Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Recent Annoucement Pertaining to Anglicans and the Liturgical Situation

Writer Hilary White was at the recent press conference where the announcement was made about forthcoming arrangements for Anglicans looking for broader forms of re-union, and thankfully asked the question that many of us had no doubt been wondering here: But what about the liturgy?

From Hilary's site:

I pointed out that the Anglos [Anglocatholics] have a multiplicity of uses, what with the BCP, the Book of Alternative Services, high church stuff, low church stuff, broad church...and we have the Novus Ordo and the Extraordinary Form even just in the Latin rite, what was going to be the accepted form of liturgy for these envisioned Anglican-rite Catholic Masses?

He told us that while this Apostolic Constitution was only the beginning and things like the liturgy was still to be hammered out, the use that had already been established was going to be the groundwork.

He held up a copy of the Book of Divine Worship and said that this was probably going to form the ground work for the new practices.

The Book of Divine Worship is, of course, something we have presented here before and is the liturgical book used by the Pastoral Provision (or "Anglican Use") in the United States, and is closely related to the Anglican Book of Common Prayer -- though with modifications. (Those who wish to see it, may see it here.)

Evidently, one question which might arise, and which Hilary White alludes to, is the possibility of some of these parishes or groups wishing to use some of other Anglican liturgical book as the English Missal or Anglican Missal which are more closely aligned to the usus antiquior and which some Anglocatholics use.

This is a question that is oft-raised when the topic of the Anglican Use in the United States arises. It will be interesting to watch and see if anything new springs from this new situation in the coming months and years.

* * *

Related to this same matter, the site for the Cause of Canonization of John Henry Newman has a piece up today, Benedict XVI and Anglican Converts: Newman’s Perspective.

An excerpt:

Newman had an important correspondence in 1876 with the convert Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle, about a plan for an Anglican ‘uniate’ Church, similar to the Eastern Rite Churches in communion with Rome. The plan, which had some support from Cardinal Manning, the then Archbishop of Westminster, had been proposed in an anonymous pamphlet called Christianity or Erastianism? It argued that the Anglican Church was at the mercy of the British State, and that the only way to avoid this ‘Erastian’ Church was to enter into communion with the Holy See.

Newman’s initial position was sceptical, for practical reasons. He wrote to de Lisle on 19th January that it was a ‘plausible scheme’, but that he saw difficulties, for instance in the relations between the ex-Anglican groups and the rest of the English Catholic Church (“it would be very difficult to avoid perpetual collisions between the two bodies … The Roman priests would be complaining that the rich splendid Anglican Church in their mission was drawing away at least the young generation”). For Newman, it depended on what the plan could hope to achieve – if enough Anglicans would enter the Catholic Church, it would be worth it. But Newman noted that among Anglo-Catholics “I am told few will feel inclined towards it”.

But some ten days later Newman wrote again to de Lisle: “Nothing will rejoice me more than to find that the Holy See considers it safe and promising to sanction some such plan as the Pamphlet suggests. I give my best prayers, such as they are, that some means of drawing to us so many good people, who are now shivering at our gates, may be discovered.”

In fact, the scheme soon collapsed, with de Lisle writing that “some powerful influence … has at once intervened”. Writing in May, Newman consoled de Lisle with thoughts he had already expressed in his Apologia pro Vita Sua: “It seems to me there must be some divine purpose in it. It often has happened in sacred and in ecclesiastical history, that a thing is in itself good, but the time has not come for it … And thus I reconcile myself to many, many things, and put them into God’s hands. I can quite believe that the conversion of Anglicans may be more thorough and more extended, if it is delayed – and our Lord knows more than we do.”

Newman’s line, then, was that plans for group reunion should be left to the right time.

I would encourage you to read the whole article and to continue to pray for Cardinal Newman's canonization.

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