Divine Worship

St Agatha's High Altar

In the time before our distinctively "Anglican" rite is approved and published by the Holy See, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has permission to use the Book of Divine Worship of the American Anglican Use.

Concelebrants Fr Jonathan & Edwin

Today, for the first time since my visit to Texas back before Easter, I was able to concelebrate Mass using those Anglican cadences.

At the end of Mass

Fr Jonathan Redvers-Harris is Pastor to the Ordinariate Group which is based in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.  As if this were not enough, he also cares for a number of people on the Mainland (half an hour's ferry trip from  Ryde).  It was especially good to discover today two old Portsmouth friends who were not in the 'first wave' but who will soon be received into the Catholic Church and the Ordinariate.  We were celebrating Mass in a historic building which narrowly escaped demolition in the vandalism which harmed much of Portsmouth after the War.  It was as though what the Germans had left untouched, the City Fathers would raze to the ground.  St Agatha's was a famous Anglo-Catholic bastion, where Fr Robert Dolling had done battle with the Brewers and the brothel-owners of his slum parish — but eventually had to resign when his bishop would not support him any longer.  He had committed the unforgiveable sin of introducing a Requiem Altar where prayer might be said for the Dead.  Soon after the end of WWII, the Dockyard was extended and St Agatha's found itself within the Naval enclave.  Not much later, the Royal Navy began its long decline, and St Agatha's, which had been a storehouse, was redundant.  It was threatened with demolition, but in the end was spared, albeit much damaged.

Fr Maunder & Parishioner

More recently Fr Maunder of the TAC has been able to restore the Church for Christian Worship, and has retrieved many of the treasures of St Agatha's which had been given away — most recently he has reclaimed furnishings given to a hospital chapel which, in its turn, has become disused.  So it was in a chapel on the north side of the Church that we gathered today, a couple of dozen of us, to sing a Mass of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower.

Triptych of Our Lady of Walsingham, a gift to the Ryde/Portsmouth Ordinariate

The whole event seemed to me a parable of what the Holy Father has set in motion through Anglicanorum  Coetibus.  Worship is restored in a fully Catholic Rite, but using much of our Anglican Patrimony.  The physical setting, the music, the liturgy had a grave splendour in tune with much of what the Holy Father has had to say about worship.  And after Mass there was joyful fellowship across the present impairments to communion.  It is likely there will be future celebrations by the Ordinariate in this TAC Church — the next probably at 12.15 on Saturday October 29th — and we are praying for the TAC, that their appeal to Rome might also find favour and lead us into complete unity with them.  The presence of Fr Maunder and also Bishop Robert Mercer CR, together with some of their faithful, was a delight to us all, and it was good to be able to have some conversation with them over lunch — generously provided by St Agatha's.  Please continue to pray for them, and for our little Ordinariate Groups, that they might flourish and, in due course, be transformed into fully functioning Parishes of the Catholic Church.

(Further comment and pictures may be found on the Ancient Richborough blog.)

Author: Fr. Edwin Barnes

Bishop Barnes read theology for three years at Oxford before finishing his studies at Cuddesdon College (at the time a theological college with a rather monastic character). He subsequently served two urban curacies in Portsmouth and Woking. During his first curacy, and after the statutory three years of celibacy, he married his wife Jane (with whom he has two children, Nicola and Matthew). In 1967, Bishop Barnes received his first incumbency as Rector of Farncombe in the Diocese of Guildford. After eleven years, the family moved to Hessle, in the Diocese of York, for another nine years as vicar. In 1987, he became Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford. In 1995, he was asked by then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to become the second PEV for the Province. He was based in St. Alban’s and charged with ministering to faithful Anglo-Catholics spread over the length of Southern England, from the Humber Estuary to the Channel Islands. After six years of service as a PEV, Bishop Barnes retired to Lymington on the south coast where he holds the Bishop of Winchester’s license as an honorary assistant bishop. On the retirement of the late and much lamented Bishop Eric Kemp, he was honored to be asked to succeed him as President of the Church Union. Both these appointments he resigned on becoming a Catholic in 2010. Fr. Barnes is now a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, caring for an Ordinariate Group in Southbourne, Bournemouth.

41 thoughts on “Divine Worship”

  1. Wonderful! Many Years to Saint Agatha's and the Ordinariate 'over there'. Hope the BDW prepares all of you for your own soon coming 'distinctively Anglican Rite' or Use.
    We will be waiting to see what it will be and what joys it will bring.
    Fr. Edwin, do you think that very many of the Priests in the Ordinariate who were using the Novus Ordo Missae will try to avoid using what the Pope desires for the Ordinariate? As you are well aware we across the pond in the New World never did understand the Anglican adoption of NOM. I do hope it does not cause disent among them.

    1. When he spoke to the Ordinariate Clergy, Mgr Burnham gave the clear impression that our own distinctive Ordinariate Rite is unlikely to be published soon – he indicated a timescale of around three years. I don't think there's likely to be dissent over Rites. As you suggest, many of us are perfectly content with the recent new translation of the Roman Missal – and some will, doubtless, be happy to use whatever else is provided in due course. It is not a matter of 'avoiding' a BCP style rite; simply that many younger priests in England have never experienced anything like it in their entire ministry – while a few, like Fr Redvers-Harris, have never used anything else. We elderly clergy have had both; and find it possible to pray whatever language the prayers are couched in. We might have personal favourites; but we shall do what our people need, and our Ordinary commends.

  2. After looking at your Ancient Richborough site I thought I would inquire if there is a way to contribute to the restoration of Saint Agatha's?

    1. It is sometimes difficult to get Fr John as he works during the week as a teacher – the best time to get hold of him is around 9.30pm. His telephone number is available on the Church Web Site.

    2. I have tried to post a reply to your question on the Ancient Richborough site but without success. I am the treasurer of St Agatha's Trust, a registered charity that maintains and restores St agatha's Church. We welcome donations!

      Please contact me on malc@stagathas.net

  3. St. Agatha's has a website at http://www.stagathas.net/. It contains information about the monthly Ordinariate group mass, as well as about the TAC parish. It also has information on how people can contribute to the restoration of the church – it looks like right now there's an effort to purchase some new bells.

    I had the distinct privilege of visiting St. Agatha's about three years ago – right at the end of a long trip that included three weeks in the Holy Land, and some time in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Ireland. Even after seeing so many beautiful churches, St. Agatha's was still spectacular.

    It's also great to hear that, as an interim measure, the BDW has been approved for use by the Ordinariate. Although certainly I hope that the publication of the new liturgy can take place in less than three years…

  4. In the Order of Mass as contained in the Book of Divine Worship, is the corrected ICEL translation of the Consecration and the post-consecration acclamation now used, as found n the new English transation of the Roman Missal?

  5. It is strange to hear that the Ordinariate Rite is due in 3 years because more than one Priest of the Ordinariate said it was due for the coming Advent…

    + PAX et BONUM

  6. I have not heard that the corrected versions of the consecration and acclamation are to be used in BDW worship. It is evidently a question of not interpolating into a previously-approved text another text, albeit also approved (and superior). There is also the matter of the Rite Two texts which I believe are much closer in toto to the old ICEL texts. Maybe someone can present this matter to the proper Roman authorities (CDW or CDF?) and get a relatively quick resolution?

  7. I think this issue was discussed months ago but I'm not sure. I don't have my copy of the BDW handy but since most Anglican Use parishes use Rite I With the Coverdale Canon from Sarum and in a more proper Tudor English, it won't need much revision. I'm just saying off the top of my noggin. As far as I know only Saint Mary the Virgin uses Rite II from the beginning unless they have changed. I'm sure Father Christopher (Phillips) can update us all on this matter. In any event, what ever needs to be done, will be done by the Ordinary whoever he may be. Nothing to get anxious about.

    1. I posit that it is physically impossible for the BDW to ever be "handy." Jokes aside, will the UK Ordinariate members be compelled to use the 1979 BCP office lectionary, which was reproduced in the BDW, or do they have the option to use an English lectionary like the 1922 or 1961?

      1. If they have any capacity for independent thought they will use whatever version suits them best. And presumably the Authorized version will be at least tacitly accepted as an essential part of "patrimony". The 1922 lectionary all printed out for reading in course is an extremely useful liturgical book.

  8. As a matter of interest, were the members of the TAC present at this Mass admitted to Holy Communion? If so, surely this transgressed the rules admitting non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion. Presumably they have not yet been received into the Church nor has their status within an Ordinariate come into being? Was the Bishop of Portsmouth consulted? The Catholic one I mean.

    1. No, of course not. Communion at the Ordinariate mass was given only to Catholics. The TAC members did not present themselves at the altar rail, nor did we at their earlier eucharist. Why do you suppose anything else, John?

  9. Fr Barnes response 'of course not' is entirely the appropriate response to a stupid question …. maybe asked to stir things up?
    There would be no point in consulting the Bishop of Portsmouth – the Church's teaching is quite specific, the Bishop has no discretion in such matters. The question is insulting to Fr Barnes.

    1. "… a stupid question …. maybe asked to stir things up"
      No "maybe" about it! What else do you expect from that particular quarter?

  10. May I ask if members of the UK Ordinariate who avail themselves of the Book of Divine Worship for the daily office are permitted to use a UK BCP office lectionary, such as that of 1922 or 1961, or must they use the US 1979 BCP lectionary included in the BDW?

    1. I have been informed that members of the Ordinariate in the UK who use the BDW for their daily office are to use the office lectionary found therein. Msgr. Burnham is also working on a provisional lectionary.

  11. Mr Bowles has not yet caught up with all the details of the Church. St Agatha's is situated within sight of Portsmouth Cathedral, but the appropriate authority for any Ordinariate mass held there is not the Bishop of Portsmouth, but Mgr Newton. He was , of course, consulted.
    Why not come along to the next service and see for yourself?

  12. Thanks, Fr Barnes, for clarifying the issue. The problem these days is one can never be sure, especially in a setting that aspires to be part of an Ordinariate but might well not make it.

    1. "The problem these days … "
      Whose problem? Not yours. The people concerned can safely be left to decide for themselves.

      1. Strictly speaking, Catholics do not 'decide for themselves' about receiving Holy Communion in non-Catholic churches. The matter has been decided for them by clear-cut regulations enshrined in Canon Law and to break them is, given the nature of Holy Communion, tantamount to blasphemy.

        Outside the Church the distinction has been blurred by the practice of 'open Communion', a practice prohibited by the Church. This has encouraged laxity in a minority of uninstructed Catholics who do not understand that Holy Communion is not a means, but the goal, of Christian unity. This was a fundamental principle of the early ecumenical movement.

        Members of the Ordinariate, coming from a body where 'open Communion' is commonplace, might, in an emotive setting like St Agatha's, Portsea, have a blurred understanding of the discipline. Praise God that the distinction was clearly maintained by Fr Barnes, and recognized by the local members of the TAC.

        It is a problem for all instructed Catholics to witness a break-down of eucharistic discipline and it is their duty to contest the breach. The essence of being in communion with the Church is that the people are in communion with the priest at the altar, who is in communion with the bishop of the diocese, who is in communion with the Pope. Only bishops can determine who, outside the Church, may receive Holy Communion in exceptional circumstances. 'Deciding for themselves' does not enter the question.

            1. The normal Saturday mass at St Agatha's was held as usual in the Lady Chapel at 11 am. The Ordinariate mass took place at the St George altar at 12 15. Interestingly, it is said that Pope John Paul 2 once gave Holy Communion to someone who was Jewish. We might also care to consider how fortunate it is that Our Lord did not restrict His ministry, but talked with and healed Samaritans, Canaanites, Republicans and Sinners and not just the "lost sheep of the House of Israel."

            2. Publicans…! Although hopefully Our Lord is well disposed towards Republicans also.

            3. While LBS's postings have been somewhat harsh, your quick and facile assumption that, merely by virtue of attending each other's serivces, Ordinariate Catholics would have shared the eucharist with those not yet in communion with Rome was deeply offensive to all parties. It betrays deep ignorance as to why the Ordinariate was set up in the first place. Like the others posting in response, I found Fr. Barnes "of course not" a masterpiece of restraint. In his place, I would have been livid with indignation.

  13. I'm very glad that Mr Bowles finds St Agatha's an emotive setting. Please join the throng at the next Ordinariate mass – we are only a ferry ride away!
    I don't quite understand the point that Ordinariate members might possibly "have a blurred understanding of the discipline". Do you mean the priests of the Ordinariate or the laity? Could you perhaps consider that ' blurred understanding ' might have been one factor in seeking to leave the CofE and joining the Catholic Church?

    1. The Church of England's adoption of a policy of 'open Communion' admitting all Christians in good standing with their ecclesical bodies to receive Holy Communion at Anglican altars has demonstrably blurred the principle of Communion as such.

      In the Catholic Church when a non-Catholic is allowed to receive Holy Communion in exceptional circumstances it is insisted that the individual should share the same belief about Holy Communion – the reception of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ – as the Church.

      The practice of 'open Communion' applies no doctrinal conditions. Noncoformist Protestants with no belief in the Real Presence may present themselves at Anglo-Catholic altars and there is nothing that an Anglo-Catholic priest can do to prevent it with any basis of authority.

      Members of the Ordinariate, clerical and lay, have a steep lurning curve to surmount as far as the Church's discipline is concerned. Anxiety is being privately expressed by the priests at Allen Hall at the speed with which they are expected to inculcate complex theology and doctrine among clerical members. Take ecclesiology, for instance. They fear that superficiality may result leading to problems in the future when Ordinariate clergy will be ministering largely outside the Ordinariate. The practical problems of implementing the Ordinariate far transcend questions of Anglican 'patrimony' and the maintenenace of an invidious Anglican 'identity'. The breathless lack of a gradual time span is beginning to take its toll.

      But, as far as this Mass at St Agnes', Landport, is concerned it is reassuring that the Church's discipline was recognized and maintained.

  14. "The breathless lack of a gradual time span is beginning to take its toll." There is an implied accusation buried in this statement, which ought to be justified or withdrawn.
    "… it is reassuring that the Church's discipline was recognized and maintained."
    Well, we breathe again!

    1. Pressure is being put on those responsible for the education of Ordinariate priests to condense courses that normally take terms in a seminary to short weeks, three or so in some cases. Anglican studies in theological colleges of whatever tradition are superficial in comparision with the normal length and thoroughness of Catholic seminary education. Considerable reading will be required as well as attendance at lectures.

      For years the shortcomings of Anglican theological education have been a subject of concern for those responsible for educating convert clergymen. Many converts naturally think that they have already completed courses in their Anglican days but, after re-taking them, realise how inadequate they were. These courses are essential if Ordinariate clergy are to be enabled to think as Catholics. Without them there will be a mental chasm between them and the people they will be called upon to serve.

  15. Luckily neither the Holy Father nor Cardinal Levada share your pessimism over this enterprise. It is important to note that although the former Anglican ministers have already been ordained into the Catholic Church, their formation continues. Please also note that all Catholics are called to continual conversion, and thus nobody is the 'finished article'. The parable of the labourers in the vineyard is also worth contemplating.
    I suggest that you stop worrying over the Ordinariate and leave it in the hands of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    1. "I suggest that you stop worrying over the Ordinariate and leave it in the hands of …
      Oh, he won't do that. He doesn't believe in leaving anything in people's hands.

  16. I don't understand Mr. Bowle,s concerns over the issue of incoming Anglicans receiving Holy Communion in a Catholic Church. As a former Anglo Catholic I always knew that we were not to receive.

    I belong to a group of Anglicans who are going through the process now to enter the Ordinariate and they all are perfectly aware of the disipline of the Catholic Church regarding Holy Communion.

    I have also seen many Catholics on websites who ask if they may receive "communion" in protestant churches. I gather that these Anglicans are more informed than some Catholics on this issue.

    The Catholics in the group also leave when Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is celebrated, as the group meets in an Episcopal church and after Evening Prayer at times offers Benediction for those Episcopalians who are not part of the Ordinariate group, the ones who are entering can continue to stay if they wish as they are not yet Catholic.

    This all seems a little silly to me. Just statements that have no factual relevance to Anglicans becoming Catholics as the ones I know are very knowledgeable regarding the differences between being Anglican and Catholic.

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