Monday, 12 October 2015

Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and others worldwide look with interest to the new Ordinariate Missal

For those who are interested in the fine tuning of the Ordinariate liturgy and liturgy in general we have the newly published Divine Worship - The Missal


The following, in excerpted form, is a thoughtful presentation by an Australian Ordinariate priest to an Anglican congregation.

As of Advent I , 2015, the Missal will be used worldwide in Ordinariate parishes and communities as well as by priests with faculties to celebrate the liturgy.

Liturgical scholars, laity and priests alike will be studying this new standard for the Anglican patrimony within the full communion of the Catholic Church.



Address to the Prayer Book Society: “The Ordinariates and the Book of Common Prayer”: All Saints’, East St Kilda: 10.10.2015 

- Fr. Ramsey Williams


On November 29th., this year, the First Sunday of Advent, a new Missal  [for the Catholic Church] will be used for the first time . . . .  It will be an historic occasion.

The Missal, called ‘Divine Worship – The Missal’, is remarkable in that its texts are largely drawn from the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican tradition or ‘patrimony’. 

It contains the Order for the Eucharist, and the variable prayers and other scriptural texts, instructions and rubrics and music, and the liturgical calendar for Ordinariate congregations.

Until now, since 2013, the Ordinariates have been using the texts of an Interim Missal.
The decree of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments officially authorising the new Missal, was promulgated on the 27th. of May this year, being the feast of St Augustine of Canterbury.

It stands alongside the Roman Missal, as an officially authorised liturgical use of the Latin or Western or Roman rite of the Catholic Church. The new Missal is thus firmly in the western tradition of Christianity. It is a variant of the Roman Rite, and is not a distinctive or separate rite . . . .


The other authorised liturgical books in the Western Church are:

[1] The Roman Missal of 1970 [the result of the liturgical changes authorised by Blessed Pope Paul the Sixth following The Second Vatican Council] now in its Third Edition. [This is in the vernacular, the common language of the people]. [It is known as the ‘Ordinary Rite’ or the ‘Novus Ordo [New Order]]; and

[2] The Missal of 1962, which is largely the Missal of Pope St Pius V revised more recently by Pope St John the Twenty-third, and very slightly by Pope Emeritus Benedict the Sixteenth. This is in Latin, the official language of the Church. [It is known as ‘the Extraordinary Rite].

Although both these Missals are authorised world-wide for use in parishes of the Roman rite, they are, however, not the only Eucharistic rites authorised by the wider Catholic Church .... for instance, the Oriental and Eastern or Byzantine Churches of the Catholic Church [e.g., the Maronite, Melkite, Ukrainian, Greek and Russian Catholic Churches] and some of the other smaller Churches in Communion with Rome, have their own Eucharistic liturgies and liturgical books.

[We need to remember that the Latin or Western Rite is but one of perhaps 28 different churches in communion with the Holy See. The Latin or Roman rite Church is the largest in terms of numbers of adherents. The Catholic Church is not the monolithic structure which she is sometimes made out to be. ]

The new Ordinariate Altar Missal is being published in the United Kingdom, and will be a very handsome volume indeed of the finest quality ... which is indicated by the cost – three hundred pounds sterling ... or nearly eight hundred Australian dollars, including in Australia, the cost of postage and transport]! There are no plans at this stage for a ‘people’s missal’ due to the expense, but plans are afoot to produce Mass booklets within each Ordinariate.

The new Missal is currently being printed. Copies will be in the hands of those parishes which have ordered them by late October.

This will be the second liturgical book published by the Holy See for the Ordinariates. The first, called ‘Divine Worship – Occasional Services’ was published last year. This volume contains the Order of Holy Baptism and Confirmation for Adults and Older Children, the Order of Baptism for Infants and associated rites, the Order of Solemnisation of Marriage, and the Order of Funerals. All these draw on traditional Anglican resources, and are in the familiar language of the Book of Common Prayer.
Again, this is a very fine volume, which features black and white illustrations by the English artist Martin Travers, work originally commissioned by the Anglican Society of St Peter and St Paul in 1939 for their publication, The Anglican Missal.

The Scriptural readings are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible [second Catholic edition] and the Psalms are the Coverdale version.

The RSVCE [Second Edition] is the officially authorised version of Scripture for the Ordinariates. This version is also used with the new Missal for the Three Year cycle of Sunday readings for the Eucharist, the daily readings and those for Holy Days and other special commemorations. They are found in two very fine volumes published in the United States.

The Divine Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer have not been officially published separately, but members of the Ordinariate are able to use the Orders found in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer or the 1928 Prayer Book, or the American Prayer Books. Each of the three Ordinariates publishes nationally its own daily Lectionary for the Readings.

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom in 2012 published another fine volume called ‘The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham – Daily Prayer for the Ordinariate’. This contains the traditional Anglican Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany, as well as among other things, an order for Compline [Night Prayer] with the Coverdale Psalter in its entirety. This volume is largely the work of the well known liturgical scholar, Monsignor Andrew Burnham [formerly Bishop of Ebbsfleet in the Church of England] and the renowned Dominican theologian and author, Dom Aidan Nichols O.P., who also has an Anglican background.

The Missal and Occasional Services are, if you like, heirs of what was called ‘the Book of Divine Worship’, authorized in the early 1980s by Pope St. John Paul II for use in the United States of America for the so-called ‘Anglican Use’ parishes. This volume was largely based on the American Books of Common prayer of 1928 and 1979. These ‘Anglican Use’ parishes were established at the request of former bishops, clergy and laypeople of the Episcopal Church of the United States following significant changes in that Church in the 1970s.

I will not here go into the raison d’ĂȘtre or the history of the Ordinariates, except to remind you that Pope Benedict’s Anglicanorum Coetibus was a response to requests from Anglicans worldwide wishing to return to the rock from which Anglicanism was originally hewn, without losing their identity or liturgical heritage. It was a pastoral and ecumenical initiative, building on, although a separate initiative from the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission on unity, established in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

But more than that, Pope Benedict sought to recover for the Catholic Church, the specific English Christian heritage, culture and patrimony largely lost to the Catholic Church from the time of the Reformation.

As the Papal document says: ‘... the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other 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.”
In other words, the life of the Roman Catholic Church is to be enlarged and enriched by the finest liturgical and spiritual traditions specific to Anglicanism. This is the first time in history that distinctive elements of an ecclesial community established at the Reformation have found an honoured place in the life of the Catholic Church. [I understand approaches have been made from Lutheran sources for a similar arrangement.]

Earlier in the papal document, in referring to the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict concedes that ‘many elements of sanctification and truth are found outside her visible confines. Since these are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.”
The new Missal, drawing on Anglican sources, is the work of an international liturgical committee set up in 2012 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [and the Congregation of Divine Worship]. The committee is known by its Latin name, ‘Anglicanae Traditiones’. Its members include canon law experts, liturgists, and prelates with both Anglican and Latin rite backgrounds, including Bishop Peter Elliott, an Auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, who was brought up as the son of a Vicar.

The elements of the Anglican liturgical patrimony incorporated into the liturgical life of the Ordinariate through the Missal seek to balance “two historic principles — that Christian prayer and proclamation should be offered in the vernacular and that the language of worship should be sacral. 
[Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of St Peter, United States & Canada.]

According to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in its explanatory notes, the Divine Worship Missal “gives expression to and preserves for Catholic worship the worthy Anglican liturgical patrimony, understood as that which has nourished the Catholic Faith throughout the history of the Anglican tradition and prompted aspirations towards ecclesial unity .....

“ .... The Anglican liturgical tradition draws on the English monastic tradition and develops entirely out of the context of the Roman Rite. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist expressed by Divine Worship is at once distinctively and traditionally Anglican in character, linguistic register, and structure, while also being clearly and recognisable [sic] an expression of the Roman Rite.”

In reference to language, the Congregation says “the liturgical texts found in Divine Worship are in English, but an idiom of English best described as ‘Prayer Book English’ ..... the texts are broadly representative of the classic Prayer Book tradition while also attempting to avoid undue preference for wordings distinctive to any particular country. The texts provide for a certain adaptability to local custom such as, for example, using ‘Holy Ghost’ interchangeably with ‘Holy Spirit’ throughout the celebration of Mass.

The Rite for the Ordinariate Mass is one that most Anglicans will find familiar. A number of alternatives and variants in the texts [following Anglican tradition!] enable the Rite to be celebrated according to local traditions and allow for variations and customs which existed in the former Anglican jurisdictions of the three different Ordinariates.

For example, among the familiar prayers are:

* The Collect for Purity: [Almighty God unto whom all hearts be open .... etc.”

* The Prayer for the Church [yes, including prayers for the monarch in the UK., Australia and Canada!]; [“Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church .... etc.”

* The Invitation to Confession, and the form of general Confession from the Book of Common Prayer: ‘Ye who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins ...’ & ‘Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of all things’ etc.

* The Prayer of Humble Access: ‘We do not presume ... etc’

* The Prayer of Thanksgiving: ‘Almighty and everliving God .... etc.”

* The Blessing: ‘The peace of God which passeth all understanding .. etc.’

* The texts of the Collects, the Gloria, the Nicene Creed , the Sursum Corda, and the Sanctus [and Benedictus] are those of the Book of Common Prayer.

* The response to the priest’s greeting ‘The Lord be with you’ is the traditional ‘And with thy spirit.’

* There is provision in the Eucharistic rite for the Ten Commandments [the Decalogue], the Comfortable Words and the Offertory sentences.

* The familiar Prayer Book words of ministration for Holy Communion: [‘The Body ... and Blood ... of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee ... etc.’] are among the alternatives permitted.

* The traditional Ember and Rogation days are observed.

* Two Prayers of Consecration [Eucharistic Prayers] are authorised. These are the traditional Roman or Gregorian Canon [in Prayer Book English] which is always said on Sundays, and a second Eucharistic Prayer which may be used on weekdays and other occasions, but not on Sundays. This Prayer is based on the second Eucharistic Prayer of the Roman Missal, which is in turn a variant of the oldest known Eucharistic Prayer, the Canon of Hippolytus [c. 210AD].

* The Calendar of the Ordinariate found in the new Missal is the universal Calendar of the Catholic Church, but with the addition of certain commemorations with an English or Anglican ‘flavour’, such as – for instance - St Alban the first English martyr, or St Thomas of Hereford, or St Edward the Confessor, St Frideswide of Oxford, St Aidan of Lindisfarne, and various canonised Archbishops of Canterbury, including of course St Augustine of Canterbury. More recently recognised holy persons, such as St Elizabeth Seton and Blessed John Henry Newman, both with an Anglican background, are also found in the Ordinariate calendar.

* The Sunday cycle follows that of the older Anglican tradition. Sundays are numbered ‘after Trinity’ as in the Book of Common Prayer, rather than as that of ‘Ordinary Sundays’ in the Roman Missal and the later revised Anglican Prayer Books.

* The Pre-Lent Sundays of Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima are restored. Major feasts such as The Epiphany and the Ascension, are normally to be kept on the actual traditional day of commemoration, rather than transferred to the nearest Sunday, as has become the custom in some parts of the Roman Church and some Anglican jurisdictions.



From this brief overview of the new ‘Divine Worship Missal’ for the Ordinariates, you will agree that the establishment of the Ordinariates by the Papal Constitution, and the production and authorisation of liturgies for use within the Roman Catholic Church with a distinctive Anglican identity, is a remarkable if not radical development in Church history.

Certainly, it is a situation which our forebears would hardly have dreamed about, let alone considered. Who would have thought that the sacral English of the Book of Common Prayer and many of the liturgical traditions of the post Reformation English Church would find an honoured place in the life of the Roman Catholic Church in the 21st century?
Of course, these developments have not occurred without difficulties on both sides of the fence – centuries old prejudices are not easily bypassed. Nor will they suddenly disappear.

But thanks to the vision of Pope Benedict the Sixteenth, in the spirit of the Seventeenth chapter of St John’s Gospel, and with the ongoing support and involvement of Pope Francis, that unity for which Christ prayed is a little bit nearer than ever before.
If there are any questions or comments I am happy to respond. 

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