I would like to advance here a few disordered reflections about the form which an Anglican Use of the Roman Rite might take. These are nothing but my own ill-informed speculations interwoven with my own uninformed notions and prejudices, and should be taken as worth no more than such productions normally are, or perhaps, for those more charitably disposed, as written ruminations.
“The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite:” this phrase indicates that whatever form of liturgy this will be, it will take the form of a subset of the Roman Rite, and not a separate “Anglican Rite.” There has been a good deal of terminological and historical confusion in these areas. One often sees in the context of the Latin Church references to the “Ambrosian Rite,” the “Braga Rite,” the “Carthusian Rite,” the “Cistercian Rite,” the “Dominican Rite,” the “Lyonnaise Rite,” the “Mozarabic Rite,” the “Sarum Rite” and the like, but this seems to be a confusion of the past four centuries (or a little more), reflecting the dominance of the 1570 codification and reform of the “Roman Rite of Rome” as the “Tridentine Rite,” which was to replace all other variants save those that could document 200 years of history. All of these “rites,” save the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite, are or were, variants of the Roman Rite, and so more properly termed “uses” (as, in England, with the “Use of Sarum,” the “Use of Bangor,” the “Use of Hereford,” the “Use of Lincoln” and the “Use of York” before the 1540s); only the Carthusian and the Braga (that of the Portuguese diocese of that name) uses survive today in their integrity (the Carthusian “unreformed,” the Braga “reformed”) although occasionally one encounters celebration of the old Cistercian and Dominican Mass “rites.” The Ambrosian Rite of Milan (and neighboring areas) is either a very ancient variation of the Roman Rite, which since at least the Fourth Century has been subject to both Gallican and Eastern influences, or an originally distinct rite that has undergone waves of “romanization” from a very early date, while the Mozarabic Rite, which until recent decades, when it was revived (and “restored,” that is, “reformed”) in the Spanish monastery of San Juan de Silos and in several parishes in Toledo that were Mozarabic until the 1490s, was celebrated only in a side chapel in Toledo Cathedral, is an entirely distinct rite from the Roman.
One strong implication of “Anglican Use” is that it will have no other Eucharistic Prayers (EPs) or “Prayers of Consecration” than those found in the Roman Rite. The Mozarabic Rite aside, none of these other “uses” or “rites” — call them what you will — had any other than the Roman Canon; this was so even of the Ambrosian Rite, although for Maundy Thursday and Holy Saturday only it had versions of the Roman Canon into which substantial proper prayers for those festivals were inserted, a practice unique to Milan. (The 1970s “reform” of the Ambrosian Rite introduced two new EPs, additional to the three new EPs introduced into the Roman Rite in 1969.) I have to say that I agree with the distinguished English Anglican liturgist and historian of the Early Roman Rite, Geoffrey Grimshaw Willis (1914-1982), regarding his dislike of these banal and (as he thought) un-Roman disfigurements of the Roman Rite (see his outspoken “The New Eucharistic Prayers: Some Comments,” The Heythrop Journal, XII:1 [January 1971], pp. 5-28), and if the reports are right that in whatever reconfigured Anglican Use Mass is eventually promulgated by Rome the “contemporary English” Rite II will wholly disappear, and with it these EPs, I would judge it no loss.
And well it should disappear, along with the 1979 Psalter. An Anglican Use based on, and following the pattern of, the 1979 Episcopalian Prayer Book makes no sense on a world-wide basis. Moreover, since the lame and dreary ICEL translation of the Roman Rite liturgical books is soon to be replaced by one occupying a distinctly higher linguistic “register,” it makes little sense to use any other “contemporary English” than that in use in the Roman Rite itself. However, if one of the advantages of the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite is, from a “Benedictine” vantage, to inspire and in its distinctive way exemplify a “reform of the 1960s ‘reform‘” of the Roman Rite in the direction of resacralization and a recovery of lost ground, then it makes much more sense that it should be one distinctive and consistently traditional thing, in style as well as substance, than an attempt to be all things to all Anglicans. Those Anglicans whose liturgical sensibilities are “contemporary” may well prefer to seek out the more elevated version of the Roman Rite which I hope will soon make its appearance. This is leading us fairly clearly towards the “Missal tradition” of Anglo-Catholicism in the last century, the effort that produced the English Missal, the American Missal and the Anglican Missal. To adopt or adapt one of these — my own tastes incline me more towards the English Missal — would produce a coherent and dignified rite, and would eliminate once and for all the bizarre phenomenon of the 1970 Roman Rite Offertory in ICEL English thrust into the midst of the “Cranmerian English” Rite I.
Still, and despite what I wrote above, I have speculated at times about the possibility of alternative “Anglican-like” EPs, perhaps for weekday celebrations or for certain set days on which the length of the Roman Canon, especially if said or chanted aloud, might be an inconvenience. I am going to avoid (with one partial exception) Twentieth-Century Anglican EPs, and likewise the “mainline” 1552, 1559, 1662 English rite, and its derivatives, as inadequate for Catholic purposes — by which I mean, impossible for the Catholic Church to accept the use of which as a valid EP . The leaves the 1549 English rite, and the Scottish Episcopalian tradition from 1637 onwards down through 1764 to 1929, with the American Episcopalian tradition from 1789 to 1928 as a side-branch of this.
As to the 1549 rite’s EP I have never been able to understand its attraction for some Anglo-Catholics. I accept the reading of Cranmer’s theology underlying that prayer as fundamentally Reformed (in the Swiss sense) that has been advanced by Anglican scholars such as Dom Gregory Dix (1901-1952) and Professor Edward Craddock Ratcliff (1896-1967) — the former a well-known Anglican Benedictine monk and Anglo-Papalist, the latter the holder of various academic posts in Cambridge, Oxford and London, culminating as Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, and who was on the verge of entering the Orthodox Church at the time of his death — even if expressed in the most ambiguous of ways and in very “traditional,” that is, “Western-Catholic-looking” — forms. An EP of such an ambivalent, if not heretical, nature would certainly not be suitable for Catholic use. The 1549 EP is also, very clearly, an attempt at “reforming” the Roman Canon, the traditional and unique EP of the whole Western Church for centuries before the Sixteenth Century, save in the Mozarabic Rite, as well as (until the time of the post-Vatican II “reforms”) the unique EP of the Roman Church, and it seems to be that an EP conceived with the presumption of setting to right the presumed errors of the Church of Rome, the prima sedes and mater et magistra of all churches, is to act very much as Ham did towards his father, Noah, and with even less occasion to do so. Like Geoffrey Grimshaw Willis, I admire the Roman Canon for its unfathomable antiquity, as perhaps the oldest EP in continual use in Christendom, alongside that of Addai and Mari in the Semitic Christianity of the Catholic Chaldeans and the “Nestorian” Assyrians, the roots of which probably extend back into the Third Century or earlier. Of course, as a Ukrainian Catholic I cherish as well the marvelous, and typically Hellenistic, integration of form and content in those EPs such as those of St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. James of Jerusalem (possibly the work of St. Cyril of Jerusalem), and many others (most of them preserved in Syriac versions) which form one of the great glories of Christendom, and which were possibly the gift of the Church of Antioch, on the crossroads of the Hellenistic and Semitic worlds, to the Christian world — and which had so beneficent an impact on Anglican high-churchmen in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries, to whose work we must now turn.
The ill-fated Scottish Prayer Book of 1637, which occasioned the overthrow of episcopacy in Scotland in 1638 and began the process which culminated in the outbreak of civil war in England in 1642 and the temporary downfall of the monarchy there and the execution of King Charles I, rearranged the sequence of prayers around the eucharistic consecration in the 1559 English Prayer Book (the mild revisions of 1604 did not touch the Communion Service) to give a fuller, and more traditional looking, EP, although their wording was not altered. When episcopacy was restored in Scotland in 1661, the Prayer Book was not, and it was only after the reabolition of episcopacy in 1689 that, in the years immediately after 1700 the remaining Scottish Episcopalians began to adopt set liturgical forms, some of them the 1661 English Prayer Book service, others the 1637 service, and still others their own rearrangements or revisions of the 1637 service. In this they were influenced to a considerable degree by the liturgical revisions of the English Nonjurors, although the never went so far as the main body of the English Nonjurors, who in 1718 substituted for the 1661 Prayer book EP a translation of the long anaphora found in the Liturgy of St. James of Jerusalem. In 1764 a group of Scottish Episcopalian bishops produced a revised “Communion Office” whose use subsequently became general among Scottish Episcopalians. There were, however, a number of “English Chapels” in Scotland which were under the authority of the Church of England and followed the 1661 Prayer Book, and after these were transferred to the Scottish Episcopal Church from the 1840s onward a determined attempt was made to replace the 1764 Communion Office with that of the 1661 English liturgy as the normative one. The 1764 service was never abolished, but various canons enacted in 1863 and in force until 1912 effectively marginalized its use — but then the tide turned, and in 1929 the SEC adopted a Prayer Book, the EP of which was a moderate revision of that of 1764. This remains the official Prayer Book of the SEC, although since the 1970s it has effectively been replaced by a more anodyne set of “contemporary Anglican” style of services, issued in 1970 and 1982. Meanwhile, however, and as a result of the consecration of Samuel Seabury on November 14, 1784 by bishops of the SEC and of Seabury’s promise to attempt to secure the adoption of the 1764 Scottish Communion office as that of the the newly-formed Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, in 1789 the Episcopal Church adopted a modified version of that 1764 service — “modified,” it has to be said, in a more Protestant and “Cranmerian” direction — which, as modified in 1892 and 1928 (neither of these modifications affected the wording of the EP, although that of 1928 removed the “Prayer of Humble Access” from its position between the Sanctus and the Prayer of Consecration, where, following its position in the English 1661 rite, it had been placed in 1789 to a position after that Prayer and the immediately ensuing Lord’s Prayer; in the 1637 and 1764 Scottish rites, as in the English 1549 rite that Prayer also was positioned subsequently to the EP and Lord’s Prayer) remained the official rite of the Episcopal Church until 1979.
The texts of these three EPs can be found here:
for those who wish to consult or compare them at this point. What I will now do is to present excerpts from these three prayers, make a few comparative remarks, and then, as one rushing in as a fool where angels fear to tread, to produce a melded version of the 1764 and 1929 EPs which may seem to some suitable, and almost ideal for use in any Anglican Use liturgy. I will thereafter, in a subsequent post, go on to consider the EP of the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon” which has been used in the 1970s in some “Western Rite” parishes of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America, which affords a striking example, as I see it, of how not to do this sort of thing.
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