Sunday, November 22, 2009


What’s new?
Asks Reverend Ref:
The [US 1979] BCP and ESPN both turned 30 this year. And yet, why is it that ESPN is no longer “that new sports network,” while some people continue to insist on referring to the BCP as “that new prayer book”?
If you like me were formed by, among other things, eastward-facing Communion and Cranmer’s sonorous prose (but not necessarily, one hopes, his Protestant theology) it’s a ‘new book’. US 1928’s far from adequate for Catholics (the theoretical ‘floor’ of my churchmanship using the high-low scale is the American Missal, jumped-up US 1928, the mode of the former biretta belt and now Antiochian WRO) but as Chesterton wrote, the beauty of the old Prayer Book is not the extent that it was the English Church’s first Protestant book but its last Catholic one. Cranmer went into schism and heresy but retained the 16th-century Godward worldview of our holy mother the church.

Good traditional Roman Riters will say the 1960 and 1962 (which I’m fine with) or maybe 1965 revisions are respectively the new breviary and missal and of course the Eastern Orthodox call the Gregorian calendar new.

I’d be saying the same thing then as now only I’d have been called a liberal: in the Roman Rite how about more well-done High Masses with chant, some nice Protestant hymns vetted for orthodoxy at Low Mass and sometimes having dialogue Masses (including congregationally sung High Masses) and doing at least some of it in the vernacular? (IOW Fr Hallahan could have looked over the fence at what Fr Smith probably was doing: now that’s my kind of ecumenism.)

I’m off to read Vespers from one of the old books.

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