We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Oratio obliqua

Whatever you may think, I did not say this. He did:

On the one hand there is Anglicanism, an expression of faith that in the abstract -- its doctrines and theology -- is as nearly perfect as I believe man has ever succeeded in achieving, but which in practice has unraveled into a chaotic mess. There is of course the heresy and false teaching that infects all but a handful of Episcopal parishes in this diocese -- including its bishop, its cathedral, its dean, almost all of its clergy, and a distressing number of the few laypeople who have made the effort to pay attention and learn what’s happening -- but the promise of the orthodox Anglican movement outside of The Episcopal Church never materialized either. Populated as that movement is by many good people, it has the institutional feeling of something held together by duct tape and baling wire. It is beset by infighting and consecration fever, and in several of its highest leadership positions are people of atrocious judgement and character.

On the other hand there is Roman Catholicism, some of whose doctrines give me serious pause, but which in practice has shown itself to be steadfast in its opposition to the caprices of the world.

Me? I'm still just anatomizing, while Canterbury burns.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A solution, finally

I began, some time back, with this question: given the divergence between the post-Pentecostal lectionaries of the Anglicans/Lutherans, on the one hand, and the Romans, on the other, which has greater antiquity, authenticity, and coherence?

I can now, finally, answer this question with some degree of certainty (after many false steps and blind alleys): Trent, with one important caveat. The beginning of the entire sequence is mashed up in ways that are difficult to untangle, for there are three different Sundays which are all vying for the lead position:

  • (i) The Sunday within the Octave of Pentecost
  • (ii) The First Sunday after Pentecost
  • (iii) Trinity Sunday

The latter is a very late innovation, which suppressed the first two, but in two very different ways.

The readings for (i) The Sunday within the Octave of Pentecost are preserved in the Comes of Murbach and thus issues the Anglican solution -- mash together with (iii) Trinity Sunday:

The Collect for (ii) The First Sunday after Pentecost is "commemorated"

and the former Gospel reading becomes the new Last Gospel in the Roman solution -- mash together with (iii) Trinity Sunday:

From thence, Trent is mostly (or, much more) correct, as I will demonstrate in a future post.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Homéliaires libériens

Trent often seems to have referred to source 3 below -- at least, this comes closest.

"Liturgy and Worship"

Trinity Sunday.

The feast was imposed on the Western Church in 1334. But it had long been customary to use a Mass of the Holy Trinity on this day as a votive Mass, and in England St. Thomas of Canterbury is said to have instituted it as a regular feast of that mystery.

In the earliest times, as with other Sundays following the Ember vigil, this day was left vacant. From the eighth to the fourteenth centuries, it was treated as the Octave of Pentecost. But the institution of the feast of the Holy Trinity made the Octave end (as the Easter Octave originally did) on Saturday. R prints the ancient Lesson and Gospel of Dominica I post Pentecosten immediately after those of Trinity Sunday, and they are actually used on the ensuing three days, unless these are otherwise occupied. E treated the problem differently. The whole Mass of the First Sunday after Pentecost except the Gospel was transferred to the following Sunday. This and all other Sundays to Advent were now reckoned by S as “after Trinity”. HY generally reckon “after the Octave of Pentecost”. Thus for the first few Sundays of this season E is one behind R. But as the season proceeds there are further complications. B.C.P. follows E consistently, but occasionally alters the length of the passages.

Collect. GregR. The translation in 1549 was accurate: “that through the steadfastness of this faith we may evermore be defended from all adversity.”

Lesson. ME.

Gospel. WME. This Gospel, the original one for the First Sunday after Pentecost, is, naturally, unconnected with the observance of the feast of the Holy Trinity.

[N. B. This is precisely what I had surmised.]

From this point onwards the Epistles in W are not attached to the Sundays after Pentecost, but to Sundays grouped round the “immovable festivals”; and there has been much dislocation of order. Henceforward, therefore, the letter W only means that a particular Pericope is found in that Lectionary and assigned to some Sunday after Pentecost.

Trinity I.

Collect. Pii GregMSGiiE. [I.e. in P and SG this is the Collect for the Second Sunday.] In Gel assigned to Dom. vi post clausum Paschae.

Epistle. WMEPamTh. (lengthened).

Gospel. AMEPamTh.

“The Sundays after Trinity may be regarded as a system illustrating the practical life of Christianity, founded on the truths previously presented, and guided by the example of our Blessed Lord.” [Blunt, op. cit., ad loc.] The subject of this day is the love of God and the love of man.

Trinity II.

Collect. GregSGiiiE. (In Gel assigned to Sunday after Ascension Day.) But the present form is an adaptation dating from 1661. Until then there had been a literal translation of the Latin – “Lorde, make vs to haue ...: for thou neuer faylest. ...”

Epistle. WME (lengthened).

Gospel. ME.

Subject of the day: active love.

Trinity III.

Collect. PiGregSGivE.

Epistle. WME (slightly lengthened). It seems probable that the Epistles for this Sunday and for our fifth after Trinity were chosen originally with reference to the coming feast of SS. Peter and Paul.

Gospel. WME.

Subject of the day: humility.

Trinity IV.

Collect. PGregSGvE.

Epistle. WME (in W. it is the Epistle for Ember Saturday).

Gospel. ME. This Gospel does not appear at all in R; there is therefore at this point a further dislocation. The R Gospel will henceforward be two ahead of E, but the Epistle still only one.

  • R. All forms of Roman rite, including mediaeval English.
  • E. Mediaeval English Uses in general.
  • S. Sarum.
  • Y. York.
  • H. Hereford.
  • A. Alcuin.
  • B.C.P. Book of Common Prayer.
  • Greg. Gregorianum.
  • Gel. Gelasianum.
  • P. Paduan Sacramentary.
  • SG. St. Gall (Gelasian MS.).
  • Pam. Pamelius.
  • Th. Comes Theotenchi.
  • W. Comes of Würzburg
  • M. Comes of Murbach

Pax vobis

8. From this holy city of Jerusalem, we express our shared profound concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain full citizens of their homelands. In trust we turn to the almighty and merciful God in a prayer for peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East in general. We especially pray for the Churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events. We encourage all parties regardless of their religious convictions to continue to work for reconciliation and for the just recognition of peoples’ rights. We are persuaded that it is not arms, but dialogue, pardon and reconciliation that are the only possible means to achieve peace.

Lectio discontinua

Ah, back to the lectionary. You know, the thing that radical Protestants hate:

Many Zwinglian influences remain (or at least should remain) a force in our Reformed Protestant heritage, including orderly/austere worship, an intellectual approach to faith, simple music (often with no instruments and often psalmody-only), and NO LECTIONARY! Here’s why:

On January 1, 1519, Zwingli chucked the lectionary and began preaching through every verse in Matthew’s Gospel (lectio continua or continuous reading). When he finished that, he moved on to the Acts of the Apostles. When he finished that, he moved on to the Epistles. Then the Old Testament. And one by one, he preached through all the books of the Bible, which was radical at the time and remains a unique fixture of our Reformed heritage.

Anywho, for a long time I believed something like this:

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer ... gives, for the most part, the same Sunday Collects, Epistles, and Gospels as the Missal of S Pius V. But the Reading and Gospel for last Sunday, the Sunday Next Before Advent (taken, like most such Prayer Book material, from the medieval Sarum Rite) were, unlike the other Epistles and Gospels After Trinity, quite different from those in S Pius V's edition of the Roman Rite. But they are nevertheless thoroughly respectable choices in terms of Tradition; they go back to the earliest Roman lectionaries, the Comes of Wuerzburg and Murbach.

"For the most part" is better glossed as "about 65%," based upon my informal survey. (I think that a divergence of more than a third is somewhat significant, after all.)

So, I know of no way at all of determining the answer to this question:

I know that the lectionary for the Sarum rite’s mass is very similar to the readings used in the traditional Roman mass. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see the lectionaries to be off set by an equal amount (ex. one or two extra Sundays thrown in), but this is not the case. It seems, especially after trinity, that the Gospels are off set by one week and the Epistles by two weeks. Do you know of any reasons why this off-setting has occurred (whether Sarum added a reading or Rome removed readings)? Or do you know of any resources where I might study this? Thank you for your assistance.

Sigh. Back to the drawing board. The answer is not in a book.


For instance, this is very interesting and probably true but still doesn't answer the question:

Many details are revealed by a study of the lectionary. The gospels for the Sundays after Pentecost in the Gregorian-Beneventan tradition match closely those of the lectionary of Würzburg, whereas almost all other medieval traditions follow the order in the lectionary of Murbach. But Würzburg, the oldest surviving Roman lectionary, represents the Roman liturgy of the mid-seventh century; its calendar is that of the early Gelasian sacramentary of the sixth-seventh century. Murbach, however, the ancestor of the universal medieval and modern tradition, has the calendar of the eighth-century Gelasian sacramentary, and represents a Frankish adaptation of the mid-eighth century uniting the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries [19-20].

As I have established here, while Sarum does indeed follow Murbach, Trent does not follow Würzburg.

Who cares? Well, one ought to, if, for instance, one hopes to avoid the obvious incoherence of crudely adapting the Tridentine antiphons to a completely different system!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I have greatly enjoyed Fr. Hunwicke's latest series -- beginning here -- for I mostly share his tastes and prejudices. After all, it is only natural that the court will demand that one's legal brief be complete and well-formed. Else ...

Beginning from a subsidiary point -- that a eucharist may be "incoherent" but still valid, this latter concept not admitting of degrees -- I inquire as to what is wrong (if anything) with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer service. (In this, of course, I claim no superiority for it, simply familiarity.)

Polemicists typically contrast some version of Cranmer with the traditional Roman canon. But simply restricting our attention to text, to form (order) and content, where is the problem? In the following, the Apostolic Tradition is used not because it is original, superior or anything other than the fact that, in its simplicity, it suggests four or five basic elemental structures.

Click to enlarge.

No matter where one rests the "validity," if these are the typical elements, what is it that should (or must) be there that is taken to be missing? Is the actual problem with the additions (in blue) that are believed to suggest some antithetical doctrine? (Note: I didn't mark the unworthiness-language, which some may falsely suspect to be creeping Protestantism: it is, in fact, a big part of the Sarum rite.)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Post mortem

Anglican Ink:

Anglicanism in the United States is functionally incoherent as an ecclesiastical system, the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States concluded in a report released last month, as there is no normative voice for doctrine and discipline in the Episcopal Church of the USA ...

However, the conclusion of the report found the journey together as churches was heading nowhere.

“The absence of an authoritative universal magisterium among the churches of the Anglican Communion marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority,” the statement said.

TEC could go loony so long as Canterbury held some sort of line:
that vain hope is now long past.
Hence, what could be the possible point of requesting this?

6. The rich experience of sharing fellowship as we met in Nairobi encourages our sense of needing to maintain our common life in faithfulness to Christ. Meeting shortly after the recognition in English law of same sex marriage, which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God, we look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage in this country deepens. The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly noted that the decisions of the Church of England have a global impact and we urge that as a matter of simple integrity, its historic and biblical teaching should be articulated clearly.

7. We are particularly concerned about the state of lay and clerical discipline. The House of Bishops’ guidance that those in same sex marriages should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the church is an abandonment of pastoral discipline. While we welcome their clear statement that clergy must not enter same sex marriage, it is very concerning that this discipline is, apparently, being openly disregarded. We pray for the recovery of a sense of confidence in the whole of the truth Anglicans are called to proclaim, including that compassionate call for repentance to which we all need to respond in our different ways.

The old Anglo-Catholic riposte
to the volume entitled What the Church of England Stands For was
"Because there is only one chair and the Pope's in it."
Now we know that the pages of that book have all turned blank.

The former Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt Rev. V. Gene Robinson, announced today that he is divorcing his spouse and partner of 25 years, Mark Andrew.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


From the NLM:

Many scholas are looking now to the Introit as a way of re-solemnizing the Mass, and it is an excellent place to begin. To use the proper text, ideally with the Gregorian melody, but suitably with other options, is a way of setting the right tone for the Mass at the very outset ...

Here is what the General Instruction says: "After the people have gathered, the Entrance chant begins as the priest enters with the deacon and ministers. The purpose of this chant is to open the celebration, foster the unity of those who have been gathered, introduce their thoughts to the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity, and accompany the procession of the priest and ministers."

And what music? The first and clearly most preferred option is the one deeply rooted in Roman Rite tradition: the antiphon and Psalm from the Roman Gradual.

The English text for the first Sunday of Lent is: "When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will rescue him and honor him; with long life will I satisfy him."

From the Gregorian Missal:

Let me say here again, just because people seem very confused, this is the normative ideal for both the old and new forms of the Roman Rite. This applies as to the 1962 Missal as to the 1970 Missal. This is not disputed as regards the 1962 Missal. But it remains true in the modern Missal as well. This chant belongs in the ordinary form, the Novus Ordo, the Mass of Paul VI, the Mass heard in 95% of Catholic settings in the English-speaking world, the current Missal after postconciliar reforms--please fill in any formulations I've left out. This is the entrance chant for the first Sunday in Lent.

The question is inevitable: why is it that we don't tend to hear this?

From the Anglican Use Gradual:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

April is the cruellest month?

First, this:

How traditionalist are the Church of England's Anglo-Catholic bishops? Their counterparts in America are opposed to the blessing of gay unions. But the English bishops associated with Forward in Faith and the Society of St Hinge and St Bracket (or whatever it's called) are not keen to be drawn on the subject – except to affirm the Church's traditional teaching on marriage. This article posted on Anglican Mainstream suggests that "conservative" Anglo-Catholics are drifting closer to liberal Affirming Catholicism, which combines the theology of the United Reformed Church with the haberdashery of Counter-Reformation Rome. I wonder which Anglo-Catholic church will be the first to bless a gay couple? Margaret Street, perhaps? Wherever it is, you can rest assured that that it will be all exquisitely tasteful…

Then, this:

And, finally, this:

Of course, I cannot express an opinion -- even obliquely -- without being denominated a paid shill for the Ordinariate. Sigh.

In my beginning is my end

Jules Baudot, building on the investigations of Cardinal Tommasi, gives this rendering of the Post-Pentecostal sequence of gospels, from which those for Sundays have quite obviously been derived.

The BCP pretty rigorously follows Sarum, where more of this list is preserved than in the subsequent reordering at Trent. But Trent does some lovely things, such as suturing the novel gospel for the Last Sunday before Advent -- Matt 24:15-35 -- to the new gospel for the First Sunday of Advent: Luke 21:25-33.

This latter innovation would incline me to view Advent as the end of the liturgical year, rather than the beginning but it is, of course, both beginning and end at once. Better to embrace fully the complexio oppositorum than to proceed as they did in the reforms of the 1960s, where they merely entertained a vote in committee ... and simple majorities carried the day. Sigh.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The original (and still the best)

The tradition of reading specific portions of Scripture on certain days of the year began in a small way. Before the middle of the fourth century only the Gospel readings for Good Friday and Easter were traditional. By the end of the fifth century the readings on the six Sundays preceding Easter (Lent) had become traditional, and readings had also been established for Christmas and the two Sundays following it. By the end of the sixth century the readings on the five Sundays following Easter, the five Sundays preceding Christmas (Advent), and of the three Sundays preceding Lent, had become established. By the end of the seventh century the churches in and around Rome were using unofficial lectionaries which specified readings for every Sunday of the year. Towards the end of the eighth century the French king Charlemagne published such a lectionary, based upon one he had obtained from Rome, for the use of churches throughout his realm. At the end of the tenth century (AD 1000) this lectionary of Charlemagne, with a few local variations, had become traditional throughout the churches of Western Europe. The readings were still in Latin, as was the entire service. Only a small fraction of the people understood it, even in Rome.

In the sixteenth century, at the time of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther and his followers caused the Sunday readings to be done in German, but they continued to use the old lectionary. Likewise the moderate Protestants who took charge of the Church of England continued to use the old lectionary, with minor modifications. The more radical Calvinists in Switzerland, Scotland, and the Netherlands discarded the old lectionary, and adopted the custom of reading completely through selected books of the Bible.