Mgr Andrew Burnham: Paper on Anglican Patrimony

9 07 2011

This paper was given by Monsignor Andrew Burnham, then Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet, at a conference held at Pusey House, Oxford, in November 2010, which considered the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus:

III. Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.  Anglicanorum cœtibus

There has been much speculation as to what constitutes ‘Anglican Patrimony’.  It is interesting that the word ‘patrimony’ occurs only once in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus, and only once in the set of norms governing the constitution.   In both cases the reference is to what should be part of the formation of ordinands. Anglican Patrimony, therefore, is not specifically to do with matters of liturgy, though, as we have seen from the quotation from the Constitution, maintaining ‘the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church’ would be ‘a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and…a treasure to be shared’.  Note here that these traditions are brought to the Catholic Church but note also that they are ‘a treasure to be shared’, those already Catholics, including those with no Anglican previous, are also to be the beneficiaries.

Anglican Patrimony

We have already had plenty of fun with Anglican Patrimony.  There was the occasion when the Principal of Pusey House met an Oratorian on Oxford Station.  ‘I’m waiting for my wife’, said Fr Baker. ‘Ah, your Anglican Patrimony’, said the Oratorian.  ‘Don’t you mean my Anglican Matrimony?’ said Fr Baker.  And then there was the Music List for St George-by-the-Gasworks with San Juan de Fagondez and Our Lady of Fatima, Dalston’, published in New Directions in April of this year.  What better for Palm Sunday Mass than Hummel, Schűtz, Allegri and Gesualdo?  Other examples of Anglican Patrimony in the week’s Music List were a Bruckner Mass, a Cherubini motet, the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, and Duruflé’s Ubi caritas.  One loses count of the number of times someone has quipped ‘Anglican Patrimony’ in various exotic circumstances of the kind found usually only in Anglo-catholic circles, the processing of the Christmas bambino on the humeral veil, the grating noise of the rattle on Good Friday.  But, as with any joke, there is always an underlying truth.  Anglican Patrimony has preserved things that continental aggiornamento perhaps prematurely discarded.

Beneath the humour about the colourful customs is the huge joke that, for many, at least as far as England is concerned, Anglican Patrimony – if by that we mean Anglo-catholic Patrimony – is a rather stylish imitation of ultramontane Catholicism, in ceremonial and text.  Moreover there is the slightly haughty feeling that one would be bringing back to the Latin Rite some of the things it should never have discarded and what it has ceased to do well.  There is often a rather unpleasant element of social class here.  Though Anglo-catholicism is justly proud of its care for the urban poor, ‘Father’ himself is often cultured and possessed of exquisite good taste, creating a liturgical ambience that readily evokes the beauty of holiness.  He has a vestment press complete with embroidered fiddlebacks wrapped in the proper kind of acid-free tissue paper, rescued from French sacristies, where Vatican II polyester is nowadays à la mode.  And insofar as Anglican Patrimony is something distinct from Anglo-catholic Patrimony, is it anything we are bothered about?  Change-ringing.  The flower rota.  The Old English surplice.  Hymns Ancient and Modern.   And much beloved by John Major, George Orwell’s ‘old maids, bicycling to Holy Communion through the morning mist.’

Some of the most intelligent exchanges about Anglican Patrimony have been that it is not really a liturgical thing, especially amongst those who make such extensive use of the Roman Missal.  Anglican Patrimony is more about a certain kind of spirituality, the subject of Fr Orford’s talk today, and about a pastoral method and way of relating to communities and neighbourhoods.  It is an ethos hard to define but easy to identify.  It is immediately obvious in cathedrals – and not only at Evensong – and in country churches, where even the small ads in the parish magazine indicate a kind of belonging, shared by those who use the church as a post office or recital room as well as by those who gather by the urn at the back after a 9.30 Communion on the first and third Sundays or a Fuzzy Felt Family Service on the second and fourth. Characteristic of these communities is not only their similarity, sociologically, but their discontinuity one with another.  There are very few of these churches to which anyone with a particular firm set of theological opinions could go.  Contrast that with, say, France where, despite the breakdown of the parish system and despite the widespread eucharistic famine, there is a consistency about what is on offer – when, that is, it is on offer.  In short, Anglican Patrimony is nothing like as reliable as a franchise, where one knows what to expect at Costa Coffee, or Roadchef, Marks and Spencer’s ‘Simply Food’, or Waitrose.  And, of course, just as the predictable outlets do well, and the hasty conversion of a redundant Little Chef outlet into some one-off diner, offering unusual fare, tends to do badly, so it is the very idiosyncrasy of the Anglican product from place to place that most impedes its growth and success.

The Divine Office

So what do we bring to the feast?  I am quite deliberately leaving out detailed consideration of the Book of Divine Worship, itself a compilation based on the American Prayer Books of 1928 and 1979, approved in 1983 and published in book form in 2003.  For one thing, there is no time now to look at the liturgical treasures of the whole Anglican Communion.  For another, the Scottish-American Prayer Book trajectory, of which the American 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the most influential of recent products, has already had a profound influence on what Rome thinks of as the Anglican Use through the Book of Divine Worship, and we need at this point to emphasise the English Prayer Book trajectory, partly for balance’ sake and partly because the English tradition is fundamental to Anglican Patrimony.  So, as far as this study is concerned, therefore, we are confining ourselves almost entirely to England.

It ought to be self-evident that none of the orders for Holy Communion orders will quite do: at the heart of each one of them is a eucharistic prayer – where there is a complete eucharistic prayer, that is – that inadequately expresses Catholic eucharistic doctrine.  This is a topic to which we shall return.  It is equally evident that, within the communion Orders, are some riches which we must bring with us.  Other riches are hardly controversial.  There is a place for a lightly revised version of Cranmer’s Morning and Evening Prayer.  There is a place too for the Coverdale Psalter and for the traditional methods of performing it, if not Briggs and Frere’s Manual of Plainsong, then Anglican chant in the workaday style of the Parish Psalter or the more high-flown pointing and setting of the English choral tradition.  The Book of Common Prayer has a fine Litany too and we bring with us a register of language that is complemented best, amongst the bible translations, by the Revised Standard Version and, where it is not being so politically correct as to distort the original, the New Revised Standard Version.   So, let us look first at the Divine Office.

My own view is that we probably gave up too easily on what I have outlined here, the Divine Office in the Prayer Book tradition.  The generation of clergy before me used Cranmer’s Morning and Evening Prayer, recited the psalter in full monthly, and worked their way systematically through the Bible.   As Fr Hunwicke assures us, the 1922 Lectionary, revised for the 1928 Prayer Book, and then refined in 1961, constitutes a very fine set of readings, deeply rooted in the Western lectio continua tradition of St Benedict and the Breviary.  The 1960s evinced a desire for modernisation and variety, and though Alternative Services First Series (1966) brought little change, by 1970, Alternative Services Second Series Revised brought not only variety but such innovations as the swapping of Benedictus and Te Deum at Morning Prayer, and even the relegation of Benedictus and Magnificat to one of a series of canticle options at Morning and Evening Prayer respectively.  I remember Dr William Oddie, then Librarian of Pusey House, emerging from Morning Prayer at the Loughborough Congress of 1983 and snorting that he had never before been at a celebration of Morning Prayer at which the Benedictus was omitted.  By then – 1983 – the culture of choice was in full swing and it was necessary to offer the conference members different versions of the Divine Office, according to their disposition and temperament.   From now on psalm cycles became more leisurely, lectionaries more varied, celebrations shorter and, crucially, ‘common prayer’ – the sense of everyone doing the same thing at the same time – lost.   Once I was ordained, I found myself, like other priests, increasingly drawn to the sense of communality held and expressed in the Liturgy of the Hours and, of course, the fashion for modernisation and a very real ecumenical optimism about ARCIC made the decision of Anglo-catholics of the day to adopt the vernacular of the Roman Liturgy, for Mass and the Divine Office, despite its discontinuity with the tradition of English liturgical text, entirely understandable.

One factor in the desertion of the Church of England Office was the manifest unsatisfactoriness of its modern versions.  Series II had introduced a miscellany of canticles, so that it felt more like a particular selection of stories, songs and prayers than the shared Office of the Church.  This was even more so the case with the modern language, Series III, form, which became the Office of the Alternative Service Book 1980, the ASB.  By now it was not only Anglo-catholics who regarded the Church of England as having taken a wrong turn.  The hugely popular Celebrating Common Prayer, 1992, a co-operative venture of the Society of St Francis and the Church of England Liturgical Commission, functioned as an Anglican equivalent of the Roman Office, a sloughing off of the idiosyncrasies of ASB.  That, in turn, paved the way for Common Worship Daily Prayer, 2005.  These essentially monastic forms, despite their similarity to Liturgia Horarum, have not found their way into the knapsack of many of those who are likely to enter an Ordinariate.  One reason is that those interested in the Roman journey have long been accustomed, as we have seen, to using the Roman Office.  Another is that there are some elephant traps in the Common Worship forms.  Psalms 1, 15, 24 and 112 in the Hebrew numbering all replace the reference to the righteous man with a plural or gender-unspecific reference.  This weakens the Christocentric focus of the Psalter and, for some traditional Catholics, consigns an otherwise interesting and resonant modernisation of Coverdale to the dung-heap.   It is worth saying, however, that some of these consensual judgments – visceral verdicts by alienated Anglo-catholics – are based more on culture than scholarship.  The attempt to introduce The Revised Psalter, a light reworking of Coverdale, in 1966 won the support of the clergy – indeed it was used for the next forty years for Evensong at St Stephen’s House, whether or not ordinands realised it – but was rejected by the cathedral musicians.  The same Anglo-catholics who took to The Revised Psalter also took to the Grail Psalter 1963 but rejected Frost-Macintosh Liturgical Psalter of 1977, which was embedded in the ASB 1980 and one assumes that that rejection too was not based on textual criticism.  When it comes to modern Anglican liturgical patrimony, Anglo-catholics have their own version of the Nathanael syndrome: ‘Can anything good come out of Church House?’ (cf John 1:46)  The answer of course to that is yes – whenever Nazareth is rooted in that which transcends it – and the answer, therefore, is that there may be aspects of modern Anglican liturgical patrimony which are translatable.

On the subject of the Divine Office, one might also mention some of the riches which we may have left behind us along the way.  When I look at The Anglican Breviary containing the Divine Office according to the General Usages of the Western Church put into English in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer , the work of learned twentieth century American Anglo-catholics, I can scarcely believe that it was published as recently as 1955 (and my copy in a 1998 reprint).  Here roughly speaking, is the pre-conciliar breviary of the secular clergy, in the privileged register of Cranmerian English.  There are some awkward moments – I am not sure I could say with a straight face ‘May the Gospel’s holy lection be our safeguard and protection’ as one of the benedictions at Matins requires one to do – but most of it is very edifying.  No less impressive are the Matins volume of the Monastic Breviary and the Monastic Diurnal, originally published by Oxford University Press in this country and lovingly reprinted in the States.  It must have been quite a big decision for our religious communities forty years ago to leave behind St Benedict in Cranmerian register and head in the direction of revised Offices, Anglican and Roman.

The Divine Office exists to meet the needs of solo recitation – whether the solitary cleric or the lay oblate – and of monastic communities.  It also exists to meet the needs of other congregations – the small gathering of the weekday faithful and the larger, more occasional groups that may gather for Sunday Vespers or Cathedral Evensong.    If we divide these two groups into, on the one hand, the professional religious and, on the other, the laity, it is self-evident that the Latin Breviary tradition provides more adequately for the former and the Anglican, Prayer Book tradition for the latter.  It ought also to be obvious that it is the second group that is impoverished if we lose the corporate Office tradition of the Book of Common Prayer.

When we get to the end of this survey we shall go to the shopping basket and see what we might want to take to the checkout but, for now, let us look at an entirely different area of Anglican liturgical patrimony, the Pastoral Offices.

Pastoral Offices

Partly to shorten the discussion – though you may wish to take me up on this later – I should say, with regard to the rites of initiation, that there is little to bring with us.  It is not often that people are nostalgic for Prayer Book Baptism – though we do sometimes have to remind Evangelicals that the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is implicit in that rite and that, however reluctant they are to bless inanimate objects things, the water of Baptism is blessed.  Nor have the modern rites of Baptism – ASB or Common Worship – won undying loyalty.  We might comb through the resources for the occasional nugget but it seems to me that the Prayer Book rite is too remote from our culture and the modern rites insufficiently winsome for us to look here for Anglican Patrimony.  The unsuitability of these Prayer Book rites – if we are pressed for a more exact analysis – is not the prayers but the exhortations.  Regular users of the Prayer Book have long ceased to read out the exhortations in the Communion Office.  This is surely because, however content we are to talk to God in Tudor English – and personally I am very content to do that formally – there are risks of unreality and, indeed, comprehension if we start talking to each other in that way.  What is true of Baptism is true of Confirmation, however close the Prayer Book rite is to the Sarum Use.  Common Worship Confirmation – I speak with ten years’ experience of confirming – is prolix and wordy and many inner-urban parishes have used some of the simpler provision of the Roman Rite – saying ‘I do’  to the Baptismal Creed in interrogative form, for instance, rather than reciting the three sections of the Apostles’ Creed.  The use of the Roman Rite for initiation in the Ordinariate would make the point that this is Catholic initiation and that is helpful for other reasons.

Weddings and funerals are a different matter.  The congregations here are often not regular churchgoers and, as with the modern Lord’s Prayer, it is a profound mistake to undermine what is still vestigially present within the public culture in traditional form.  For that reason one would hope that a version of the Prayer Book Marriage and Burial Services would endure.  The Series I forms, the light reworking of the 1928 Prayer Book material, have been reauthorized at every stage and here, at least, is the basis for something to preserve Anglican Patrimony within an Ordinariate dispensation.  Something similar might be said about ministry to the sick: only an insensitive pastor would read something novel to dying Doris after a lifetime of Prayer Book Communions.    Again one would question whether Common Worship Marriage and Funeral services were well-enough established, or sufficiently strong in themselves, as orders of service, to be regarded as vital parts of the Anglican knapsack.  But as with Baptism and Confirmation, we might want to do a bit of cherry-picking: there are some fine resources here.

Traditional and Contemporary Forms

Throughout this discussion there has been reference to traditional and contemporary forms.   The problem with traditional forms is that, all too often, they have fallen into disuse and become unknown – and seem strange to – our contemporaries, even those trained in theological colleges.   The problem with modern forms is that, even where they are well-established Anglican usage, they have often been ignored by English Anglo-catholics, who, for the last forty years, have looked instead to the modern Roman Rite in English.  One Anglican parish in South London even fills in its marriage register with the information that the couple have been married according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church.

We need to distinguish not just between traditional and contemporary forms – which is what, broadly speaking, we are confronted with when we look at the Divine Office and the Pastoral Offices – but also between traditional and contemporary language.   The language issue can throw the argument: the choice between traditional and contemporary forms might be made simply on linguistic grounds.  I don’t like ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and archaic sentence structure, so I shall offer modern language Vespers in place of Prayer Book Evensong.  Or, to a wedding couple, do you want the old-fashioned service or the modern language one?  We need to be aware of how this prejudice plays out and affects outcomes which are about more than language.

With the Eucharist there is particular complexity.  The Liturgical Commission which produced Common Worship, and on which I served did us all the service – though I claim no credit for this idea – of distinguishing not between ‘Rite A’ and Rite B’ – as in ASB – but between ‘Order One’ and ‘Order Two’.  ‘Rite A’ had been in modern language, with lots of options: ‘Rite B’, with fewer options, had been an attenuated version of ‘Rite A’ in traditional language.   Common Worship recognised that the choice of language register does not affect what is grandly called ‘rite’ and ought more properly to be called ‘order’.     Thus ‘Order One’ is the ecumenically-agreed shape with eucharistic prayer and is available in both modern and traditional language.  ‘Order Two’ is the Protestant shape of the Prayer Book, reflecting some of the concerns of the continental Reformers who were fearful of ‘the sacrifice of masses’, and likewise is available in both modern and traditional language.  En passant one should observe that ASB had also made this Protestant shape available but as a deviation from the norm: ‘Rite A’ had an appendix, allowing the service to continue after section 22 with ‘the Order following the pattern of the Book of Common Prayer’.  There was no need for such provision in ‘Rite B’ because the Prayer Book itself provided the traditional language way of doing things.  But our point here is that different Orders – different forms – should not be distinguished merely by language register but by shape, content, and doctrine.  There is an indifferentism in these areas – or, at best, a studied ambiguity – which is particularly characteristic of the flawed genius of the Church of England, described by Aidan Nichols in The Panther and the Hind.

We may wish to identify the riches of Anglican Patrimony by language register – here a traditional language Prayer of Humble Access, there one of David Frost’s masterly compositions for Series III – but there are a couple of bigger decisions to be made first.  The first decision is whether, in the era of a new Roman Catholic vernacular, in the wake of the fifth instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments ‘for the right implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council’, published in 2001 and known as Liturgiam authenticam, there is room for more than one set of modern language texts.  My provisional answer to that is, broadly: there should not usually be duplicate modern language translations of euchological texts.   One can think of exceptions: the collect at Lauds on Monday of Week Two in Ordinary Time is recognisable as the third collect for Book of Common Prayer Morning Prayer.  If one wanted to use that, day by day, for Morning Prayer in modern language, one might be better served by the version Common Worship gives for Wednesday Morning Prayer than by any Breviary version, past, present, or to come.

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you that you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day. Keep us from falling into sin or running into danger; order us in all our doings and guide us to do always what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Perfect: like a Tudor manor house with modern wiring, heating and plumbing.

Again, supposing one could overcome the inclusive language problems of Psalms 1, 15, 24 and 112 in the Common Worship version, one might want to use the Common Worship Psalter as the psalter for a modern language Anglican Use Office, in place of the Revised Grail Psalter which, whatever its excellences comes from a different tradition of translation.  These, however, are exceptions to what I think would be the rule: that there should be only one set of modern language texts for the Latin Rite, the riches of the Anglican Use notwithstanding.

The second decision to be made before deciding whether to identify the riches of Anglican Patrimony by language register is whether the Anglican Use of the Eucharist would be the outworking of either or both of the Extraordinary and Ordinary Form of the Roman Mass with Anglican filigree or whether the Anglican Use would constitute a tertia quid, a third Form.  One could argue that those who have been using the American Book of Divine Worship have been using a tertia quid, a third Form, whereas English Anglo-catholics once opted for the Extraordinary Form – the English Missal – and nowadays opt for the Ordinary Form, the Missa normativa, lightly embellished by such Anglican material as pastoral reasons necessitate.  To some extent this is a matter of definition and the tertia quid of the Book of Divine Worship is far from being the only possibility when it comes to constructing an Anglican Use Order.   My own view is that the Anglican Use would be a distinctive but not a divergent Use and that, as regards the Ordinary Form, it should not be unnecessarily different.  We’ll come back to that but let us look, first, at the issue of the Extraordinary Form.

The Extraordinary Form

The particular question of the Extraordinary Form is complicated by three factors.  First, neither the English Missal nor the Anglican Missal is from what Anglicanorum cœtibus calls ‘liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition’.  They may have been lawful in Korea and Masasi but they were never ‘proper’, that is lawful, liturgical books in England.  Against that it should be said that some of this material is very fine, those who produced it were not simply rebels but priests who believed passionately that the Western Rite was the patrimony of English Catholics, a patrimony impeded by politics, and that its vernacular form was a fruit not of the Reformation so much as a natural flowering of the development of languages and literacy, accelerated by the invention of the printing press.  According to this view, the insistence of the Roman Church for a further four hundred and fifty years on the ubiquity of Latin was a defence against the theological constructs which had been built on the use of the vernacular and the particular theologies embodied in vernacular liturgy.   This argument was turned upside down at the Second Vatican Council, when permission to use the vernacular was judged by many a necessary device for catechesis and proclamation of the Faith.

The second complicating question, when we look at the Extraordinary Form and Anglican Patrimony, is therefore whether the Extraordinary Form ought lawfully to be celebrated in the vernacular.   This is an a priori question for the Holy See and the most obvious answer is ‘no’.   The introduction of the vernacular was an innovation of the Ordinary Form and the use of the vernacular – the extent of which is itself controversial – one of the most obvious changes.  Even if we plead the hermeneutic of continuity, that then points more obviously to the revival of Latin than to the invention of a vernacular form of the pre-conciliar rite.   But this argument too is not straight forward: the history of Byzantine liturgy, including the liturgy of Eastern Catholic Churches, is notable over centuries for the gradual introduction of different languages.  These liturgical vernaculars often measure up to ‘the Greek and Latin liturgical dialects… deliberately created ’, according to Christine Mohrmann, ‘as archaic and sacred languages’.  Mohrmann is quoted by John Hunwicke and labelled by him a ‘great mystagogue’.[1]  Fr Hunwicke goes on to claim that the classical language of Anglicanism – Cranmer, the Authorised Version, the English Missal, the translations of John Mason Neale and Ronald Knox’s translation of the Exsultet and other Holy Week material – measures up to Christine Mohrmann’s understanding of an archaic, sacral vernacular.  Following that argument, the translation of the Latin Extraordinary Form into sacral English might be no less significant ultimately than, and every bit as justifiable as, the translation of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom from Greek into Old Church Slavonic, the language in which the Eastern liturgy is nowadays most often celebrated.

The third complicating question is about the advisability of reviving what has become obsolete: the English Missal is scarcely used now in England; if there were a principled argument for reviving what is obsolete, the issue might be not whether the English Missal is revived but whether after nearly 500 years the Sarum Use should be restored.  In either case the phrase ‘Anglican Patrimony’ is being used in a highly specialised way: we are talking about forms which very few people – English or Anglican – have ever encountered.  Again there is a counter-argument: just as the Latin Mass – in whatever form – appeals nowadays to many too young to remember pre-conciliar masses, so a revived English Missal or Sarum Use might attract – and even nourish – a whole new generation of worshippers.

Before moving on to a consideration of the Ordinary Form we might gather up these Extraordinary Form issues into a general proposition.  The proposition is this: though it would be foolhardy to major on the Extraordinary Form in English or to judge prematurely whether the Sarum Use should be the particular variant of the Extraordinary Form, at least in England, there needs to be some scope – some liturgical opportunity – an abbey or a cathedral – where all this can be tested.   There is no hurry here: nothing is lost by waiting for a while, until the Ordinariates have found their feet, and acquired the necessary abbeys and cathedrals.  In the Roman Catholic Church in England there have been signs of panic these last three years, since the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was issued, at the introduction of Extraordinary Form masses in Latin – though, in truth, there have not been so many of them.  A more measured approach to liturgical variety is necessary: only with that measured approach will it become clear what future there might be – or should be – for the Extraordinary Form in English in general and the Sarum Use in particular.

The Ordinary Form

We move back now to the Ordinary Form.  The Ordinary Form too leads to certain necessary questions: having established that, broadly, there would be no need for – and much confusion caused by – another English version at the side of the latest vernacular translation, Anglican Patrimony must mean at least the inclusion of certain prayers, ‘the Missa normativa, lightly embellished by such Anglican material as pastoral reasons necessitate’.  Mark Woodruff reminds us that it is more than that: it includes, at the very least, a musical solemnisation by way of a skilled and integrated use of hymnody.[2]  The Anglican Parish Communion, in this sense, owes as much to Martin Luther and Charles Wesley as it does to the twentieth century Catholic Liturgical Movement.   Hymns have been used to supplement inadequate eucharistic texts (‘Wherefore, O Father’), to teach eucharistic theology (‘And now, O Father, mindful’), and to induce reverence and reduce conversation amongst congregations queuing for communion (‘Let all mortal flesh keep silence’).  Hymns have done duty for propers – metrical psalms, seasonal and scriptural texts – and been used to achieve the trumpets and timpani feel of a grand liturgy where there are no grand resources:  ‘Hail thee, festival day’, ‘Jesus Christ is risen today’, ‘Lo! He comes with clouds descending’.   To this must be added the congregational rendering of the Ordinary: the Martin Shaw Gloria and the Merbecke Creed have been a very Anglican way of doing things and, however often it has been reprinted in Catholic hymn books, the success of the Dom Gregory Murray People’s Mass has been not least because it became, at least for these times (though hopefully for not too much longer), a modern Merbecke.  What we have nearly lost – and in my view must urgently recover – is an engagement with plainsong, the plainsong Ordinary of the Mass, some simple plainsong propers, some of the more obvious treasures – the Advent Prose, the Lent Prose, the plainsong passion on Good Friday, the Easter Sequence, the Prayer Book Litany at Rogationtide.

The Calendar

Our last topic, necessarily brief, is precisely the way the seasons unfold, not just musically but liturgically: how the Calendar is ordered.  It would be eccentric to suggest either that Anglican worthies, for whom no canonisation process has been possible, should survive into an Ordinariate Calendar.  Such heroes of the faith may inspire intercessions (Wilberforce and slavery), or spiritual reading (from an anthology such as Love’s Redeeming Work) but they have not been raised to the altars.  There is, nonetheless, not only a national Calendar to be observed – and the Catholic National Calendar is there for that – but also an Ordinariate one, the Calendar of the local church.  At this point we have time to look at only one topic and to ask the question: is there a continuing place for the Calendar of the Book of Common Prayer?   By that one does not mean, so much, the timing of St Matthias or St Thomas as the way the Sundays of the year of Ordinary Time are treated and how they interact with feasts of apostles.  At least for the Divine Office, the incomparable treasury of Prayer Book Collects ought to be preserved, together with such by-ways of the year as the ‘-gesima’ Sundays and the Pentecost Octave.  It is surely Anglican Patrimony too for Sunday congregations to continue to encounter red letter saints’ days on what would otherwise be green Sundays.  Might not the Ordinariate be a place where some reining-back on the 1970s reforms might be field tested, as part of the ongoing ‘reform of the reform’?  I say this not out of nostalgia for the old but with hope for the revitalisation of the new: how often do modern Catholics bump into ‘B-list’ apostles?

So, let’s go to the shopping basket and find what is there, and what I am slipping in from the goodies temptingly arrayed alongside the checkout.    First the frozen food.  There is work to be done on the Extraordinary Form – whether the English Missal or the Sarum Use and on the Anglican versions of the Breviary – but this should be done slowly, possibly over many years and be introduced where it propitiously can, without choking the life of ordinary parishes, where it will not usually be appropriate, at least in the foreseeable future.  Many parishes indeed will home in on the Roman Rite, in modern translation, and Anglican Patrimony will be much more about how things are done than on what is to be used.

Where Anglican resources are to be used, and, to be frank, I am not sure whether any of this will be at all widespread in England, at least to start with, so deeply have Anglo-catholics bought into the Roman Rite in English, we can foresee a continuing indebtedness to the Prayer Book, the tinned food section.   Morning and Evening Prayer, the Coverdale Psalter, as variously performed, and the Litany, sung to plainsong, will find a place.   Particularly important will be Evensong, as in Evensong and Benediction.  We might also include Compline, in traditional language, and, to avoid repeating Nunc dimittis, the New Testament canticles from the Divine Office, for use after the Second Lesson when Compline is to be used later.  This might all be serviced by a Calendar not too different seasonally from the Prayer Book, by Cranmer’s Collects, and by the 1961 Lectionary.  For weddings and funerals, a version of Series I, itself a version of 1928, would be available.  For Mass, the Ordinary Form of the Anglican Use would include some of the prayers from the Anglican treasury – what I have referred to as filigree – and the manner of celebration (the singing of the priest’s parts and of the Gospel, restored propers, decent settings of the Ordinary, including plainsong, and sophisticated hymnody).  For Mass, as for the Divine Office, the Revised Standard Version – or, where it is reliable, the New Revised Standard Version – would be read.

Movingly lastly to the fresh food section, the highly perishable produce on the shelves of Common Worship.    Some of it, such as the ‘Times and Seasons’ book, is of very variable quality, but there are undoubtedly here, and in similar volumes – such as ‘Pastoral Services’ – some of the fruits of Anglican Patrimony which are ours to pluck, take home, and cook.   For those who find Coverdale’s language burdensome, the Common Worship Psalter might be permitted, at the Office and at Mass, with the Christological focus restored to psalms 1, 15, 24 and 112.   It is an open question whether, alongside the traditional collects, which we have already squirreled away, we might have the Common Worship modern language set, which have been derided for their faux-heritage style but which undoubtedly bring some of the comeliness of the original into modern liturgy.

I am going to end with a prayer.  It is from After the Third Collect, a Mowbrays  anthology of fifty years ago.  That kind of anthology, for that kind of praying – extra prayers at the end of the Prayer Book Office – is part of our Anglican Patrimony.  As is the author of this prayer, Lancelot Andrewes, 1555-1626, one of the Caroline Divines and a great favourite of the present pope.  The prayer itself, I hope, is not inappropriate:

O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever.


[1] ‘Patrimony?’ in ed. Woodruff,  The Messenger of the Catholic League, No. 292, April-August 2010, p.218

[2] ‘Hymns: the Sound of Communion’ in ed. Woodruff,  The Messenger of the Catholic League, No. 292, April-August 2010, p.241


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