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, April 11, 2015


Anglican "patrimony" -- what is it? One writer has claimed:

The answer lies instead in the origins of Anglicanism at the beginning of modernity. Modernity came into being by means of a re-appropriation of the theology of St. Augustine. Modernity resulted from a recoiling inward of the rational soul from sacramental and natural hierarchies toward Christ, whom Augustine considered the Teacher at the apex of every single human mind. In their debate on free will, Martin Luther seemed to convict Desiderius Erasmus on precisely this point of the inward experience of Christ, of the inward assurance of one’s election by Christ. In an analogous way, René Descartes largely abandoned Scholasticism in order to ground reality in an inward, subjective certitude of the existence of the self and the self’s Creator. Thus ... modern subjectivity is essentially Augustinian in that it assumes unmediated access to God.

Is Augustine sporting a cuttlefish on his head
only in order to contrast with all the Pope-hats?

Certainly an intriguing idea, for which I would have much sympathy. But to make this case, much much more would need to be said.

Needless to say, there is quite a bit of over-interpretation in this article, as well, stemming no doubt from the author's status as a convert, viz.

The vernacular liturgy, filled with didactic elements and conducted in plain view of the congregation with plain ceremonial, encouraged the laity to seek inside themselves, as St. Augustine taught, for Christ’s confirmation of the claims made upon their rational souls by the teaching Church. The clergy were now ordained not for sanctification and sacrifice as their essential functions, but to open the Word of God to their people, to feed them in the green pastures of Scripture, and to lead them forth beside the comforting waters of what in Anglicanism are known as the two dominical sacraments (baptism and the eucharist).

Not for sanctification? Perhaps, not only ... but you get the picture: tarred with one brush.

However, the following does seem, to me at least, to be incontrovertible:

At any rate, by the early eighteenth century, Anglicanism was already becoming self-reflective. This is seen in the commentary tradition on the Book of Common Prayer ... This tradition presented the Prayer Book as a comprehensive liturgy for every day and week, for each season of the church year, and for the great personal and communal moments of life. The commentators demonstrated how the Prayer Book deliberately integrates the clergy and laity into a daily round of liturgical edification, penitence, and praise. They also showed how the eucharistic lectionary, designed to teach the great moments of the faith, was complemented by the lectio continua of the Daily Offices ... The Prayer Book’s integration of the clergy and the laity in one common liturgy; its union of edification, penitence, and praise; and its employment of both a doctrinal lectionary and a continuous lectionary are at the heart of the Anglican patrimony. They are of its essence.

But, this is not how many others see it: We did not wish to bring with us Anglican liturgical traditions. Most of us said the Divine Office and used the Roman Missal. Odd. What does that bring? Coals to Newcastle?

'Common' as in 'communal' -- not as in 'ordinary', 'prosaic', or 'pedestrian'.

No comments:

Post a Comment