Friday, November 27, 2015

The ordinariate missal and more


  • The ordinariate missal is in print. Divine Worship — The Missal, replacing the 1979 Rite I Episcopal-based Anglican Use, improved with Pope Benedict the Great's reform of English Novus Ordo and elements of the Tridentine Mass, my Mass. (It's usually eastward-facing, a simple thing that makes a big difference.) That's fantastic. A few points.
    • The church has never approved Thomas Cranmer's Eucharistic prayer in any form, even the old-high-church (1600s-1700s; an attempt a century after the "Reformation" to sound patristic*) Scottish form in the old American Book of Common Prayer that I grew up with. Understandable as the man was a heretic; his Eucharistic theology as enshrined in the Articles of Religion is why the church took him at his word by never recognizing Anglican orders since the Edwardine ordinal, Leo XIII making it official. But the Anglican and American Missals (unofficial; banned in many Episcopal dioceses), which this new missal echoes, spliced the Prayer Book's canon, collects, and lessons into the framework of our Mass and seem to work. Here Cranmer, filtered through the old high churchmen, sounded like he still shared enough orthodoxy with Catholicism to make it so. Counterargument: Michael Davies pointed out in Cranmer's Godly Order that Protestants using realistic-sounding language about Holy Communion don't mean what the church does by it. (For them there's no making Christ's sacrifice present on the altar; it's a bare commemoration so the Mass is a blasphemous fable.) But with this new missal, as with the Anglican Use, we've officially included many of Cranmer's orthodox prayers, including collects he wrote or modified because the originals were too Catholic. And his new collects are beautiful, little lessons in English. I don't miss the old Prayer Book such that I need to hear it every week (canonically the ordinariates are for people like me; I can join if I want to), like I would the Tridentine Mass (but in much of my prayer including occasional Masses in English I quote it from memory: "And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary"), but it seems to me if you're going to go this route, let's be ecumenical with our estranged Catholic family to the east. In the beginning, in the late 1800s, the only Western canon the Orthodox allowed for their Western-rite experiment was the Roman one; much later the Antiochians brought the Anglican missals on board by slightly byzantinizing their Eucharistic prayer, and of course that catholicized it. Problem solved, for those who want this. Ours for the asking.
    • That said, why not just do that to the Anglican missals, and add the Roman Canon as an option, and issue them, rather than mixing with the Novus Ordo? (Anglo-Catholics did our legwork for us decades ago.) That, using classic American Anglo-Catholics' big no to the Sixties just like the Tridentine Mass for cradle Catholics, is something our churchmen are not yet ready or willing to do. Still toeing the line that Vatican II was good even as the parishes and schools keep closing and the dioceses and orders go broke. Benedict the Great came thisclose to publicly coming clean, then somebody got rid of him.
    • The British Anglo-Catholic alumni experience is different; they've been Novus Ordo for 45 years (because they were Anglo-Papalists, believing everything the church says and wanting a "reconciliation with honor" with it). For them, the Prayer Book only means Protestantism, not orthodoxy or the '50s. That's the British ordinariate. Let them be.
    • As the Antiochians' work is ours for the asking, so is that of classic Anglo-Papalists. It's Not About Latin™ (but Latin has its place: template and international language) so the English Missal (Tridentine in English) should be approved as an option too.
  • The ordinariates' first bishop designate is the American one's new ordinary-to-be, Msgr. Steven Lopes, a born Catholic but very familiar with the tradition he's been assigned to, as Msgr. Steenson (nice, nice man I knew when he was rector of Rosemont) takes a well-deserved rest in retirement (he's still administrator until Msgr. Lopes' consecration). Ad multos annos.
  • The ordinariates still won't train new married priests, only allowing ex-Anglican ones. The church has the authority to make that rule. I am not attacking the Latin Church's longstanding rule but, given the Slavic Greek Catholic experience in America (we caused schisms), for example, priestly celibacy is not a hill I'd die on. I understand faithful celibate priests' resentment of a change but ordaining the married in the ordinariates would give it a lot more appeal for ex-Anglicans, showing we're serious about preserving all of their patrimony that doesn't go against our doctrine. (My same answer to the Orthodox, including the American descendants of ex-Catholics: please come home; everything that's not doctrine, even parish ownership of property, is on the table.) Then again, by now, just about every Anglican who really wanted to be Catholic now is.
  • Possible Episcopal argument: "You're proselytizing with the ordinariates, so you can't complain about our Hispanic outreach." It's not a false-flag operation; the Anglo-Catholic alumni asked to come in. We're really talking about rival true-church claims (they are the direct successors of the old high churchmen with their misunderstood branch theory: they're the true church; we're a real church with real bishops and the real Eucharist but in grave error) so this is fair game. Except for the 150-year-old border skirmish because of Anglo-Catholicism, the Catholic and Episcopal churches don't really compete; the Episcopalians' real rivals are other English Reformed churches and offshoots, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarians.
*Traditional Lutheranism is a similar retrofitting. Luther's Christianity (according to Davies: I say I'm saved so I'm saved; the Eucharist isn't Christ's sacrifice pleaded on the altar) was radically new but he wasn't consistent and he was for using the trappings of the church to deceive the simple faithful (for their own good). His followers (Melanchthon most of his life) tried to reach an agreement with the church and wrote down a theology to answer us after Trent. Thus a made-up Christianity accidentally became our close cousin some time after its founding (similar line as Anglican old high church: they're the church; we're in grave error).

9 comments:

  1. I am studying/comparing the Lancelot Andrews Press BCP, so far it seems to be a giant mish-mash of the 1928 BCP (Both US and Proposed English), The Anglican Missals (American Mostly) and the St. Ambrose Prayer Book (also from LAP). It's not terrible but use a little tweaking.......

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    1. Sounds good because there's no Sixties in the mishmash. Entirely Catholic. Add the commemoration of the Pope and we're good to go.

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  2. The Ordinariate is better off with the Sarum Rite in English.

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    1. Not heretical but it would be like trying to revive a corpse.

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    2. Too true, alas. In fact, there were two proposals for the Eucharistic rite(s) for the Ordinariates. One of them was, more or less, what became the present Ordinariate Missal. The other drew upon a wide variety of sources, Sarum (a good deal of Sarum), and the English BCPs of 1549 and 1662, as well as 20th-Century revised "colonial countries'" BCPs, and even from the English 1980 "Book of Alternative Services" and 2000 "Common Worship" books. In the end, it was rejected, politely, by Rome as (so I have heard tell) "insufficiently Anglican" (which I assume means without sufficient "traditional-style" BCP-derived material) and departing too far from the Roman-rite pattern; in a word, too much of a "mongrel" to be approved. The latter, rejected, rite was an English production meant for use in England only, and reflected the fact that few English Anglo-Papalists, although more than a negligible few, used "English Missal style" eucharistic rites (as opposed to straight Novus Ordo) and none had any use (using "use" in more than one sense) for "Prayer Book worship," and so its framers thought that a "new departure" would be appropriate in the circumstances.

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    3. Thanks for that history. Proposing that British Anglo-Papalist alumni, for whom the Novus Ordo opposing the BCP was a badge of orthodox honor ("we believe everything holy mother church teaches"), use parts of the 1980 "Book of Alternative Services" and 2000 "Common Worship" book instead is one of the dumbest ideas, down there with making them use the Prayer Book. Making them worship like the modern Anglicans they left.

      Historically Catholics don't have mongrel services. Arguably the traditional Roman Rite as we have it, a mix of old Roman and now-extinct Gallican, is, but that seems organic, and anyway the Roman Rite text was mostly there before that change. (We traditionalists could pretty much follow a Mass in 500 even though the ceremonial we know hadn't evolved yet or came from the Gallican Rite.) Writing new services and imposing them on communities needlessly disrupts the communities, risking spiritual harm.

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  3. "But the Anglican and American Missals (unofficial; banned in many Episcopal dioceses)"; this is not really true, I think that we have been over this (the foreign rites canon). In the American Church the missals are legal and can be used with episcopal permission. The Italian and Hungarian Roman rite Episcopalian parishes are an example as is the Philippine Independent Church, which until they adopted the novus ordo, used the American Missal. Later they produced a much cheaper edition, the church in the Philippines was/is very poor, called the "Filipino Missal." Basically a cut-down version of the "American Missal."

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    1. But most Episcopal bishops didn't give that permission.

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