Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Mattins

As all men know, Mattins (with double tee) is the Anglican nickname for Morning Prayer; and I've been making use of the current Anglican Use of the Roman Rite for the past few days, in an access of enthusiasm for their liturgical patrimony (as purified and authorized by the Holy See), one of the gifts of Anglicanism to the Church Catholic. If Israel could plunder the Egyptians at God's command through Moses, why not cherry-pick the nice bits out of the B.C.P.?

The Book of Divine Worship is a strange book, a compromise between Roman liturgists of the 1980's - among them the notorious Marini, 'son' of Bugnini (shades of the Apocalypse! who is the third?) - and Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians who actually wanted something much closer to the traditional Roman Rite. It is based, for a start, on many elements of the U.S. B.C.P. of 1979; this is the case with what is provided for Morning and Evening Prayer, which is almost word-for-word the same; the only noteworthy change is that the "absolution" after the general confession formula is amended so that it reads always "May the... Lord grant us absolution...", clearly so as to dispel any idea that this is sacramental absolution.

To-day, at Mattins, Psalms 50(51) to 52(51) are read (if, as seems best, the Psalter is read over a monthly cycle); the Lessons, Nehemiah 9:1-18, 26-38 and Revelation 18:1-20 (combining those for Tuesday with those of Monday, which were unread since special readings were appointed for the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica); and the Collect of the Day is of Pope St Leo the Great, since the B.D.W. follows a minimally augmented modern Roman Calendar.

I would say that the Lessons were highly appropriate if current events among Anglicans looking forward to their coming into Catholic unity are kept in mind. The passage from Nehemiah (the returned exiles, that tiny remnant, confess God's mercies and Israel's continual ungratefulness, which brought upon them such punishments) and that from the Apocalypse (the half-triumph, half-lament over faithless Babylon, brought to destruction for her crimes) can be applied to the position of these incomers: amusingly, Babylon turns out to be Canterbury!

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)

Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!" (Rev. 18:20)

Or as Gandalf said, according to Tolkien, "Fly, you fools!'' Good advice for those still hesitating to swim the murky Tiber.


Mark said...

You know, part of me doesn't mind the BDW, but I really DO wish they had used either the English Book of Common Prayer, or the Scottish Book of Common Prayer as the basis. To be blunt, I don't trust the direction of PECUSA even before 1979...

Joshua said...

Yes, I agree entirely with all your statements!