Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Anglicanism and the Catholic liturgical movement


High Mass versus populum in 1957.

Even without the Oxford Movement I'd still rather go to an 18th-century Georgian low-church 1662 BCP Holy Communion than a contemporary suburban Marty Haugen Novus Ordo, and don't think they really have all much in common.

The old Low Church north-end celebration has something of the dignity of the old Low Mass at "sparrow farts" for the working men going to the bakery or the steel works. The
Novus Ordo Missae often comes across as folks disrespecting sacred things with official sanction.
Because Cranmer and the Georgian English, at least before the "Enlightenment," still had enough in common with the medieval Catholic Church to make that appealing. But the "Enlightenment" was making its inroads in English culture; basically almost all the English Calvinists (Anglicans being odd Calvinists with bishops) lost their faith. Ever hear of King's Chapel, Boston? Colonial Anglican church that went Unitarian. Still has the Georgian beauty and pretty Prayer Book, but it's not Christian. Just an extreme version of what many Anglicans were thinking. Also, Cranmer's and the Prayer Book's Eucharistic prayers for all their beauty and credal orthodoxy are subtly heretical; they've never been approved for Catholic use.
Evangelicalism and the Oxford Movement were both reactions against the Enlightenment. The Old High Churchmen held the line, but seemed old-fashioned in comparison.

Cranmer's 1552 revision of the Canon was decidedly written against the traditional theology. However, the changes are subtle, apart from the very obvious butchering into three parts and spreading them around the service. The weaknesses, from an RC POV, of 1549 are less obvious, and Wily Winchester could spin it into Catholic orthodoxy.
Been to Wily Winchester's (Bishop Stephen Gardiner) tomb. Right, both the Wesleys and the Tractarians were trying to win the English people back for Christ.
On the other hand, from the point of view of the Congregation of Rites, 1549 would still need work. That said — is there still a Congregation of Rites or has it been subsumed into CDF?
The Scottish and American Canons are a different subject and were studied in detail by Fr. Echlin S.J. back in the late 1950s, and he was fairly favourable to the Scottish version, and to a lesser extent the American. Needless to say, neither is by Cranmer.
The Congregation of Rites has been clunkily renamed the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Liberals like renaming stuff in pretentious bourgeois bureaucratese, probably because the old name is too Catholic (Mass -> Eucharist or "we're really Protestants now; 'Mass' is for dumb backward Catholics", confession -> Reconciliation, parish -> parish community, unction -> Anointing of the Sick, etc.).

Again, the church has nixed the American Prayer Book Canon. The Ordinariate Mass uses the Roman one.
Regarding the Anglican Holy Communion service, what is the purpose or symbolism of facing northwards?
Starting in 1552 (?), the Communion service was done in the round in the old choir (chancel), with the table put down the center lengthwise. The priest in surplice and scarf (his old Catholic choir habit) stood in the middle, at the north end of the table, facing half the congregation.
John, doesn't Brown in his biography of Augustine note that the Mass as celebrated in Hippo was celebrated with the congregation standing around the altar?
Standard rebuttal to liberals who say they want to play early church (be Protestant): OK, I'm game. Public confession, to the bishop and the whole congregation! Only one chance to make your confession, then afterwards, no more sex, even if you're married! And you can't go to Communion and have to do public penance, like clean up the highway in an orange jumpsuit, for five years! Make the sexes stand separately in church! No pews or chairs in church!

.... Where did everybody go?
I'm just saying that there was a period of greater informality in the liturgy in the early Church, something that the Anglican reformers may have been trying to recapture as part of their effort to de-sacralize the liturgy as was then-practiced in pre-Reformation England. I am completely on board with the idea that there were practices in the early Church that were not optimal, and which fortunately over time Holy Mother Church has properly reformed or discarded.

The Church is an organic institution, and like all organic institutions, it changes over time. As Newman pointed out, the test is whether the changes deepen and build upon previous practice to draw us closer to the ideas encapsulated by the apostolic tradition. This was, fundamentally, the problem with the Reformation — it was change away from the apostolic tradition, not towards it. There was lots to critique about the late medieval Church — just as there is lots to critique about the Church in any day and age.
Anglicanism quietly ditched the less formal approach as time passed because they found that it led to all sorts of abuses. Gradually, Tables went back against the wall, were railed off, and with the frontal and two candlesticks required by Laudian best practice, began to look like altars again. The Eastward position seems to have had a brief vogue under Charles II as they grappled with what 'north side' and 'before' meant in the context of the 1662 BCP. Then for about 150 years north end facing south was all but universal before the debate was reopened in the gap period between the original Tractarians and the early Ritualists. A wooden reading of the 1662 rubrics would suggest that one stood at the north side/end for the liturgy of the word, then moved in front for the actual Lord's Supper to celebrate facing east. The Roman Church is having to deal with a similar case of the liturgical mumps right now, and hopefully it will be resolved by making the NOM more traditional, and the 1962 Missal more accessible so that every parish has at least occasional TLM, and the larger churches have a frequent TLM.
Little known: you CAN do the TLM facing the people and the Novus Ordo facing "east." Famous examples of the former are old churches in Rome such as St. Peter's where the altar literally faces east so in recent centuries, Mass has been "facing the people," accidentally. Also, some liturgical-movement priests in the '50s would sometimes have Mass facing the congregation to be instructional, to teach them what goes on at Mass. And a few liberalish bishops (yes) and priests played with it. There are pictures from America, in the '50s, of Catholic churches, including Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral, doing it. Rather like stray rubrics in the Prayer Book, there are hints in those of the Novus Ordo assuming an eastward celebration. All Vatican II says is the altar "should be freestanding" in order for the celebrant to walk all around it to cense it. Under Paul VI, half the parishes in the Diocese of Rome remained eastward-facing; John Paul the Overrated ended that.
GIRM and the 1962 Rubrics make it clear that the altar should (note word) be freestanding to allow (note that word too) Mass facing the people. The idea that altars must be freestanding, and Mass must be said facing the people is a myth. The Brompton Oratory did an ad orientem (AO) celebration of the NOM every day when I lived in London, and probably still does. John Paul the Overrated - I like that!
Do 1962's rubrics really say the altar should be freestanding? Sacrosanctum Concilium came out in '63 and the changes didn't start until '65 (series of modifications to '62 until the NOM).

Right; the Brompton Oratory is one of my favorite places, doing "reform of the reform," high-church Novus Ordo, when it wasn't cool. I could find such in England because I was looking for it.
Basically. The Roman Rite has required the altar to be freestanding 'wherever possible' in the 1940s. What changes between 1962 and 1965 is that the directive is altered so that, whilst the requirement for altars to be freestanding wherever possible remains unchanged, in new buildings, it is a required that the altar be arranged so that the Mass may be said versus populum (VP). The all but mandatory VP Mass came in with the 1965 Rubrics. The RC parish in my home town dragged its feet for a long time; other places may have been slightly ahead of the curve. One of the family reckons they were already doing VP in her home parish when she was confirmed in 1964.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles under one of the church's unsung heroes, Cardinal McIntyre, remained fully Tridentine throughout the '60s; he retired at the beginning of 1970 after the archdiocese had to go Novus, and he only said the old Mass, assisting at a parish, until he died about nine years later. Cardinal Spellman didn't want the changes either but implemented them.

As far as I can tell, McIntyre's only "sin" (he's accused of being a racist but had a racial-harmony committee since 1948) was he wouldn't stand around and listen to some white Sixties radical Catholics tell him how wonderful they were; he had an archdiocese to run.

I'm fairly sure the old liturgical-movement ideal behind the 1940s requirement was that the priest could literally walk around the altar to cense it, like in the old Roman basilicas, ideally with a baldacchino over the altar. The versus-populum craze might have been nothing to do with that, originally, although part of the liturgical movement was playing with that even then (based on faulty scholarship, assuming it was ancient?).
Right, John. One of the interesting things about the NO is that many of the parts that have a central place in the current liturgy (like the Gloria and the Creed) aren't as ancient as some of the parts that got excised. The liturgical movement folks got caught up in some seriously anachronistic thinking (the creed is so important to us, how could it not be all that important to the early Church in the liturgy?). They forgot that the past is a foreign country.

The Roman rubrics try to enforce the layout of the late classical Roman basilica throughout the Roman Rite, but that idea came a bit unstuck in northern Europe, so it is a freestanding altar was under a baldachino and you walked around it to cense it. The Mass was celebrated facing east no matter which end of the building the altar was placed at. The VP celebration is ill-digested third-generation liturgical-movement stuff.
The liturgical movement at its best DIDN'T want to revise the Mass; it only wanted to teach the laity about the existing Mass, with the goal of most parishes having a congregationally chanted High Mass every week. They were fighting the popularity in Irish America of Low Mass junked up with sappy hymns, and the council betrayed them so the American Catholic norm is still Low Mass junked up with sappy hymns, only the text was less Catholic with the first translation, it's still, in most places, lower-church than before (which priests and laity like because it's easier to do), and the hymns have guitars and sound like Peter, Paul, and Mary or the Seekers minus the talent.
Bull's eye! I personally think the Liturgical Movement went off the boil c. 1945 when an influential section thereof moved from restoration to reform. I think the older movement wanted what Anglo-Catholics had — chanted offices; a simple Sung Mass on Sundays and HDoO, with Low Mass on other days and early on Sunday.

I see the low Mass as a very natural and legitimate evolution of liturgical practice. Just as the shape of the Roman rite was textured by the experiences of the Church post-Constantine, and just as the formal development of the Baroque high sung Mass was a result of the Counter-Reformation, the development of low Mass, starting in the fields and the monasteries, is part of the history of the Church and part of the liturgy's development.
Low Mass has its place. It's shocking to see old copies of Worship magazine from the '40s. I did back when I worked at our local seminary. While the English-speaking Catholic mainstream was still Cardinal Spellman and The Bells of St. Mary's, some liturgical-movement priests had switched from restoration to reform, sneering among themselves at their people just like radicalized priests did decades later, making fun of "pious dollies," etc. In some parishes, the churches were wreckovated in the '50s but the old Mass and its rubrics minimized the damage.

I'm fine with space-age/doo-wop/googie architecture for churches because they were built for the old religion so they work.
Vatican II's Sancrosanctum Concilium stated quite explicitly that Gregorian Chant should be given pride of place in the ordinary (as in routine) worship/music at mass. I'm still waiting . . . .
Probably rhetorical sleight of hand not meant literally as "the Rhine flowed into the Tiber" (Germanic radicals hijacking control of much of the church, although the heretic Bugnini was Italian). It and other '60s Catholic documents play the game of praising an old practice, then discarding it a few lines down by making it optional. Thus went Latin, eastward celebrations in America, and "fish days" (time was classical Protestants including Anglicans fasted: everything now thought weirdly Catholic was originally simply Christian) as the Anglo-American Protestant mainstream thought we were getting with their program (witness the hubbub about Pope Francis: question the church's teachings and make the cover of Rolling Stone).

Also, It's Not About Latin™ (liberals: "You're stuck on LATIN!") but believe it or not, according to Michael Davies, in the '50s next to nobody in the Catholic Church asked for the vernacular and those who did were considered cranks. Latin's beautiful (Italian's mother), a template because it doesn't change anymore, and a world second language, so it always has a place in the church, but if nobody wants to go back to it regularly for Mass, no problem. I love and use Anglican English. Witness the English Missal, the Anglican Breviary, and Winfred Douglas' Monastic Diurnal, all ours for the asking.

(Peter Anson: there was a tiny vagante church in England exactly like the Roman Catholic Church except they wanted two doable things, married priests and the vernacular for services. He wryly notes that no Catholics signed up.)

Photo: Fr. Reynold Hillenbrand at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Hubbard Woods, Illinois. Still charming because it's still the old Mass. The Midwest was a center of this proto-liberalism.

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