Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back to the T.A.C.

Having assisted at Mass last night, Sunday was free (Dominica vacat), and so, having promised Bp Robarts of the T.A.C. to pay him a visit, I betook myself to the temporary temple of the Parish of the Annunciation...

After divine service, we had a good chat: I had perforce to detail poor Dad's ongoing illness, and to add to that my Mum and sister are both laid up in bed with gastroenteritis (there has been an outbreak at the hospital, and they caught it while visiting Dad), so I'm the only one standing.

His Lordship celebrated in a green Roman chasuble over a plain alb; no maniple, but purple zucchetto, Episcopal cross and ring.  The temporary altar had a green frontal and white altar cloth, with six candles lit (up from two on my last visit!), the missal on its stand, plus a hymnbook and various papers with sundry prayers upon them placed on the mensa (though no altar cards).  The altar cross bore a sculpted image of Christ the Priest in vestments; above the altar, upon the cloth that served as a reredos, hung an icon of Virgin and Child.  The chalice and paten were veiled, and a burse was used.

I have previously described, in extreme detail! what liturgy I observed offered, so I note only any differences seen to-day.  I will offer one correction: after the Prayer of Humble Access, then he read the Secret, and then turned to say the Orate fratres, straightway leading into the Dominus vobiscum and Sursum corda.  This time round, moreover, he read the traditional Embolism after the Lord's Prayer, complete with performing the fraction during its doxology, more Romano.  Strangely, he didn't move the missal back to the Epistle side after communion.

Of notable Anglican prayers, the only ones missing were the Summary of the Law and the Comfortable Words; of Catholic, the Canon (since an Anglican version was used instead) and the Last Gospel.

The three attractive, doctrinal and very loudly sung out hymns were:
It is obvious that a high doctrine of the Real Presence and Sacrifice, as of the Saints, is held.

As never happens when with Catholics, mine was not the loudest voice!

As last time, it proved difficult to ascertain which Sunday was being celebrated: the three readings were taken from the modern Roman Lectionary (Zacharias xii, 10-11 & xiii, 1; Galatians iii, 26-29; St Luke ix, 18-24) for the 12th Sunday per annum, Year C.  In consonance with this, the Introit was pretty obviously Dominus fortitudo plebis suæ – which is that for this Sunday in the modern Roman Rite (while in the Traditional, it is the Introit for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost).  However, the Gradual and Alleluia I cannot now with certainty identify; and the Offertory and Communion seemed to quote from the Gospel pericope.

Furthermore, and in agreement with the Collect – which was that for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity (which equates to the 4th after Pentecost) in the B.C.P., and in turn is not the same as the Roman, but comes from the Sarum Proper for the 3rd after Trinity – the Secret definitely and the Postcommunion probably (I recall it speaking of the "holy gifts", as below) were non-Roman but came instead from that Sarum Proper.  They are quite interesting and worth attention:

O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (BCP)
O Lord, we beseech thee, mercifully to hear our supplications; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy aid be defended.  Through... (Warren's translation of the Sarum Missal)
Deprecationem nostram, quæsumus, Domine, benignus exaudi; et quibus supplicandi præstas affectum, tribue defensionis auxilium.  Per...  (Sarum Missal)

I particularly like the phrase "an hearty desire to pray" – how comforting to think that the Lord has thus disposed our hearts.

The Secret and Postcommunion, in Warren's version (and, thanks to a commenter on Fr Hunwicke's blog, in the original mediæval Latin):

We beseech thee, O Lord, to sanctify the gifts now offered unto thee, that they may become the body and blood of thy Only-begotten One, for our healing.  Who liveth...
Munera tibi quesumus domine oblata sanctificata: ut tui nobis unigeniti corpus et sanguis fiant ad medelam, qui tecum. 
Having received the holy gifts, we beseech thee, O Lord, that by their virtue thou wouldest purify us from all vices, and fill us abundantly with the gifts of thy grace.  Through...
Sacris domine muneribus perceptis: quesumus, ut nos eorum virtute et a vitiis omnibus expies, et donis gratie tue jugiter repleas, per. 

Note that this Secret is a directly epicletic prayer!  It is precise and Catholic, and more than makes up for the Cranmerian anti-epiclesis that still disfigures the "Interim Rite", the version of the Consecratory Prayer used, which Rome would surely correct (this deficiency in the Prayer of Consecration is, upon reflection, really the only doctrinally objectionable part of the entire service I attended).

For those interested in such things as the manner in which the Lord is served in the T.A.C., Bp Robarts explained to me afterward that matters liturgical are still being worked out with reference to Rome; and that when the time comes he will of course do as will be determined.  In the meanwhile, he explained that he celebrated in a Catholic manner (using his English Missal), while retaining the various Anglican prayers beloved of his people.

I must say, I found it a decent and reverent service; as I reiterated, once all differences are composed, I look forward to worshipping with him more regularly, and to share in the one communion from the one altar.  Eastward facing worship!  Dignified prayers!  Very nice; just what the Pope desires: "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness".

He also explained what is only reasonable: that, for the good of the greater number of souls, and to help ease the painful transition, he and his Catholic opposite number wish to make haste slowly with setting up the Australian Ordinariate - it appears that some want it running by Advent this year, others by Advent next year, and that a suitable via media would be Pentecost 2011 (as would be most fitting when one considers it).  

Many T.A.C. laymen remain quite understandably troubled by the stumbling-block of being confirmed "again", after being taught all their lives by their High Church clergy that confirmation was both a sacrament and unrepeatable; it must gently be explained to all so concerned that, as with T.A.C. clergy and their Orders, Rome requires certainty, and rather than go through everything case-by-case, it will be understood that conditionality is an unspoken presupposition for those worried about this.

Robarts left me with some sterling if wry advice: Keep trying to keep the Faith, without being trying!

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