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, February 14, 2015

"Like a ghost I'm going to haunt you"

Two (completely different) arguments for let's all be modern!

'Common Sense'

Which brings us to one last point - the ghosts which can haunt catholic Anglicans. The 19th century catholic renewal in Anglicanism resulted in a potently counter-cultural liturgy amidst the Whig, low church, protestant verities of the Victorian era. There can be a feeling amongst contemporary catholic Anglicans that we have 'sold out', that versus populum is an unfortunate concession to the spirit of the age, that while we would prefer the English or American Missal, we must do with our contemporary eucharistic rites if the kids are to understand us ...

What is needed is for catholic Anglicans to have a renewed confidence in the liturgical reform. While ad orientem and Latin for Gloria, Credo and Sanctus will still be present in cathedrals and historic catholic Anglican parishes, most catholic Anglican communities will celebrate the eucharist with contemporary rites and versus populum.

'Corporate Re-union'

The end of this lengthy digression brings us to a question: how is that, given this history of often-costly Anglo-Catholic initiative in the land of its birth, we have arrived (via the Book of Divine Worship) at a rite and a liturgy in pseudo-Cranmerian clothing? Monsignor Edwin Barnes, in his blog entry of November 29, 2014, refers to what he calls the American “God-wottery” of the Ordinariate Use. (Helpfully, he adds an explanation: “God-wottery” is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘an affected quality of archaism, excessive fussiness and sentimentality’.” And Father Barnes adds that these are the very things that many English members of the Ordinariate, who have grown up with contemporary rites over a couple of generations now, find so unhelpful.

He refers to what he calls the excessive fussiness of the three-fold repetition of “Lord, I am not worthy …”. And why, Fr. Barnes asks, has the Ordinariate rite (re)-introduced the celebrant’s multiple kissings of the altar? The 1964 (final) edition of Ritual Notes raised the question fifty years ago, and, in so doing, it referred back to Fr. Adrian Fortescue’s remarks in his magisterial The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, first published in 1917. Referring to two points “which one would hope that the authorities would simplify. One is the constant kissing … and, in the same way, have we not rather too much genuflection?”

What's wrong with Elizabethan English, ad orientem, and non-fussy, non-sentimental, sober, dignified ceremonial?

As I have identified before, the two main errors are thinking and acting as though (1) we were in the papal court, instead of our parish church; and (2) we really needed effusive sentimentality -- be it Franciscan or Victorian or contemporary in nature. Tone -- and tune -- is everything!

On this last topic, I made an extensive comment here, only to have it all nuked by the requirement of first selecting a profile. The short of it: compare "Ride on, ride on in majesty!" in "The King's Majesty" setting to the other, well-known contenders. It is either tragic, as it should be, or just vapid.


Speaking of tone and tune: here's my vision of Hell (with audio). Blech.

1 comment:

  1. Re: Msgr Barnes' difficulties with the Ord. Rite, could I offer some first-hand experience from a parish in Greater London, where an Ord. group is hosted by a Catholic parish? We have Mass at the very awkward time of 4:30pm on Sundays, and celebrate the Ord. Rite in its "pseudo-Cranmerian" language ad orientem at the free-standing altar. We are now outnumbered at the Mass 2:1 by people from the Catholic parish, including families, the majority of them Indian & African people, and few over-60s. The rubrics are followed unobtrusively and it doesn't look fussy.

    Anecdotally, I do not hear that Ord. groups who are hosted by a Catholic parish and celebrate a N.O. rite see a large contingent of non-Ord. parishioners at their Masses.

    Msgr Barnes and others have the faculty of celebrating in the Rite that they have used for the last 30 yrs and no-one is stopping them; perhaps a wise provision might be to allow a contemporary version of the Cranmerian Collects in the N.O. for Ord. priests who want to continue this kind of celebration.