Friday, March 24, 2017

Cranmer's busted religion and more

Chesterton wrote:
The Book of Common Prayer is the one positive possession and attraction, the one magnet and talisman for people even outside the Anglican Church, as are the great Gothic cathedrals for people outside the Catholic Church... might be put in a sentence; it has style; it has tradition; it has religion; it was written by apostate Catholics. It is strong, not in so far as it is the first Protestant book [but in that it was] the last Catholic book.
Which is why the Puritans hated it. I use its idiom just like the ordinariates (hooray for Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, for example) but I wouldn't go that far about the BCP. Broken anaphora in the English original, Black Rubric (Anglicans kneel but "he is not here"), and Articles (fallible, fungible church and no Mass). No. The church is right to forbid Cranmer's anaphora as printed in the BCPs... but although I'm not a fan, I say it could be an option because the Antiochian Orthodox have done our work for us, unprotestantizing/catholicizing it.

I have no problem being gracious to born Anglicans acting in good faith, such as visiting each other's services. Of course Communion's out of the question. I wouldn't lend our churches to Protestants either; the Orthodox don't do that and I can't imagine the ancient church doing it.

The flashpoint of all rebellion is where God and his creation meet in the flesh. I understand Milton's Satan would not serve man; man's rebellion has three fronts: who Jesus is, what the Eucharist is, and sex.

People who object to the church's office of head bishop (yes, the papacy) 1) want to run the show themselves (emperor, tsar, sultan, comrade first secretary), 2) think they know better than the church, not just the head bishop, and/or 3) have sex issues.

I'm not that religious though I believe; religion is a perfect "safe" blog topic. Regular readers care about it a lot and prying people don't.


  1. As a rare Roman Catholic member of the Prayer Book Society, I feel a little awkward when the society celebrates Thomas Cranmer.

    I alternate week by week between using the Liturgy of the Hours, the Little Office and various Anglican breviaries, but on Sundays I say morning and evening prayer from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

    I've never been an Anglican, but I love the rich language of the prayer book.

    1. The Prayer Book offices are fine, a reason why in England right after the "Reformation" there were "Church Papists," Catholics who outwardly conformed to the new church, easy to do much of the time because Morning Prayer became the usual Sunday service.

      The Protestants wanted their version of Communion every Sunday, but the people, from a medieval Catholic culture, would not receive more than quarterly, so the Protestants, believing that the people should (even must?) receive at every Communion they attend, gave in and only had Communion quarterly. Attending Communion but not receiving reminded the Protestants of the Mass, which they had repudiated. (It wasn't a matter of style; Cranmer and his friends broke with the church.) They would have the first part of the service in the main body of the church, then those staying for Communion would gather in the old chancel in the choir stalls around a table put lengthwise between them for "facing the people" and "church in the round." Putting the table where the altar used to be came later.

      Christopher Haigh for example has written movingly of the ways many of the English outwardly conformed but remained furtively Catholic until the 1580s. Formerly Catholic priests turned Anglican priests secretly celebrated Mass and would sneak people the real sacrament at the Anglican service; they were really crypto-Catholics more than heretics. A combination of state terror and the pull of local community/parish life eventually pushed the largely conservative English aboard the new religion, which eventually, effectively, became no religion, much of England now. (Disclosure for fairness: the sides executed each other when in power "for the good of souls" and the good of the community, but English Catholics weren't particularly violent for the time; cf. Eamon Duffy.)

    2. "I feel a little awkward when the society celebrates Thomas Cranmer."

      My father was recently ordained an Anglican priest. (in the Reformed Episcopal Church) His very nice Bishop during the homily called Thomas Crammer a martyr for the faith. I bit my lip and rolled me eyes at that one. (I wanted to throw up.)



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