Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Scottish Liturgy Again

What Anglican liturgical forms will be brought into Catholic use under the terms of Anglicanorum cœtibus?
Liturgicis haud exclusis celebrationibus secundum Romanum Ritum, Ordinariatui facultas praebetur celebrandi sacram Eucharistiam ceteraque Sacramenta, Horarum  Liturgiam aliasque liturgicas actiones iuxta libros liturgicos Anglicanae traditioni peculiares, ab Apostolica Sede adprobatos, ita ut intra Catholicam Ecclesiam vitales serventur spiritales, liturgicae pastoralesque Communionis Anglicanae traditiones, ad instar magni pretii doni, ad sodalium fidem alendam ac participandam.
Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.
—Benedict XVI, Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus (4th November 2009), n. 3.

How about the Scottish Liturgy, usually acknowledged as the most complete and perfect of Anglican rites, from the Scottish B.C.P. of 1929?  Would this not be "a precious gift", "a treasure to be shared"?  I will blog further on this...

A useful reminder: the currently-authorized form of Mass (Rite I, in traditional hieratic English) in the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite is available in user-friendly form online from the Parish of the Atonement in Texas.  

Recall, however, that for reasons of expediency, back in the eighties when official Church liturgists tended to view overly pre-conciliar liturgical forms with suspicion as outmoded and contrary to the modern Roman Rite, this American form was compiled from the 1979 U.S. Book of Common Prayer – not from the more-traditional, classically-Anglican 1928 U.S. B.C.P., let alone from the very Anglo-Catholic English Missal tradition.

Matters have changed much with the issue of Summorum pontificum.  If the Latin Mass in its last pre-conciliar edition (in its Ordinary of the Mass almost identical to that of St Pius V, and back further to the first printed Missal according to the Use of the Roman Curia) is now delivered from foolish obloquy by such authoritative action of Pope Benedict, it follows that we can look for acceptance of analogous older forms for projected second edition of the Anglican Use.

Complaints against the current Anglican Use instantiated in the Book of Divine Worship may be considered at least fivefold:
  • firstly, it is based on the modern 1979 U.S. B.C.P. (and so, for example, the Collects of the Sundays are differently placed to those in the classic B.C.P.'s, since the '79 reordered them, just as the Sunday Collects in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite are greatly re-arranged from their age-old distribution in the Traditional Mass), not the more traditional 1928 B.C.P.; 
  • secondly, furthermore, as being drawn from the American Episcopalian recension alone, it is not acceptable to Anglicans in other countries who are attached to their own versions of the B.C.P. (the Canadian 1962, let alone the Scottish 1929, being more "catholic" in form);
  • thirdly, its lectionary is not an Anglican one, but is simply the modern Roman lectionary - which is fine if it is wanted, but some, conscious of their Patrimony, will prefer to use the traditional Prayer Book lectionary, which is in essentials derived from the Sarum Rite; 
  • fourthly, notoriously, it clumsily inserts the Novus Ordo offertory into the liturgy, where a more sympathetic amplification would have been called for; 
  • and fifthly, it does not try to construct a dogmatically acceptable Anglican Canon out of the Prayer Book Prayers of Consecration and Oblation, but simply inserts a traditional-language version of the Roman Canon, very nice it is true, and answering to the long use of the Roman Canon in Anglo-Catholic worship, but depriving worshippers of a potentially-beneficial aspect of their liturgical Patrimony.
Some of these points are easily answered: for example, reverting to the use of the relevant Collect on the traditional day for which it was appointed, reverting to the traditional Prayer Book lectionary for Mass, and making a better attempt at amplifying the offertory sympathetically seems remarkably simple to effect.  

Similarly, it ought not be difficult to remove distinctively American prayers and peculiarities to an Appendix for the United States, and likewise to attach Appendices of proper elements for Canada and so forth, while retaining all the elements common to Anglican worship worldwide.  (I recall that, in Japan, missionized by both English Anglicans and American Episcopalians, the first Prayer Book eventually drawn up for that nation simply gave all the variants between the 1662 and 1928 English and American B.C.P.'s as options from which to choose!)  However, given that Anglicanorum cœtibus speaks of Anglican liturgical books in the plural, perhaps what could result would be "corrected" Books of Common Prayer for each Ordinariate, with family resemblances of course!

(I leave consideration of an Anglican Canon to a later post – I have already blogged on this several months ago, in any case.)

Consulting this current form of the Anglican Use reveals several pertinent details of what has already been permitted in terms of divergences from the Roman Rite, not just by using analogous Anglican prayers (such as the fixed Prayer of Thanksgiving instead of any of the many proper Roman prayers  or collects after communion), but by allowing for some simplification of the liturgy, omitting elements found in the modern Roman Rite, to say nothing of its older form: for instance, there is no Embolism (Libera nos) after the Lord's Prayer, nor a prayer nor ritual of commixture of a fragment of the consecrated host in the chalice at all (!), nor the prayer for peace (Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti) at the Pax, nor a private prayer of the priest when taking the ablutions.

However, certain forms from the Roman Rite, already much-used by Anglo-Catholics for a century or more, such as the Ecce Agnus Dei and Domine non sum dignus at Communion, to say nothing of Dominus vobiscum and Ite missa est at the end of Mass, are included in the current Anglican Use Mass, and I think quite uncontroversially.

To remedy the very clumsy insertion of the modern Roman offertory into the current form of Mass according to Anglican Use, it would seem to me that a more sympathetic attempt should be made to bolster the very minimal offertory present in, say, the Scottish or American Prayer Book Eucharist (I do not refer here to Anglo-Catholic celebrations which boldly insert all the offertory prayers from the traditional Latin Mass!), as follows:
  • the Scottish Liturgy has a noble Offertory Prayer, which answers to the modern Roman pair of benedictions pronounced over the bread and wine (see below), and whose last phrase about offering unto God what is His both echoes the chief liturgies of East and West (offerimus... de tuis donis ac datis in the Roman Canon, τὰ σὰ ἐκ τῶν σῶν σοὶ προσφέρομεν "thine own of thine own do we offer unto thee" in the Anaphora of Chrysostom) and has given rise to a use of a shorter prayer or versicle and response drawn from this phrase in many modern Anglican liturgies worldwide;
  • why not simply permit the priest to mix the chalice with wine and a little water in silence (as the Scottish Liturgy has it), and likewise to wash his hands nihil dicens? – for the ancient Roman Mass had these ceremonies thus;
  • must the priest pray In spiritu humilitatis, or could his humility to offer the Sacrifice be implicit? the Nonjurors in their 1718 Communion Office appointed a long prayer out of the Liturgy of St James that answers to this, and to the Orate fratres and Secret or Prayer over the Oblations, but I suspect it would be archæologism to drag out of utter obscurity such an oration (which I append below for such as may find it moving);
  • I assume that, as Anglo-Catholics have long interlarded their Prayer Book Eucharists with favourite items from the Roman Missal (old or new) – or is it the other way round? – there would be little feeling against augmenting the Anglican Use offertory with the Orate fratres and the Roman (or, better, Sarum) Secret of the day.
Before going on, here is the Scottish Offertory prayer, most felicitously taken from the prayer of King David in the first book of Chronicles, chapter twenty-nine:
BLESSED be thou, O Lord God, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine: thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all: both riches and honour come of thee, and of thine own do we give unto thee. Amen.
A marvellous prayer of pure praise!

It cannot be overmuch stressed – and this goes back to St Irenæus – that the fundamental idea that what we offer to God, the firstfruits of His creation, the bread and wine, are His gifts to us, and that by this sacred transaction (sacrum commercium as the Roman liturgy loves to call it) we go on, in the Eucharistic Prayer or Anaphora or Prayer of Consecration and Oblation, to obtain the all-holy Gift, whenas by the power of the Holy Ghost, praying the Father in the words of the Lord, the priest, acting in the place of Christ our Priest, effects the change of the bread and wine, God's gifts become our gifts, into the Gift of Christ's Body and Blood to us, and moreover offer this Victim made present to God, the perfect and all-availing Sacrifice drawing down for us all blessings and graces.

This offertory prayer, sometimes styled by Anglicans the Minor or Lesser Oblation, is the first exchange between God and man, preceding the Major or Greater Oblation in the Canon.

As for the Nonjurors' Offertory Prayer, it is as prolix as may be expected, drawn as it is from the Liturgy of St James:
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast created us, and placed us in this ministry by the power of thy Holy Spirit; may it please thee, O Lord, as we are ministers of the New Testament, and dispensers of thy holy mysteries, to receive us who are approaching thy Holy Altar, according to the multitude of thy mercies, that we may be worthy to offer unto thee this reasonable and unbloody Sacrifice for our Sins and the Sins of the People.  Receive it, O God, as a sweet smelling savour, and send down the grace of thy Holy Spirit upon us. And as thou didst accept this worship and service from thy Holy Apostles: so of thy goodness, O Lord, vouchsafe to receive these Offerings from the hands of us sinners, that being made worthy to minister at thy Holy Altar without blame, we may have the reward of good and faithful servants at that great and terrible day of account and just retribution; through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end.  Amen.
If it were drastically abbreviated as follows, it would still convey its sense:
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast placed us in this ministry by the power of thy Holy Spirit; may it please thee, O Lord, as we are ministers of the New Testament, and dispensers of thy holy mysteries, to receive us who are approaching thy Holy Altar, that we may be worthy to offer unto thee this reasonable and unbloody Sacrifice for our Sins and the Sins of the People.  Amen.
(Enough for now – this post has grown like Topsy, and I still haven't got on to the Scottish Liturgy in extenso.)

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