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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Early Review of the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham

Writing on his blog, Fr. David Allen offers a first look at the new Customary.
I have just received my copy of The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham. Forms of the Divine Office are intended for the long haul and can only really be evaluated after long use. So it is probably much too early to review this new book from the Ordinariate in the UK. Obviously the Customary has a very particular and rather small (at least so far) audience in view. However, Msgr. Andrew Burnham has said, "Our prayer is that the Customary will be a treasury not only for the Ordinariates but for the whole English-speaking world." It is hard to imagine any Anglicans who would not be delighted by some aspect or other of this new book of daily prayer. Actually I can imagine Anglicans who will not like any of it, because a particularly virulent strain of Romanophobia has infected many of us and made strange bedfellows of liberals, evangelicals, and hyphenated and qualified catholics.

For those Anglicans who realize that the future of the best in the Anglican Way may well be found outside the Anglican Communion there is much to love and respect in The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham. First, there is the use of traditional language and especially the Coverdale Psalter. We are told by evangelicals that the old Prayer Book language is not 'missional.' By liberals that it is not 'relevant.' By some Anglo-Catholics that it is not 'catholic enough.' All of which is a high recommendation of Cranmer's prose. Unlike in the American Anglican Usage Book of Divine Worship, which is a strange bit of homage to the 1979 BCP, there is one vernacular for the Ordinariate in the UK. That is a uniformity which would benefit all Anglicans who do not have it. It is one of the deep sources of Anglican unity in the past.

Secondly, this new book is simply the best (that I know of) compilation of readings from ancient English sources, the Caroline Divines, the Oxford Movement and more modern Catholic-minded Anglicans...
The full review can be read at his blog Parish Priest: St. Francis, Dallas.

Hat tip to Fr. Bartus on Facebook.

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