Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Ordinariate Mass – Why Eucharistic Prayer II?

Having downloaded from the Church of England website The Order for the Celebration of Holy Communion also called The Eucharist and The Lord's Supper, according to its latest "Common Worship" formulæ, I now see where many of the elements of the new Ordinariate Mass come from.

For instance, the suggestion to use the 1662 version of the Veni Creator Spiritus as a preparatory prayer in the sacristy might have seemed a rather self-conscious throwback to the Sarum Rite – were it not that the same hymn in the same version is offered as the first text to be prayed in A Form of Preparation for private or public use before, or as part of, the Communion service.

Leaving aside the prayers at the foot of the altar – which (sans Confiteor) appeared in the 1928 Proposed BCP, and (including modified Confiteor) in the 1970 Scottish Episcopalian Liturgy – much of the Ordinariate Mass order of service, down to the prayers of intercession after the Creed, corresponds to the modern Church of England "Order One in Traditional Language" combined with "Order Two" (which is in traditional language also): Anglicans still allow the use of such hieratic diction without carping criticism thereof.

For example, I was interested to find that, as an alternative intercession, the 1662 Prayer for All Conditions of Men, slightly modified, was suggested for use in the Ordinariate Mass – but I am far less surprised to find it there, now I know that the same prayer, with the same modifications, is found in these "Common Worship" provisions.

What of provision for the use of the modern Roman Rite offertory prayers, as "Form II" in the Ordinariate Mass? Well, the two berakoth prescribed for use at the presentation of the hosts and mixed chalice are present, in a version minimally variant from the old ICEL paraphrase, in the "Common Worship" compendium; just as they were in the 1970 Scottish Episcopalian Liturgy.

But most notably – and to many, most strangely – the Ordinariate Mass does not take up a Catholicised Anglican Eucharistic Prayer; instead, alongside the Roman Canon, which may always be used, and must be used on Sundays and feasts (would that the like rule in the modern Roman Missal recommending either it or E.P. III for Sundays and feasts were obligatory, not merely a suggestion), one finds, in "traditional language", Eucharistic Prayer II.

The reason for this I have discovered: amongst the many Eucharistic Prayers appointed in the Church of England's "Common Worship", Prayer B is transparently a reediting of Eucharistic Prayer II, excluding its intercessions for the Church and the faithful departed. Hence, as Eucharistic Prayer II is both the most commonly used Eucharistic Prayer of the modern Roman Rite, and the one prayer present in recognizable form in both the Roman Missal and "Common Worship", it was adopted for use in the Ordinariate Mass as an option on weekdays, simply being put into traditional language so that it matched the style of the rest of it. 

Many of the monuments of Anglican devotion, such as the Prayer of Humble Access (before Communion) and the Prayer of Thanksgiving (after Holy Communion), are of course present in these "Common Worship" Orders; and have passed into Catholic use. Similarly, the Anglican forms include a modified form of Ecce Agnus Dei and Domine, non sum dignus.  That curious phrase appointed in the Ordinariate Mass for use at the fraction, "Alleluia. Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. – Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia." is found (as an alternative invitation to Holy Communion) in these Anglican forms.

The Ordinariate Mass is most distinguished from "Common Worship", and from the modern Roman Rite, by its inclusion of features specific to the traditional Roman Rite, as taken over into Anglo-Catholic use in the Anglican Missal tradition: the Tridentine prayers at the foot of the altar and Tridentine offertory prayers, the immemorial form of the embolism after the Lord's Prayer (a valuable text, including as it does explicit mention of the intercession of Our Lady and the Saints, even if the Eucharistic Prayer used does not), and the Last Gospel.

Features common to both forms of the one Roman Rite, such as the Orate fratres, the Secret or Prayer over the oblata, and above all the venerable Roman Canon, the Eucharistic Prayer of the Western Church for at least 1600 years, complete the Ordinariate Mass.


John F H H said...

That curious phrase appointed in the Ordinariate Mass for use at the fraction, "Alleluia. Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. – Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia."
This verse, taken fom ! Cor.5:7-8, first appears in the BCP in 1662 as an addition to the versess which formed the Invitatory for Mattins on Easter Day.
In Sarum and Roman Missals, it formed the Communion verse for Easter Day.

Kind regards,

John UK

jeff said...

See?!?! See!?!?! It's a part of the patrimony...I found it in a modern "approved" prayer book!!!!

From the little bit of EPII published on Praytell, they could have done so much more with that prayer than simply stuck in "thees" and "thous". That phrase "let you spirit come down like the dewfall" deserves a better poetic rendering from the best that these learned English scholars can muster.

Joshua said...

Jeff, like you (I suspect) I am not that enamoured either of EP II, or of its adoption (at least, however, lightly garbed in traditional language) for use in the Ordinariate Mass.

However, "mourning and weeping in this vale of tears", we must acknowledge the reality that EP II is the most commonly used Eucharistic Prayer of the one Roman Rite (the other modern EP's aren't used as often, nor is the Roman Canon, whether in the OF or the less-used EF), and so it is unsurprising that the Ordinariate Mass has included it for optional use on ferias.

As I mentioned, of all the modern Eucharistic Prayers appointed for use in the Church of England, Prayer B corresponds fairly closely to the old ICEL paraphrase of EP II, leaving out its intercessions; hence, for members of the Ordinariate in the UK, EP II in traditional language would appear a most Catholic improvement by comparison.

Don't forget that, while EP II is stigmatized (rightly in my opinion) as too short and rather too vague about the Eucharistic Sacrifice, if it is used together with Form I of the Offertory Prayers, the Sacrifice of the Mass would still be more explicitly set forth in the Ordinariate Mass than in the average OF Mass...

Also, when EP II was drawn up in the 1960's, only about half of it was derived from pseudo-Hippolytus; the other half is said to be derived from the petitions and so forth of the Roman Canon, and in liturgical terms, I kid you not, EP II is more closely related to the Roman Canon than, say, EP III or EP IV.

That said, I would have thought that EP III would have been a better choice for the Ordinariate Mass, as it is the strongest and best of the modern Eucharistic Prayers.

jeff said...

I'll reserve judgement until I see the entire text of the OU EPII but it's a shame that they seem to have simply gone with the latest ICEL translation and copied and pasted thees and thous into it.

When you consider how a team of skilled word smiths (such as the Ordinariate has plenty of) with sensitivity to cadence and poetry in general COULD have made this prayer worthy of being a Eucharistic prayer!

Joshua said...

I, too, have not seen the entire text of the OU EP II.

I suspect, however, that it would have been most impolitic if they had tried to redo its translation from Latin, as if they knew better than Vox clara - it would have really raised hackles (and I speak frankly), by thereby savouring of that effortless, unconscious Anglican attitude of condescending superiority that Catholics find completely infuriating (I gnash my teeth as I recall instances thereof)...