Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Anglican Canon?

The current Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship includes all the major B.C.P. prayers for the Holy Communion, except the Prayer of Consecration and the Prayer of Oblation. With a second edition, suitably based on older B.C.P.'s and the English Missal, apparently in preparation at the Vatican, it is interesting to speculate on whether an Anglican Canon will be included, or whether, as in the B.D.W., only the Roman Canon (and the other three post-conciliar Eucharistic Prayers) will be included. I exclude discussion of the enormous number of modern Eucharistic Prayers throughout the Anglican Communion - their name is legion - since most of them are frankly too low in their doctrine, and hardly any have much intercession included. I have previously blogged on this, and have just left the following comments on Fr Hunwicke's blog:

...for any Anglican Canon to be inserted in the upcoming Roman Rite Anglican Use Missal (B.D.W. 2.0) - so far as I can see, the only way to do so would be to follow the Scottish 1764 Communion Office, and have the Prayer of Consecration immediately followed by the Prayer of Memorial and Oblation, with the Prayer for the Church tacked on at the end, rather than read at or before the Offertory. (Rome would also require, as it has for all new Eucharistic Prayers, that the Epiclesis be put back before the Consecration, as in other Anglican traditions than the Scottish and its daughter the American.) But would not having these three prayers in sequence make for a very long Canon?

...the Scottish rearrangement (which derives from the 1718 Nonjurors' liturgy) is... :

  1. Prayer of Consecration;
  2. Prayer of Memorial and Oblation;
  3. Prayer for the Church.

By putting the Prayer for the Church last, and including the words "accept our Oblation", it makes it clear that the Eucharist is an impetratory sacrifice, not merely one of praise and thanksgiving: it is offered up for determinate ends.

As St Cyril of Jerusalem says,

"Then when the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless act of worship is complete, we beseech God, on the ground of that sacrifice of propitiation, for the common peace of the churches; for the stability of the world; for kings; for our soldiers and allies; for the sick and afflicted; in fact, we pray for all who need help, and for them we offer this sacrifice. Next, we remember those who have fallen asleep before us; first the Patriarchs, Apostles, Martyrs; that by their prayers and intercessions God may receive our supplication. After that we pray for the holy Fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep; and, in short, for all the departed, believing that it will be the greatest advantage for the souls of those for whom this supplication is offered when the holy and awful sacrifice is set before God. We offer up Christ, sacrificed for our sins, propitiating our compassionate God on their behalf, and on our own."
[Mystagogical Catecheses 5, 7-10]

The Prayer for the Church, in its more catholic recensions (1549, as returned to and reworked by the Nonjurors and the Scots, praying for the dead and fulsomely commemorating the Saints), fits this description admirably. As Bishop Thomas Brett (1667-1744) wrote:

"The Reason of the Thing also pleads for putting the Prayer for all estates and Conditions of Men after the Consecration, for as it is one general End of Sacrifice, and of this Eucharistick Sacrifice in particular, to render our Prayers more is certainly most proper, that the Sacrifice or Oblation should first be offered, and that Prayer should be made whilst it lies upon the altar, and is already dedicated to God."

It will be observed that this order is in fact the common pattern of the post-Conciliar Roman Eucharistic Prayers:

  • Proemium;
  • Epiclesis;
  • Consecration;
  • Anamnesis/Memorial;
  • Oblation;
  • Prayer for Communicants;
  • Intercesssion for the Living and the Dead with Commemoration of the Saints;
  • Doxology.

Note that, in regard to the Epiclesis, Rome has been clear that in the Roman Rite, for the avoidance of all confusion, it must be placed before the Consecration, so 1549 must be followed, not the Nonjurors, the Scots and the Americans.

So much for what I've written already; here is an example of the text of such an "Anglican Canon" - this is from the Scottish B.C.P. of 1929, except for the restoration of the most express and orthodox 1764 Epiclesis, moved back to before the Consecration (where it was found until that year), and so to fit the sense, changing "For" back to "Who" and deleting "he", and the petition for the Queen and Government moved to after that for the Church and clergy, to avoid Erastianism (I have also restored the words "to accept our Oblations" from the 1764, and inserted the Pope to signify Catholic communion):

ALL glory and thanksgiving be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who, by his own oblation of himself once offered, made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memorial of that his precious death and sacrifice until his coming again.
And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father to hear us, and of thy almighty goodness vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may become the body and blood of thy most dearly beloved Son.
Who in the night that he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he took the cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this, for this is my Blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this as oft as ye shall drink it in remembrance of me.
Wherefore, O Lord, and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we thy humble servants do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed passion, and precious death, his mighty resurrection, and glorious ascension; rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same, and looking for his coming again with power and great glory.
And we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.
And here we humbly offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee, beseeching thee that all we who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, and be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us and we in him.
And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice; yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end.

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church.

ALMIGHTY and Everliving God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make intercessions and to give thanks for all men: We humbly pray thee most mercifully to accept our Oblations, and to receive these our supplications which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty; beseeching thee to inspire continually the universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord; and grant that all they that do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy word, and live in unity and godly love.
Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, [and especially to thy servants N. our Pope and N. our Bishop,] that they may both by their life and doctrine set forth thy true and living word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments: and to all thy people give thy heavenly grace, and especially to this Congregation here present, that they may hear and receive thy holy word, truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life.
We beseech thee also to save and defend all Kings, Princes, and Governors, and especially thy servant Elizabeth our Queen, and all who are put in authority under her, that we may be godly and quietly governed.
We most humbly beseech thee of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all those who in this transitory life are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.
We commend to thy gracious keeping, O Lord, all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear, beseeching thee to grant them everlasting light and peace.
And we yield unto thee most high praise and hearty thanks, for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all thy Saints, who have been the choice vessels of thy grace, and the lights of the world in their several generations: and chiefly in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord and God, and in the Holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, beseeching thee to give us grace to follow the example of their stedfastness in thy faith, and obedience to thy holy commandments, that * at the day of the general resurrection, we, and all they who are of the mystical body of thy Son, may be set on his right hand, and hear his most joyful voice, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator and Advocate.

[*Add ", strengthened by their fellowship, and aided by their prayers" - from the Scottish 1929 B.C.P., Prayers and Thanksgivings, Prayer 51.]
Does this appear a sufficiently orthodox Catholic Eucharistic Prayer, or not?


Anonymous said...

I personally would like to see an Anglican Canon (perhaps alongside the Roman Canon?).

Rob A

Joshua said...

As you can see, I have some hopes for this - but it must be scrupulously vetted for orthodoxy of course!

Young fogey emeritus said...

Fine with me.