In the post, a kind gift from Professor Bill Tighe: a copy of a sermon preached in 1949 by my predecessor the great patristic scholar Trevor Jalland, about the 1549 Mass of Thomas Cranmer. It is full of the acid, satirical, and sharply-observed comments which have ever made Anglo-Catholic Sacristy Humour what it is (we are a catty lot). This is how it ends:
[Cranmer was] always, from first to last, dependant on an imperfect text of Scripture, on a narrow range of patristic material, as yet but partially understood in relation to its true historical character, and above all on 'the latest thing from Germany'. It is hardly surprising that his laboriously fashioned structure proved to be, doctrinally and liturgically speaking, a house of cards. But it is ever to his credit that in his command of English and above all of the rhythm and melody of words, he bequeathed to us a treasury out of which may yet be fashioned in the end 'a manner of the holy communion' far more 'agreeable with the institution of Christ, St Paul and the old primitive and apostolic church' than ever was his own.
Is this unworthy, even now, as an ambition for vernacular liturgy?