4 July 2015

The English Missal (4)

The 1960s came as a nasty shock to Angolo-Catholicism. They were expecting reform from Rome, but not the sort of radical rupture which was to occur. Thus, writing in 1962, a Fr Bertram Jones, Vicar of Wrawby (New Rites ... Right or Wrong?) acknowledged that "the desirability of revising the Roman Mass ... is evident, though haste should be, and probably will be, avoided. Eventually, it is almost certain, a revised Roman Mass will emerge, with the Latin Canon inviolate but much, if not all, of the audible part in the vernacular". He urged, for use within the Church of England, "the interim policy of treating the Roman Mass in Latin as the norm to be used whenever and wherever, all things relevant carefully considered, it is practicable to use it; the rite of 1662 and the vernacular for the audible parts as the only permissible deviations from it; and the Gregorian Canon, silent and in Latin (with the 1662 Prayer of Consecration permissibly interpolated), as of strict obligation in every Mass".

Fr Jones was, as most Anglo-Catholic clergy still were, very attached to the Roman Canon. He cited "a former Regius Professor of Divinity and certainly no uncritical admirer of all things Roman, Dr Alexander Nairne" as calling it "the best of prayers (if not the best of all Latin compositions) in its direct, unadorned prayerfulness". He strongly prefered that it be used in Latin, reminding readers that "'to be learned in the Latin tongue' was a requirement laid down no less for Anglican ordinands than for Roman". As for the silent recitation, he had "no doubt that the Holy Spirit has not only inspired the words of the Canon, but led the Western Church to the practice of quiet at that part of the Holy Mysteries and that it is unlikely ever to be abandoned".

Within five years, a raw policy of naked aggression against Tradition had put paid to everything which Anglo-Papalists such as Jones thought to be obvious. Since they had always believed in Roman Authority over Liturgy, reluctantly, they buckled down to the new rites, simply because they believed that Rome had abolished the old rites. We now know that this is not so. Summorum Pontificum clarified the matter (which had remained uncertain ever since a Committee of Cardinal Canonists in the 1980s had come to the conclusion that ythe old Roman Missal had never canonically been abolished, their report being left unpublished out of fear for its possible consequences).

A few churches continued to use the English Missal, but they were regarded as eccentric. It was the authorisation of the Ordinariate Rite which restored the substance of the English Missal.

To be concluded.

1 comment:

tradgardmastare said...

Hugh Ross Williamson's book "The great Prayer" is an excellent read and one with a timely message still that all Christians can unite around the Canon of the Mass.
Alan