Thursday, October 29, 2009

Variants of Anglican Worship: A Former Anglican Reviews

With all the recent talk about the forthcoming provisions for Anglicans to come over to Rome, some former Anglicans have been attempting to provide some sense of both the possibilities and potentialities, as well the struggles. As part of that, some have been attempting to give us some sense of the various "schools" within Anglicanism, both doctrinally and liturgically, so that we might have a greater foundation in which to consider these questions -- particularly the complexities of the question.

Br. Stephen, a former Anglican who is now in the Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Spring Bank, specifically addressed the liturgical aspect of these sorts of divisions in a recent post on his blog, Sub Tuum. Br. Stephen would point out that various variations and mixtures are to be found, so by no means are these hard and fast, however they can give a general sense of the liturgical variations within Anglicanism.

I asked Br. Stephen about reproducing the piece in its entirety here, and aside from agreeing, Br. Stephen also made some further modifications and additions for the NLM readership.

There still seems to be a good bit of confusion in Roman Catholic circles as to just how Anglicans worship. I thought giving the visuals of the different schools of those who are likely to be considering the ordinariates might be a better approach than pouring out yet more prose, so below are some videos representing the worship of the types of folks most likely to be considering the ordinariate. There are several other major schools of Anglican worship, but these are the types most likely to be used by the groups who are entering into Roman Catholic discussions of Anglicanism at the moment.

These are broad strokes categories generally used by Anglicans, but each has many subclasses and crossovers. Consider this a 101, not an advanced course.

(No video below should be taken as implying that a particular location is bound for Rome. I picked them solely based on how well they showed a particular style of worship.)

Prayer Book Catholic

First, from St. Thomas Toronto, we have Prayer Book Catholic. These are the folks who worship in the Prose of Cranmer, the tradition of English hymnody, and a ceremonial that tends toward the Medieval and English, often drawing its structure from the work of Percy Dearmer's Parson's Handbook and Ritual Notes. This is generally typical of what you see in the Traditional Anglican Communion and very like the practice of those who are already in the fold of the Anglican Use. Many of these folks do use the Anglican or American Missal, but usually do so with the more Anglican options.

Missal Catholic

Next, we have the Missal tradition. In the sense I'm using the term here, it could also be called Continental, Society of Ss. Peter & Paul, or simply Extreme. This is the style that was typical of Rome-ward leaning Anglicans before the Council. In England it has largely been superseded by the Novus Ordo, but notable pockets remain there and in the US. This clip is from Scotland. Note the fiddleback, biretta, and baroque bits. This is the group who use the English Missal and Fortescue and O'Connell.

Modern Catholic

Next we have the Modern Catholic or Novus Ordo school, which forms the majority of the members of Forward in Faith in the UK. Rome changed and they followed, but keeping a style that looks like what we see happening in the Reform of the Reform to Roman Catholic eyes. This is the Bishop of Ho in Ghana at the Glastonbury pilgrimage:


Next we have the Evangelicals, in a service that combines Low Church elements with some modern music. These are the most numerous group of disaffected Anglicans and are the ones who quickly took an intial pass on the Holy Father's offer, being quite secure in their Protestant identity. This is from Truro Church in Virginia.


Next we have the Charismatics, who represent another major strain of those who are unhappy with Canterbury but are also unlikely to be looking to Rome. This is from a church in London.

The Classical Anglican Service from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Finally, for comparison, we have the classical Anglican service of Choral Matins according to the Book of Common Prayer 1928 from St. John's, Detroit. This Anglican conflation and abbreviation of the breviary offices of Matins and Lauds would long have been the principal service of Sunday in most Anglican parishes in the UK, Canada, and the US. Today, as Anglican piety has become almost uniformly Eucharistic, it is relatively rare, though the musical legacy of this school of churchmanship is still frequently heard at Evensong in a number of parishes.

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