Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The new blog of Fr Christopher Phillips and Our Lady of the Atonement Anglican Use RC Church in San Antonio, Texas

Rite I Anglican Use, as imperfect as it is (and it could be improved with the Holy See’s call for more accurate and prettier English translations, chucking ICEL’s paraphrases), has so much potential: it could evangelise the semi-churched (bring back the lapsed) in America, the kind of people who bought chant CDs in the ’90s and go to classical concerts at lovely old city Protestant churches. (They don’t want Haugen, Haas and Schutte miked up and sung at them, and truth be told neither do most RCs.) The idiom of the Prayer Book, the King James Bible and old hymns is still woven into the culture and is yours for the asking. Use it!

Not to sound too proud but as I like to say of Anglo-Catholicism it’s my culture brought up to speed with my Catholic beliefs. Ideally you’d do that with the English Missal I suppose but Rite I AU is better than run-of-the-mill Novus Ordo and in it you can have the culture, the history of Christianity in English from the Gothic architecture to the turns of phrase (acknowledging and bewailing our manifold sins... what’s my car to do with it? :)), the organ music and the hymnody... and don’t forget public recitation of the offices (having a form of that for everyman in the parishes and using English were the only good things the English ‘Reformation’ promoted, and the chalice for the laity as it came to be done is OK; everything else was a mistake).

That is, it would have a lot of potential if the RC PTB actually took it seriously and gave it a chance, which they won’t. Modernism + Irish hatred of things thought to be English = it’s dead on arrival/a bait-and-switch*. (Many are far more sympathetic to this than to me or possibly you: scroll down to read my remarks.) There are no mechanisms to ensure its survival once the ex-Episcopal priests retire and die and I think that’s intentional. Rome is making the US RCs have it: for now. But like that lovely contemporary mainstream film The Family Man it’s ‘a glimpse’ of what could be.

Ironically (fitting for the home of irony) English Anglo-Catholics are not interested in the AU; they use the Novus Ordo (at least a spikey version of it). You can describe reverence for the idiom of the Prayer Book as like ‘Masterpiece Theatre’: broadcasting of English-made historical dramas with a reverence entirely American!

Speaking of history and England, today LRC has a link to colour photos of the place... from 1890!

*Which is why they won’t have the English Missal and Anglican Breviary, which unlike Cranmer’s or the US 1979 book are not Protestant at all but their own religion translated back at them! These are Catholic and, broadly speaking, English (the Breviary was a 1940s-1950s American production) so they’re right out. Adopting ICEL instead of classic translations was among other things (this is back when abstract art and Bauhausian architecture were hip) obviously a move to spite the Anglicans.

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