As an Anglican I, along with many others, rarely used Anglican devotional material. The Church I attended was a “Roman Rite” Parish. We spurned Anglican material for fear of liberal or Calvinist contamination. However, now we are members of the Ordinariate the position is totally different.
As Anglicans we obeyed the rules from choice, because the rules we obeyed were Catholic rules. We chose to obey them. Now we are in full communion with the Catholic Church, we obey the rules because good Catholics obey the teaching of the Church. Rebels no longer, we are Catholics, and we obey the rules of the Catholic Church.
It was with great interest then, that I opened my copy of the new Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, with the sub-title Daily Prayer for the Ordinariate. It arrived last month. It is the Prayer Book of the Ordinariate.
Published under the Imprimatur of the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the book contains the Calendar, the Divine Office with traditional Office hymns, Litany, together with material for times and seasons including saints and holy days, with an Introduction by Mgr Andrew Burnham and Dr Aidan Nichols OP. The language is traditional (thee and thou) the feel is in accordance with our Anglican patrimony and the psalms are in the beloved Coverdale translation. But the gem of the book is the series of hagiographical readings for the saints and holy days.
There will be those who prefer the Roman Divine Office, but as members of the Ordinariate, we have a loyalty to uphold. This is our book. It is true that most of us would never have thought of using it when we were Anglicans. However, now we are Catholics and the Holy Father has made this wonderful offer to us. The offer is to join the Ordinariate - united yet not absorbed. If we spurn the Holy Father’s generosity and, in effect, become Diocesan Catholics, we shall have failed Benedict XVI and his prophetic vision.
The Customary bridges that most difficult of gulfs between the Anglican and the Catholic. It unites these two traditions, yet makes important distinctions. The Divine Office is the Prayer Book one of Morning and Evening Prayer shape, augmented by Prayer through the Day and a beautifully traditional Compline. The Litany will be familiar to users of the 1662 Prayer Book, and the Calendar is specific to the Ordinariate, with many particularly British Saints.
In the future there will be a Eucharistic Rite for the Ordinariate, also in traditional language. For the time being we have this book. It is good, although there are one or two glaring mistakes. Nevertheless, the compilers are to be congratulated on its production. The mistakes may be corrected if it is re-printed or if there is a second edition. I have used it every day since its publication and see no reason why this should not continue. It fulfils the Holy Father’s wish - truly Catholic and also distinctively Anglican. After all this project of the Ordinariate is an Ecumenical one. We must never forget that.
Finally you may purchase the Customary on-line through Amazon for £39.93 - click on BOOKS on The Portal website - www.portalmag.co.uk/books.html.
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