The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Friday, July 1, 2011

Aidan Nichols on the liturgy of the Ordinariate in England

The Ordinariate Portal for July has the third section of an article by Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P. on the Liturgy in the Ordinariates:
Although Anglicanorum coetibus conceded that the Ordinariate’s members could make use of the Roman books, the emphasis of the text lay on the provision of ‘books proper to the Anglican tradition’, once these had received approval from the Holy See (thus Anglicanorum coetibus III). But for the Eucharistic rite, there was for English Anglo-Catholics no suitable book that came to hand. This is why it was proposed to produce an Order generated by the same principles that had animated, in the Roman liturgy, the redaction of the Missal of Pope Paul VI. The principles are often labelled, not inaccurately, ressourcement, ‘going back to the sources’, and aggiornamento, ‘bringing up to date’. The English Prayer Book tradition was to be Catholicised by reference to its own principal ancient source – the Use of Sarum – while at the same time taking into account the best elements of contemporary worship available, whether from the Roman Missal of 1969 (but now in its third edition) or from modern Church of England best practice. In this process, what was objectionably Protestant about the Prayer Book Eucharist would vanish away, yet what would remain would still testify to ‘Anglican patrimony’, albeit in the new context of canonical as well as doctrinal and sacramental union with the Latin church. This describes, then, the draft forwarded in March 2011 for recognitio by the Holy See.

Baverstock and Hole had declared that in their opinion, revision of rites must wait until the ‘personnel of the Church of England has been more fully converted to the Catholic Faith’.[12] For this to take place they foresaw two steps. The first was disestablishment of the Church; the second was ‘pressing towards the goal of the Oxford Movement – the attainment of Catholic Reunion under the Primacy of the Holy See’.[13] The setting up of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (altogether freed from State supervision and united with Rome) created just the conditions in which substantial elements of the English Liturgy of the pre-Reformation period could be married with those features of the Prayer Book that still held the affection of many, together with the best products of Roman rite revision and its Church of England counterpart. The result may be considered the sort of Eucharistic Order Cranmer might well have established had he been doctrinally orthodox (and lived in the twentieth century).

There were no comparable difficulties attached to the other texts in the proposed English book: the daily Offices of Mattins and Evensong (to which, following the example of the 1928 proposed Prayer Book, an Office of Compline and a Day Hour were added; the Litany; the Lectionary (for the Office as well as for the Mass), and rites for marriage and funerals – though the inclusion in the latter of explicit prayer for the departed (and not simply for the bereaved) was strengthened by the addition of the Sarum rites for the commendation of the dead person which followed on the Requiem Mass. The calendar proposed was the current seasonal calendar of the Church of England, itself of Sarum origin, together with the cycle of festivals as found in the 1970 General Calendar of the Roman rite, and a number of English or British commemorations, in excess of those in the National Calendar for England and Wales (though not necessarily exceeding the total number if saints in the local calendars of English and Welsh [and Scottish] dioceses were to be added together). There was one unusual feature of the Office of Mattins. Following contemporary Church of England precedent, the second reading at Mattins could be drawn from post-biblical sources. In the context of the Latin church, the Roman rite Office of Readings is an obvious source for these, but the book drafted for the English Ordinariate contains an alternative cycle for Sundays and feasts taken from insular sources. A number of these are taken from patristic writers (Bede, Aldhelm), mediaeval sources (John of Ford, Mother Julian, Nicholas Love), and English Catholic martyrs (Fisher, More, Campion), but the larger number derive from the Anglican patrimony (the Caroline divines and their Restoration successors, the Tractarians with particular reference to Newman, and a selection of later Anglo-Catholic writers). It is, as it were, a testimony to what might have been had the English Reformation proceeded on Catholic lines, as did the Catholic Reformation in much of Continental Europe. No Baptismal liturgy or liturgy for Confirmation has been provided, on the twofold ground that Anglicanism has not produced a version of such a liturgy which has endeared itself to its faithful, and also that there is something especially fitting about the use in an Ordinariate of the rites of the Roman liturgy for Christian initiation, as a sign of belonging to the wider Latin church (and thus to the Catholic Church as a whole). The same congruence might well be ascribed to the use of the Ordination rites of the mainstream Latin church.

Read the full post at the Ordinariate Portal.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm confused. He says the Anglican Ordinariate will be based on Sarum Usage (GREAT!), BCP (GREAT), then he throws in Novus Ordo (Roman not so great) and modern Anglican liturgical practices (NOVUS ORDO Anglican style, definitely not so good!) I have a head ache!!!