Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why are we cannibalizing the Book of Common Prayer?

My parish: trads, conservatives, Anglo-Catholic alumni, and black locals.

  • Sour grapes: Why is the Catholic Church cannibalizing the Book of Common Prayer? Points: it IS a Protestant book as Msgr. Newton notes, imposed by force (been to two English Catholic martyrs' shrines and a ruined abbey: I'll never look at the BCP the same), and British Anglo-Catholics long wanted nothing to do with it; it was used against them. That said, it's because American Anglo-Catholics were attached to the Prayer Book, at least in tridentinized missal form; it's their resistance to Modernism and the Sixties just like the Tridentine Mass. And because much of the time our liturgical English isn't very good; Cranmer and his imitators did it better. (Catholics don't care about liturgical English because deep down we remember that liturgy isn't really in English.) Why not be ecumenical in a good way? I don't per se miss the BCP, but as this was a classic-car show and flea-market Sunday, I went to the early Novus Ordo where I'm an ordinariate of one: And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. (That's right: the Continuum, the Rite I Episcopalians, and I are literally saying the same creed. It's an American Anglo-Catholic thing and a tribute to a lot of good people, present and departed.) My favorite office book is Winfred Douglas' Monastic Diurnal, Roman Rite but not only with Coverdale's psalm translations and Cranmer's canticle ones but both the Roman Rite collects and, where different, Cranmer's as an option. The Protestant intent's only passive (if a prayer was about the merits or intercession of a saint, he replaced it); his content here isn't heretical and is beautiful, like a mini-sermon. The Roman Rite ones are short and terse (the West in crisis and decline, when the Roman Empire fell); Cranmer cut loose in English. That said, the British ordinariate should remain Novus Ordo with married priests; hopefully, high-churched and with the option of the Tridentine Mass in Latin and English Missal forms.
  • Taki misses old-school WASPness, the thing that "Mad Men" (Jewish Matthew Weiner) set out to criticize (lefty nostalgia: celebrating the fall of WASP America) and inadvertently celebrated. ("Look how strong those bad WASPs were... hey, they were pretty cool. No, wait...") My feelings are as mixed as my ethnicity (my dad grew up speaking Spanish). With the real reactionaries including the European SSPX I see the problems, the Protestantism and the "Enlightenment" sequential false ideas creating today's problems, and that the WASPs didn't want us here ("this is our country — you're just visiting"); the Rockefeller Republicans really still don't! (Old-school Episcopal: "The Rrrrromans aren't the canonical church here; WE are, just like in England.") But with the patriotic second- and third-generation American Catholic traditionalists and Joe Sobran ("the Protestants were just so darn nice"), I appreciate their liberality that founded this country, writing the Constitution, and, for all its problems, creating a fantastic home for the church (from Cardinal Spellman to the old-school nuns to Notre Dame's Fighting Irish to Bad Catholics like Spencer Tracy and Joe DiMaggio), a place where Catholics thrived, 50 years ago. Ironically, a place based on free-church dissent that's more hospitable to us than the mother country, which I also know first-hand: hostile to us in a creepily self-aware non serviam way despite the residual saints' names on things, the anointed Christian Queen, and the state church with its coped and mitred bishops. (The Popes hoped they'd come back into the family too but that won't happen.) The place is haunted by its having left the church. Taki's one Greek Orthodox I'd like having a few drinks with.
  • The USS Constitution hosts a little party before its three-year overhaul. A monument to an unnecessary war but a beautiful ship. Still, you wonder how little of the original ship is left; ditto the HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship. Been aboard the Constellation in Baltimore, long thought to be an original Navy frigate like the Constitution but proven to be a newer ship from the mid-1800s; that was a bit of creative accounting (denied a new ship in the budget, the Navy scrapped the original Constellation and built another one, writing it down as a rebuild; good old government fraud). Wonder how the rebuilding of the Cutty Sark (yes, the whiskey is named after a real ship) is going after that fire. ("Cutty sark" by the way is Scots for a low-cut blouse, sailors having healthy desires and all.) Philly has a steel-hulled German windjammer (more impressive than the clipper ships when under full sail) from around 1900 (commercial sailing ships didn't disappear until the '30s), the Moshulu, now a restaurant, as well as our official tall ship, the Gazela originally from Portugal.
  • Culture-wars chum from National Review: "Transgender": reality can be a bitch. Or rather, you made your unreality, now live in it. A girl at Wellesley pretending to be a boy (in this case she doesn't look like one) has enjoyed the school playing along: until now? Want to be a boy? Fine; then you won't be elected "diversity officer."


  1. As a somewhat frequent reader of Taki, I can report that he was much taken with (Catholic, of Anglican origin) Fr. Christopher Colven of Saint James Spanish Place, while he was in London marrying off his daughter Mandolyna, in a Catholic ceremony.

    1. I read that too and saw and heard Fr. Colven back in 1986 when he was still the administrator of the Anglican shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

  2. Well I'm glad the Ordinariate is making use of the BCP. Pusey and Newman would have approved.

  3. Personally, I think that in the not too distant future, we shall all very, very much miss the passing of the WASP power structure. I am afraid that what is coming to replace it will be neither liberal, in the good sense, tolerant, nor kind. We shall most likely, get just what we deserve. And I am also worried that those of us who wish to jump ship will have no place to go.


Leave comment