The Hermeneutic blog, happily, enables you to read, free of charge, an article by Fr Tim which has appeared in Usus Antiquior. It provides a good example of the phenomenon of 'ideas in the air'; when different people turn out to have been thinking along the same lines without any one of them being directly indebted to the others. Fr Zed has been delving into what he has called "Mutual Enrichment and Common Sense"; Bishop Andrew Burnham has staked a claim to a place in this discussion; and even I have nibbled at the edges of it. What is all this about? To what extent can the OF be improved by the importation of EF customs at the whimsy of the celebrant? Fr Tim, however, unlike most of us, approaches the matter with scholarly precision. My ensuing comments make absolutely no sense whatsoever unless you have first read his important article and done so carefully.
I love it all. My only adverse comment would be that the article is sometimes a trifle light-fingered when it comes to distinguishing between usages which are praeter legem and those which are contra legem (to use the categories in which O'Connell discussed the question of liturgical law two or three generations ago). Examples of the first: the priest says silently Aufer a nobis and Oramus as he approaches and kisses the altar. Or, as he censes the Altar at the Offertory, he says the old prayers. Or, he says Placeat tibi as he walks back from the Altar. While these formulae are certainly not prescribed in the OF, as far as I know there is no rubrical prohibition against the celebrant saying silent private prayers (or even reciting sotto voce the opening twenty lines of the Iliad or the Three little maids song from the Mikado) as he celebrates. But, on the other hand, double genuflections after each consecration (Ranjith) do, as Fr Tim makes clear, contradict an explicit instruction in the IGMR. They are contra legem. So is the usage I noticed at the Holy Father's Inauguration: joining the hands at Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
Fr Tim also gives us a section headed "Elements that could be fairly easily allowed". But the first usage he describes under this heading - that of saying the modern Offertory prayers silently - is not only allowed rubrically but (as Fr Tim says) even has pride of place among the allowed options (I explain that roughly every three months on this blog). It is not something that 'could fairly easily be allowed'. It is something that is allowed. However much it might surprise some congregations, it is already the officially preferred usage in the OF. It is neither praeter legem nor contra legem, but completely secundum legem. But the next possibility mentioned - saying silently the EF prayers instead - is (although the congregation would not even notice it being done) definitely contra legem. Or is Fr Tim craftily suggesting that the former secundum legem usage is a good way of preparing the ground for the latter contra legem? The following item Fr Tim lists is the silent recitation of the Canon (which Bishop Andrew Burnham celebrated his entry into Full Communion by doing ... what bravura we Anglicans do display). Here, sadly, Fr Tim does not have a suggestion, crafty or otherwise, as to how secundum legem we could prepare the way for behaving contra legem.
Possibly Fr Tim is reserving for a future article the really juicy, truly fundamental, question: to what extent is it acceptable to follow usages which are contra legem? This would involve a rereading of the old discussions among the manualists whom O'Connell summarises. Perhaps I will take a look into this, even though it is well known that Anglicans are completely ignorant in Canon Law.