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)

Monday, May 18, 2015


I have been struggling to understand the Evangelical point of view. Quite a few of them make 1662 the litmus test, which is odd as it is neither the first nor the last Anglican liturgical expression. In the end, with all its oddities, I could embrace it with only one small change: the Words of Institution ought be followed by a slightly fuller Anamnesis, Oblation, and Doxology.

It wouldn't even have to be as wordy as 1637 (just the first and the last sentence, perhaps):

Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we thy humble servants do celebrate and make here before thy divine Majestie, with these thy holy gifts, the memoriall which thy Son hath willed us to make, having in remembrance his blessed passion, mightie resurrection, and glorious assension, rendring unto thee most heartie thankes for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same. And we entirely desire thy Fatherly goodnesse, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Sonne Jesus Christ, and through faith in his bloud, we (and all thy whole church) may obtain remission of our sinnes, and all other benefits of his passion. And here wee offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee, humbly beseeching thee, that whosoever shall be partakers of this holy communion, may worthily receive the most precious bodie and bloud of thy Son Jesus Christ, and be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one bodie with him, that he may dwell in them, and they in him. And although wee be unworthie, through our manifold sinnes, to offer unto thee any sacrifice: yet wee beseech thee to accept this our bounden dutie and service, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord ; by whom, and with whom, in the unitie of the holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father almightie, world without end. Amen.

But we need: we remember, we offer, we give you glory. If the hard response is "False knaves, willt thou say mass at my lug," then I must submit that this is not the Roman doctrine. Nothing here suggests a re-sacrifice of the Risen Lord.

For a long time I was confused by various theological pronouncements: Rome -- no more and no less than any other denomination -- rests upon consistency only when it suits her. Sometimes there is a division rift between sacrament and sacrifice, sometimes between the Last Supper and the Cross. But forget about all that: the real sticking point is all there precisely in the prayer itself.

Two (contrasting) examples:

The Roman Canon:

... and from the many gifts you have given us we offer to you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.

Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek.

Eucharistic Prayer IV:

... and ... we offer you his body and blood, the acceptable sacrifice which brings salvation to the whole world.

Most ironically, from my point of view, the Roman Canon is far superior: what we offer is the bread and the cup, which are clearly analogized to the cereal offerings of the Old Testament.

But Prayer IV displays a very different view: we offer the Body and Blood of the Son to the Father, in propitiation for his ever-present (albeit justified) anger, in order that, in our offering thereby, sins may be forgiven.

We, of course, can only see it otherwise:

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