Christine Mohrmann wanted the development of sacred, hieratic vernaculars; Aidan Nichols envisaged the diffusion of the EF Mass in just such 'high verbnacular'. Anglicans will be panting to point out that Anglicanism developed just such a sacral vernacular in the sixteenth century; and that the English Missal, the Altar Book of Anglican Catholics before they unwisely dumped it to follow slavishly post-conciliar RC liturgy, provides just what Fr Aidan says he wants.
The sixteenth century was a propitious age; liturgical Latin had owed a fair bit of its genius to the Roman passion for legal precision and completeness - and Tudor English had many of the same characteristics. So, if the Canon of the Mass could talk of haec dona, haec munera, haec sancta sacrifucia illibata, Cranmer, a Protestant with a Protestant agenda, could write of a full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction. How distant was his theology from the patristic theology of the ancient Canon; yet how close his style! A great Anglican mystagogue, Dom Gregory Dix - let us hope that he is enjoying Chridstine Mohrmann's company on that further shore - who was an Anglican and yet said the ancient Latin words of the Missa Romana most of the days of his priestly life, hit the nail upon the the head when wrote about the Sunday collects of the Roman Rite that " they are lovely things, grave, melodious and thoughtful, and compact with evangelical doctrine - characteristic products of the liturgical genius of Rome in the fifth and sixth centuries. Cranmer's reputation as a writer of english prose largely rests on his translations of some seventy of these prayers ... And rightly so, for his are among the very best translations ever made, and his products when he is not working on a Latin original are not always so happy". Only the occasional phrase from the Canon survived the Zwinglian prism of Cranmer's mind, but how those survivors whet one's appetite: not weighing our merits but pardoning our offences for "non aestimator meriti sed veniae ... largitor". And if It is very meet right and our bounden duty is not quite a literal translation of "Vere dignum et iustum est", how exquisitely it echoes the majestic syllables with which the Roman Rite begins the Great Eucharistic Prayer.