimmy translators used a defective text, the so-called "Byzantine Lectionary". (Why they didn't use Erasmus' text I don't know.) And so we need another translation altogether.

          The RSV remains after 60 years the most literal English translation. There were in fact three editions of the RSV. The 3rd and most recent is the so-called "New RSV". It's shot through with Radical Feminism, and so it isn't acceptable. The First edition, from the late 40s and early 50s, made too many deletions based on scholarship about what may have been the original text. For example, in Mark 16 everything after verse 8 was put into a footnote on the grounds of these latter verses being a conflation from the other gospels. The 2nd Edition from the 60s avoids this. And the RSV-CE from Ignatius Press uses this 2nd translation.

          Still, the RSV 2nd ed. is a half a century old. What is more, the translation of Paul is compromised by Protestant theology (The RSV was a product of the mainline Presbyterian churches). In Romans 3:22 and 26, St. Paul does not say "faith in Jesus" but "faith of Jesus" — with the suggestion that it is His faith, not ours, that is soteriological. (I know this is a minority view, yet I think it best to translate it literally, and then let the scholars — Biblical and theological, Protestant and Catholic — argue over it.) Even Catholic translations, even the hot-of-the-press Revised NAB, repeat this error. And because in the Eucharist narratives in Luke and Paul "in memory of me" is not what is said in the Greek, Zwinglian/Cranmerian Memorialism just isn't New Testamental. (I'll not discuss the translation in the Vulgate, the KJV, the RSV, or the RNAB of hilasterion in Exodus, Romans, Hebrews, and 1st John.)

          Let's pray that a Robert Alter can be found for the NT.

          1. If the patrimony does not include the AV, then some people do not know the meaning of the word "patrimony".

            1. Well, the RSV is *technically* the AV updated; the publishing imprint in my Ignatius Press RSV is 1611.

          2. Using inclusive language in a careful and non-intrusive way as well as saying "Brothers and Sisters" instead of "Brothers" in the NRSV is hardly "Radical Feminism".

            1. It isn't productive to argue what is and isn't "radical" feminism. It is productive to discuss principles of translation. One important principle is that we should not , so far as we can help it, import into the translation any set of ideas which aren't there in the original. One example of doing this would be translating Paul so as to support the Protestant ideas the translator already "knows" are there. Another example is to try to impose modern ideas about sex/gender issues on the text. To translate it into English deformed by the deliberate manipulation of the language by academic feminists is to impose such ideas. Masculine remains the common gender in English and includes both genders, no matter what conventions academics, newspapers, and Facebook now use. So if the text says adelphoi, you translate "brothers" or "brethren" not "brothers and sisters." If the words anthropos or anthropoi are used, you translate "man" or "men." No awkward and over colloquial "people." No cowardly evasions like "any one" when the text said "any man." Any woman with any sense knows she is included when the Bible says "If any man say…"

              The effect of "inclusive" language has been to make words like man, men, mankind, brother… less inclusive, not more. They used to include women, and now, according to the artificially imposed modern usage, they do not. If this takeover of the language is successful, it will make anything written before 1975 much less accessible. For the sake of the language we should not capitulate to this coup.

              And with respect to the Bible, I don't think we have the right to do so. Anytime you impose something like that on the text you run the risk of hiding something that you were supposed to see.
              Susan Peterson

            1. Its funny that the Bibles based on the Vulgate and Byzantine text and the Coptic, Ethiopic, and Syraic – the Biblical manuscripts actually used in the Church for 1000+ years, are rejected by modern scholars for their hodge-podge text of Greek dug up out of the ground or found molding on forgotten dusty shelves.

              People who accept these texts are by doing so, accusing the whole Church of using inaccurate scriptures in the liturgy, while they, they alone, have rediscovered the true text after 2000 years.

              This is the essential hubris of Protestantism, and it is disappointing to see Catholics embrace it.

              It never seems to occur to them that the reason the eclectic texts now embraced as Truth were left on the shelf or buried in the dirt was because they were inaccurate and did not conform to the Bible as received in the Churches.

      1. Yes, what about the Authorized Version? The Coverdale Psalter from the Book of Common Prayer received the approval of Rome with the Book of Divine Worship, but the King James Bible didn't. The RSV-CE is close, but not quite. Although many of the Introits and Graduals in the Anglican Use Gradual are from the Psalter, there are some based on other biblical texts, and these are invariably from the Authorized King James Version because that is what they are in the Palmer and Burgess graduals. And that is what they are in the various Anglican Missals. There are also innumerable choral settings of Biblical texts from the King James Version. So the King James is being heard in the Catholic Church even now. I would say it is high time to rehabilitate the King James Version and authorize it for use in the Ordinariate! In fact, if someone wants to do it, why not create "The Authorized Version – Catholic Edition"? (AV-CE) Just put the books of the Apocrypha in their place according to the LXX or Vulgate and edit the parts that Catholics consider heretical by substituting the wording of the Douay-Rheims for those parts only.

        C. David Burt

        1. And why not use the Douay-Rheims Bible itself? It is very close to the KJV and more sound theologically. Plus, it predates the KJV and had a strong influence (even if English scholars don't want to admit it) on the KJV.
          + PAX et BONUM

  3. "[B]ut we know that it is too North American for England", I have read this phrase or something like it since the beginnings of talks about a form of re-union. I never have understood its meaning. Sounds to me like arrogant, self-righteous inferiority complex. Yes, I said 'inferiority' complex. Having experienced 'North American' Anglo-Catholic Worship firsthand whether Prayer Book or Anglican Missal, I think the Brits are jealous that we out do them on every score save one – they do seem to love boys choirs more than we, thankfully.

    I mean truly, we are too good, too North American for them. They need to get over that they lost the Revolution and the Scots Book of Common Prayer was better than theirs and we accepted it with joy. In the end, it is Scotland they are insulting with their snide remarks. Although I must admit to one wish, that we had continued to recognize the Monarchy somehow.

    1. Msgr. Burnham was merely pointing out that the BDW emerged in a North America cultural context that is different to that of England, thus England will need a book that is reflective of its own cultural context. The same point would be just as true with regards to Australia.There is nothing here to get precious about.

      1. The BDW was developed as a result of the liturgical texts of the Episcopal Church which, because of the heritage of that body, were based on the Scottish Prayer Book tradition rather than the English. That is what is implied here. The post-BCP development of liturgical texts in the Church of England reflected the English BCP tradition, not the Scottish. There are some significant differences which English Anglicans would be unfamiliar with – not just textual but in things like the position of the Penitential Rite (just before receiving Holy Communion, almost like the so-called third confiteor of the EF).

        1. This is all interesting background. So, Patrimonious, could the OLOW Ordinariate taking up the Novus Ordo have something to do with their English BCP (1662?) being too far from a Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, as distinct from the Scottish one that the American BCP 1928 descended from?

          I think about this patrimony issue a lot and wonder what it will mean, and then every so often I feel smitten by a 'patrimonial experience', though that could be a mis-interpretation of the term. The best one to date was only four weeks ago when Pope Benedict celebrated Mass in San Marino. The opening hymn was 'Te lodiamo, Trinita' and it thrilled me to hear those 20,000+ people singing in Italian, "Holy God, we praise thy name" (#366 in Hymnal 1982, not sure what # in my beloved 1940) which we sang on many Trinity Sundays in my younger years. Two days after, the Italian coverage reported that the Pope had been particularly thrilled with that hymn choice because it reminded him of his beloved Bavaria. Meanwhile I had enthusiastically told my experience to our English priest, who replied he didn't know the hymn at all! I was assuming too much English heritage in the US Hymnal, and on looking up the hymn found it is from 'Grosser Gott' in the Katolisches Gesangbuch 1686. Ah, I thought, no wonder it also thrilled the Pope to hear it! And this sort of thing I have imagined is an aspect of Anglican Patrimony – if it connects those raised Anglo-Catholic in whatever place with the spiritual heritage of the Successor of Peter, does that qualify it?

  4. Msgr. Burnham,

    Thank you for this contribution to the discussion. I believe you have made an important contribution to the discussion from which we all may benefit, and I greatly appreciate the tone of charity and the discernment you have shown in doing so.

    If I may make some observations, let me say that I was raised one of those "High-Church Episcopalians" you referred to; in fact I come from a long line of such, going back to the days of Bp. Seabury in Connecticutt (and before). I was received into the Catholic Church in 1993, and one of the important things that lead to my doing so was the discovery of an ethnic German parish in Milwaukee that celebrated the pre-Vatican II mass under the provisions of the indult of Bl. John Paul II. This was important to me, because, unike many other traditionalist groups in this country, those of German background have a strong tradition of the congregation singing the ordinary, making the responses, and a piety about the mass that is very sympathetic for someone of my background. Having benefitted from a classical education in the good old Episcopalian educational tradition, I did not find the Latin an obstacle, and (while there were a some differences) the calendar of saints, the lectionary, and many other elements were quite similar to what I was raised with using the 1928 BCP — "supplemented" by our priests with bits from the Anglican missal and the Manual for Priests. There is more to the story, but my point is that this cultural similarity made consideration of becoming Catholic possible. Even if by background and temperament I prefer the restrained aesthetic of Le Barroux or Fontgombault/Clear Creek to the birettas and lace style common among American "tradis", to this day my preferred form of worship is the "Extraordinary Form", where I can still celebrate St. Matthias, whom I took for my confirmation name, on my birthday, and where I can serve at the altar in pretty much the same fashion I did as a teenage "acolyte" in the Episcopal Church.

    I have had occasion over the years to keep in contact with with many of my former co-religionists in Anglicanism, including my former professor, the late Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon (who was at one time quite close to becoming Catholic) and many in the continuing Church movement. Certainly, there was a groundswell of interest in the Ordinariate when it was first announced. I think that for many it provided an opportunity, like my encounter with the older form of the Latin mass in an ethnic German setting, where becoming Catholic was actually thinkable. The Pope's generous offer had many of them convinced, or nearly convinced, that the Roman Church was (as she is) truly catholic, including being truly open to diversity, and that all they had to do was to make some essential adjustments to their present style of worship to ensure that it was really Catholic in doctrine, and all would be well. However, over the last 18 months I have seen at first a gradual, and more recently, a precipitate dropping of interest, accompanied by despair on the part of many that they will have a Church that is recognizable to them. The idea that they might have to drop their lectionary, the same lectionary that they and their ancestors have been basically using for over a millennium, and change a great many of their familiar saints' days has had a terribly dispiriting effect. They are disheartened that that they will know longer be able to pray of the newly baptized

    "that hereafter he (or she) shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against sin, the world and the devil; and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his (or her) life's end."

    They are deeply saddened that they will no longer hear at confirmation, as was said at their confirmations, at their parent's confirmations, and at their parents' parents' confirmations

    "Almighty and everliving God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by Water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given them forgiveness of all their sins; Strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with thy Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and forever. Amen"

    The fear this inspires, that they must conform, as much as possible, not as to Catholic doctrine, but to the lectionary, ethos, calendar, etc. of the current most common use of the Roman Rite (hopefully to become fully assimilated in a generation or two and lose all of their Anglican heritage) is unbearable to them — and who can blame them?

    I fear that by not appearing more generous to these people in bringing the Anglican patrimony with them, we are losing a once in a millenium opportunity of demonstrating to these people the true breadth of Catholicism, not to mention setting a poor example to our fellow Catholics as to what genuine Catholic diversity is. This is playing into all the old fears people have of the Roman Church as a monolithic, inhumane, ecclesiatical bureaucracy that cares not for them or their souls or their salvation, but only wishes to bolster its own prestige by showing off converts. I would submit, and I would respectfully request that you convey to those in authority in Rome, that now is the time to bend over backwards and show ourselves publicly interested in helping Anglican people to retain to the fullest possible degree their riches, especially those that they have managed to retain from a time when their ancestors were once united with the rest of Catholic Christendom.

    With filial respect in Christ,
    Michael LaRue, K.M.

    1. There are, with all due respect, particularly Anglican prayers for Baptism and Confirmation that are particularly important to Anglicans raised in the Prayer Book tradition.

      I think that persons coming to the Ordinariate from Prayer Book parishes will find the lack of Anglican Use forms for the sacraments of initiation to be tremendously upsetting.

    2. "However, over the last 18 months I have seen at first a gradual, and more recently, a precipitate dropping of interest, accompanied by despair on the part of many that they will have a Church that is recognizable to them."

      I think this drop in interest is part of the Vatican plan. They are testing those that say they want this. Already at the beginning, many that solemnly swore they wanted to be in full communion with the Catholic Church dropped away within a few months, doing what they could to undermine and sabotage.

      The average human mind and temperament can only keep engaged for so long in something intangible that exists in the theoretical realm only. If you have people wait for two years, only the most engaged and committed will still be interested, the others will have gone on to new things or found alternative arrangements. That is simply human nature, and those in charge of this endeavor at the Vatican surely know this. To blame it on liturgy (something we still do not know about) is a non sequitur. Those accepting in the "first wave" have been asked to do so with the liturgy unseen – to walk by faith and not by sight. Perhaps it is best for those who will fall away to do so before this begins, rather than after.

      1. It should be made easy, not hard, for catholics in the Anglican Church to enter into communion with St Peter. That is a fundamental principle.

      2. Many of those who I said will be disappointed are those, including myself, who most definitely are engaged and committed. We want to be Catholics in full communion with the Holy See. We also want to ensure that in doing so we do not cheat the Catholic Church of any of the treasures that we have promised to bring with us, for the benefit of all.

    3. I can't see any reason why, if the need were there, a form of rite for the sacraments of initiation couldn't be authorised. The point is that these things may not be there from Day One, and that's fine – the important thing is coming into communion. I think, too, we need to be careful of assuming that just because we *like* something, it is worthy of being brought into the Catholic Church…

      There will, I think, need to be a consideration of what is used in contemporary Anglican liturgical texts both in the UK (Common Worship) and in the US, Australia, Canada etc. This is not about preserving an historic liturgical use but about an ecclesial body coming into full communion with the Catholic Church – we need to provide reason, as far as possible, for those who remain on the Canterbury bank of the Tiber to jump in.

    4. Have you not seen a copy of the Book of Divine Worship? The section you mention as not being in the Anglican Use Prayer Book Baptismal Service is there on page 525. You may have to ask Fr. Philips why there is no Confirmation Service in the BDW. Likely it is because in the Provisional Use Parishes a Roman Catholic Bishop does the confirming or a Priest with oils blessed by the Bishop. An Anglican Use Mass is beautiful and any former Episcopalian or Anglican would fit right in. Fr. Holland, Christ our Saviour Anglican Church, Denison, Texas.

    5. I can understand and endorse the idea of a common ordination rite for everyone. I can even understand and endorse a common confirmation rite, though I think it's a bit excessive.

      But I think it's utterly bizarre to insist on a common baptismal rite. The Church accepts, sight unseen, the baptisms of almost every Christian community out there. All it takes is water and "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Ordinariate members could literally just drop in on the nearest Episcopalian church and have their babies baptized and not even mess with the Ordinariate baptismal rite at all and the Catholic Church would still have to recognize them as valid.

      So…. my point is, I'm hoping the people putting together these Ordinariate liturgies and rituals and what-have-you take note of this fact and go ahead and formulate an Ordinariate-specific baptismal rite. There's truly no good reason not to.

      1. FYI, that is precisely what the Ordinariate in the UK does. A person seeking to join in communion who is already baptised presets his baptismal certificate from whatever church and that is sufficient. I would guess that out of near 1,000 received there were baptisms or conditional baptisms for just one or two.

        Also far that reason it is inappropriate to speak of "conversion" – most who join are already Christians.

        Given the simplicity of the essentials of the sacrament, dealing with the non-essential trimmings around the essentials is far less urgent than getting a distinctive liturgy for Holy Mass.

        Even with the Mass, what is essential is to get the Canon right. That is where the Book of Divine Worship had to have a "quick fix" and the sudden switch in language is less than ideal.

  5. Fr. Clayton T. Holland,

    With all due respect, the BDW and the 1979 BCP are hardly Anglican at all. The loss of the traditional lectionary and cycle of collects botches the whole thing.

    If the Ordinariate Liturgy does not retain its own Baptismal Rite, something essential to our patrimony will be lost.


    1. The traditional Eucharistic lectionary found in the Prayer Book is still, Reformation notwithstanding, substantially similar to the traditional lectionary still used for the Extraordinary Form. Our parishes will be allowed to use that lectionary if celebrating an Extraordinary Form Mass; my hope is that there will be no objection to us using that lectionary (our own lectionary) in English, with our own Anglican-use liturgy.

      1. Even if it were not specifically permitted, what would stop the priest or congregation in question exercising their discretion? They are grown-ups.

        1. This kind of use of discretion is not allowed to Catholic priests. The lectionary is the lectionary. There is a good reason for that. It cannot be assumed that all priests will always have good judgment. Some might want to avoid passages offensive to particular groups…obey your husbands… malekoi kai arsenikoi, and so on. Some priests might want to leave out references to damnation and keep in the more reassuring passages. I am not saying that any current ordinariate priests would do such things, but those of us who lived through the 70's and 80's in the RC church have a justifiable fear of too much liberty.

          I was not aware of this lectionary issue. The episcopal church in the US uses almost the same lectionary as the RC church, with minor variations. I think this came about during the time when there was wild optimism about reunion of all Christians. Wasn't there an ICEL and and ICET which resulted in the similar lectionaries and a Rite Two prayer which was very similar to the Catholic second eucharistic prayer? So you are saying that English Anglicans do not use this lectionary? I didn't know that.

          I can see allowing the Ordinariate to use an older lectionary, as do, for instance the Byzantine rites, and traditional mass communities. But whatever one they use, no substitutions.

          However doesn't the current Roman lectionary involve the reading of a much larger portion of scripture over the three year period, and isn't that an advantage worth considering?
          Susan Peterson

          1. By exercising discretion I meant not picking and choosing from the Bible, but continuing with an older tradition if it seemed more suitable.

    2. With respect, as you well know the essential of the sacrament of baptism is minimal indeed ad it may be administered by any Christian. So please forgive me if I say that the assertion that particular added verbiage, ceremony or whatever is "essential to our patrimony" is pretty near to claptrap.

      What is essential, if I may say so, is to be in communion with the one, holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and that all rites used are compliant with the teaching of that Church.

      As for the accidents of the liturgy, one might consider using Aramaic for the Lord's Prayer – after all, that is the language He used. And you can hear the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic in any Chaldean Catholic Church of which there are several in the USA.
      Translations may use different words to convey the same meaning.

      It is a mistake to elevate matters of form over matters of substance.

      1. People are not automatons, they have emotions, and the emotions are hooked to familiar words as well as to familiar places. They are already losing the familiar places. Why should you take away the words if there is nothing wrong with them?

        Liturgy affects lay people deeply. You know the joke that you can get more comments on a blog post about liturgy than about sex! There is an inherent conservatism about liturgy in lay people which is not a bad thing.

        And the particular liturgies we are discussing are both euphonious and embedded in the English speaking culture.

        Of course we don't want to say anything heretical. But I don't think there is anything heretical in the BCP baptismal rite. I was baptized in the 28 prayer book rite, and I can't think of anything in it which I would want to un-say.

        Susan Peterson

        1. I agree with the sentiments you express. It is certainly true that there is very much in Anglican Patrimony which is also part of the nation's linguistic cultural heritage. I, for one, do not wish to see that beautiful language lost.

          I think the problem may be that many of the priests who have joined the Ordinariate formerly enjoyed (or, indeed, ignored) the ecclesiastical authority of their former church to decide what orders of service were used and how they should be celebrated.

          The Catholic Church is a lot more prescriptive about what rituals may be used and when. This is especially true in relation to the Mass because the bishop of a diocese and the deans will be concerned in a time of shortage of priests to ensure that the Mass is as available as possible to the entire body of the faithful. Therefore there is planning across parishes so that parishioners of church A who cannot make it for the 10am mass in their parish can pop across the boundary and catch the 11am mass in church B.

          Ordrinariate Masses will be part of that territorial pattern. Indeed, they already are, as may be seen from parish newsletters in places where there are Ordinariate priests.

          As is clear from Mgr Burnham's paper, the immediate urgency is to get a distinctive liturgy for Holy Mass in a language which reflects English usage at the time of the first BCP but that this entails weeding out some heterodox formulations and replacing them with orthodox formulations in the language of that time – a job for very skilled liturgists. The BDW in the US Anglican use is seen as rather flawed in that regard.

          Whatever the Committee has come up with has to be approved by the CDW – which process is under way. Hopefully we will have the outcome in the Autumn. Probably the next priorities will be Matins and Evensong, Marriage and Funeral rites.

          The point about confirmation is that that most of those ceremonies have thus far taken place in Cathedrals and RC parish churches as part of the RICA process – and they were very moving. So there is a lot to be said for a single rite at this time. Likewise, most adherents to the Ordinariate are already baptised.

          Those responsible for the development of a coherent Ordinariate liturgical use have a lot on their plate and Rome was not built in a day.

          But, such is the beauty of the language and the music which is part of Anglican Patrimony that, provided Ordinariate Masses and other liturgies continue to be celebrated with the reverence and attention to detail one expects I can see Ordinariate masses (and Evensong) becoming very popular with cradle catholics. In time that may well inspire the diocesan clergy to pay more attention to the worthy celebration of liturgy.

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