Friday, 6 December 2013

New Ordinariate Mass Rite

We have had a couple of comments and queries about the revised Mass rite for the Personal (Anglican) Ordinariates.  The first official mandated Sunday for its use was December 1,  2013, Advent 1, Year A.

At STM Toronto, due to the celebration of diaconal ordination by Cardinal Collins, we were required to use the OF (Novus Ordo) Mass and so Advent II will be our first day to use the "new Mass".
Cardinal Collins celebrates Ordination Mass at STM, Toronto

It is not, however, new at all. In fact, in most respects, it recapitulates the earliest English forms of the Mass and even restores wording which had been removed from some versions of the BCP as noted by William Oddie in his excellent article in the CATHOLIC HERALD The Ordinariate Liturgy is Even More Splendid . . .

"The prayers translated by Cranmer from the Sarum liturgy, and even two long prayers actually composed by him, together with important elements of the old Anglo-Catholic English Missal (a Cranmerised version of the Tridentine Mass), all celebrated with great care and devotion, and beautifully sung by a small but expert choir (not a voice in it below professional standards), together with the choice of plainchant settings for introit, gradual and alleluias, and the actual Mass setting itself, was at times breathtakingly beautiful." 

Similarly the choir at STM is of the highest quality and has offered such musical settings every Sunday since May 2012. Oddie continues:
" . . . the ordinary of the Mass was sung in Latin, but there’s nothing un-Anglican about that: go to most Anglican cathedrals with a good choir, and you will see that this is common: quite simply, if you’ve got good singers, you want good settings, and they’re nearly all in Latin. And this particular setting can certainly be described as part of the “Anglican patrimony” the ordinariate is bringing into the Catholic Church; it was by Parry, an Anglican composer par excellence, from whom it was commissioned for use in Westminster Cathedral.

I could go on about how splendid it all was. It was not just a voyage of rediscovery, however: it was also a realisation anew of how lifegiving a thing it is to belong to a Church which determines and teaches with authority what theological meaning actually is. Cranmer’s freshly composed prayers (as opposed to his translations from the Sarum rite, as with the Ordinary of the Mass and many of his collects) are sometimes written in deliberately ambiguous language, so as to be acceptable to a distinctly, even dangerously, various public, some members of it — then as now — radically Protestant but many of them still resentfully Catholic at heart. Again and again, you come across phrases which can be read in either a Catholic or a Protestant way. The authorisation of the use of such prayers by the Congregation for Divine Worship, quite simply removes the ambiguities. Take the following, which we all said on Advent Sunday, a splendidly oratorical post-communion prayer by Cranmer, said together by the whole congregation:

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou hast vouchsafed to feed us, which have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of thy son our saviour Jesus Christ, and hast assured us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us . . . .

. . . . We Anglo-Catholics, of course, managed to continue using many though not all of Cranmer’s prayers by reading into them, as he had deviously intended us to be able to, a Catholic meaning. But we had no right to do anything of the sort. Now, however, since the [Catholic] Church, the “oracle of God” [as Newman put it - see the following post], has permitted it, we do have the right and indeed the obligation to do so.

It really does make all the difference."

That is certainly our experience at STM, Toronto.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds SO wonderful I want to cry. I have got to get it together and sell my place and move to either Maryland or Texas where the Anglican Ordinariate parishes abound. Sad that Episcopalians are selling their souls for a bowl of rotten porridge. Delicious looking but poisonous to the taste. May GOD forgive them.