Friday, June 24, 2011

My case for traditional Anglo-Catholic missals for the ordinariates

In a combox Sybok wrote:
I know, YF, you’re no fan of the Ordinary Form, but I am now that we have these new translations (I was before as long as it was done right and not in the English language since nothing was translated right). As far as the Tridentine rite goes I demand it be in Latin* – in fact I even think the epistle and gospel should only be in Latin* too (only to be reread in the vernacular during the homily; that’s how the Tridentine-rite parish I go to does it). What I am saying is the American Missal from researching it is too close to the Tridentine Mass so I am very uncomfortable and plainly opposed because it would be like the TLM in the vernacular. I, ignorant of Anglican tradition so take me with a grain of salt in my opinions regarding it, think a 2nd Edition Book of Divine Worship with more traditional BCP in it would do fine for Americans; like you said several times the British seem to prefer the Ordinary Form. Maybe give Anglican Ordinariates the option to have reconstructed Sarum (in Latin only) as their Extraordinary Form counterpart to the Book of Divine Worship instead of the Tridentine.

*Old Church Slavonic instead of Latin for Slavic parishes of course! Wasn’t just Croats; Poles and Slovaks were doing it on a limited indult basis during late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Latin, particularly pronounced the Italian way as most Catholics who use it do (there are also the German/Polish pronunciation where soft c is s not ch, and in practice the French accent), is beautiful and it has its place as an unchanging template with clear meanings from which to make vernacular translations, and as a common language when congregations are international, but other than that and historical or sentimental reasons why insist on only Latin for the Tridentine Mass? One of my catch phrases here is It’s Not About Latin™. Fr and Ms Old Liberal still running local RC institutions (AmChurch) know Joe and Mary Average Catholic (such as every person from mid-century outside tradsville I’ve mentioned it to) don’t want to go back to Latin (of course not; they don’t understand it) so the old libs use that to scare them away from the TLM. So I’ve always said fine, translate it as an option. Trads think that’s too Protestant and libs know it undercuts them (the people would understand it so it would teach them Catholicism, which the libs don’t want) so until Pope Benedict it’s been next to impossible.

The beauty of something like the Anglican Missal (not an official Anglican book) or the American Missal (an approved variant of the US 1928 BCP) is it is partly the Tridentine Mass, with the BCP content, sharing credal orthodoxy and a Godward worldview with the Catholic Church, blending in just about seamlessly. Its style is part of the history of the English language and Anglo-American culture. Like the Tridentine Mass it’s a tradition in living memory that many, such as the Americans interested in the ordinariate, are still attached to (American conservative Anglicans unlike the British love thous and thees).

So it not only pushes tradition past the libs’ scare tactic (‘ew, you don’t want to go back to Latin!’) but also in the best sense it’s ecumenical, a Catholic way of connecting with America’s WASP roots. (Another way, which Fr Daniel Oppenheimer did in the FSSP: sing classic, singable, orthodox Anglican etc. hymns at Low Mass. Too Protestant for rad trads but fine with me.) Pope Benedict’s smart: snatch ecumenism from the libs.

So no, I don’t want to see the Novus ICEL/1979 BCP hybrid that’s the BDW nor something more Prayer Booky (which I think would be too Protestant). Why go in those directions when Anglo-Catholics already came up with a perfectly good Catholic way? (Antiochian WRO had the sense to do that; of course they’re Novus-free.) Duly noted: when all of the Ordinary Form in English gets better this Advent (no more ‘dynamic equivalence’ garbage; Pope B has fixed all the real problems with the OF in English), the BDW will get better.

I said the Tridentine Mass and 1928 are living traditions, which brings me to my objection to trying to revive Sarum. It’s sound and fine for demonstrations/re-enactments but for a long time no longer a living tradition so trying to bring it back and impose it on the ordinariates would be a waste of time and effort. AFAIK there was never a plan to try that.

In short I think I’m essentially a pre-Vatican II ‘liberal’ – liturgical-movement with chant Masses the norm in practice, with congregational singing; where hymns are appropriate, the best of Protestantism (I prefer chant myself); and let’s have the option of doing some of it in English. (And religious liberty and ecumenism minus indifferentism are OK.) Now considered reactionary because... it’s still pre-V2.

Repeating the church reality check: no matter which missal, be it the libs’ status quo or something most readers and I would like, some Catholics would hate it, some would love it and a lot would keep going to Mass or not for their own reasons regardless. That said, I think if the service were more clearly orthodox again, more than 30% of Catholics would know what the Eucharist really is (that Gallup poll from the ’90s).

Happy feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.

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