A Poll of Our British Audience

It has been suggested that since the majority of Anglo-Catholics in Britain, having used the English Missal while the Tridentine Rite prevailed, and having followed Rome's lead in adopting the Missal of Pope Paul VI in its rather banal and unfaithful English translation, Anglo-Catholics in England, Scotland, and Wales have become accustomed to modern liturgical language and quite a bit detached from the Prayer-Book tradition (insofar as the Eucharistic rite is concerned, at least).  So this poll is for inhabitants of Great Britain only.

If you are a resident of England, Scotland, or Wales, which style of liturgical language would you prefer to prevail in the Ordinariates?

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Four Liturgical Forms

Fr. Hunwicke has authored this piece as part of the joint discussion between The New Liturgical Movement and The Anglo-Catholic regarding the future of Anglican liturgy in the personal ordinariates to be erected under Anglicanorum Coetibus.

I would observe that a number of Anglican altar missals similar to the English Missal were produced up until about 1960.  In the Anglican Church in America, the USA province of the TAC, two books in particular are widely used.  The first is the so-called Anglican Missal in the American Edition, a product of the Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation.  The other is the American Missal, printed by the Society of St. John the Evangelist (the Cowley Fathers).  Both of these would be comparable to the English/Knott Missal.  While our English Anglo-Catholic brethren have largely abandoned the English Missal for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (or another modern hybrid), the Anglican Missal remains par for the course in North American parishes.

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Four Liturgical Forms

by Fr. John Hunwicke, SSC
Parish Priest of St. Thomas the Martyr, Oxford

Some things about the Eucharistic worship of the Ordinariates are already clear. Since Ordinariate clergy will be part of the Roman Rite, they will be able lawfully to use the Ordinary Form in a translation which will have received the recognitio of the Holy See – and I am of course thinking of the new ICEL translation of the Roman Rite. Doubtless many will use this rite, since (particularly in England) very many Anglican Catholic clergy have in the past used the OF. Those who adhered to more 'Anglican' forms – the Alternative Service Book or Common Worship – commonly used Anglican rites in modern English so that they could deftly graft into them Roman elements.

As clergy of the Roman Rite, Ordinariate clergy will also lawfully be able to make use of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. This may surprise some Roman Catholics. There are those who have been nervous that the Ordinariate scheme would mean that some dubious semi-Protestants would be squeezing into full communion with the Holy See. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amid the diversity with which Roman Catholics are familiar, Anglican Catholic clergy are very much within what you might call the New Liturgical Movement end of the spectrum. I myself use the Extraordinary Form most mornings of the week. Since I feel that the disadvantages of being out of full Communion with the Holy See are so painful that there must be some little compensation available to comfort me, I use the Roman Rite, not according to the books of 1962, but as it was at the beginning of the Pontificate of Pius XII. I suppose that if I am admitted to the presbyterate of an Ordinariate, I shall have to come into line with the 1962 liturgical books, but it will be with some regret that I abandon those Octaves and Vigils and Commemorations and Last Gospels and so on.

So that's the two Forms of the Roman Rite. A third, in my view, should be the OF liturgical books provided in an English which is either taken from the Book of Common Prayer (where Cranmer was translating Latin originals) or translated into English of the same style. Half a century ago, the great Christine Mohrmann argued that the Mass should not be translated into vernaculars because modern European languages lacked sacred vernaculars. She demonstrated that liturgical Latin, far from being adopted in order to give Latin speakers a liturgy they could understand, was an intentionally hieratic and sacral dialect, based upon pagan liturgical formulae going back hundreds of years. So, she felt, a similar archaic and sacral dialect was the only appropriate vernacular form which should be given to the Roman Rite. Mohrmann was dead right – except about one detail. There was one European language which did have a sacral dialect venerable with centuries of use: English, as it was used in Anglican worship. It was one of the great tragedies of the post-Conciliar period that Roman Catholics ignored this precious and beautiful heritage; and that so many Anglicans followed suit.

Finally, I believe that it would be valuable for the Holy See to authorise the English Missal, which provides the 'Tridentine' Rite with those parts of it audible to the people translated into Cranmerian English. For half a century, millions of Anglican Catholics worshipped with this rite before the Conciliar changes. Where Cranmer did translate a Latin formula, the English Missal uses his version; where biblical texts appear, they are adapted from the Authorised Version of the Bible; other euchological elements are rendered into English in the same style. This is what I, and many of my generation, were brought up with, and my love for it is second only to my love for the Latin original. There are still hundreds of copies of this book in Anglican Catholic sacristies all over England; dusty perhaps, but just crying to be brought back into use. There may have been clergy who used English forms of the Sarum Rite, but, if so, their numbers were minuscule. It is the English Missal which was – and is – our Patrimony.

That's four forms of the Roman Rite. I firmly believe we should resist calls for 'museum' rites: Sarum, 1549 or the Non-jurors, and should stick to what is manifestly mainstream in the modern Catholic Church (the OF and EF) in forms which either are consistent with the new ICEL texts or which draw upon the linguistic and stylistic liturgical Patrimony of Anglican Catholicism during its glory days. By so doing, I feel that we shall not only be providing for the nostalgia of our own people, but also providing an enrichment of the liturgical spiritualities available to all Catholics. I believe we should be aiming much higher than merely at being a chaplaincy for ex-Anglicans. There is a vacuum out there which we could help to fill.

Attachment to Prayer Book Language

At our recent bishops' conference, a distinguished foreign visitor naughtily questioned what he supposed to be an irrational attachment on the part of his North American coreligionists to the outmoded style of language found in the traditional Book of Common Prayer.  It seems that the modern Church of England, in producing this literary gem in honor of the upcoming General Election, has demonstrated once again why so many of our people cling so tenaciously to Cranmer's English!

Loving God

Thank you for caring about how our country is run, and that we have the right to vote for our politicians and government.

But in the run-up to this general election there are so many policies to understand, and so many different points of view to consider –

sometimes I wonder whether there's any point in voting, whether anyone cares what I think.

As I choose who I am going to vote for,

help me not to be cynical about politics and politicians,

help me to remember that my vote can make a difference,

and help me vote for those people who will protect the poor and vulnerable, and do all they can to make our nation a place of fairness and peace.

Because you call us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God.


The Language of Canaan

This article was submitted to The Anglo-Catholic by Fr. Michael Gray of The Traditional Anglican Church, the English province of the TAC.

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The question of the language of worship has been raised recently. This is not just an issue for English speakers, but of course if amongst any Western Rite Roman Catholics the transition from Latin to local language has been well managed, then we thank God. However, it is notorious that there have been problems with English, and it is only fair to explain the special sensitivities which Continuing Anglicans have about the subject. It is to some extent necessary to write from personal expertise, so I should explain that my first degree was in Greek and Latin, and my second and third degrees gave me some knowledge, not as much as I might like, of Hebrew, Aramaic and other early Christian languages.

Up to the 1960s, there was in most English speaking countries one liturgical language, which can be summarised as that of the Prayer Book and Authorised Version. Hymns usually conformed to that language. Even where later translations of the Bible were in use (and neither the Revised Version nor the Revised Standard Version penetrated parish worship very much), these generally conformed to the liturgical language. And the “English Missal” tradition also conformed to it.

Continue reading "The Language of Canaan"

Ecclesiastical Sundries

"And now, it is asked, will a result be achieved in the discussions with Rome, will we soon have an agreement? Frankly, sincerely, speaking in human terms, we do not see such an agreement in view. What does an agreement mean? On what are we in agreement? On the fact that only through the Church we find the means of salvation? …

"This does not mean abandoning truth in order to find a middle way, absolutely not; yes, in human terms, we will not reach an agreement, the way we see things, [the talks] do not serve any purpose, in human terms. Yet, when we speak of the Church, we do not speak in human terms, we speak of a supernatural reality to which Our Lord promised that it would not fail, against which the gates of hell would not prevail. And, therefore, even if we face a difficult and contradictory reality, we know that events are in God's hands, He who has the means to put things in order. It would be proper to recall that to talk and to debate is necessary, but it is not enough: when one talks about saving souls, when one considers how God rescued the Church from other crises it faced through the centuries, we see that holiness is that with which He renews and heals the Church. Without grace, and remaining solely at the level of men, all is lost from the beginning. All of us, as Catholics, must, therefore, act, advancing in grace, in the love of God, in charity."

  • The Kirk is miffed at the Holy Father's address to the Scottish Bishops. In his address, the Holy Father referred to "the great rupture with Scotland’s Catholic past that occurred four hundred and fifty years ago" and linked Scotland's history of sectarianism to the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation.  Some Scottish Presbyterians are eager to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the Reformation.  Donald Gorrie, the former Liberal MSP and a Kirk elder for forty years, said:

I think this (the Pope's remarks) contributes to the difficulties. One of the difficulties in persuading either the Church of Scotland or the government to celebrate the Reformation as it deserves is that it will be seen as being sectarian and triumphalist and anti-Catholic. In fact, it is a good opportunity to celebrate the Reformation by ecumenical type services to show how far we've come.

Och, it's unbelievable that anyone would think that the Protestant Reformation was sectarian and anti-Catholic!