Thursday, August 05, 2010

Br. Stephen on "The Other Anglican Patrimony"

Br. Stephen of the Cistercian monastery of Our Lady of Springbank has an interesting piece up on The Anglo-Catholic which gives some additional considerations for the Anglican Ordinariate and English liturgical patrimony.

Here is the piece in full:

The Other Anglican Patrimony: Anglo-Papalism and the Ecclesiae Anglicanae that Remained Within the Catholic Church

by Br. Stephen Treat, O.Cist

As we attempt to take in the implications of Anglicanorum Coetibus, it is important to remember that the Anglican Patrimony also continued to live and develop among those in the UK who remained loyal to the Holy See after the Reformation. When we set out to ascertain the shape of the authentic Anglican Patrimony that the Holy Father has said is a gift to be cherished, we will do well to keep in mind the history of what we must recognize as the elder branch of Ecclesiae Anglicanae. This is particularly important to remember for those of us in the U.S., where Prayer Book Catholicism and the Branch Theory held sway and formed an Anglo-Catholic self-understanding that is quite different from the Anglo-Papalist perspective found in other countries.

Eamon Duffy in his books The Stripping of the Altars and Marking the Hours has been at the forefront of those scholars who have put the English Reformation in a more accurate historical context. From his work and that of others, we now have a picture of a lively devotional culture where people loved their prayer books long before Cranmer’s Prayer Book. We see the English devotion to the Universal Church that sustained recusants and martyrs through persecution and legal disability. We receive a context for the English Benedictines and Jesuits who gave their life in the mission, knowing how many spiritual lives depended upon their bravery. In short, we are reminded that what was sometimes later dismissed as the “Italian Mission,” was in fact the survival of a church as English as Anglicanism.

All too often, those of us formed within Anglicanism see post-Reformation history as a story of night falling on religious life in England with only occasional flickers of light until the dawn of the Oxford Movement, followed by the high noon of the Anglo-Catholic Congresses, and then the slow-falling dusk of the last 50 years. From an English Catholic perspective, the story might look more like the stories of those Christian communities in the Middle East who have kept the faith since the Muslim conquest. Though deprived of many rights, paying special taxes, and enduring periodic bouts of outright persecution, the Catholic Church in the UK held firm and eventually made great gains. When we write of the Apostolic Constitution, we must always remember the sensibilities and feelings of these older brothers and sisters.

On that theme, we too often forget how differently particular events and people within history may look from these two vantage points. How are we to see Thomas Cranmer, even if we are content to have his prose, when the shadow of St. John Fisher falls over his biography? How do we reconcile that Charles Stuart is celebrated by some Anglo-Catholics as a martyr for the idea of the episcopate and yet was willing to sign the death warrants of living breathing Catholics? On this side of the Atlantic, how are we to view a figure like Bishop Grafton, who was both a great leader of the Anglo-Catholic party in the Episcopal Church and also a bigoted enemy of the Catholic Church? When we speak of the Anglican Patrimony, charity and humility require us to be mindful of the complicated and contradictory parts of our history as well as the shining moments and notable accomplishments.

On the positive side of the ledger, how might we claim and integrate not just the legacy of the 40 Martyrs, but the other pieces of the tradition that lie outside the history of the Anglican Communion? Where do we make room for the histories of the religious communities that lived on abroad and fed the fires of faith? How do we own the 19th and 20th Century converts, whom we now see as forerunners of Anglicanorum Coetibus, but who, in their own day, were often treated as pariahs and traitors? How do we appreciate the fanciful novels of Robert Hugh Benson, which, as others have said, could only have been written by an Anglo-Catholic convert and, on a bit higher literary level, what of Knox, Waugh, and Tolkien, whom we have always unofficially claimed? And what are we to make of Cardinal Vaughan and others who were in no way friends to our forebears?

The Sanctus by Martin Travers. From Pictures of the English Liturgy, published in 1916 by the Anglo-Papalist Society of Ss. Peter and Paul

On a seemingly more controversial front, how do we reconcile these two diverging liturgical histories? While many American Anglo-Catholics long for some version of the Sarum Use, English Catholics after Trent put it aside and declined to revive it when the English hierarchy was reestablished. The history of Prayer Book Anglicanism clearly belongs to the communities of Anglicanorum Coetibus, but to what extent can we revisit the decisions made by those who remained within the Latin Rite?

What are we to make of those parishes that have continued to practice the older liturgical forms of Anglo-Papalism that were once a sign of their loyalty to the Holy See? A number still use the Holy Week rites as they were before the reforms of Pius XII. Is it too much of a stretch to say that these Missal parishes have secured a lasting place in the Anglican Patrimony for rites outside the 1962 mandate of Summorum Pontificum? Recent articles on both Anglican and Roman Catholic sites have shown that many would be happy to see the folded chasuble and the triple reed re-cross the Tiber with an Anglican passport. Can we safely assume that Fortescue, beloved of the English Missal tradition, is as much a part of the patrimony as Ritual Notes? And to what extent should those charged with creating liturgical texts consider the evolution of calendar and customs in the Archdiocese of Westminster, which were followed by many Anglo-Catholics?

In short, is the Anglican Patrimony to be understood in its Parson’s Handbook form only or is there an honored place for Dr. Mascall’s Ultra-Catholic and his more modern descendants? Is the permission granted for the communities formed by Anglicanorum Coetibus to use the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite a solely pragmatic measure or is it instead a tacit recognition that the Anglo-Papalism of the Society of Ss. Peter and Paul, which sought to follow the use of the contemporary Catholic Church in England and Wales, has, over the course of a century, become something authentically Anglican almost in spite of itself?

I propose definitive answers to none of the questions above, but I believe that this perspective cannot be omitted from future discussions. Obviously, the Church in England and Wales is the primary custodian of many of these pieces of what we might think of as The Other Anglican Patrimony, but periodically stepping outside of our own history and trying to see events, artifacts, and individuals from the viewpoint of the Ecclesiae Anglicanae that never broke communion with the See of Peter and its Anglo-Papalist fellow travelers may provide fresh thinking and an occasional boundary post in the discussions that will be happening in the years to come. It may even spark a little reminiscing and rethinking on the part of our elder sister.

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