Monday, May 10, 2010

The Future Liturgy of an Anglican Ordinariate: Considerations by Bishop Peter Elliott

Recently I engaged in a discussion with some of the writers over at The Anglo-Catholic (who are particularly made up of Anglicans who are interested in the provisions offered by the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI). I engaged them, some other Anglican clergyman, as well as some who were Anglicans and have since become Catholic clergymen, about the possibility of pursuing a series of discussions about what the liturgy of such an Ordinariate might or might not look like -- or what it should or should not look like (in their estimation). In short, an exploration of the possibilities. Such a series would then be cross-posted on various sites, including the NLM of course.

Quite by coincidence, and in a case of good timing, I also recently came into possession of a paper by Bishop Peter J. Elliott, the Auxiliary of Melbourne, Australia, on this topic of the Anglican Ordinariate, given in February of this year. While this does not formally belong to the series of considerations I have discussed above per se, it is most certainly relevant to the same series, and I believe, offers a good kick off to these considerations.

I have extracted Bishop Elliott's postscript on topic of the possible future liturgy of the Anglican ordinariates.

Postscript: The Future Liturgy of the Ordinariates

(by Bishop Peter J. Elliott)

Anglicanorum Coetibus authorizes the Ordinariates to use books that carry the Anglican liturgical heritage: “so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.” Note those last words. What the distinctive “Anglican rite” liturgy of the Ordinariate will be is yet to be worked out. When that project is completed it will need the recognition of the Holy See. But some speculation at this stage may be of interest.

Considering its history and strong influence in the first editions of the Book of Common Prayer, the Sarum Rite might well be a major source. Queen Mary I published a national edition of the Sarum Missal to replace all those missals for the diocesan uses that went into the fire when the first Book of Common Prayer appeared in 1549. Therefore the Sarum Use was the last version of the Roman Rite in England before the universal Missale Romanum, Roman Missal, was authorised by St Pius V in 1570. At the end of the nineteenth century when Westminster cathedral was being built, it was proposed that the Sarum Rite be revived as the use proper to the cathedral. Nothing came of this project, lost I suspect in the cross-currents of liturgical controversies and an Ultramontane trend to standardise liturgy along Counter-Reformation lines, even down to the shape of chasubles.

The various editions of the Book of Common Prayer will obviously influence the preparation of this use for the Ordinariates. Yet a note of caution is necessary. Cranmer’s prose is majestic, but all his doctrine is not sound. Some editing will be needed to deal with expressions which are not in harmony with Catholic Faith, particularly those that come down from his severely Protestant 1552 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. In Anglo Catholic circles you have tried to manage these matters, as may be seen in the English Missal and the Anglican Missal.

I give one example that concerns me as a sacramental theologian. “Do this in remembrance of me” should never appear in a Catholic rite. “Do this in memory of me” is a more accurate rendering of the original languages and takes us away from “memorialism”. The meaning of the Eucharist as the great sacrificial Memorial is set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1362-1367.

Next year a new ICEL translation of the Mass of the Roman Rite will come into effect. More gracious poetic English will mean that the beauty of the language used in the Ordinariates will not clash with the banal and inaccurate old ICEL “translation” we currently endure.

Let me add that an “Anglican use” will add to the diversity of uses that already exists within the Roman Rite, starting with the two forms. “ordinary” (Novus Ordo) and “extraordinary” (Usus antiquior, traditional Latin liturgy), and including efforts to revive the uses of religious orders and regional uses. In Milan there are now two forms of the venerable Ambrosian Rite, ordinary and extraordinary. This variety is reported from time to time in the New Liturgical Movement website, also an indicator of Pope Benedict’s liturgical project and vision.

One dream of mine is that the churches of the Ordinariate will resound with fine music - from Stanford to Palestrina, from Vaughan Williams to Bruckner. We need the kind of music that gives greater glory to God and also “a treasure to be shared” by all Catholics.

I am certain some of you will be interested in the paper in its entirety. Here it is:

The Anglican Ordinariate

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