Sunday, April 21, 2013

Liturgical Ethos of the Ordinariate

The Mater et caput of all the Personal Ordinariates is surely that of Our Lady of Walsingham for England and Wales (and Scotland): its Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton, has recently issued Guidelines for the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which, inasmuch as they well promote the liturgical ethos of the groups of Anglicans that have come into full communion with the Catholic Church, may with profit be studied and emulated, not just in the other two Ordinariates, mutatis mutandis, but throughout the wider Latin Rite of the Universal Church.

Some of the more notable points in the Introduction and Norms of these Guidelines are:

1. Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Book of Divine Worship [Rite One only – cf. 2.] are the current liturgical texts, for the Office and for Holy Mass, proper to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, as indicated by the faculty given (cf. AC III). 
3. Liturgical celebrations should always take into account the desire of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, for the maintenance of the traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church (cf. AC III). This should be evident in all aspects of liturgical celebration, whether according to the Book of Divine Worship or the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not least in the choice of sacred music and vesture. 
5. Where the dynamic of the building allows it, the ancient practice of ad orientem celebration is commended. 
6. Where versus populum celebration of the sacred liturgy is necessary, the placing of a standing crucifix with the corpus turned towards the celebrant, in the centre of the altar, is commended. 
9. Where it is possible, Sundays, solemnities, and some feasts (e.g. Candlemas, Ash Wednesday, Annunciation, Visitation, Transfiguration, Holy Cross, Blessed John Henry Newman, All Souls) should be celebrated in a more solemn form, with the use of incense and music. 
10. The Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) is highly commended for use, not simply on Sundays or solemnities. This prayer is a particular sign of continuity with the Uses in force in the Church in England before the Reformation.

Whether, at Mass, either the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, or the Book of Divine Worship is used, the Anglican Patrimony, that treasure to be preserved and indeed shared with the wider Church (as Benedict XVI put it), ought be evident in the liturgical ethos and atmosphere, in all aspects, "not least in the choice of sacred music and vesture": and by "vesture" I daresay the use of beautiful and dignified vestments, not cheap polyester ponchos, but those of a higher quality, as favoured by Benedict XVI of happy memory, is suggested, as also the use of cassock and surplice by servers, not sacklike albs for all and sundry.

Furthermore, on all Sundays, solemnities and some feasts, incense and music ought be employed where possible. The eastward position is recommended to be used, if the physical layout of the church building allow it; however, as happens, if this is not possible (here in Australia, the church of the Ordinariate parish in Melbourne has an altar that has been moved forward, so that it is impossible to say Mass ad orientem), then the so-called Benedictine arrangement ought be used.  The use of the Roman Canon is highly encouraged, not merely on Sundays and solemnities, but on all occasions.

Quite frankly, if only ordinary Masses across the wider Roman Rite were conducted in such a manner! There would indeed be a hermeneutic of continuity employed. The Roman canon, incense, music, celebration ad orientem... this would gladden the hearts of the New Liturgical Movement.

The Guidelines then detail recommendations about Sacred Music:

15. The use of sacred music is integral to the celebration of the sacred liturgy. As such priority should be given to the liturgical texts as found in the liturgical books (cf. GIRM §48) and to the use of plainchant (cf. GIRM §41). 
16. The priest or deacon should sing those parts of the rite indicated by the rubrics to a varying degree dependent on the solemnity of the occasion. 
17. Well-chosen hymns have a particular role in Anglican liturgical patrimony and in recent years have almost displaced the singing of the Propers. The Anglican Use Gradual, successor to the English Gradual, is a simple tool for the recovery of the singing of the Propers and is highly commended. 
18. The sung proclamation of the gospel is commended when the prayers of the Mass are sung and especially at celebrations of particular solemnity. 
19. It is desirable that the faithful know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Profession of Faith and the Lord’s Prayer, as a sign of our unity with the wider Church (cf. GIRM §41). 
20. Each Ordinariate Group should be well-versed with the plainchant setting of the Ordinary of the Mass found in the English translation of the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal. Where this is employed in celebrations according to the Book of Divine Worship, the Greek/Latin is used. 
21. Mass VIII (Missa de Angelis) in Latin, Credo I and Credo III, and the Lord’s Prayer set by John Merbecke are highly commended for use. In celebrations according to the Book of Divine Worship where a congregational setting of the Ordinary of the Mass is used, John Merbecke’s setting and the Anglican Folk Mass by Martin Shaw are highly commended. 
22. Certain plainchant hymns, proses, and anthems in English should be known by the faithful of the Personal Ordinariate (e.g. the seasonal Office Hymns, Advent and Lent Prose). It is good that the seasonal Marian antiphons are known in Latin as well as to vernacular, metrical settings (e.g. Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven).

Aside from a few references particular to the Anglican Patrimony, if only the standard of sacred music aimed at here were the norm throughout the Western Church! Note particularly the encouragement of the singing of the Gospel at sung Mass (once the norm, now exceedingly rare), the singing of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin as well as English, and the use of sung Propers.

As for the readings from Scripture, only the Revised Standard Version (Catholic, 2nd edition) is permitted for use at Mass (n. 23) – but, when members of the Ordinariate worship with a congregation made up mainly of diocesan Catholics, for "pastoral reasons" the Jerusalem Bible may be used, lest a change cause wonderment. (As an aside, be it noted that, sometime in the next decade, the Lectionary will be brought out in a new version, employing the English Standard Version.)

When the Book of Divine Worship – the preferred form of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Ordinariate – is to be used for Mass, further rules apply:

27. The Propers are taken from the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal if they are to be used. If they are to be sung, the equivalent texts (together with the accompanying chant) from the Graduale Romanum, Graduale Simplex, or the Anglican Use Gradual are used. 
28. The Collect for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist may be taken from either the Book of Divine Worship or the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal in English. If the latter is used, it should not be adapted (i.e. by the adopting the conventions of ‘traditional language’). 
29. The Traditional [BCP] Psalter as found in the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Psalter as found in the RSV Lectionary may be used for the psalm in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. 
30. The Psalter as found in the Book of Divine Worship [being the Episcopalian revision of the original BCP Psalter] is not permitted for use. 
31. Penitential Rite B [after the Intercession and before the Preparation of the Offerings] is to be preferred. 
32. The Preparation of the Offerings is taken from the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal. 
33. The Prayer over the Offerings is taken from the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal. 
34. The Roman Canon as found in the Book of Divine Worship is used with the following words of consecration inserted in place of those found in the Book of Divine Worship: 
Who, the day before he suffered, took bread into his holy and venerable hands, and with eyes lifted up to heaven, unto thee, God, his almighty Father, giving thanks to thee, he blessed, broke and gave it to his disciples, saying: 
Likewise, after supper taking also this goodly chalice into his holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to thee, he blessed, and gave it to his disciples, saying: 
35. The response to ‘Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith’, is one of the acclamations taken from the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal.

These modifications fall into two categories: firstly, updating the Book of Divine Worship to conform to the latest edition of the Roman Missal (in other words, removing the obsolete ICEL paraphrases and inserting the far more acceptable new ICEL translations – the sudden change from Cranmerian prose to ICEL vernacular and back again for the Offertory and Consecration was one of the most jarring aspects of the Book of Divine Worship); and secondly giving directions for the use of the sung Propers, even in Latin – so Graduals and the like may be sung.

Finally, the Guidelines provide very pertinent directions about "The Distribution of Holy Communion" in conformity with the restoration of Catholic tradition (as exemplified by the practice of Benedict XVI) and the maintenance of the orthodox Anglican Patrimony:

36. In keeping with the Anglican tradition, it is highly commended that Holy Communion be distributed at a communion rail (or in a similar manner) to kneeling communicants. 
37. Where Holy Communion is received in the hand, due reverence and the patristic and Anglican practice of ‘making a throne’ and taking the Sacred Host to the mouth are highly commended, as is the practice of receiving Holy Communion directly on the tongue. 
38. In keeping with the Anglican tradition, it is highly commended that the chalice is always retained by the Minister of Holy Communion, whether Ordinary or Extraordinary, and not passed into the hands of the communicant. Holy Communion under both kinds is part of the patrimony and remains normal practice in the Personal Ordinariate.

Anglicans of whatever variety have always knelt for communion, and when I have occasionally glanced into Anglican churches I have very often noted the altar rail and kneeler still in place for regular use, whether the locals be High or Low in their churchmanship. The near-universal rejection of kneeling in favour of standing is a Catholic innovation of the last fifty years, after centuries of kneeling. As to reception on the hand, it seems more reverent to convey the Host to one's mouth in that manner, by bearing It gently to the mouth upon the "throne" of the hands, rather than to seize It with the fingers as if It were a potato crisp! But of course to receive directly upon the tongue is also most commended, as the normative Catholic practice even today, whatever of widespread contrary custom.

(I would guess that the employment of extraordinary ministers of holy communion is not so common in the Ordinariate, and that any such are male servers, vested in cassock and surplice, as is most fitting.)

In sum, these Guidelines are a marvellous programme for noble and dignified Eucharistic worship (and also when the Divine Office is celebrated, though I have omitted to comment on that in this post). Aside from the particular use of elements proper to the Anglican Patrimony (the Customary, the Anglican Use Gradual, the Book of Divine Worship), if these Guidelines were widely disseminated and employed, how greatly would worship, liturgy and true piety profit throughout the wider Church!

Imagine, for a moment, how this would look in a parish, and not one part of the Ordinariate, but where these sane principles were embraced by priest and people as a timely reminder of the true Catholic ethos, "which I have loved long since and lost a while":

  • worship ad orientem (n. 5);
  • incense and sacred music used on all Sundays and solemnities, and on many feasts (n. 9);
  • the Roman Canon employed not merely on Sundays and solemnities, but more often (n. 10);
  • "silence and due reverence before the tabernacle, and in the Church before and after liturgical worship" (n. 11);
  • "public and sung celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours" (n. 12) – e.g. Vespers, which ought to be celebrated in all parish churches at least on Sundays;
  • "The celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation... before Mass... as a means of bringing the sacrament to the renewed awareness of the faithful" (n. 13);
  • priority given to singing the liturgical texts and to plainchant (n. 15), to the singing by the priest or deacon of their parts of the Mass (n. 16) – e.g. the Preface and even the Gospel (n. 18) – to the singing of the Propers (n. 17), and to the singing by all of well-known settings of the Mass in both English and Latin (nn. 19-21);
  • Holy Communion distributed to kneeling communicants at the altar rail, where they may receive either on the tongue or in the hand in a reverent manner; and the administration of the chalice in a like and seemly manner (nn. 36-38).

These remind me of the famous "six points" of Anglo-Catholic or ritualist worship: the mixed chalice, wafer bread (unleavened hosts), lights (candles),  Eucharistic vestments, the eastward position, incense – the first four of these are and have always been universal Roman Catholic practices, but the last two have sadly dropped away, and ought be restored.

I pray that we have here, not one last fruit "out of season" of the Pontificate of Benedict XVI, but the first blossoming of the ongoing rediscovery and repristination of divine worship which is the fundamental duty of the whole Church.

My only regret is that Monsignor Newton did not see fit to employ that famously witty Anglican sense of humour, and give us thirty-nine of these Guidelines!

1 comment:

Matthias said...

very witty ending Joshua. Thank you for this