Wednesday, March 03, 2010

TAC in America Requests Ordinariate; and Other Anglican News

There has been a lot of water under the bridge (equal parts Tiber and Thames, to be exact) in the last month on the subject of the projected Anglican Ordinariates. Our friends over at The Anglo-Catholic have kept up such a massive volume of informative and interesting postings since their inception that it has become difficult for me to keep up with them, but, at the least, the headline item in this post is quite up-to-date and extremely exciting. The Anglican Church in America, the American branch of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), has formally requested that the Holy See implement the provisions of Anglicanorum cœtibus. Christian Campbell has more here.


What will the new Ordinariate's liturgy or liturgies look like? There has been an enormous amount of speculation on the subject of what Ordinariate liturgies might look like, ranging from pure Sarum to the Book of Divine Worship and back again (all of which make for intriguing possibilities), but for those interested in the bigger picture of how the Ordinariates figure into Pope Benedict's program of renewal, both theologically and liturgically, this talk by Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ., given on behalf of the Institute of Catholic Culture, may be of interest.

As to specifics, I am hesitant to play the Chestertonian game of "Cheat the Prophet" on such uncertain--if quite agreeably rich and fertile--ground. Even a cursory glance through the internet will show liturgically traditional Anglicans using the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books, the Extraordinary Form, or something close to it, in Latin or English, the 1970 Roman Missal celebrated reverently, the Sarum rite, or various conjunctions of these.

Some, viewing Rome's post-Tridentine centralization of the liturgy, may blanch at such remarkable variety, but the introduction of the Extraordinary Form has shown that the Pope is not afraid of a legitimate diversity. Indeed, this may be a splendid opportunity for the re-enchantment of the liturgy on a wider sale. Whatever finally coalesces out of this will undoubtedly be a more organic and rooted option in the vernacular than the 1970 missal as we know it, and perhaps be an illustration that reverence, ritual, and truly religious music need not be a stranger to the vernacular, properly understood. Given the conjunction of the new missal translation and the fact a fair number of the English Anglicans likely to be interested in the offer use the Roman Missal in the Ordinary Form, their example may be much more overtly relevant to the Catholic mainstream than most suppose.

A good bird's eye view of the potential Ordinariate liturgy and related issues, and a plea for a healthy and organic liturgical pragmatism, can be found here, courtesy of the Cistercian Br. Stephen at Sub Tuum. (Also, any article which manages quite naturally to comment that perhaps in the Ordinariate at last the "the cotta to lie down with the surplice and the cappa and chimere to be friends," is worth reading no matter what the context.)


Bishop Peter Elliot, the well-known rubrician and Australian churchman, has written and spoken extensively on the subject in the last month or so, in his excellent essay "United in Communion but Not Absorbed: Understanding the Pope's Welcome" and, more recently, a detailed address given on the topic "What is this 'Personal Ordinariate'?" at All Saints' Church, Kooyong, Melbourne. Elliot comments: "Anglicans can no longer speak of “swimming the Tiber”. Pope Benedict XVI has built a noble bridge [...] As Anglicanorum coetibus indicates, each Personal Ordinariate is meant to inter-relate with other Catholics of the Roman and Eastern Rites. It is not a kind of national park for a rare and endangered species. Yet I would suggest that, at the end of the day, the only significant communities with an authentic Oxford Movement tradition left on earth will be found in the Personal Ordinariates within the Catholic Church."


And, dear reader, if you are British and wish to express your support for the Ordinariates, you may be interested in the website Friends of the Ordinariate (FOTO), open to members of the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, or the TAC, as well as Roman Catholics, which can be found here. There is an Australian sister organization which also appears to be in formation, and contact information for it can also be found on the site's front page.

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