It's official: the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (aka Traditional Latin Mass, Tridentine Mass, etc.) has been formally banned from the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (North American Anglican Use).1
This notice garnered many comments and related posts on other blogs such as Rorate Caeli2 and Eccentric Bliss3 and Foolishness to the World4 about the topic of the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Ordinariate that had become a topic of interest in August with the posting of a pair of articles on the topic at the Anglo-Catholic blog back in July of this year,5 which prompted an official reply from the Ordinariate The Liturgy of the Ordinariate and the Latin Mass.6
People who have been involved in blogs and other discussion fora know that the subject of liturgy can be a contentious one. In some ways, the issue of the Ordinariate and the TLM is an extension of "the Liturgy wars." But it is not simply a discussion about liturgy. The issue involves a range of important issues from the relationship between an ordinary and clergy to parish resources to the nature of the Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church.
Relationship of the TLM and the Ordinariate Liturgy
The TLM is a codification of the liturgy of the Roman Court, as preserved in Franciscan Missals of the Middle Ages. St. Francis had urged his brothers to follow the example of the Roman Church in its liturgy, and when Pope St. Pius V codified the liturgy which has come to be known as the "Tridentine" Mass, he based it on one of the three extant Franciscan missals then in existence. This version of the Liturgy shows great similarities to other Western rites and uses, although there are differences between it and the other rites such as the Ambrosian, Sarum, Lyonaisse, Braga and Dominican. While there were several changes made to the liturgy of the Roman Church in the late 1940s and 1950s, the 1962 Missal is substantially the same as its predecessors in most respects.
The liturgy of the Ordinariate, on the other hand, has many influences. The Book of Common Prayer was based on the Sarum rite, but was also vastly simplified. The theological arguments of the Reformation played their part in shaping many of the prayers and the arrangement thereof of the Book of Common Prayer. Archbishop Laud and the "Caroline Divines" tried to renew Catholic elements of the liturgy, particularly by way of rubrics, which had been squeezed out by the Puritans. After the English Civil War, the restored Anglican Church retained much of the Caroline restoration of ritual and order.
Following the "Glorious Revolution" and the ouster of King James II of England in 1688, the first "continuing" Anglican church came into being with the Nonjurors,7 who continued in existence until the late 18th century. No longer part of the Established Church, these Nonjurors no longer felt bound to the Prayer Book of that church, and in conjunction with the Scottish Episcopal Church, which had likewise been disestablished, they modified the rites, based on their own studies and the example of the Eastern Church liturgies.
When Samuel Seabury, the first US Episcopalian bishop, sought ordination from the Scottish Episcopalians, it was their liturgy, which had been originally devised by Archbishop Laud and modified through contact with the Nonjurors, that he brought back to Connecticut, and which formed the basis for the US Book of Common Prayer of 1789.
In the 19th century, the Oxford Movement in the Church of England spawned the related ritualist movement which sought to restore even more of Catholic ritual, and later, Catholic texts to the Prayer Book services, resulting ultimately in the Anglican Missal and related missals. The motivation for these changes was in part the growing conviction among the new High Church Anglicans that the Church of England (and by extension, other Anglican churches) was essentially Catholic, and that this Catholicity could be best asserted by a restoration of liturgical worship based on the Latin liturgical tradition. (At the same time that this was happening in the Anglican Communion, there was a growing liturgical renewal movement in the Catholic Church, spearheaded by Dom Propser Gueranger, who restored the priory of Solesmes in France.)
The Anglican Missal and its cousins can only be understood in relationship to the Tridentine Mass which was the most common form of Mass amongst 19th and early 20th century Catholics. The ritual and liturgical framework of the Tridentine Mass became the ritual and liturgical framework of the Missal tradition. In a September 28th post on Foolishness to the World8 that reposts part of article by Zack Candy we have an illustration of this relationship.
The Trolleys note the similarities between their traditional Anglican Use liturgy and the older form of the Roman rite...
"The differences aren't so much the text of the liturgy," said Michael. "In the way that they're celebrated, our Mass has a great deal in common with the Extraordinary Form (the traditional Latin Mass). They're both celebrated facing east, it's usually chanted, with incense. It's quieter in some ways, it's more formal, a greater spirit of reverence."
Mr. Trolley's impression as quoted above simply illustrates the fact that there would be no Anglo-Catholic ritual as currently practiced without the TLM, and without priests from John Mason Neale to Dom Gregory Dix to Fr. Hunwicke in our own day, who, through their knowledge of traditional Western liturgy, brought its influences to bear on the Prayer Book ritual to create the Anglo-Catholic ritual that we think of as typical.
The direct predecessor of the current Ordinariate liturgy, The Book of Divine Worship (BDW) is, of course, the 1979 US Book of Common Prayer. But in many ways that book represented the triumph of Catholic-minded Episcopalian liturgists, in its establishment of the Eucharist as the most important of the church's liturgies, the promotion of weekly, and even more frequent, celebration, and the inclusion of ritual elements that had not been present in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, such as the 9-fold Kyrie, the Benedictus as the conclusion of the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei, all elements that were familiar to many Episcopalians via the Missal tradition. The way the BDW liturgy, particulary Rite 1, has been celebrated in the Pastoral Provision Anglican Use communities up to this day use the ritual of the TLM in large part, as mediated through the American and English Missals. Thus, via the Anglican Missal, the TLM had its influence even on the modern Ordinariate Liturgy.
Current Status of the TLM in the Ordinariate
Fr. Scott Hurd, the Vicar General of the US Ordinariate, confirmed to me that the TLM was not to be celebrated at Ordinariate parishes, and that this was an implementation of Msgr. Steenson's letter in August6, particularly the following:
But as the Extrordinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities.
That Anglican Patrimony, as regards liturgy, is identified by Msgr. Steenson in the same letter as:
This liturgical identity seeks 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. This is what Anglicans understand when they speak of the prayer book tradition.
This understanding is valid, although I would point out that the traditional phrase about "vernacular" worship is more typically referred to as language "understanded of the people", which derives from Article XXIV of the 39 Articles9:
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.Even with that article, and similar provisions in the Prefaces of the various Prayer Books, liturgy in other languages was not historically prohibited amongst Anglicans, as is witnessed by a translation of the 1559 Prayer Book into Latin made in 1560. Latin was regularly used as the language in Prayer Book services at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England, fluency in Latin being taken for granted (after all, the grammar studied at "grammar schools" until the 20th century was Latin grammar). To this day, the University of Oxford's Church of St. Mary the Virgin begins each term with a Latin Communion service.
As far as I know, only one of the US Ordinariate communities regularly celebrated a TLM; until now that parish has offered a weekday Low Mass according to either the Anglican Use or the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite at 12:10, but on Fridays also offered a TLM at 8:00 am.
Knowing this schedule, and that Mount Calvary, which I was fortuante enough to visit in January when the congregation was received into full communion (see video here), certainly upholds the Anglican Patrimony in its worship, which includes regular Sunday Evensong, I was perplexed as to why this directive was issued. There seemed to be no danger of Mount Calvary failing to promote the Anglican Liturgical patrimony. But since it is rarely beneficial to leap to conclusions, I have been investigating this.
First, it is clear from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum10 that all priests of the Latin Rite (which includes Ordinariate clergy) have a right to celebrate Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite in private (article 2). Additionally, pastors may provide for public celebrations when requested by a stable group of the faithful (article 5). It is also clear from the same Pope's Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus11 that the Ordinariate may celebate liturgy according to the Roman Rite.
These being the facts concerning the rights of Ordinariate priests as to which form of the Roman Rite they may celebrate, how can they be prohibited from celebrating according to the Extraordinary Form? Well, according to Msgr. Steenson's August letter, they are not prohibited from celebrating Mass using the 1962 Missal. In that letter he writes:
Some of our clergy want to learn also how to celebrate according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. They are certainly encouraged to do so, under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and under the supervision of the local bishop, to assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form.
What has been prohibited, then, is the use of the Extraordinary Form, not by Ordinariate clergy, but in Ordinariate property. The former would be a violation of Summorum Pontificum's clear directives, and would be an assumption of authority that is not inherent in the Ordinary's office; if a diocesan bishop may not prohibit his priests from celebrating the TLM, neither may the Ordinary of the Ordinariate, his jurisdiction being "juridically comparable to a diocese." Were such a personal prohibition enacted, it would certainly be something that could be appealed. But there has been no public prohibition of an Ordinariate priest celebrating according the 1962 Missal.
Which then raises the question why prohibit the use of Ordinariate property?
Conjectures and Conclusions
Here I have to pose some additional questions and possible answers, as I don't have the answers to the question above.
I begin by pointing out the obvious: no ritual happens without people! If there is a TLM being offered publicly, then there are people in the congregation. Are these people members of the parish or visitors? If visitors, are the willing to contribute to the upkeep of the parish which is providing them a service?
I have been involved with a couple of Latin scholas as a singer and director. In one parish where we sang several times, I noted that most of the congregation for the TLM were from outside the parish. This Sunday TLM was an addition to the schedule; the young priest who celebrated this weekly was happy to do so as he found it a source of grace and strength. But it is not clear to me that these non-parishioners were contributing to the good of the parish. There was no strife between the TLM worshippers and the parishioners that I was aware of, but there was also little integration.
Other parishes which have celebrated the TLM have noted that at times there has arisen a divide between "traditionalists" and the other worshippers. This has at times caused strife in the parish. Fr. Christopher Phillips, on the occasion of the publication of Summorum Pontificum wrote about his parish's unhappy experience with implementing a regular celebration according to the 1962 Missal years before.12 He concluded by saying:
I hope our experience might be cautionary for those parishes which will be implementing the provisions of the motu proprio. There will be a temptation for some people to erect an "us and them" attitude. There may be a creeping sense of exclusivity ("We attend the real Mass."). There may be the danger that some will see their life in the parish as consisting only of taking part in the traditional Latin Mass with little or no need to be integrated into the totality of the parish.
Of course, Our Lady of the Atonement went on to establish regular Latin-language celebrations of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, on Fridays and Sunday evening. It's people are well-prepared to sing the chants of the ordinary of the Mass whereever they may travel. It is a regular part of the parish life.
Perhaps the motivation for Msgr. Steenson in prohibiting the celebration of the TLM at Ordinariate parishes is to prevent such a devisive "us and them" situation from arising, especially as the Ordinariate parishes are adjusting to life within the Catholic Church and getting themselves firmly established? While safeguarding the right of his priests to celebrate other legitimate uses of the Roman Rite, he can also safeguard the fledgling steps of these new communities.
By allowing his priests to say the TLM if requested, but not in Ordinariate parishes, the new Ordinary may well have acted within his canonical rights. However, should a group of parishioners from an ordinariate parish request that the TLM be celebrated, it is hard to see how they could legitimately be impeded from having that celebration in their own parish. In such a case, an appeal of the situation to the Ecclesia Dei Commision, now part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, might well reverse this decree.
There have been accusations by some on the internet of other motivations for this prohibition. These accusations have been made on the basis of supposition, deduction from private conversations, and observation at a distance of particular events, such as the cancellation of the lease of St. Thomas More, Scranton's school building, which was the event that triggered the past two month's series of blog posts and accusations.
It is a commonplace of moral theology that we should interpret other's actions in the best possible way; this is especially true when we don't have all the information on a given situation. As such, I am not going to repeat any accusations about motives.
Of course, even if this best of interpretations is true, there have been missteps by the Ordinariate as a whole in this matter, I think. First and foremost is the failure to get out ahead of the news by better communication. I know that the Ordinariate's Media Contact has many years' experience working as a publicist with the Church; is she not being listened to in her counsel to get more information and news out there?
For example, the story about the school in Scranton should have been made public by the Ordinariate. Yes, Fr. Bergman's congregation in Scranton should have heard it from him, but it involved the Ordinariate as well, and this kind of news, which begged for clarification, should have had it provided immediately.
Secondly, I think there has been a failure to cultivate the still tremendous reserve of good will toward the Ordinariate among the many hundreds (thousands?) who have for years followed the Anglican Use. This good will needs to be cultivated and harnessed, and communication is the key to this. There are bloggers and other journalists who have been kept at arm's length so far. But despite the many other pressing tasks that the Ordinariate's small and part-time staff have before them, reaching out to those who can help foster good will should also be considered important.
Finally, I hope that, should my interpretation of the reasons for the TLM policy be true, that this will be handled going forward in a pastorally sensitive way. Many of the new members of the Oridnariate have emerged from Anglican jurisdictions after years of controversy and contention with bishops. Episcopal persecution of priests and congregations has been a too familiar element of Anglican life, from the jailings and prosecution of "ritualist" priests in 19th century England under the Public Worship Regulation Act to the well-publicized court cases against various priests and parishes by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. This is not an aspect of the Anglican Patrimony anyone wants to see preserved.
References and Links
1. Facebook: It's Official
2. Rorate Caeli: You Report: American Anglican Ordinariate, anti-Tradition zone
3. Eccentric Bliss: The Failure of the Ordinariate
4. Foolishness to the World: The Traditional Latin Mass and the Ordinariate
5. The Anglo-Catholic: Monsignor Steenson Continues to Express Enmity toward the Extraordinary Form (July 29, 2012) and More Ordinariate Disappointment
6. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: The Liturgy of the Ordinariate and the Latin Mass
7. Anglican Embers: "Catholicity in the Church of England: The Nonjurors: The Repudiation of Erastianism and the Recovery of Sacrifice"
8. Foolishness to the World: Our Thurifer posts his Inaugural Piece in the Catholic Register
9. 1928 US Book of Common Prayer: Articles of Religion
10. EWTN Library: Summorum Pontificum
11. Vatican web site: Anglicanorum coetibus
12. AtonementOnline: Summorum Pontificum