Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding - II

As noted in my last post, it transpires that the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, was conducted according to the rites allowed in the Church of England as an alternative to the Book of Common Prayer service in Series One (1966), and that this in turn (but for an inserted blessing of the ring, ultimately from the Latin) was the service for marriage in the Proposed B.C.P. of 1928.

I also expressed surprise at the notable omissions and alterations in the prayers for holy wedlock, changes made when revising the 1662 order of service back in the nineteen twenties.  I do not refer to minor changes (such as changing "ordinance" to "law"), but to the deletion of references to God's creation of man in the state of original justice, to His uniting Adam and Eve as man and wife, and to Old Testament persons who are models of godly living: both the three patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and two holy couples – Isaac and Rebecca, Abraham and Sarah.  Here, I give the changes made to which I refer:

in the time of man’s innocency > himself
as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons > living faithfully together, they
Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob > our fathers
Look, O Lord, mercifully upon them from heaven, and bless them. And as thou didst send thy blessing upon Abraham and Sarah, to their great comfort, so vouchsafe to send thy blessing upon these thy servants; that they > that so, … they
who by thy mighty power hast made all things of nothing; who also (after other things set in order) didst appoint, that out of man (created after thine own image and similitude) woman should take her beginning; and, knitting them together, didst teach > who hast taught us
who at the beginning did create our first parents, Adam and Eve, and did sanctify and join them together in marriage > the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

It amazes me that these abbreviations remove every one of the Old Testament references!  If I were the Chief Rabbi (who was in attendance at the wedding), and had this brought to my attention, I suppose I would be both rather annoyed at this suppression of tradition, if unsurprised at Gentiles doing this: the Anglican liturgical revisers of the twenties appear almost Marcionist in their determination to delete Jewish references.


Scott said...

The service was according to the order in this volume of Common Worship (it's a PDF):

Joshua said...


However, what do you make of the editing out of the Old Testament references?

Isn't this quite concerning?

Kate said...

Editing out the OT is not peculiar to Anglicans I would suggest - think of the Liturgy of the Hours which, despite its four week cycle drops a number of 'difficult' psalms altogether, and many more individual verses.

But that the Anglicans are further down the path than us simply reflects the lack of a Magisterium...