3 October 2009

What you want is the English Missal

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.

17 comments:

rev'd up said...

I also like the American Missal (originally published by Morehouse 1931, republished by Earle Maddux 1951). It makes an handsome alternative to the English Missal (better kalendar, pre-55 Holy Week, "Gaudeamus" Assumption Mass, Mass of the Five Wounds, all of S Benedict's Masses, etc.). The crippling deficiency of the American Missal is its lack of the Roman Canon. This deficiency can be overcome through clever use of a copy machine. I look forward to and anticipate someone reprinting this excellent Missal with the Roman Canon included.

Independent said...

Precisely Fr H, no one could state the case better.

William Tighe said...

As I may have mentioned previously, here or elsewhere I cannot now recall, those of us attending the "Anglican Use" conference in Houston in June of this year were informed by one of the speakers that "Rome" (which in the context seemed to mean "Pope Benedict and those whom he has taken into his confidence on the matter") regards the Book of Divine Worship which embodies the current Anglican Use of the Roman Rite as in need of revision. The speaker instanced the removal of the modern "inclusive language" alternative psalter it contains, alongside the Coverdale version, and even the removal of the "contemporary English" Rite II. His suggestion was that a group of Anglican Use clergy and others prepare a revision for submission to Rome, and take the English Missal and/or the American Missal as their starting point for their revision, alongside the BDW of course.

I have heard recently, albeit at third hand, that the process is well under way, and that "Rome" has requested its submission by December 15 of this year.

William Tighe said...

I should add that we were also told that there is little likelihood, now or in the foreseeable future, that "Rome" will ever approve the creation of an Anglican Rite "ecclesia sui juris," as "Rome" sees the Church of England and its offshoots as within the ambit of the Latin Church -- and, moreover, that it views the purpose of the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite to serve as a particular instance (or example) of the sort of "reform of the reform" that "Rome" desires, and, when the revision of the BDW is completed, to serve as a stimulus, goad and example for "reform of the reform" in the Latin Church as a whole.

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

"...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."

SPOT ON!

Joshua said...

Mr Tighe,

Does that mean that the hopes of the TAC are dead in the water (drowned mid-Tiber)?

Or is it that the TAC is welcome, but as Pastoral Provision parishes, without their own bishops?

Joshua said...

Obviously - as with the SSPX, as His Holiness knows better than all - the scandalon is the question of bishops: are Anglican Use Catholics, and the Society, to have prelates, or not; and if not, how will they be protected from vile Latin Ordinaries (in every sense)?

William Tighe said...

Joshua,

A speaker at the conference declared that before the end of the year "Rome" would erect a "canonical structure" for Anglican use Catholics -- "not a Personal Prelature, but something between that an an Apostolic Administration." We'll see, but that implies that they would have their own "prelate" and no longer be under the control of local Latin ordinaries.

As to the TAC, what little by way of information or rumor has come my way in recent weeks would appear to suggest that, if ever a specific "structure" tailored to the needs of the TAC was on the cards in the Vatican, it no longer is -- but that the TAC would be able to avail itself of whatever provision the forthcoming "canonical structure" may offer them. I expect that the same would be true, mutatis mutandis, for those of FIF/UK who might have similar desires -- but they would not do so while remaining in the communion of Canterbury or the Church of England.

(As to the last point, the Swedish "high-church" society "Kristen Enhet" made informal overtures to Rome now some decades ago about the possibility of being in a kind of quasi-communion with Rome, while remaining institutionally within the Church of Sweden. Rome eventually said no: if one is in the communion of Rome, one cannot be in that of the Church of Sweden, and if one is in the communion of the Church of Sweden, one cannot be in the communion of Rome. This mere restatement of a primordial principle of Catholic communion would apply just as much to Anglican groups and organizations.)

Fr Anthony said...

TAC, what little by way of information or rumor has come my way in recent weeks would appear to suggest that, if ever a specific "structure" tailored to the needs of the TAC was on the cards in the Vatican, it no longer is -- but that the TAC would be able to avail itself of whatever provision the forthcoming "canonical structure" may offer them.".

Would Dr. Tighe please contact me by e-mail? I would like to ask some questions. My e-mail is to be found on my web site (see my Google profile).

Many thanks in advance,

Fr. Anthony

Joshua said...

Many thanks, Mr Tighe. If it will be as you recount, such a structure would avoid both Scylla and Charybdis. Ut unum sint! Jesus, mercy; Mary, pray.

patrick said...

"As to the TAC, what little by way of information or rumor has come my way in recent weeks would appear to suggest that, if ever a specific "structure" tailored to the needs of the TAC was on the cards in the Vatican, it no longer is -- but that the TAC would be able to avail itself of whatever provision the forthcoming "canonical structure" may offer them."


If so, then this is very good news indeed, as (aside from the Canadians) I don't have much faith in the TAC episcopate (or any other continuing Anglican group for that matter) to play well with others or otherwise exercise responsible episcopal ministry. We'll see if they are interested in going to Rome if they will no longer be in charge.

My word verification is, amusing, "dymbprot."

Fr Anthony said...

If so, then this is very good news indeed, as (aside from the Canadians) I don't have much faith in the TAC episcopate (or any other continuing Anglican group for that matter) to play well with others or otherwise exercise responsible episcopal ministry. We'll see if they are interested in going to Rome if they will no longer be in charge.

This doesn't sound very kind. You almost seem to rejoice that someone else seems to be "winning the race" to Rome - winner take all, no consolation prizes. You seem to imply that the TAC bishops do not exercise a responsible episcopal ministry. If your game is "old school tie", then a gentleman shows his face and makes his profile available.

I don't know about my hierachy in the TAC, but I personally don't mind our not "being in charge". We never asked for that. I am sure my Archbishop would agree with this if I asked him. He has expressed as much in his own words.

So, no high horses here.

Fr. Anthony

Stick in the Mud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patrick said...

Fr. Anthony, I don't understand your comment about someone else winning a "race" to Rome. What competition is there and who are the competitors? I don't see it. OTOH, I see nothing at all sacrosanct about continuing church jursidictions (or for that matter ones in the official Anglican Communion). Thus, a canonical structure which is a receptacle for Anglicans coming into full commuion with the Catholic Church distinct from local Latin ordinaries should be quite adequate to meet the pastoral needs of the faithful while at the same time making sure that any clergy who are permitted to be ordained (whether conditionally or not) aren't rotten apples. And we all know that the continuing movement as a whole has been ruined by rotten clergy, including rot in the TAC, from whom the faithful require protection.

Fr Anthony said...

Answering "Patrick" 's posting:

What competition is there and who are the competitors? I assumed you were TAC and putting other people down because you belong to the Establishment Church. I may be wrong. It really is none of my business.

I see nothing at all sacrosanct about continuing church jursidictions (or for that matter ones in the official Anglican Communion). I rather agree with you. There is very little that is sacrosanct or Christ-like in any Church.

Thus, a canonical structure which is a receptacle for Anglicans coming into full commuion with the Catholic Church distinct from local Latin ordinaries should be quite adequate to meet the pastoral needs of the faithful while at the same time making sure that any clergy who are permitted to be ordained (whether conditionally or not) aren't rotten apples. I agree with you. It might be a good idea to start sorting the sheep from the goats in the official RC clergy. I surmise that the faithful will be left with very few priests. Too bad, they can have priestless communion services.

And we all know that the continuing movement as a whole has been ruined by rotten clergy, including rot in the TAC, from whom the faithful require protection. You really seem to be exaggerating here. Rotten clergy rather than simply ambitious men you will find everywhere? Maybe you would like to name the really Rotten ones and what you propose to eliminate all the “bad apples”. Perhaps you include the ones who spit on the pavement or who don't belong to the right "class"! Please also give a complete account of all the “rot” and any abuses you have presumably investigated and listed.

Fr. Anthony Chadwick (TAC chaplain in France)

patrick said...

"Please also give a complete account of all the “rot” and any abuses you have presumably investigated and listed."

I decline Father Anthony's invitation to engage in the sin of detraction in a semi-public forum. This discussion with Father Anthony is hereby closed.

Fr Anthony said...

I decline Father Anthony's invitation to engage in the sin of detraction in a semi-public forum. This discussion with Father Anthony is hereby closed.

"Patrick" declines my so-called "invitation to engage in the sin of detraction", presumably because he has already committed calumny.

With that, I close my side of the dialogue. I think Fr. Hunwicke's patience has been tried for long enough!

Fr. Anthony