The phrase “Prayer Book Catholic” has come to characterize those Anglo-Catholics who not only use the Book of Common Prayer but believe it to be the liturgy par excellence for Catholic worship and teaching the Catholic faith. This is opposed to those Anglo-Catholics who only ever use the prayer book out of necessity but see it as at best incomplete and feel the need to gussy it up with affectations from the liturgies of Rome, the East, or wherever. Prayer Book Catholics believe that Anglicanism is Catholic by its very nature. In that respect, they are the inheritors of the old High Churchman tradition which stressed fidelity to the prayer book as a matter of faith, not simply discipline.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I kinda like him. I know I like these words, especially those highlighted (by others), thought (by them) to be just horrible. They think this means somehow giving up what they believe when, in fact, they need to bear witness all the more to their beliefs. It is their witness and its fruits that will compel others -- not arguments.
The woman of Sychar asks Jesus about the place where God is truly worshiped. Jesus does not side with the mountain or the temple, but goes deeper. He goes to the heart of the matter, breaking down every wall of division. He speaks instead of the meaning of true worship: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24). So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more fully what unites us, namely, our call to share in the mystery of the Father’s love revealed to us by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Christian unity – we are convinced – will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions. When the Son of Man comes, he will find us still discussing! We need to realize that, to plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one another and to challenge one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who harmonizes diversities, overcomes conflicts, reconciles differences.
Monday, January 26, 2015
I was already many years on this earth, when this was produced. But, despite having taken place in mine own lifetime, it appears as though it were an ancient relic, of some age well-passed. The intelligence and sophistication of the opening commentary reminds one, as well, of what once was possible, even in a general television broadcast to the masses. No more.
First of all, I believe that the study of the history of Anglicanism makes reasonably clear that there are in essence three types of Rite for Holy Communion. The first and the most common one is that of the 1552/1559/1604/1662 Books. This has the Prayer of Consecration, containing the words of Institution, as its center. It is a simplification of the Western Rite in the light of the biblical and pastoral concerns of the Reformation. The second is that of the 1637/1762/1789/1928 Books of Scotland and America. This is an attempt to take the essentials of the Eastern Rites and make sure that the Anglican Rite has them. In this sense it is anti-Roman. It contains the Memorial, the Invocation and the Oblation all in the one prayer. Finally, there is the third, the way of the Missal, which is to add to the Anglican Rite from the pre-Vatican II Roman Rite, so that it looks like the latter, and is unmistakably Western. Between the three types are variations of them (e.g., the taking of a little from the Missal for use with the 1662 and 1928 Rites, and the Eucharistic Prayer of the Canadian 1959/1962 Book).
The new Rites of the new Prayer Books of the Anglican Communion contain a new type – the ecumenical or post-Vatican II type. This Order can be filled with sound, orthodox doctrine, ceremonial and devotion, but even when this occurs (and it is becoming rare) it is not Anglican. In the supermarket of religion it is a “generic” product; thus it has no distinctiveness as a particular or unique means of the worship and service of Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Anglican Way claims to exist as a small part of the One Church of God seeking unity without uniformity. Even as there are seven colors to the rainbow, with each color being a genuine color but the seven as one being the rainbow, so there is unity without uniformity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Aspects of the modern ecumenical movement seem to exist to crush genuine variety in the search for uniformity.
Therefore, in the second place, I think that there is or ought to be a legitimate variety and limited comprehensiveness to Anglicanism as a movement and as a Communion of Churches. In other words, Anglicanism is wide enough to embrace the low-church evangelical, who uses the 1662 BCP, the high-church catholic, who uses the Missal, based upon the BCP, and the one who uses the new Service Books in as near an orthodox way as possible. This means that the movement called the Anglican Way tolerates a variety of views of the Eucharistic Presence, the Eucharistic Offering, Ceremonial and Vestments, not to mention devotional practices. Also it accepts the “extras” of charismatic worship, even as it accepts the extras of the Missal, and the free prayers of the evangelicals! There are too few of us to be divided where we need not be!
However, this width must also have depth and this entails, I think, a commitment to what is known either as the Chicago or Lambeth Quadrilateral – the four principles being: (1) the Holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary to salvation; (2) the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds; (3) the two Sacraments ordained by Christ himself, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord; and (4) the Historic Episcopate, locally adapted according to the varying needs of nations and peoples. The last principle means in practice that only episcopally ordained men ought to serve in the Anglican Communion of Churches as bishops and priests.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Restoring the Octave of Pentecost involves doing something about Trinity Sunday. But in England, before 1260, "the Feast of the Trinity was kept by some ... on the Sunday next before Advent." They weren't alone.
If the following is true, then it explains a lot about the strong feeling of error when I experience such rites. Back to 1549 and the Nonjurors. Or, at least, the superior Scottish 1929.
The Order for the Lord's Supper in the 1662 Prayer Book is substantially that of the Second Prayer Book of 1552 with some modifications. In the 1552 Prayer Book all references to the Offertory were omitted. The Penitential Preparation-the First Exhortation, the Second Exhortation ("Ye that do truly repent...") the General Confession, the Absolution, and the Comfortable Words, were moved to a position before the Canon, or Prayer of Consecration; "the Canon was so rearranged as to exclude the remotest possibility of its being interpreted as a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead." The versicle and response "The Lord be with thee" "And with thy spirit," with its association with the doctrine of Transubstantiation, was dropped from the Sursum Corda. The Intercession was moved to a position where it had no connection with the Consecration, and the Prayer for the Dead was omitted. The Invocation of the Holy Spirit, or epiclesis, with its implication of a mutation of the elements and its affirmation of a corporal presence in the consecrated bread and wine was replaced with a petition that those receiving the bread and wine, in accordance with Christ's institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, might be partakers of Christ's Body and Blood. The Prayer for Humble Access was moved from its 1549 position before the distribution of the consecrated elements to a position immediately after the Sanctus where it could not be referring to the consecrated bread and wine. The phrase "in these holy mysteries" in the Prayer of Humble Access was omitted. The Benedictus with its implication of a corporal presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the bread and wine was stricken out after the Sanctus. The 1552 Prayer Book also did away with the anamnesis of 1549. The Lord's Prayer was placed after the Communion. The sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and the oblation of "ourselves, our souls, and bodies" were reworded and placed after the Communion where they could not be associated in the minds of the people with the Medieval doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass (or any other doctrine of Eucharistic sacrifice) and where they served as " a response to the grace made known in the sacrament but no part of the sacramental action itself."
At the urging of Bishop Seabury the 1789 General Convention of the fledgling Protestant Episcopal Church adopted the 1764 Scottish Communion Office with some important changes. The changes that the 1789 General Convention made to the 1764 Scottish Communion Office included the omission of the offering up of the bread and wine at the offertory and the versicle and response, “The Lord be with you” “And also with thy spirit” from the Sursum Corda. Both of these liturgical elements were associated with the doctrines of eucharistic sacrifice and Transubstantiation. The General Convention restored the word "there" in the Scottish Prayer of Consecration to "who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sinnes of the whole world, and did institute, and in his holy gospel command us to continue a perpetuall memory of that his precious death and sacrifice, untill his coming again." The General Convention omitted the decidedly realist language of the epiclesis with its petition that the bread and the wine might "become" the Body and the Blood of Christ. The Prayer for the Church Militant was restored to the 1552 position between the offertory and invitation to confession; the Lord’s Prayer to the 1552 position after the distribution of the communion; the invitation to confession, the general confession, the absolution, and the comfortable words to the 1552 position immediately before the Sursum Corda; and the Prayer of Humble Access to the 1552 position immediately after the Sanctus. The ending of the Scottish Prayer for the Church Militant was replaced with that of the 1662 Prayer for the Church Militant. The rubric “And when he receiveth himself, or delivereth the sacrament of the body of Christ to others, he shall say…” was changed to “And when he delivereth the Bread he shall say….” The Words of Administration were replaced with those from the 1559 Prayer Book. All these changes were adopted to bring the Communion Office closer to the 1662 Communion Service, as well as to eliminate any further liturgical elements associated with the doctrines of eucharistic sacrifice and Transubstantiation.
Consequently, any attempt to "establish the Order for the Lord's Supper in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as normative" is going to present a problem, from my humble perspective.
Friday, January 23, 2015
For many years liturgists felt that highly formalized worship services bored people and turned them off; "creative" liturgies were proposed as the solution. Unfortunately, the resulting Butterfly, Banner, and Balloon Extravaganzas severely alienated many men. The most saccharine outbreaks of forced liturgical excitement featured fluttering dancers floating down the aisles like wood-nymphs, goofy pseudo-rites forced on the congregation with almost fascist authoritarianism, and a host of silly schticks usually accompanied by inane music. It was exciting all right; any men felt exciting enough to rise from their pews and walk right out the door. What was their problem? It seems that most men are instantly turned off by surprise spontaneity in ritual circumstances; moreover, ceremonies that are entirely nice, sweet, and happy usually strike men as phoney and completely unconnected with the harsh world they experience every day.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Here is a collage of thoughts and expressions, authored by others, that I may or may not agree with. YMMV. [Oddities of HTML and misspellings have been corrected by me.]
I. How not very good and how not very pleasant.
One of the realities that advocates and members of the Anglican Way have to face in the USA is the divided state of what has been called the “Continuum” or “the Continuing Anglican Churches.” These bodies (or the original components of them) separated from the Episcopal Church in the 1970s, often as a haven for conscientious laity, clergy, and even parishes that had been persecuted in the ECUSA for their faith. Their announced purpose was to maintain classic Anglican orthodoxy in doctrine, liturgy, and polity.
Thus it is that the divisions of the Continuum bring embarrassment and pain to all faithful Anglicans seeking to fulfill the same purpose, for they cause good people to be set against each other. Furthermore, ordinary people (either as observers or as victims of these divisions) find it difficult to see why there should be so many competing Continuing groups (20 plus) 'each with its own bishops' claiming to be authentic jurisdictions of the one Anglican Way. The question becomes in their minds, “Was this a painful but necessary separation for the sake of the faith, or was it only an institutional secession for the sake of the ambition of men?”
II. Was heisst Anglo-Katholizismus?
But, Anglo-Catholicism is not merely a mater of external ritual affinity with the medieval Latin church. Indeed, the truism that the rule of faith follows the rule of worship, necessitates that all substantial liturgical divergence are ultimately grounded in substantive theological differences. And ... we easily deduce that the source of the difference between Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism is one and same with that which marks the difference between the Counter-Reformation and the English Reformation: the Council of Trent and its affirmation of the most objectionable, sectarian, medieval Latin religious developments.
Like the continental Old Catholics before them, Anglo-Catholics stake no dogmatic claim in Trent, and thus do not typically enumerate it as an express formulary. This typical omission, however, is a long practiced partial deception handed down from the original Anglo-Catholicis, who were nevertheless patently and visibly children of Counter-Reformation faith and practice even if they do not walk in lock step with their Roman Catholic brethren. Indeed, American Anglo-Catholics not only follow Tridentine liturgical patterns, but encourage popular Tridentine spiritual disciplines and personal piety, as well as champion divines who teach, propagate, and promote the mostly a line of theological opinions and speculation consistent with the Council Trent, many of which doctrines are expressly condemned by the Articles of Religion ...
Moreover, it is precisely this adherence to the spirit of the Counter-Reformation, through the vehicle of an historically inaccurate understanding of the Affirmation of St. Louis, combined of course with a simultaneous rejection of the Papal claims, that motivates Bishop Robinson to accurately and insightfully characterize the Anglo-Catholic ascendency within the Continuum, not as continuing authentic Anglicanism, but rather engineering an entirely new, ahistorical creature appropriately described as “a species of Old Catholicism.”
III. Because I do not hope to turn again.
The problem with the Anglican Church in North America is not the same as that of The Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Church the issue is apostasy. The historic Faith has been knowingly rejected. Within the Anglican Church in North America it is a teaching issue. Thousands who are members of the Anglican Church in North America have a sense of the Faith and want to be faithful Anglicans, but have never seen it modeled or really experienced classical Anglicanism. They have grown up seeing women in collars and may have never experienced worship according to the historic Book of Common Prayer. They need love, careful teaching, and time to work things out in their minds, not condemnation and rejection. Even St. Athanasius worked with the Semi-Arians to defeat the Arians. And the result? The triumph of the Nicene Faith. The Arians were defeated and the Semi-Arians were won to orthodoxy. If we are unwilling to reach out to, teach and win, what might be described as semi-Anglicans, is there any point in even talking about reaching the unchurched?
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Circa 600–625 in Rome, with one notable exception — the first Sunday after Pentecost — Revelation readings at mass were reserved to Holy Innocents, the archangel Michael (29 September), and the dedication of a church. As the sanctoral developed, Revelation lections were gradually added.
Is the absence of such readings a result of the belief that they are generally not suited for public proclamation or is it merely an artefact of the loss of a third lection, not derived from the Epistles or Gospels? Notice how the RCL does very little to rectify this situation, no matter how it actually arose.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Anglicanism is alone amongst the Reformation traditions in retaining the historic Christian teaching that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. Our prayer book is bold in its proclamation of this truth. Nevertheless, the way in which we understand what this means is very different from the understanding of the medieval Roman Catholic Church. While the Roman understanding lead away from the cross and towards the power of the priest, the Anglican teaching is centered entirely on Christ’s work of atonement and our reception of His saving grace. As John Bramhall wrote against a Roman interlocutor while in exile in 1653, “You say we have renounced your Sacrifice of the Mass. If the Sacrifice of the Mass be the same with the Sacrifice of the Cross, we attribute more unto it than yourselves; we place our whole hope of salvation in it.”
In the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood there is a propitiation for our sins because He is really present in it, who is the propitiation for sins. But it in no way hence follows that there is any propitiatory sacrifice for sin in the Sacrament. He becomes the propitiation for our sins, He actually remits our sins, not directly and immediately by the elements of bread and wine, nor by any other kind of local presence or compresence with these elements than is in Baptism. … Neither of these elements or sensible substances can directly cleanse us from our sins by any virtue communicated unto them or inherent in them, but only as they are pledges or assurances of Christ’s peculiar presence in them, and of our true investiture in Christ by them. We are not then to receive the elements of bread and wine only in remembrance that Christ died for us, but in remembrance or assurance likewise that His body which was once given for us doth by its everlasting virtue preserve our bodies and souls unto everlasting life, and that His blood which was but once shed for us doth still cleanse us from all our sins, from which in this life we are cleansed or can hope to be cleansed. If we then receive remission of sins or purification from our sins in the Sacrament of the Eucharist (as we always do when we receive it worthily), we receive it not immediately by the sole serious remembrance of His death, but by the present efficacy or operation of His body which was given for us, and of His blood which was shed for us. … The present efficacy of Christ’s body and blood upon our souls, or real communication of both, I find as a truth unquestionable amongst the ancient fathers and as a Catholic confession.
I see the same high authority number among the errors of Rome, which our own church has renounced, that ‘a propitiatory virtue is attributed to the Eucharist’. I am not aware of our Church having anywhere condemned such a doctrine. That it has condemned (as we all from our hearts condemn) as ‘blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits’ ‘the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead to have remission from pain and guilt’, we know and heartily rejoice. But this is very far indeed from saying or meaning that the Eucharist hath not ‘a propitiatory virtue’; and we must be very careful how we deny that virtue to it. The consecrated elements ought not to be separated in our minds from the propitiation for our sins, continually presented for us before the throne of God. Whether we regard them in correspondence with the meat-offerings and drink-offerings of the Old Testament as memorials of the one great sacrifice, and so, in union with that sacrifice, by virtue of Christ’s appointment, representing and pleading to the Father the atonement finished on the cross, or as answering to those portions of the typical sacrifice which were eaten by the priests and offerers, in either case they are intimately united with the altar in heaven, and with its propitiatory virtue. ‘In these holy mysteries’ in an especial manner heaven and earth are brought together. … The partakers of the sacrifice are partakers of the altar, and of all its inestimable benefits, the first of which is the propitiation of our sins.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
And many of these believers who have left the church have not forsaken Christian fellowship though.
Mindful of texts like Hebrews 10:25 of “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” they still meet with others. But often it is just a very small home group. Often it is just a small band of believers who meet in a small community centre.
They are still eager for God, but have been turned off by so much of the church scene today. Many are repulsed by the celebrity and entertainment culture that runs rampant in so many churches today. They just want to worship Jesus and encourage one another without all the worldly rigmarole.
I have spoken in many of these small fellowship groups. Some of their services can easily last 3, 4, 5 or more hours. They can’t get enough of genuine Christianity and heartfelt worship. But they have gotten enough of churchianity. They are fed up with a church that increasingly resembles the world more than it does the New Testament.
"With its December 20 letter to the congregation at St. Paul's K Street the vestry carefully tries to give the appearance of having gone through a process of thinking carefully through the issues of women priests and same-sex marriage. But, the process of "discernment" they talk about is no such thing. The use of the word 'discernment' is canard. What is really going on is an exercise in disinformation and propaganda. There was no anguished consideration of anything but the outcome the vestry wanted in the first place. It was never under consideration that, based on Biblical texts, traditions and theology, that the parish should continue to hold the view that only male priests can administer Holy Communion -- or that the parish could hire a rector who blessed same-sex unions or conducted sex-sex marriages. Any decisions were never going to be based on what was right in the eyes of God.
"The only discernment going on is political discernment of just how far the vestry can go in moving the parish in the direction of supporting women clergy and same-sex marriage in who is hired as the next rector and to allow for female priests and same-sex marriages at the parish. The vestry retreat and the cautiously worded letter to the congregation are par for the course in how political activists have steamrolled their way through institutions like the Episcopal Church. While they bring a wrecking ball to Christianity, tradition and the parish, they want to pretend they are thoughtful and benign and have everyone's interests at heart and want the best for the congregation. They clearly do not.
"An assumption underlies this letter that it is the vestry that can make the 'discernment' or conclusion on just how much of the congregation supports their views. I don't see any evidence of a poll. Of course, there is another assumption that if sufficient support can be found for the vestry's view, then that is a green light for them to move forward with their wrecking ball. There's no evidence that asked those oppose the innovations would react to having them imposed on the congregation. Their mission is to fool enough of the people in the middle about their good intentions to make their radical moves seem innocent and harmless so that they do not lose too many parishioners and undermine the financial condition of the parish precipitously."
Sunday, January 4, 2015
"Bringing up to date" ... "bringing into line" ... these phrases don't just leave me cold: they fill me with horror.
What he said:
On a personal note, as soon as I realized that I could not both hold the Novus Ordo as illegitimate and defend Pius XII's Holy Week rites (not to mention the mass suppression of octaves and vigils ad nauseam), I slowly began to move away from the notion of Liturgy as a legislated matter under the authority of the pope to the position of immemorial Liturgical Tradition, abolishing the false distinction of "T" and "t" Tradition in the process. One cannot logically both argue against the NO and defend the 1962 books at the same time; to do so is to concede the argument to the defenders of the NO. The years 1945-1969 are one clear, consistent continuum of the same, papally legislated liturgical
destructionrevolution, and to acknowledge this reality has not or should not have anything to do with sedevacantism - a red herring to this discussion. This is what I have been trying to convey in my posts earlier this year about the Holy Week rites. This is how I have approached the question of why the NO is problematic, away from earlier, immature, and facile reasons such as "it's banal and bland" or the somewhat more serious, yet still facile "it's not good for me spiritually". As soon as one busts the myth of ultramontanism in matters doctrinal and magisterial (e.g. Vatican II documents, a recent synod), it follows to deflate this same unfounded papal "authority" over matters liturgical.
Some of the very first posts on this blog concerned similar questions -- in which, as usual, some people simply confused quotation with advocacy. Here, it's all a question.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Time for another incomprehensible mashup.
First things first. I certainly agree with the bulk of the approach expounded here. My only reason for pause is the authoritarian tone of 'abolished' and 'destroyed'. This is the very attitude and approach which has wreaked such havoc over the last fifty years! I always prefer 'made optional', 'de-emphasized', and 're-appropriated as', for example. Thus, on my view, Benediction would be possible but invariably rare. In all events, the two utterly divergent streams of the Papal high courtesy, on the one hand, and of heart-felt Franciscan enthusiasm, on the other, must be kept under tight control.
On another side of things, beware iconoclasts of a completely other stripe: Rather, then, than temple, priest and sacrifice being abolished, it is invested with new meaning and expression. The continuity between the New Testament and the post-New Testament Church is a profound witness to this - something which traditional evangelical commentary has been unwilling to grasp. What we desire:
The priests are still and the deacons stand in silence, the whole people is quiet and still, subdued and calm. … the mysteries are set in order, the censers are smoking, the lamps are shining, and the deacons are hovering and brandishing (fans) in the likeness of the Watchers. Deep silence and peaceful calm settles on that place; it is filled and overflows with brightness and splendour, beauty and power.
The complexio oppositorum demands an ever-present, careful balance:
An audible voice need not be a loud voice. It is possible to obtain the full ‘mystical’ effect of silence by reciting the Canon in a very low and subdued voice, fully audible to every careful listener in the church, and yet expressive and suggestive of the deepest religious awe.
It must never be either/or but always both, simultaneously.
Hence, to return to the beginning. Reservation is not commanded by Christ: but, practically speaking, the diaconal ministers may need quick access to it, for communion of the sick. Also, old-fangled or new, GIRM has been more of a hindrance than a help. If we want a single altar, a free-standing altar, no gradines, etc., then something along these lines might fit the bill:
Thursday, January 1, 2015
I love the Blessed Mother, and surely affirm her under this proper title. But I regret the loss of the Feast of the Circumcision. As stated, I generally prefer to stick as close to the Biblical narrative as possible. In this case Scripture is clear, on the eighth day (i.e. January 1st for us), Jesus was circumcised and his name given. Three important truths and events are celebrated here. First that Jesus was born under the law and submitted himself to it so that he might fulfill it. Secondly there is the first shedding of blood, and this refers to the passion. Thirdly his name is announced: Jesus, a name which means “God saves.” There is no other name given to men by which we are to be saved, there is no other blood that can atone for our sins than the blood of Jesus and there is no one who can fulfill the Law as Jesus does. It seems a bit of a loss not to explicitly celebrate these truths about Jesus on the very day (the eighth day) they happened.