Wednesday, 4 July 2012

(Some of) The Newer Rite is Here

Yesterday, it was announced on the Ordinariate's website that on the 22 June, the Feast of St John Fisher and St Thomas More (to which we referred here), the Vatican had approved an Order for the Celebration of Holy Matrimony and an Order for Funerals for use in the various Ordinariates established under the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

For more information on the new texts, you can watch these interviews given by Monsignor Andrew Burnham to Fr James Bradley at the Church of the Holy Rood in Oxford. 

Order for Marriage from UKOrdinariate on Vimeo.

Order for Funerals from UKOrdinariate on Vimeo.

The texts most definitely constitute a vernacular rite of great beauty.  Those who labour in the error that Anglican Patrimony is a fiction will see their misunderstanding corrected (some of you might have read this post, in which we took these liturgy-obsessed critics to task).  Now we are all able to see more and more of the liturgical contribution that Anglican Patrimony can bring, as part of a wider set of gifts that our Anglican heritage carries into the rich context of the Catholic Church.

This is concrete proof that the Ordinariate, fully part of the Catholic Church, fully in communion with the Successor of St Peter, helps to bring about in most clear way possible the advancement of the Catholic Faith in the very best of the Anglican tradition.

The language of both rites is very familiar, drawn largely from the Book of Common Prayer, and from the Church of England's "Series 1", which can perhaps be described as traditional language with some helpful amendments and with some catholicisation of the original texts, filling in the gaps (eg prayers for the dead) left by the Reformation and mainstream protestant theology.

The texts are definitely not protestant texts simply cut and pasted into a Catholic setting.  They have been thoroughly reviewed, and where necessary corrected and upgraded, in order to ensure total consistency with Catholic teaching.  This is not the wholesale, unthinking introduction of the Book of Common Prayer or of Anglican liturgy in general, but rather, these new texts are perfectly in line with the words of the Anglicanorum Coetibus itself :
III      Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.
We have these texts for marriage and burial now, we already have some other texts (notably the rite used for Evensong and Benediction as at St James's back in January for the Ordinariate's anniversary), and very soon we shall have the Customary.  The "Ordinariate Mass" might take a little longer, but once it is ready, we can be assured that it will be totally and unquestionably consistent with Catholic teaching on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and that it will be presented in a vernacular text and in a manner worthy of the finest Anglican traditions.

You can find these new texts, along with some explanation of the context, on the website of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, the Ordinariate formed for Anglicans joining the Catholic Church in the USA and Canada.  The texts will be used there, in the UK (the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham), and in Australia (the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross).  As and when other Ordinariates spring up (eg in South Africa), we can expect that they will be able to use the same texts.

As recent former Anglicans, we can probably be forgiven for wondering whether any of those in the Church of England will find themselves tempted to use these texts, the Customary or even the form of the Ordinariate Mass when it is available.  No doubt their diocesan bishops would not be keen on the idea, as Dr Chartres of London has already made clear.  However, in that same blogpost, More than Words, we noted, in a quotation from the St Peter's London Docks blog, a phenomenon that means that we cannot exclude the possibility that Anglican clergy will seek to use these rather good new Catholic texts.:
There seems much jumping of the gun in the use of the new Missal, in the pre-fab form which is authorised from this Sunday. One cleric told me that the Ordinariate were already allowed to use it and he thought of himself as the Church of England wing of the Ordinariate and thus permitted. It's hard to think what to say to that.
Who can say what will happen.  Although some Anglican parishes have abandoned the Roman Rite altogether since the new translation was introduced late last year, replacing it with more clearly Anglican liturgy, others have ignored Dr Chartres's views, and have pressed ahead with the new translation of the Roman Rite regardless (for the simple reason that they like it better than the 1970 version).  Moreover, as noted in our post Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt, one can only imagine what Dr Chartres thinks of the use of pre-1955 Holy Week rites in his diocese, forms of liturgy authorised nowhere in a translation never officially recognised anywhere.

We give thanks for the promulgation of the texts of these new rites, and rejoice that they add to the Anglican Patrimony that we have been able to bring with us into the Catholic Church.  These new texts are indeed, in the words of Anglicanorum Coetibus, a treasure to be shared. 

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