Saturday, February 7, 2009

The English Missal

Readers will have noticed that, like Toad of Toad Hall, I have passing enthusiasms for particular interests.  At present, I'm revisiting what over the years I've learnt about Anglicanism and its liturgical heritage, for various reasons, such as making contact with the Traditional Anglican Communion in the hopes of their coming into communion with Rome.

While putting the finishing touches to my previous posting, I found this site giving the Ordinary of the extremely High, or rather Ritualist Anglo-Catholic, English Missal (thoughtfully paired with the Roman Mass).  A quick survey of its contents shews that it is nearly all taken from the Roman Missal, with various tidbits from the Book of Common Prayer included as "options" only!  

For example, after the prayers at the foot of the altar, if the celebrant wishes he can read the prefatory Our Father and Collect for Purity (the collect Deus cui omne cor patet), which are in fact survivals from the Sarum Rite.  Likewise, the English Missal gives the Collect, Epistle and Gospel from the B.C.P. for all occasions when such are supplied therein, and provides any variation from these in an appendix (from what I've noted, the readings are either the same as the Roman or vary slightly, perhaps being assigned to a different Sunday, and if so generally stem from the Sarum Rite with some exceptions; and ditto for the Collects, though especially those for feast days were new compositions).  

Rather clumsily, the Anglican Prayer for the Church Militant, together with the Invitation, General Confession, Absolution and Comfortable Words, was inserted between the Orate fratres and the Secret (since in the B.C.P. these parts come directly before the Preface, though liturgically speaking, as they resemble mediæval vernacular prayers after the sermon at Mass, they would fit better before rather than after the offertory rites).  

The most important option in the English Missal is that one may use either Frere's Interim Rite (noting that, as per the B.C.P, the Prayer of Humble Access is inserted before the Prayers of Consecration and Oblation, and after the Sanctus and Benedictus), or the Roman Canon!  After communion is adminstered - in both kinds - the Anglican prayer of thanksgiving after communion may be read, either in addition to or in the stead of the (Roman) Postcommunion Collect; and either the Roman form of the blessing (Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus) or the Anglican ("The peace of God...") may be used - amusingly, the Novus Ordo now includes the latter formula as one of the optional solemn blessings at the end of Mass in Latin and English.

Parts of the service of Holy Communion in the B.C.P. are not included in the English Missal, at least in its Ordinary as given online.  No provision is made for reciting the Ten Commandments (with responses) after the Our Father and Collect for Purity at the start of the service, as this was considered by Anglo-Catholics a very shoddy Proddy idea best neglected (not so much because they neglected the Commandments, one trusts, as because it seemed very dark, puritan and ominous an opening to the liturgy), and likewise the Collect for the Queen - always to be used first, before the Collect of the day, even on Good Friday or Easter Sunday! - was left out (presumably relegated to the Votive Orations) as being a bit much even for devoted monarchists.  Similarly, the Exhortations to be read at the Holy Communion, being long and very largely omitted by just about all Anglicans for centuries now, have no provision made for their use.  The sentences of Scripture to be used at the Offertory, being more or less all about giving money for the collection, have also been retired as rather grasping and uncouth.  Finally, the words of administration of the elements hae been given only in their Roman form, as the Anglican, a combination of 1549 and 1552, were overlong.

What of all these Anglican inserts are acceptable as Catholic prayers, that is, for use at a Catholic Mass?  I have on my lap as I type my copy of The Book of Divine Worship, which is the liturgical book approved for use in Anglican Use parishes in the United States.  Its form of Mass is basically the Novus Ordo supplemented with elements from the U.S. 1979 B.C.P (and it must be noted that this stems from a combination of the English and the Scottish B.C.P.'s of the late eighteenth century, the latter having a rather higher and more catholic form of Eucharistic rite), which being granted it does shew what of the above would be usable to a first approximation if, and only if, the "Interim Rite with English Missal additions" as used locally by the T.A.C. might continue if they do come into corporate union with Rome.
  • The Collect for Purity (in its American version, having one word different - "are" not "be");
  • Many of the Collects are retained in the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite, but these are from the 1979 U.S. B.C.P., which redistributed them among the Sundays and feasts of the year, so a case by case examination would be needed to see which were used when - and likewise, the U.S. B.C.P. tradition had over time varied and changed elements of the wording of the collects, or had introduced new ones;
  • The Book of Divine Worship states that the Anglican Use is to use the Novus Ordo lectionary - but, seeing that the Holy Father has since freed up access to the Traditional Latin Mass with its own lectionary, and as the English Missal is basically the Traditional Latin Mass in English, perhaps the use of the older Traditional lectionary would be conceded (but as to what to do about the vestiges of the Sarum order of readings, or about those lessons specific to the Anglican tradition, who knows?);
  • The Prayer for the Church (again, in its American recension shewing more than verbal differences to the English one - with the Pope and local Bishop to be included by name, as a sign of Catholic unity, and with phrasing indicating prayer for the dead, commemoration of the Blessed Virgin and saints, and the petition for governments and rulers moved after the petition for the clergy, to cut down on Erastianism);
  • The Invitation, that is, the admonition to kneel down and repent of sin (with verbal differences "who" instead of "that", "devoutly" instead of "meekly", and omitting "upon your knees" as tautologous, and "and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort" as perhaps implying that all who kneel to confess will receive, or that it might confuse the penitential rite following with sacramental absolution);
  • The General Confession, analogous to the Confiteor;
  • The Absolution (reading "those who" for "them that", and "on" for "upon" - and, notably, following the Novus Ordo by changing all mentions of "you" or "your" to "us" and "our", again to avoid giving the appearance that this prayer for forgiveness is a formula of sacramental absolution);
  • The Comfortable Words (being quotations of St Matthew xi, 28, St John iii, 16, I Timothy i, 15 and I John ii, 1-2, in slightly modernized language, and significantly adding to the last passage "and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world", implying the universal efficacy of the oblation of Christ);
  • The Prayer of Humble Access (omitting, as was done according to the U.S. B.C.P., the phrase "that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and", which had since the beginning been questioned as seeming to imply the Blood more efficacious than the Body!);
  • The Prayer of Thanksgiving, or fixed prayer after Communion (omitting for stylistic reasons only "vouchsafe to" and "which is", but also reading "in these holy mysteries" - the 1549 version - not "who have duly received these holy mysteries", which might possibly bear some savour of receptionism or somesuch, and omitting "by the merits of the most precious death and passion of thy dear Son", which again could carry the impression that sharing in the company of the saints as members of the Mystical Body is strengthened not by Communion but by the Cross alone: but I think that it's most probable these phrases were omitted from The Book of Divine Worship because U.S. Anglicans, I mean Episcopalians, had already omitted them as making the prayer overwordy);
  • The Peace (which is the Anglican form of blessing, now even included in the Novus Ordo as noted above).
(The Book of Divine Worship even includes for optional use a version of the Ten Commandments, and of the Exhortation.)

What one does not find in the Anglican Use is the Anglican Canon of the Interim Rite: only the Roman Canon is provided (and, in "Rite Two", the contemporary language version, the other modern Eucharistic Prayers).  It seems that Rome judged Frere's effort wanting.

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