Monday, May 17, 2010

The Future Liturgy of an Anglican Ordinariate: Four Forms - The Roman Liturgical Books and the English Missal

Continuing our consideration of the possibilities presented for the liturgy of an Anglican Ordinariate, we turn now to a consideration offered by Fr. John Hunwicke, SSC, author of the blog, Fr. Hunwicke's Liturgical Notes, parish priest of the Anglican parish of St. Thomas the Martyr in Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow of Pusey House, Oxford.

Four Liturgical Forms

by Fr. John Hunwicke, SSC
Parish Priest of St. Thomas the Martyr, Oxford

Some things about the Eucharistic worship of the Ordinariates are already clear. Since Ordinariate clergy will be part of the Roman Rite, they will be able lawfully to use the Ordinary Form in a translation which will have received the recognitio of the Holy See - and I am of course thinking of the new ICEL translation of the Roman Rite. Doubtless many will use this rite, since (particularly in England) very many Anglican Catholic clergy have in the past used the OF. Those who adhered to more 'Anglican' forms - the Alternative Service Book or Common Worship - commonly used Anglican rites in modern English so that they could deftly graft into them Roman elements.

As clergy of the Roman Rite, Ordinariate clergy will also lawfully be able to make use of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. This may surprise some Roman Catholics. There are those who have been nervous that the Ordinariate scheme would mean that some dubious semi-Protestants would be squeezing into full communion with the Holy See. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amid the diversity with which Roman Catholics are familiar, Anglican Catholic clergy are very much within what you might call the New Liturgical Movement end of the spectrum. I myself use the Extraordinary Form most mornings of the week. Since I feel that the disadvantages of being out of full Communion with the Holy See are so painful that there must be some little compensation available to comfort me, I use the Roman Rite, not according to the books of 1962, but as it was at the beginning of the Pontificate of Pius XII. I suppose that if I am admitted to the presbyterate of an Ordinariate, I shall have to come into line with the 1962 liturgical books, but it will be with some regret that I abandon those Octaves and Vigils and Commemorations and Last Gospels and so on.

So that's the two Forms of the Roman Rite. A third, in my view, should be the Ordinary Form in the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal in an English which is either taken from the Book of Common Prayer (where Cranmer was translating Latin originals) or translated into English of the same style. Half a century ago, the great Christine Mohrmann argued that the Mass should not be translated into vernaculars because modern European languages lacked sacred vernaculars. She demonstrated that liturgical Latin, far from being adopted in order to give Latin speakers a liturgy they could understand, was an intentionally hieratic and sacral dialect, based upon pagan liturgical formulae going back hundreds of years. So, she felt, a similar archaic and sacral dialect was the only appropriate vernacular form which should be given to the Roman Rite. Mohrmann was dead right - except about one detail. There was one European language which did have a sacral dialect venerable with centuries of use: English, as it was used in Anglican worship. It was one of the great tragedies of the post-Conciliar period that Roman Catholics ignored this precious and beautiful heritage; and that so many Anglicans followed suit.

Finally, I believe that it would be valuable for the Holy See to authorise the English Missal, which provides the 'Tridentine' Rite with those parts of it audible to the people translated into Cranmerian English. For half a century, millions of Anglican Catholics worshipped with this rite before the Conciliar changes. Where Cranmer did translate a Latin formula, the English Missal uses his version; where biblical texts appear, they are adapted from the Authorised Version of the Bible; other euchological elements are rendered into English in the same style. This is what I, and many of my generation, were brought up with, and my love for it is second only to my love for the Latin original. There are still hundreds of copies of this book in Anglican Catholic sacristies all over England; dusty perhaps, but just crying to be brought back into use. There may have been clergy who used English forms of the Sarum Rite, but, if so, their numbers were minuscule. It is the English Missal which was - and is - our Patrimony.

That's four forms of the Roman Rite. I firmly believe we should resist calls for 'museum' rites: Sarum, 1549 or the Non-jurors, and should stick to what is manifestly mainstream in the modern Catholic Church (the OF and EF) in forms which either are consistent with the new ICEL texts or which draw upon the linguistic and stylistic liturgical Patrimony of Anglican Catholicism during its glory days. By so doing, I feel that we shall not only be providing for the nostalgia of our own people, but also providing an enrichment of the liturgical spiritualities available to all Catholics. I believe we should be aiming much higher than merely at being a chaplaincy for ex-Anglicans. There is a vacuum out there which we could help to fill.

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