Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Book of Common Prayer: in itself worse than the Novus Ordo

Because Cranmer was a heretic.

Dom Benedict Andersen writes:
I just have to say something about this disparaging of the RC Anglican Use.

I should preface this by saying that
I am a great lover of Anglo-Catholic liturgical tradition, especially the North American “Romanized” BCP tradition. I was also co-editor of the St Dunstan Psalter and the Orthodox BCP, and wrote my M.Div. thesis defending the Liturgy of St Tikhon from Orthodox criticisms, so I feel that I have the “chops” to say what I’m going to say without being accused of being an “Anglican-hating” RC.

I find it very rich that devotees of Anglican liturgies are here disparaging the
Novus Ordo Missæ and its Anglican Use variant. Believe me, I am no fan of the so-called “Ordinary Form” (thankfully my monastery has very little to do with it), but there’s a bit of the “pot and kettle” situation going on here.

Friends, the “High Church” BCP tradition today has something of a traditional patina, but it (along with the other Reformed liturgies) was
the Novus Ordo of its day … even though the BCP goes much, much further in its repudiation of Tradition. As John Beeler likes to point out, the Novus Ordo in its official books contains absolutely no heresy … but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do a good job, in and of itself, of transmitting traditional Catholic doctrine and practice.

The genius of the High Church movement, beginning with figures like Andrewes and Laud, and continuing through the time of the Tractarians and the American “Biretta Belt”, was to take a profoundly untraditional liturgy, imbued (like the Novus Ordo) with the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” (sorry to be so Ratzingerian), and transform it, little by little, into a liturgy capable of bearing and transmitting a lively Catholic tradition.

I see very clear parallels between the gradual “Catholicization” of Anglican liturgy and the “Reform of the Reform” movement in the RCC today — of which, I might add, the Anglican Use is a major part. The Anglican Use of the “Ordinary Form”, it seems to me, is doing for the
Novus Ordo what the High Church forebears of the Ordinariate did in the past for the BCP tradition.

As for my friend Dale Crakes’ mockery of “options, options, options”: do you mean like the Anglican Missal in the American Edition contains not one, not two, but *three* different Canons (American 1928, 1549, and Roman), to be chosen according to the Celebrant’s whim?

pace Dale Crakes, the language of the Ordinariate Mass is not the typical new-ICEL-ese but entirely “Tudorized”. Unlike the Book of Divine Worship, the Ordinariate Mass seems more like a cohesive whole, with the same style of language throughout.

A last quick word on the lack of an Anglican anaphora in the Anglican Use Mass. I agree wholeheartedly. I believe that the commission entrusted with the preparation of the Ordinariate Mass could have issued such an anaphora, using enrichments drawn from the various early 20th century revisions of the BCP. If I recall correctly, on Christian Campbell’s old “Anglo-Catholic” blog, my good friend Dr Tighe wrote an article outlining what might be done in an RC revision of the Anglican Prayer of Consecration. I cannot find this article now (was it taken down?) but I remember being in broad agreement with his suggestions.
Right; growing up old middle-of-the-road with the organ, hymns, and Healey Willan at Communion taken at face value, such Protestant services felt more traditional, even more Catholic, than the ICEL Novus Ordo in the '80s. Also, Thomas Day has explained why most American Catholics are anti-high church, even though that goes against our doctrine. But given the plain meaning of the BCP, Dom Benedict's right. Which is why the church has never approved BCP Eucharistic prayers, even the Scottish-derived, relatively high-church one in US 1928, my first liturgy.

When the new Prayer Book came out, my parish didn't adopt it. I heard a radio ad for the Anglican Catholic Church and was intrigued; I thought it was only about the BCP and thought, "What's the big deal? We still have the old one!" I didn't find out about women's ordination (and Bishop Spong and homosexualism) until a few years later.

The old North American “Romanized” BCP tradition — splicing the Tridentine Mass and the BCP — works because Cranmer and later BCP authors were still orthodox enough, "Godward" enough, Protestant as they were, still sharing a 16th-century worldview with Catholicism.

Even Tridentinized, this love of and use of the BCP is 100% American. As Msgr. Edwin Barnes has pointed out, in England, the BCP (the lower-church 1662 one, then the law of the land) was used AGAINST Anglo-Catholics.

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